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Himalayan High Treks Services — The Adventures We Offer To You!

 Himalayan High Treks offers full services and complete itineraries for large
or small groups traveling in the Himalayan region and Southeast Asia. We can produce trips for solo travelers, families, friends, organizations and groups
of any size. We offer proven trek and tour routes which are favorites year after year.
Our Scheduled Trips offer scheduled dates, planned itineraries, experienced leaders, guides and a full support staff. Our Custom Trips combine your schedule, needs
and interests with our long experience and local network — helping to arrange
the details of your trip just the way you want them.


 Scheduled Trips: HHT services begin once you exit the airport arrival customs hall at the trip meeting point. Airport transfers, most meals, ground transportation, a friendly support staff, a trip leader and/or an English–speaking local trip guide all contribute to a complete small–group adventure that lasts until you finally depart for your flight back home. You'll know everything that is included!


 Independent Custom Trips: HHT Services begin where and when you want.
We help you create your own unique trip. Tell us your schedule and what you'd like. We will develop your own detailed itinerary, organize guides and support and book the necessary arrangements along the way. HHT local staff ensure you get the best value and service. We can offer full support or simple amenities — just the way you want!

 All Trips: HHT consults with each participant to offer the latest updates, answer questions and ensure that you are prepared for the rigors and details of the adventure. Our efforts allow all group members to be equally prepared, in good health and with similar abilities — so the trip is smooth and fun! Each participant receives a detailed itinerary, health and safety information, packing and reading lists and more.


 All Trips: HHT's partners can provide you with any additional services you'd imagine for your trip: travel insurance, air bookings, extra hotel accommodations, jungle safaris, city and country tours, guides, air–conditioned cars with drivers or rail transportation for your journey. Anything special? Just ask us!


 Peace Of Mind: HHT not only provides services, but we're also "a friend back home" for emergency help. If you need special contact or urgent assistance along the way, we are available by phone, fax or email. We know who you are and can often help make an easier time out of a difficult, foreign situation.





Himalayan High Treks Services — FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Click on any of the following questions to go directly to it,
or just scroll down and read through each one.
It's worth a few of your moments to know how it works.

  1. What Is A Trek?
  2. How Do I Get There?
  3. What Is There To Eat?
  4. What Are The Hotels Like?
  5. Can I Reach The Folks At Home?
  6. Will You Help Me Prepare?
  7. What's The Basic Procedure?
  8. What's The Best Time To Go?
  9. Is There Anything Else I Should Be Sure To Do While I'm There?
10. Are Your Trips Only For Women or Men?
11. Can I Feel Comfortable In Asia As A Gay Man Or Lesbian?
12. Do I Need To Worry About Theft?
13. Do I Need To Worry About Personal Safety?
14. Do You Automatically Charge A Single Supplement?
15. Do You Use Tier Pricing?
16. What Immunizations Or Medications Do I Need?
17. Will I Need A Passport Or Visa?
18. How Do I Pay For My Trip?
19. Should I Buy Travel Insurance?
20. Will I Need Special Equipment?
21. How Strenuous Are Your Trips?
22. Who Goes On Your Trips?
23. What If Minimum Enrollment Is Not Reached For My Trek?
24. What If I Want To Go On My Own Trek Alone Or With My Family And Friends?
25. What kind of plugs do I need for my electronic equipment?
26. Any advice about taking pictures on my trip?


1. What Is A Trek?

A trek is simply a guided hiking trip. It's an outdoor activity for travelers who are fit and adventurous, but not suitable for those who don't like to exercise. Many people who consider backpacking as 'too much work' love trekking. Our trekking staff works hard, with detailed attention to your safety and comfort. Our Himalayan mountain treks offer a support team of porters, horses or yaks to carry your gear. Other staff members cook for you, erect tents, guide you along the way as well as help identify and explain the sights as you explore.

