What to carry with you when you drive to the mountains

I am asked this question very often: what do we carry with us when we go to Ladakh? This is what normally forms a part of my packing list, not only for Ladakh but wherever I go to in the mountains (come exceptions would be there in urban areas like Mcleodganj, Simla etc where you get most supplies). So here goes:

  • Extra fuel – in a tightly closed jerry can. A must in Ladakh. Read my post http://kunzum.com/2008/06/11/planning-for-fuel-in-the-mountains
  • Extra woollens – you never know when the weather will turn for the worse.
  • Bedsheets, blankets / duvets / sleeping bags / towels: Some accommodation can be quite unhygienic for the skin. You may want to use your own sheets etc. Even doctors advise so. Or you may need these if you are stuck somewhere for the night (God forbid)
  • Drinking water
  • Food supplies – you do not get anything for long stretches sometimes. Or may need some if you are stuck.
  • Medicines and first aid kit especially Disprin, Combiflam, anti-allergy like Allegra, antibiotics, throat lonzenges and Band-Aid
  • Mobile fully charged – in case of an emergency. Provided you get signals.
  • Camera battery charged and extra memory- read my post on this: http://kunzum.com/2008/06/12/keep-your-camera-memory-and-battery-juices-flowing
  • Cash – don’t bet on ATMs and credit cards
  • Puncture kit and air pump (foot or electrical that can be connected to car lighter socket) – easily available and don’t cost more than a few hundred rupees. If you have tubeless tyres and have a flat, you can fill air and keep driving a couple of hours without worries.
  • Shades and hat – the glare and the sun can be quite harsh at times
  • Extra pair of shoes in case you tear yours while hiking or they get wet
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Optional extras: Swiss knife, a tow rope in case your car is stuck, wet wipes (let your imagination run here)
  • Sweets – you will meet lots of children on the way, chat them up over chocolates and sweets

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  1. Dear Ajay,

    Once again some very helpful tips. The tip about extra bedsheet and footwear was a revelation. It has happened to us so many times. I would like to add a few things I usually carry;

    1. One electric kettle for emergency hot water and tea.
    2. A Lonely Planet travel map.
    3. An extra tube for the tyres. (sometimes u don’t realize you’ve got a flat and by the time you stop the tube is invariably beyond repair)
    and most of all
    Some good books to read. This may be the only downtime you get to read.

    Happy driving

  2. Hi Ajay,

    One more to the list – that i have found very helpful..A set of jumper cables, when the battery just dies on you and you need a start from a passing vehicle…

  3. Hi Ajay

    One more to the list – while travelling to Ladakh or North East India make sure to get a post paid connection as pre paid connections don’t work in these places.

  4. HI AJAY…

  5. Thanks Ajay…

    Our tentative itinerary shl b:
    14/07-> Delhi to Chandigarh (in case we get late in getting bike cleared from Railway Station)
    15/07-> Chandigarh to Manali to Solang Valley
    16/07-> Solang Valley to Darcha (purposely skipped Sarchu after reading your blog)
    17/07-> Darcha to Pang
    18/07-> Pang to Leh
    19/07-> Spare day for local sightseeing at Leh
    20/07-> Leh to Pangong Lake
    21/07-> Pangong Lake to Leh
    22/07-> Leh to Nubra Valley
    23/07-> Nubra Valley to Leh
    24/07-> Leh to Uley Tokpo to Alchi
    25/07-> Alchi to Lamayuru to Kargil
    26/07-> Kargil to Srinagar
    27/07-> Srinagar
    28/07-> Srinagar
    29/07-> Srinagar to Jammu
    30/07-> return backwards

    But v want to cut short this itinerary by 3 days. Pls guide..

    Thanks in advance…

  6. Hi Ajay,

    Great post! By the way, is it advisable to take along older people? Wondering if my mom would feel dizzy or sick enroute to Leh from Delhi. Also is there any way to get a budget SUV from Delhi?


  7. Hi ,

    My husband and I are planning to drive to leh around 20 July 2012? How are the weather conditions at that time?



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