Chadar Trek that happens in the Zanskar Valley on the Zanskar River is one of the most enthralling winter treks in India. Every year hundreds of avid adventurers and seasoned travelers find themselves in blood-freezing Zanskar Valley to enjoy this sport. If you too are planning on completing this trek, there is a list of What to Pack for Chadar Trek: Universal Packing List for Frozen River Trek.

During the peak winters which is starting from mid-November to January; the upper layers of the Zanskar River freezes and turns into a chadar. Adventurers enjoy the thrilling activity to walk over this frozen river of Ladakh. As exciting and wonderful it may sound, the travelers have to be very cautious while trekking here. Not only have to be mentally and physically strong to complete the Chadar trek, but you also have to wisely pack your bag as well.  

What is the location of Chadar Trek?

This trekking expedition takes place in the Zanskar Valley and on the frozen Zanskar River.

What is the best Time To Go For the Chadar Trek?

Ladakh offers a lot of adventurous sports throughout the year but those who wish to enjoy the frozen river trek, have to visit the valley during the peak winter season. Usually, the Chadar trek starts between mid-November and the end of January. This is the time when the river’s upper layers freeze into a chadar.

Note: It is still recommended to keep an eye on the weather and news of the river. With increasing global warming, the duration and months can change.

How to reach the trek starting point?

As this trek is carried out during the winter season, the accessibility of Ladakh via roads is not an option. From both sides – Srinagar to Leh highway & Manali to Leh highway the roads are blocked due to heavy snowfall. 

The only option that is left for travelers is Airways. You can take a direct flight to Leh from Delhi and other metropolitan cities of India. Reach Leh and take a cab to the start point of the trek. 

How long does it take to complete the Chadar Trek?

Although it completely depends on the traveler, their fitness, and their endurance how long the Chadar trek or frozen river trek would take ideally people take approximately 8-9 days to complete the entire stretch. 

How long is the entire stretch of Chadar Trek?

The entire chadar trek from one side is approximately 90 km. If you wish you can trek back but the majority of people take a cab back from the terminal.

Here is complete Details What to Pack/Carry for Chadar Trek

It is always better to pack a light bag but you don’t want to leave anything out of your backpack that’s important. Here are some vital things that you shouldn’t miss from packing/carrying for Chadar Trek.

Trekking gears

First of all, clear in your head that the Chadar Trek is a difficult winter trek where you will have to walk on the frozen river of Ladakh. While preparing your bag, ensure that you have all the trekking gear that will help you throughout the trekking.

  • Gum Boots
  • Trekking poles
  • Spikes
  • Double-layered sleeping bag
  • Waterproof backpack/ rucksack
  • Non-plastic water bottles

Clothing essentials

Probably the most important and challenging thing during the entire Chadar trek for every visitor is to keep themselves warm. It is a very important and difficult task but it can be done with the right clothing essentials and wearing tricks. 

Do keep in mind to not pack heavy pullovers just because they are cute or you love them. Keep yourself as light as possible. Adding on extra kilos will slow you down and you will get tired easily. This would lead to frequent breaks.

While keeping the clothing essentials, do keep in mind a few things:
  • It is not how thick the layer you wear but the number of layers you wear. Always focus on putting on multiple layers rather than just one thick jacket to replace them all.
  • Keep in mind that while you choose the right clothes for Chadar Trek you put on warm socks, fleece, waterproof and thermal holding jackets, warm caps, and gloves.
  • It is recommended that you first use activewear socks and then woolen socks over them. This is because woolen socks lose their thermal insulation property when they get wet with sweat. Also, it is difficult to walk wearing woolen socks.
  • Keep your upper and lower body warm by wearing thermals and pull over on your upper body. Look for thermal pants, dry-fit pants, and snow pants (they will keep your legs away from cold winds.)
  • Wear clothes in layers as this helps in reducing heat loss.
  • Keep water-resistant shoes in your backpack.
  • If you can try to keep Polaroid in your backpack to save your eyes from UV rays. 

First aid kit

It is not only important during the Chadar trek but for everything you do in Ladakh. It is the most important thing you should keep in your backpack before leaving for Chadar Trek. If you are wondering what all things should you keep in the first aid kit, then here they are:

  • All the important Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) medicines.
  • If you are suffering from any problems, you will have to keep it in the first aid kit.
  • Keep some crepe bandages in the backpack with pain relief ointments. It can come in handy if you sprain any joint or simply if you wish to reduce the pain. It might also be helpful for someone else, if not for you.
  • Put some bandages, candies, and digestive pills.

Toiletries and other essentials

At every campsite where you halt, there might be a good restroom available. But keeping your toiletries is always a good idea. It will firstly ensure hygiene and secondly, you will use them whenever you want. Things that should find some space in this section while you pack/carry for the Chadar trek or Frozen River Trek include:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Disposable bags to keep all the wrappers
  • Tissue paper (Avoid wet wipes)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm and moisturizing cream
  • Sanitizer
  • Toilet Papers

Note Being, aware and a responsible traveler; it is your responsibility to keep our surroundings and environment clean. While you are on this majestic frozen river trek in a place that equals heaven; make sure you leave just your footprints behind and nothing else. 


Listed above are some of the most important things you should keep while packing for Chadar Trek or Frozen River Trek. If you keep all these in your bag, you won’t have a comfortable time trekking. You will be able to enjoy the trek completely. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to wear or stay wet ever in the entire trek. And also do not let any of your body parts get exposed to the dry winter winds of Zanskar.