A typical day on the trail starts when you awake with "bed tea," served as you like with a basin of hot water arriving at your tent. You'll have time to clean and pack. After a large breakfast of hot cereal, eggs and fresh bread, the trail time begins. Depending on the difficulty of the route, a morning hike can be from two to four hours. There's a leisurely break for lunch — everyone likes to to relax while reading or dozing in the sun. Afternoon distances are often shorter, perhaps lasting a couple of hours. Once you arrive in camp, afternoon tea is served while the staff erects several sleeping, dining and latrine tents. Hikers often use this time to bathe or wash clothes. You'll be glad when dinner arrives! The food is surprisingly good and you'll enjoy simple dishes such as rice with dahl, fresh vegetables and yogurt. It's a healthy, low–fat diet! Each trip's itinerary describes daily activities, hiking time, locations and meals. While on the trail, it's always three meals a day.  


2. How Do I Get There?

Most travelers arrive at the "meeting point" for each trip via Asian gateway airports on a major international airline. Each itinerary specifies the firm arrival (starting) date in a city such as Beijing, Bangkok, Delhi or Kathmandu. We meet you on arrival, outside the customs hall. If arriving independently, you can join us at the group hotel by the starting date. Each itinerary also notes the earliest date you can depart the trip to return home. You are welcome to arrive early or stay late. We can provide additional accommodations, excursions and services to enhance your core trip to make the most of your available time.

We do not sell international air tickets to the "meeting point" but partner with our knowledgeable travel agent who specializes in Asian travel from the United States. You are always welcome to buy your own air ticket online to/from the meeting point. Be sure you are arriving at the meeting point by the start date and that you do not depart before the end date of your trip. If you plan to use airline rewards or "frequent flier" miles for your air ticket, remember this option is always based on very limited availability. This usually means you need to plan the use of "miles" 6-8 months before your trip or more. Check carefully with your airline before you decide on this.

You'll notice that our trips are specified with an "InTrip" Air component. We work with our own local "in–country" agents to purchase your regional "InTrip" flights (that is why you see we have a Land Cost separate from an "InTrip Air" cost). These short flights are often on very small, local airlines. This method ensures correct, up-to-the-minute schedules and reservations, made locally. We book these regional "InTrip" reservations for you once you are confirmed on your trip and once purchased, you receive an e–ticket. Estimated "InTrip" Air fares listed in the trip descriptions can fluctuate. They are as accurate as possible and adjusted to the final cost at the time of purchase.  


3. What Is There To Eat?

In cities, food is generally good with an array of local vegetarian or meat dishes and lots of cuisine options. To avoid stomach 'issues' follow the adage: "boil it, peel it or forget it." Be conscientious, especially with water and ice. Drink only beverages made with boiled water such as tea, or sealed bottled water and soft drinks.

Along the trail, water is boiled, filtered or treated to make it safe to drink. A typical menu consists of... Breakfast: Oatmeal with milk and sugar, eggs, toast, coffee or tea. Lunch: Ramen soup with fresh vegetables or cheese and tuna sandwiches. Snacks: Biscuits and tea. Dinner: Rice and lentil dahl with vegetables, yogurt, canned fruit and hot chocolate for dessert.

If you have special dietary requirements, let us know in advance. Bring a small amount of your own high energy snacks like power bars, gorp or candy. You'll be very (very) hungry from all the good exercise you get! For most people the food tastes great, but at very high altitude some people sometimes lose their appetite intermittently.  


4. What Are The Hotels Like?

The accommodations we prefer are typically family–run guest houses. They are simple yet surprisingly comfortable — clean sheets and towels are provided in all but the most remote locations. Usually you'll find attached bathrooms with hot and cold running water. Electricity can be unreliable, but hotels and restaurants often have their own generators. Keep in mind that power and plugs may be different than they are at home too. Check our "Links" page for some references on voltages and plug–types for your destination. Local guest houses are a good choice not just because they put money back in the local economy but because you will meet more local people and feel closer to the community you have entered.  


5. Can I Reach The Folks At Home?

Telephone, fax and email access will always vary. Sometimes you'll find newly–installed satellite dishes or communication lines that allow a phone call or fax. In other locations, that technology isn't affordable or possible. Each year it's easier to locate more internet cafes and wireless access. Email can be sent from larger cities, such as Lhasa, Kathmandu and Delhi. You will often find email connections in smaller towns too — like Leh, Namache Bazar, Pokhara, Dharamsala and Manali. If you can't talk or send electronic messages, you can usually send a letter and have it arrive home in a week or two. Your trip package will provide instructions in case someone needs urgent contact with you. While it is an expensive option, we have had trekkers bring a satellite phone as cell phones have very limited range outside the cities.  


