When planning a trip to a place like Spiti; your packing becomes a little more comprehensive than it would be if you were going to any other place (with an exception of Ladakh of course). For example, if you are going to a beach; you would already have an idea about the kind of clothes you would need there. Same concept applies to a hill station. You just pack some clothes according to the climate of that place; some of your daily requirement things and voila, you are done. This however is not really that easy when visiting places like Spiti or Ladakh. Due to the remote nature of the region; your list of things to pack would be much longer; and as clothes for Spiti trip you will have to carry both your summer and winter wear. Why and how is what I will explain in this article.
The reason I posted this picture is to show that during day; you can easily walk around wearing just a half sleeve T-Shirt. I was of course wearing a heavy wind-proof jacket while riding the motorcycle; but the moment I stopped I would take off the jacket because it was so warm to stay in it.
Spiti no doubt is a cold climate region so need to carry clothes that can protect you from the cold goes without saying. But at the same time; you also need to comprehend the fact that you cannot stay in heavy woolens all the times. Sun is really harsh up there; to the extent that it will not just tan you but burn your skin if you were not careful. Stand in the sun for a little while; and you will immediately reach out for the shade and get rid your heavy jacket. By evening however, you will be putting on your warmest clothes along with the money cap and gloves. Such can be the fluctuation in temperatures here.
While Spiti remains accessible throughout the year from Shimla; most of the tourism here still happens from the month of June till September when roads from both Shimla and Manali side remain open. Weather during this time, in summer, remains pleasant enough. Days will be moderately warm and while nights will indeed be very cold; it is rare that the temperature will reach the extreme level. A lot of people travel during rest of the year as well, some making a winter trip to Spiti valley. What clothes for Spiti trip you will carry in summer will be entirely different than what you will need for a winter trip. A lot of it will also depend on what kind of activities do you plan on indulging in here.
Clothes for Spiti Trip in summer:
When traveling to Spiti in the months of summer, the trick is to pack clothes in layers. What it necessarily means is to pack clothes that you can wear on top of another as you start feeling cold; and clothes that you can take of one by one as you start to feel warm. So for example, pack one heavy jacket and then few light woolens and lots of cottons; rather than carrying all heavy jackets or woolens.
Carry multiple layers in form of cotton T-Shirts, thermals, light woolens and wind proof jackets and you will be just fine. Reason behind this is that during summer, the climate of Spiti valley can be tricky in a way that you can neither remain completely packed under heavy cloths; nor can you afford to roam around in cottons. While sitting in a room you will feel cold however the moment you step out in Sun; you will start to feel warm and need clothes that you can adjust accordingly.
Clothes for Spiti Trip in winter:
In peak winter, Spiti gets buried under a thick sheet of snow and temperatures dip to sub zeroes. Water freezes everywhere, including in the taps, and nights gets extremely cold. While planning a winter trip to Spiti winter, your clothing all has to be heavy woolens and just a few cottons to wear underneath. While packing your bags, ensure that you are putting in a lot of thermals, heavy woolens, wind proof jackets, waterproof shoes, insulated socks, woolen monkey cap, and sunglasses. You must keep yourself warm and protected from cold winds. Carry warm but light thermals that you can wear while sleeping as well.
Below are a few other clothing and packing tips that may come in handy.
- If you are riding a motorcycle to Spiti, please ensure that you are carrying a heavy windproof down jacket.
- If you are driving through Spiti in summer, do not worry about carrying too many woolens or warm clothes. Keep the heater in your car on, carry plenty of cotton clothes, few light woolens, a heavy windproof jacket and it should be enough.
- If you intend to go camping on your own, you will need woolens or warm thermals and a really good sleeping bag for the night. If you are however staying at a camp site, then you do not have to bother carrying anything extra just for camping because all the camp sites provide good enough beds and blankets to keep you comfortable at night.
- Always keep your woolens or Jackets handy. Even if you are going out for a walk in afternoon, carry your jacket along even if you do not feel like wearing it.
- Carry full sleeve T-shirts if you can because they will also help you fight the sun when you do not have your jacket on in the sun. Sun is quite harsh in Spiti and getting serious tan or even sunburn is quite easy.
- Carry a few pairs of warm woolens socks if you are riding a motorcycle so that you have enough socks to change in case the ones you are wearing get wet at water crossings.
- Carry woolen gloves in summer and snow gloves if you are travelling in winter.
- A muffler will come in real handy so it is better to carry one.
- Carry a Monkey cap or Balaclava. It is a must if travelling in Winter. In summer, it can be helpful when you are taking that evening stroll and want to sit around the bonfire at night.
- Carry a regular cap or Sun hat for day to protect your face against sun.
- Sunglasses and it is a must again for winters. The glare of the sun on snow can be quite harsh for eyes.
- Good, sturdy, warm boots and they must be waterproof if you are riding a motorcycle.
- Carry a sun block lotion with highest SPF
- In winters, carry both a light pair of gloves and a heavy thicker one. That way, you can put on the lighter ones first and then the heavy ones to ensure that your hands remain warm. For summer, carry a thick windproof one if you are riding a motorcycle. If you are in a Car or catching a flight, a nice pair of woolen gloves will do.
- Do not even think about carrying shorts, mini-skirts, sleeveless clothes or even high heels for that matter.
- Do not carry tight clothes as well. You will be putting on layers of clothes in both summer and winter and tight clothes will becomes a big problem if you have several layers of them on you.
- If you can, carry gum boots if you are riding a motorcycle.
- Winter packing for Spiti will require a lot of thermals as well as down jackets along with insulated socks and summer packing will involve multiple layers of clothes
- If you are riding a bike to Spiti; you must pack a lot of outer wear and a down wind proof jacket.
- Thermals are a must have when travelling to Spiti in winter months.
- Pack a handy jacket no matter which season you are traveling in.
Very important, carry some plastic bags to keep wet clothes. This applies specially if you are riding a motorcycle. Your socks, jeans, shoes may get wet and you cannot put them in your bag with other dry clothes without insulating them.
To summarize it all;
If you are travelling in summer, pack a lot of full sleeve cottons, couple of thermals, a few light woolens, few pairs of woolen socks, monkey cap, regular cap, sunglasses, woolens gloves, 1 light jacket and as a backup, keep a heavy windproof jacket as well. If you are riding a motorcycle; the heavy windproof jacket becomes a must and it wouldn’t hurt to carry 2 pairs of waterproof shoes.
While travelling in winter carry lots of thermals, several heavy woolens, 2 pairs of gloves, Woolen Monkey caps, sunglasses, several pairs of woolen socks, warm waterproof shoes, mufflers and a heavy jacket.
I hope this information regarding clothes for Spiti trip was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below or at our community forum and I would be glad to answer. If you feel I missed adding a couple of must haves in the article above; please feel free to suggest while commenting.