When you start packing clothes for Spiti Valley Trip, your packing will have to be a little more comprehensive than it would be if you were going to any other place. For example, if you were going to a beach; you would already have an idea about the kind of clothes you would need there. The same concept applies to a hill station. You just pack some clothes according to the climate of that place and you are done. This, however, is not really that easy when visiting a place like Spiti.
The biggest reason behind this is the unpredictable weather of Spiti Valley. What clothes to wear in Spiti will not only depend on the month of your travel but also on time of the day and place that you were at. The climate of the valley is tricky in that way. For example, in July, Kaza will definitely be very warm in the day but Chandratal will still be freezing. There is also a tremendous change in the temperature between night and day.
Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley – A Complete Travel Guide
So in order to handle the change in the weather and the temperature, you need to pack clothes in layers. This will make sure that you are not feeling either too cold or hot and are comfortable throughout the day. Read on to find out more.
What to Wear in Spiti Valley
The reason I posted this picture is to show that during the day; you can easily walk around wearing just a half sleeve T-Shirt. I was, of course, wearing a heavy windproof 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 is a cold desert so you need to carry clothes that can protect you from the cold. But at the same time; you also need to comprehend the fact that you cannot stay in heavy woolens all the time. Sun is really harsh up there; to the extent that it will not just tan 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 of your heavy jacket. By evening, however, you will be putting on your warmest clothes along with the monkey 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 June till September when roads from both Shimla and Manali side remain open. The weather during this time, in summer, remains pleasant enough. Days will be moderately warm while nights will indeed be very cold. However, the temperature will rarely reach an extreme level in these months.
A lot of people travel during the rest of the year as well, some making a winter trip to Spiti valley. What clothes 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 the activities you had planned for the trip as well as your mode of travel.
Clothes for Spiti Valley 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 one another as you start feeling cold, adding layer over layer until you were comfortable. If you started to feel warm, then you can remove a layer or two according to the temperature.
For example, pack one heavy jacket and then a few light woolens and lots of regular cotton clothes. During the day, you can comfortably walk around in cottons and a jacket but can then add layers of woolens towards the end of the day and at night.
You must not bring all heavy jackets or woolens because then you will just be feeling warm all the time.
Below is an example of what you can pack for clothes for Spiti Valley in Summer.
- Multiple layers in the form of Cotton Shirts, T-Shirts
- Regular Jeans / Trousers
- Light woolens
- A windproof jacket
- Regular Socks
- Sports shoes with good grip
- Regular Cap or Hat
For your peace of mind, you can pack a pair of thermals as well but you will most probably not need it. Pack thick trousers, mostly jeans and avoid anything light. Try to pack all full sleeve shirts or T-Shirts and avoid half sleeves. I know I am wearing a half-sleeve T-Shirt in the picture above but I just used that for riding with a thick jacket on.
You must not pack clothes that are too tight because then you cannot put them on together on top of one another. The information above will apply for a trip from May to September.
Clothes for Spiti Valley in Winter
In the winter season, Spiti gets buried under a thick sheet of snow and temperatures dip to sub zeroes. Water freezes everywhere, including in the taps and nights get extremely cold.
When planning a winter trip to Spiti, your clothing all has to be heavy woolens and warm clothes. While packing your bags, ensure that you are putting in the following.
- Heavy Woolens
- A Heavy windproof Jacket
- A Fleece Jacket
- Waterproof Shoes
- Woolen Socks
- Woolen monkey cap or Balaclava
- Warm Hand Gloves
You must keep yourself warm and protected from cold winds. Carry warm but light thermals that you can wear while sleeping as well. This list will apply for a trip between October to April.
Also Read: Spiti via Shimla or Manali – Which is Better?
Clothes to Wear in Spiti in Monsoon
Spiti is in a rain shadow area so it either does not rain here at all or rains just a little. But the nearby areas of Kinnaur and Kullu / Manali receive heavy rainfall each year. Sometimes it can rain for days at regular intervals causing landslides and roads to get blocked.
For a trip during the monsoon season, from late June to early September, your packing list will be the same that I provided for the summer months. The only change would be that you should pack clothes that can dry faster, like polyester. It would be absolutely necessary that your jacket is waterproof. If you were traveling by car, then you should also bring an umbrella along.
I will highly recommend bringing waterproof shoes along but if you could not, then keep a pair of rubber sandals handy along with your regular sports shoes.
Also Read: Mobile Network and Data Connectivity in Spiti Valley
Clothes for a Bike Trip to Spiti
Now all of the above will apply if you were traveling by car. But it will all change if you were planning a ride a motorcycle to Spiti. Then your packing would have to be sufficient to protect you from the dust, wind, water, sun and the cold.