6. Will You Help Me Prepare?

Of course! We want you to have the time of your life! The best way to do that is to know exactly where you are going, what you are doing and what is needed to prepare for the rigors of each trip. We create detailed itineraries, pre–trip notes, reading and packing lists as well as medical preparations information for each trip. Once you apply for a trip, we supply you with a trip package including map, a phrase guide and detailed notes including suggestions for effective physical training to help make your trip comfortable and safe.  


7. What's The Basic Procedure?

a) Complete the Application Form appropriate for your trip and send it with a deposit to secure your place right away. Remember, our Scheduled Trips often allow only eight participants and once that limit is reached, the trip is closed. You will find the right application form at the bottom of each trip itinerary description on this website. If the trip is nearly full, you can instantly hold a spot online with a deposit. You still need to complete the trip application form and send it in the mail.

b) When we receive your application, we send your first information packet — containing a review of suggested medical preparations, insurance information, trip specifics and two health forms. One form is for you to complete and one is for your physician following a general examination. When we receive both forms, we speak with you (usually by telephone) to ask about your experience and interests, answer any questions you might have and to confirm you are accepted on the trip. Of course, you can always call or email us with questions any time as well!

c) Read through the medical preparations information and ask questions! Next, make arrangements to get any immunizations or prescriptions you might need.

d) We require completed and returned health forms with proof of emergency evacuation and emergency medical insurance before you may participate on any trip. Our top priority on every trip is your safety! While not often needed, the ability to quickly receive care is essential. Our simple administrative needs (health forms, insurance certificate, passport and visas, international air itinerary) should be submitted at least 60 days prior to departure. Trek balances are due at this time, while Tour balances are due 90 days before departure.

e) We suggest insurance options. The level of insurance coverage is up to you — we only require emergency medical and evacuation coverage, but you may wish other trip coverage as well. Some prefer to insure full value against last–minute cancellations and baggage loss. Others opt for less coverage. The policy we suggest costs about 8% of the trip total and protects you in the event of trip cancellations. If you insure at a minimum—requirement level, required emergency medical and evacuation coverage is included at an affordable cost. If you have specific insurance questions, please speak directly with USI Travel Insurance Services: Travel Insurance Information For Domestic U. S. Residents or Travel Insurance Information For International Residents.

f) We can create a tentative airline booking for your international itinerary to the meeting point. If you don't need the service because you have frequent flyer miles, your own agent or some other reason, just let us know when you apply. If you buy your own ticket, be careful to consider all connections, stopovers and accommodation for the flight itinerary. Make sure you arrive and depart on time for the scheduled trip duration.

g) Once the completed paperwork is returned and you have been confirmed on the trip, you receive a complete pre–trip package including trip notes, detailed instructions and suggested trek preparations, a packing guide, language guide, maps, and more.

h) About one month before departure, you receive final updates with introductions to other group members as well as any last–minute pre–departure notes.

i) Of course, you are always welcome to email or call with questions any time. We are happy to help and always invite your contact.  


8. What's The Best Time To Go?

This is probably the most frequently asked question of all! Typically, Nepal treks are best during the Spring and Fall of the Northern Hemisphere. Spring is known for wildflowers, most notably rhododendrons. Fall is great for crystal clear views. But it can also be overcrowded along popular trails such as those near Annapurna and Mount Everest. Winter weather in the mountains is often too cold and variable at extremely high altitudes. Sometimes winter may not arrive until late November. Summer brings monsoon rains to Nepal. You need to be prepared regardless of the season — and the higher you are, the more variable the weather and temperatures can be! As new trails open, new options allow people to trek at some altitude all year 'round. Sikkim and Bhutan have similar weather to Nepal, but Northern India and the Tibetan Plateau are only open for treks from June through September. This is a perfect scenario for teachers and others who can only travel during the summer months. Easier trips often occur at lower altitudes from December to early March while the weather is cool.  


