protect your porter

trekking porter nepalOne of The Intrepid Foundation’s top-selling Global Gifts this Christmas was ‘Equip a Porter in Nepal’, providing a porter with trousers, boots, socks, gloves, sunglasses and a protective jacket.

Contrary to the belief that porters are adjusted to the cold and the altitude of the Himalayas, every year many porters suffer from a variety of illnesses such as altitude sickness, snow blindness, hypothermia and frostbite, and tragically some even die as a result.

Keeping these possible consequences in mind, in 2009 the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) set-up the Porter’s Clothing Bank (PCB) with the objective “to provide ill-prepared porters with better clothing, suitable for their treks in a mountain environment.”

PCB has been lending individual trekkers and trekking agencies full sets of clothing and equipment for their porters at a small refundable deposit. This project has proved to be highly successful in improving the treatment and working conditions for porters around Nepal and helping prevent unnecessary illnesses and fatalities. Moreover, the PCB aims to educate tourists, trekking agencies and porters alike about the acceptable standard of treatment of porters and the need to improve porter access to appropriate clothing and equipment.

The PCB started with 100 sets of new clothes items, and has since increased their stock to include around 550 jackets, 280 pants and pairs of shoes and lesser numbers of sunglasses, socks and gloves.

Can you help the Porters’ Clothing Bank? Financial contributions are greatly appreciated, and are preferred to donations of clothing. With monetary assistance KEEP is then able to purchase new clothing cheaply in Nepal and cover costs of repair and replacement of items. Usually donations of used jackets and pants from westerners do not fit Nepali porters, however donations of other clothing items such as hats, socks, sunglasses, warm gloves and sleeping bags are always welcome.

US and British travellers to Nepal – if you are willing to physically carry or courier stock and cover shipping costs, please contact KEEP and the Porters Clothing Bank at last one month prior to your departure.

The Intrepid Foundation – travellers making a difference
Please help the Porters Clothing Bank with a donation to KEEP via The Intrepid Foundation, and Intrepid Travel will match your donation dollar for dollar.

* Donations will be matched by Intrepid Travel up to AU$5000 (or equivalent) per donor and a total of AU$400,000 each financial year.

To learn about Intrepid Travel’s porter policies, please visit our website and download the info:

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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