The first thing you need to do it to seal your bags entirely. Get a waterproof bag and a black polythene cover. Pull your belongings in the bag, wrap it in the polythene sheet and then rope it on the motorcycle. Do not mount your bags on the bike unprotected.
If you were wearing proper riding gear with a jacket and lower, then you already know what you will be wearing while riding. If not, then take your oldest jeans out and keep it aside for riding. Wear this one pair of jeans every day while you are on the bike. This way, you will not end up dirtying all your trousers and have to carry 5-6 different ones.
Your jacket would really have to be warm and windproof. Also, make sure that your jacket has a hoodie so that you can up the collar to protect your neck while riding. You can take off the hoodie, put up the collar and then wear the helmet. This way you will windproof your neck as well.
You will also need to bring windproof gloves. Thermals may not be absolutely necessary but will come in really handy. At least carry a thermal to wear underneath your jeans so that your legs weren’t freezing during the ride.
The rest of your packing will remain the same as I explained above.
Also Read: Which is the Best Motorcycle for Spiti Valley Trip?
Getting across a water stream will be a regular affair in the Spiti trip. You cannot afford to get all your shoes wet and taking a bike across the stream barefoot is a risky business. For this, I will recommend buying a rubber sandal like in the picture below. These are of rubber so they will dry off quickly and cover your entire feet. Whenever there is a water crossing, put these sandals on and take your bike across. Once done, put these back with the luggage and wear your regular shoes.
Other than the clothes for Spiti Valley, some other items that will be very handy are as mentioned below.
- A very important item is some plastic bags to keep wet clothes. This applies especially 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.
- 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.
- A muffler will come in real handy so it is better to carry one if you can.
- Sunglasses are a must for both summer and winter. The glare of the sun on the snow can be quite harsh for the eyes.
- Carry a sunblock 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 become a big problem if you have several layers of them on you.
- If you are driving through Spiti in summer, do not worry about carrying too many woolens or warm clothes. 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 campsite, then you do not have to bother carrying anything extra just for camping because all the campsites 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 the 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 a serious tan or even sunburn is quite easy.
Also Read: How to Handle Altitude Sickness in Spiti Valley
Temperature in Spiti Valley
Last but not the least, below is how the temperature in Spiti Valley trends at an average.
|Month||Avg Maximum||Avg Minimum|
|Spiti Valley in January||-5°C||-21°C|
|Spiti Valley in February||-2°C||-17°C|
|Spiti Valley in March||7°C||-13°C|
|Spiti Valley in April||1°C||-8°C|
|Spiti Valley in May||12°C||-3°C|
|Spiti Valley in June||18°C||2°C|
|Spiti Valley in July||20°C||7°C|
|Spiti Valley in August||20°C||6°C|
|Spiti Valley in September||13°C||-3°C|
|Spiti Valley in October||8°C||-8°C|
|Spiti Valley in November||2°C||-17°C|
|Spiti Valley in December||-2°C||-20°C|
Clothes for Spiti Valley Trip – Conclusion
In order to summarize it, winter packing for Spiti will require a lot of woolens, thermals as well as down jackets along with insulated socks. Summer packing will involve multiple layers of clothes along with a few light woolens and a thick windproof jacket.
I hope this information regarding clothes for Spiti valley was of help. 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 some other must have items in the article above; please feel free to suggest while commenting.
Your article is immensely helpful & interesting. We’re going to Spiti next month Ie mid April via Shimla. Could you advise the max/min temp ranges to expect, so one prepares accordingly?
Hi Jyoti – Days will be moderately warm in April but the night temperature will still drop close to 0.
Hi what temps can we expect mid to late April in Spiti this year? Yr temp table above shows a max average of 1 C, whereas Mar is higher at 7C. Pls advise.
Hi Jyoti – Days will be moderately warm in April but the night temperature will still drop close to 0.
Does one have altitude sickness at Spiti Valley, if so what precaution should one take. We are a group of 15 travelling in mid August’2021. I have been to Ladakh 3 years back where we had a tough time at Pangong Lake, severe headache and nausea. Do you think we might experience the same thing at Chandratal lake ?
If you went from Shimla to Kaza, then you will already be acclimatized by the time you get to Chandratal. But with that being said, there is a chance of AMS at Chandratal due to its altitude. Please take a look at this post https://vargiskhan.com/log/dealing-acute-mountain-sickness-spiti/
I am visiting India and planning a month-long trip to the Spiti Valley in September. Being from Canada, I am taking typical Canadian fall/autumn clothes with me…Will that work? We are planning homestays / Monasteries but not sure if this is always possible so should I carry a tent and sleeping bag? We are taking local buses so there’s only so much gear I can carry I suppose!? Also, which is the best place to get an inner line permit?
