Do most of your gear shopping here.

Do most of your gear shopping here.

There are literally dozens of gear Shops in Thamel. In most of them you have to haggle about prices and the owners aren’t very forthcoming about which gear is authentic and which is a Chinese knockoff (although many of the knockoffs are pretty obvious (I mean a Northface down jacket for $@20, come on)). I did most of my gear shopping at Shonas because they are fixed priced and straightforward about what is real and what isn’t. They are also honest about the quality of the bootleg gear so can decide if you want to shell out more for quality or make due with the fake stuff.

In addition, Shona’s husband gave very good advice about what you will definitely use, and what you want in case the shit hits the fan. Several items I was unsure about buying such as crampons and waterproof hiking boots (I did the Annapurna Circuit in New Balances and didn’t want to spend money upgrading them for the Three Passes Trek), but I followed his advice and bought everything he recommended anyway. It would have been possible to do the Three Passes trek without the low-cost knockoff crampons he sold me, but they made some of the passes much easier and he didn’t try to upsell me on a more expensive pair. As for the boots, he highly recommended getting a waterproof pair even though he didn’t sell boots. After thinking about it for a night, I bought a lightweight pair at the real Northface store and was very happy I did or else I would’ve had wet, cold feet for most of the trip.

Finally, they also rent their own brand of sleeping bags and don’t charge cleaning fees. They are cheap to rent, about 70-100 npr per day and pretty good quality. They are bigger and heavier than my bag back home, but they kept me plenty warm just the same.

My only complaint is that Shona’s son sold us a map of the Everest region that didn’t cover Renjo pass even though he knew we were doing the Three Passes Trek. Otherwise I am totally happy with their shop and regardless, I highly recommend doing your gear shopping there.

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