9. Is There Anything Else I Should Be Sure To Do While I'm There?

We can provide you with stopover information and services in connection cities such as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. We can also help you extend your trip in many ways. How about a wildlife safari or a jungle lodge stay before or after your trek? You can choose to tour in the comfort of a vehicle — or view deer, rhinoceros and tigers from the back of an elephant! Three day/two night Nepal jungle packages can start at about $300. We can arrange stops in New Delhi for a visit to the Taj Mahal — one of the seven wonders of the world. Many people would have felt their trip was incomplete without seeing it. We can arrange train travel in most areas. Many are now experiencing the amazing high–altitude, three–day train route from Lhasa, Tibet to Beijing, China. Also popular are Buddhist centers like Dharamsala in India where his holiness, The Dalai Lama, lives in exile. Others study meditation or learn Thankha painting. We are happy to help you arrange anything you might imagine anywhere in the Himalayan region and Southeast Asia. Just let us know what you would like to do — we do that!  


10. Are Your Trips Only For Women or Men?

The founder of HHT is a woman but our trips are meant for everyone. Many trip leaders and staff are women and many of our overseas trail teams are men. Please be assured that you will feel totally comfortable and at–home when traveling with us whether you are male or female. Everyone is always welcomed and bound for a great adventure.  


11. Can I Feel Comfortable In Asia As A Gay Man Or Lesbian?

Public discretion is appropriate for all visitors from other cultures — being sensitive to the people and places you are visiting shows respect. None of our participants has ever had any trouble with 'being themselves' and have always felt at ease throughout our trips while being a welcomed visitor. Ask us if there is a gay person who's done the same trip that you might talk to about their own experiences.  


12. Do I Need To Worry About Theft?

A foreign visitor is often viewed as someone quite affluent. Imagine someone rich enough to spend a lifetime of a local person's money on just one trip. Pictures of your home, friends, family and pets can lower barriers, help make friends and allow you local hospitality in homes and monasteries. In most villages your belongings are safe — traditionally there has been little theft. Trailside, keep track of your belongings — something left far behind on the ground may be thought of as abandoned (remember how rich you are perceived to be). In big cities, life is different. If you use common sense, it's harder to be pick-pocketed or robbed, but these things can happen just as they might at home. To be safe, always use a money belt and the a hotel safe when you go out to stroll city streets. Always ask HHT staff what to bring, where it's safe to go... then go!  


13. Do I Need To Worry About Personal Safety?

Don't go out alone in the cities at night until you understand the surrounding neighborhoods and have asked the staff about your sightseeing plans — just like home! On treks, conditions vary from place to place. For example, among Buddhists, women have a high status and often run the family business — but it is never advised for a woman to trek alone. A trek with HHT always allows 'your own space' and ensures that you can hike safely at your own pace. A trustworthy person is always nearby if needed!  


14. Do You Automatically Charge A Single Supplement?

No! As long as you are willing to share (a tent, a room), we do not charge you extra just because you travel alone. If you prefer your own room and tent as a single accommodation, we can provide that option with a single accommodation supplement. See the specific details of your trip for that cost. In very remote locations we sometimes cannot guarantee that a single room is available, but we would advise you in advance and do everything possible to give you the best experience. Occasionally there is a situation where a single supplement is necessary — for example, if you sign–up late, there might not be an option to share a room. Of course, we can explain these circumstances before you register.  


15. Do You Use Tier Pricing?

We design our trips for small groups of four to eight people only. We think this is the ideal group size for your best trek adventure. As a result, we rarely use tier pricing. We may consider tier pricing for some Bhutan or Tibet destinations if there are significant cost variables as a result of group size. We always try to give a cost advantage to our travelers and we maintain modest administrative practices to provide you the best value.  