Sorry for asking lots of questions but you seem to have answers so I thought I would ask. Thank you in advance for your help and guidance.
(From Vancouver, BC)
We r going to Sritivally and chandral night stay sriti and chanratal what will be temperature at that time. And whic dress we carry we both r sr citizens
is november a good month for spiti trip ?
Can I travel with my passion pro bike ?
Wonderful Mr Khan, kindly recommend me about the bottmwere required for Spititi valley in January or February ?
Hi Soumya – You will have to bring thermals/warmers accompanied with woolens socks and boots that are water resistant.
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hello sir, we are group of 10 people, planning for spiti through shimla on 15 Dec’19.by car. we dont want to spend too much money on clothes like jackets, waterproof shoes, instead of buying them plz suggest from where we will get on rent.
You can try in Shimla
Sir , am planning to visit kaza , starting my journey on 10dec ,2019 onwards, via Shimla. Please help us to know the status of roads(close/open) and also to plan out the trip.
The road from Shimla side is open but closed from Manali. You can go.
We r going to visit sritvally. Kaja kelong and chanratal night stay we r taking full sleeveee eeolly cott jackett mafler sunglasses glafs etc. We r sr citzens 77/65 and our group of 30 heads. What I have to do. Mini pxygen cilinder also taken your advice pl. 6 doctors with us with family
On September 12/13/14 2022
Too much USEFULL info!!Any suggentions as I am travelling to Spiti Valley this August?
See this post please.
Great post, really helpful.
Just one query, will there be many muddy patches/water crossings on the way to Spiti via Shimla?
I am planning for a bike trip. Just wanted to check on this since will be using footwear accordingly. What do you suggest?
Hi Robbie – There are a couple of crossings between Shimla andd Kaza but mmost are between Kaza andd Manali.
Hi Vargis.. I’m planning a solo trip to Spiti from Chandigarh (3rd week of June). Which route I should prefer.. via Manali or via Shimla, Reckong. And yes public transport is my mean
We 20peoples are planning a trip to Chandrataal Lake from Manali on 1st week of July 2021. Whether is it possible to make it sucess. We also want to stay at Chandrataal Lake at night. One Tempo Traveller and zylo car can accommodate us. In the road these cars are able to go upto lake side or not. Finally tent accommodation wil be available at Chandrataal Lake Or not. Thank you very much if you reply my queries.
1. Trip in July – Yes
2. Tempo Traveller or Zylo – Yes they can go
3. Camping – All camp sites will be open unless the COVID situation shuts down tourism again last year. As of now, there is no such indication
We are planning a trip to spiti from manali side on 1st week of June. Is there any chance that rohtang pass and chandratal lake is open for tourists.
No Manali Kaza will probably not open before June 10th
Hello sir , l am planning a solo trip to spiti valley from 18 may to 28 . Will I be able to visit Chandratal at this time and can I complete the circuit starting from shimla to manali. N thank u for your blogs.
Hi Shreesagar, as of now Manali Kaza road and Chandratal will not open before June 1st week
planning a trip on 30th May to spiti & it really useful, all the required details are included.
Keep posting & inspiring… Thanks.
Thank you for taking the time to drop a note.
Our riding group has planned a trip to spiti and this is my first time there.. sad to hear that Kinnaur gateway had been destroyed.. never got a chance to see it. 🙁
Will be following your blog deligently, as we plan to return via spiti-Manali route, of its open by then.
HI! KHANSAB, MY SELF IS SHIRISH NATU, FROM MUMBAI, AS A BANKER RETIRED ON 30 TH NOV. (60 YEARS WITH 38 YEARS IN BANK.)
ALREADY HAVING BOOKING UPTO SHIMLA FROM MUMBAI. ( MUMBAI TO DELHI ON 25TH AND DELHI TO SHIMLA ON 27TH DEC.)
WISH TO VISIT SPITI VALLEY FROM 28 TH DEC. 2018 TO 3RD JAN. 2019. PLEASE ADVISE / GUIDE ME ACCORDINGLY.
Leaving for Spiti on 15th September. Your website has been helpful in planning the trip 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to drop a note Vivek. I am glad that the information posted was of help.
Hello sir I just want to know if I go to Chandratal Lake by bike is it possible that I come manali in one day?? If no how many days it will take…Manali to Chandratal Lake and back in Manali
I am going to Spiti for a 10 day trip from 14 to 23 September. I wasn’t sure of the clothes that I need to pack. That issue has been mostly sorted, thanks to your excellent write up Vargis Saab.
Thank you for such elaborate information! You write very well and your website has indeed been helpful for planning my trip to Spiti.
I’m planning Spiti and Chandrataal[24Sep-06Oct’18] from Manali. Wondering if it’s early winter or late summer…what to pack for? Will it be very cold or moderate cold?
Secondly, I’m planning to walk to Chandrataal after getting off at the dropping point as mentioned in your post. My concern is about sun-burn or heat-stroke. What care needs to be taken? Please advise.
Thanks a ton!
Hello! Excellent info !!
We are planning a bike trip to Spiti in 1st week of September.
Will the normal sports shoes do ?
Or I need to buy waterproof ones ?
Are there roads with water crossing at this time ?
Yes there will be water crossings en route but mostly between Manali and Kaza. Just get your normal shoes but if possible, buy a pair of rubber sandals that can cover the entire feet. You can put these on while crossing a water stream. That way your feet will be covered and shoes won’t get wet.
Hi Vargis… Am planning to travel in the mid of august. Could you suggest me an itinerary for 7 days pls ? I am planning a solo trip… so seek your advise on safety as well 🙂
Hi Vidhya – How are you traveling? I am not sure if you have already but if not, then please take a look at the post below. I have shared some 7 days itineraries here.
Hi Vargis. I followed all your articles on Himachal. Good work. One question. I have a normal boot andConverse shoes. I plan to wear the converse shoes to Lahaul and would be travelling in a car entire time from manali to spiti lahaul and back. Wouldn’t hike but would walk where roads aren’t accessible by moderate sized cars. Will my shoes do or do I need to buy some heavy duty boot/shoes?
Hi Saha – Thank you for your kind words. No boots or special shoes required brother. I just came back from Lahaul and Spiti 3 weeks back and believe it or not, I was in bathroom slippers the entire trip. Either I was driving or was walking around in those slippers 🙂 I broke them at Chandratal though after which I moved on to Crocs but the entire trip, I did not wear no shoes.
Thanks a ton Vargis. Much appreciated.
You are welcome !!! 🙂
Hi Bro. Looking for Ford Figo Car ride from shimla to manali circuit on first week of this september. What do you suggest Shall i go with Ford Figo car? its having low ground clearance and mostly alone or max 3 in a car. Will go with one jacket and normal pair of jeans and shorts only. Is this ok. Or would you like to suggesting something more?
Sheetal -Ford Figo’s ground clearance will be a problem in Spiti valley. I will not really recommend it.
Thanks dear . My family wanted to join me on trip having 10 year old daughter with T1diabetic and insulin dependent. What you suggest is there any problematic to take her? I am planning to hire ecosport from chandigarh and start keeping 10 days round trip from chandigarh. As I am only drive long mostly and family not experienced of it but to go on such beautiful place they more excited ☺. Looking for your valuable suggestion
Hi Sheetal – To be honest, I cannot really answer that question. Whether or not to take your daughter and what will be some of the precautions is an advice that only a doctor can give. Please consult a doctor before you go.
Hi vargis, that obviously without concern we not take daughter on drive. But in general how is it for kid ? how about medical care on route? Some one told Chandratall not need to visit if family with me as very thin oxygen and very rough walking to reach on the location. is it true? Can you also suggest itinerary for 10 days min. chandigarh to chandigarh.
Hi Sheetal – It will be very cold so make sure you are carrying a windproof jacket to protect your daughter. Last time I was at the lake this year, I noticed an English couple there with their daughter. The couple were walking a little ahead around the lake and the child was happily playing around and following them a little behind. Even I played with her for a little while. She showed no signs of any distress or anything so I guess it was OK. Oxygen is thin I agree but if you went from Shimla, you would already have acclimatized by the time you reach Chandratal.
Thanks Vargis. You have mentioned well explained tips. Well! I a going in Mid June and I was wondering what to pack. After reading your list I know now! 🙂 In september I am going to Ladakh and will return on your site to read the packing list for ladakh.
Thanks Vinika. I am glad that that information was of help.
Hi Vargis Khan,
Need your help with packing again 🙂
As you know I will be travelling to Spiti from 29th to 8th June. What you mean my light woollens and heavy windproof jacket? Do i need to pack thermals as well?
I have a forclaz 200 with me (https://www.decathlon.in/p/8317245_forclaz-200-men-s-fleece-hiking-jacket-blue-check.html#/12-200-m). I already have some thermals and cotton wear me
Do I need this kind of wind/padded jacket in summers? I’m planning to rent a bike in kaza https://www.decathlon.in/p/8397297_men-s-grey-trekking-full-down-jacket.html#/9-200-s
Or I can go with any jacket just to layer my forclaz 200?