16. What Immunizations Or Medications Do I Need?

Specific recommendations vary for each individual and from destination to destination. We provide you with a list of recommended medical preparations to assist you and your doctor or clinic. Travelers to Asia should spend reasonable attention to this need — it is not worth getting sick! You do want to be as healthy and fit as possible before you leave home. Carry all medications that you might need in their original containers and on your person (never in checked airline luggage). Bring a copy of your prescriptions with you. See your dentist too and carry the recommended first aid supplies.  


17. Will I Need A Passport Or Visa?

Yes and Yes! Most important, your passport must be valid for six months beyond your travel dates. In addition, many countries require an entry Visa — each country has unique Visa requirements and cost. Some countries, such as Thailand, offer free short term visas to U.S. citizens on arrival. Others, like Nepal, offer it on arrival (you complete your application and pay the fee as part of the customs and immigration process). For India you must obtain it in advance, through their authorized agent in your home country. Tibet and Bhutan have special requirements, so we generally arrange it for you. We'll tell you about any Visa requirements for your trip destination.  


18. How Do I Pay For My Trip?

Trip registration and application requires a deposit. Payments may be made by check, bank draft, money order or credit card (via PayPal for Visa, Mastercard and American Express). We will send you a statement showing all charges, payments and balance. Final payment in full is due prior to departure (60 days before a trek and 90 days before a tour). We can help create a payment plan and work with you to make your trip payment an easy task.

Save $100 off the land cost by paying in-full six months in advance. Many find this is a helpful way to budget their trip expenses — paying for land costs early before purchasing air tickets and equipment. All our normal cancellation policies apply. For example, if you inform us sixty days before departure that you can't go on your trip, you lose nothing if you transfer to a later trip. Read the booking information on the Our Policies page, or on the back of our Application Form thoroughly for complete information about cancellation and all HHT policies. We try to keep it simple! 


19. Should I Buy Travel Insurance?

We recommend full travel insurance coverage including health, emergency evacuation and trip cancellation. You will receive information when you apply for your trek. You may view our preferred partner's information for U. S. participants at http://www.travelinsure.com/what/selecthigh.htm?32307. For those outside the United States, please see http://www.travelinsure.com/affiliate/wmedboc.htm?32307 for complete international travel insurance information. We only require HHT travelers have emergency health insurance as well as evacuation insurance. We don't want to compromise your safety over a minor expense — a helicopter rescue from a remote area or trail can cost thousands and thousands of dollars!

Another important insurance consideration is Trip Cancellation coverage. This insurance protects you if you can't travel because of an accident, ill health, death in the family or other covered reasons. If you don't have health insurance or if the policy you have doesn't cover travel outside the U.S., please let us know right away. We can suggest inexpensive short term health coverage. Some people prefer baggage and other supplemental insurance coverage too. We don't require any insurance other than emergency medical and evacuation coverage, but encourage you to consider your own circumstances. You don't need to purchase your insurance through our provider but you must provide us policy certificate proof of health and evacuation insurance coverage active for the duration of the trip. Insurance questions can be directed to Travel Insurance Services at 1-800-937-1387 (Monday-Friday 9:00am to 7:00pm EST).  


20. Will I Need Special Equipment?

We give you a detailed packing list designed for your trek specifics. Generally you need a warm jacket, rain gear, duffel bag, sleeping bag and pad (if camping), hiking boots, good long underwear and socks. Generally, the kind of equipment you need is no different from the kind of equipment you might use at home under similar circumstances and conditions. Some supplies may be rented at local sporting goods outlets if you don't own them. We give you those details.  


21. How Strenuous Are Your Trips?

Our treks vary from short and gentle to long and strenuous. Tours are always very mild and only involve mild day–walks. We use a descriptive rating system for our trips, defined on the Scheduled Trek page of this website. People in general good health who exercise regularly can easily enjoy our trips. You do not carry a full heavy pack — only a day pack with water, camera, and personal items. Even on our strenuous treks, we usually don't walk more than eight to twelve miles per day (three to six hours — everyone has a different pace). There are also appropriate rest days reflecting the needs of recent air travel or being in a high altitude environment. The most important asset is a good, positive attitude and simple physical exercise preparation for endurance and comfort!