Thank you for your help.
Hi Preyas – For Bike trip, definitely carry the padded jacket.Pack thermals for at least the lower body.
hello khan bhai
is water proof shoes a necessity or it will be fine in normal sports shoes
Shebal Bhai no need for waterproof shoes. Just carry your normal sports shoes and that will do.
it will be a trip on bike in last week of may so in that context will normal sports shoes do? or there are chances of getting them wet. and what will the hotel cost us for a night as the budget is not so high..
Yes the normal sports shoes do, no need to buy waterprooof ones. For cost calculation, see the article below.
Hi Vargis , Please let me know what kind of shoes are best ? Are sport shoes good enough if visiting Spiti and surrounding areas in the month of June?
Hi Neha, Yes your normal sports shoes would do fine for Spiti.
hello mr khan, i have a trip planned from 5th may-15th may with my wife who has asthma. i shall be travelling till kaza with stops at sarahan, chitkul, nako and tabo. will i require heavy woolens with head and footgear? i come from west bengal, so habituated in hot weather and not cold 🙂
Hello Dr. Banerjee, You will nto really need heavy woolens in May. Just carry your regular cottons, light woolens and a thick windproof jacket and that will be sufficient.
Hello sir! Thanku for all this info!
I am planning my trip on 29th april this year! Would it be heavy winter now?
You are welcome !!! It will not be heavy winter as such but will still be cold.
Alright! So light woollens along with a thermal pair would do right ?
and a thick windproof jacket, that would do it.
September comes in Summer or winter Slot…Vargis Bhai!
Bhai its divided. Before 15th Sep it will be counted in Summer. After 15th, it will get counted as winter. LOL
Excellent article sir. Helped a lot. We are planning to visit in the first half of May for 16 days. We would be very happy to complete the Shimla to Manali via Kaza-Kinnaur circuit. The bike rental guy told us that the Kunzum La will most probably get opened because of low snowfall this year. Do you think we’d be able to complete the circuit, sir? To be more specific we start at 28 April from Shimla and have a flight back from Delhi on 13th May at night.
Hi Rishabh Bhai – Thank you for your kind words.
Yes they are hoping that Manali – Kaza route will probably be open by April end or early May this year.
Hello sir, I just make a plan to visit Spiti kaza on bike please let me know the things to carry which is important to carry for bike riding not regarding cloths it’s all about bike things which is very important….
Sir what we need to wear in starting april in spiti valley
Summer clothes or winter
Just carry some light woolens with a heavy windproof and and warm jacket. That should do it Ashish Bhai.
Thanks Vargis , Planing a solo bike trip from bangalore in the first wk of march – this is very helpful information 🙂
You are welcome Karthik. And thank you for taking the time to drop a note.
I am travelling to Spiti in Feb. Is wearing a jeans on top of a thermal layer sufficient for the legs?. Also for a day trip, approximately many pairs of thermals should be sufficient.
How are you traveling Sreejith? Bike ride?
Good thermal and a pair of jeans should be Ok. Also buy one of those rain gear Pajamas kind of thing. It helps as protection from the wind and if there is snow, it will protect your jeans from getting wet.
When are you going in Feb? I will also be riding to Spiti from Delhi in the week of 12th Feb.
I am there on a road trip with Spiti Adventure Holidays. We are there on the same dates as you. 11th Feb – 17th Feb…
Cool. Maybe we will bump in to each other somewhere along the way.
Is it possible to buy things like inner thermals and gloves/woolen socks etc somewhere in Shimla? Or would you recommend someplace in Delhi like maybe Decathlon?
You can buy at either of the places. Shimla may be a bit cheaper, depending on your negotiation skills. Then also the fact that it is not winters yet so options will be severely limited in Delhi.
One of the best articles about Chandratal Lake. I am all set to go on my next solo trip to Spiti and I am very much confident now, that is just because of you. Thanks again.
Thanks Dev Bhai
If we reach Shimla by 21st Sep 2017 and leave for kaza Manali on 23rd Sep2017 with schedule to stay at Sarahan Sanga kalpa Nako tabo Kaza Chandratal then Manali. So we cross Kunzum Pas and Rotang Pass by this time frame?
If your question is whether or not Kunzum Pass will remain open by September end, then the answer is yes it will be. It usually closes by mid to end October.
That explains a lot. Thank you dear friend. I was planning a solo trip to Spiti buy didn’t know what to pack.
You are welcome Pragya. I am glad that the information was of help.
Indeed a good read and much helpful.
Thanks Tavir Bhai
Thank you Swati