We are happy to discuss whether a specific trip is appropriate for you. We help people with special needs on our trips, such as those recovering from cancer or other serious illnesses. We personally consult with you and all participants on each trip to ensure that everyone is prepared for the journey and has the time of their life!. Ultimately, the responsibility for picking the right trip is yours, so read the information we give you and ask questions. That way, you have all the information to help you decide and prepare. Our cancellation policy is the most generous anywhere: Up to sixty days prior to departure, if you decide a trip is not right for you after you register, you can transfer to a different HHT trip and not lose a penny, quid, pound, euro or peso! Read the booking information on the Our Policies page, or on our Application Form, thoroughly for complete information about cancellation and all HHT policies.  


22. Who Goes On Your Trips?

We've had folks from 10 to 82 years of age (most often 30 to 60) on our trips and everyone from absolute beginners to very experienced mountaineers. Physical fitness, a healthy lifestyle, a curiosity for life and a positive attitude are usually more important than age or experience. We attract adventurers from every walk of life — 'professionals', teachers, students and retired folks as well. HHT Trekkers might come from the San Francisco Bay Area in California (where we're based), but most often from locations around the world! What they have in common is a healthy, active lifestyle and very interesting lives — each has a special curiosity for the Himalayan world and its many unique treasures. Himalayan trekking attracts very special people!  


23. What If Minimum Enrollment Is Not Reached For My Trek?

Most of the time, if a group drops below four members it will still be possible to run your trip. If a leader is already overseas on other trips, they may be able to accompany you. However, a very small enrollment could mean we provide a locally–based group leader. Nonetheless, be assured that our local leaders (always English–speaking) and guides are professional, experienced and competent — they have previously guided many trips with us and we can show you comments or refer you to travelers who have been on a trip with them.  


24. What If I Want To Go On My Own Trek Alone Or With My Family And Friends?

Did I hear you say... Custom Trips? Sometimes a group of family or friends want to travel independently. What about that big family or birthday celebration at 18,000 feet? We've done that! Maybe our scheduled trips don't coincide with times available to you. A Custom Trip is just right for one or two people, or a group wanting a custom itinerary with the flexibility of traveling their own way. Custom Trips still receive the assurance and convenience of having HHT plan the trip logistics and provide the bookings, staff and services. You can benefit from over two decades of expertise and personal contact in the Himalaya and Southeast Asia. A Custom Trip could be just what you are looking for. We do that!

Many not-for-profit organizations organize adventure treks or tours to the Himalaya or Southeast Asia as a way to raise money or awareness. Himalayan High Treks can work with your organization to plan and coordinate the logistics to create and run your trip.

Many of our Scheduled Treks and Tours can also be organized as Custom Trips. The costs are comparable and always reflect the expenses of your request and the number of participants involved. Some governments might have regulations and procedures involved for independent trekking and touring. Let us know your plans early and we can usually make them happen just as you dreamed.  


25. What kind of plugs do I need for my electronic equipment?

The first step would be to contact us and describe your equipment. At the same time, we can advise you about how often you'll have access to electricity on your trip. You may frequently need a voltage converter as well as conversion plugs to use local electricity on your devices. The specifics will depend on the formats where you live and the devices you are using. Some modern devices can self–adjust for worldwide 120 to 240 voltage and some cannot so will need a voltage converter. The physical plug may also look different, if so, a converter plug is needed. These links on our Contact & Links page will help get you started. It's not too complicated really, but you need to review the formats you have and the formats for the places you will travel for the specifics. As always, ask us if you're unsure.  


26. Any advice about taking pictures on my trip?

Most common to consider are pocket digital cameras with a good zoom–to–wide angle lens. Being light, small and useful in many environments, they allow instant viewing and many functions to share or publish once you're back home (and many also have the ability to shoot video). The big considerations are: 1) to protect the camera from the rigors of the trail (dropping, dust, moisture), 2) to have spare memory cards (always small and light) and 3) to be sure you have camera power. If your batteries are drained and you don't have replacements or a charge, you can't take photos! So, depending on you and your trip, you need to plan how to best meet these needs.

A padded slip 'pocket' case is an easy place to start. Try to find one that works well with your camera (so you can slip it in and out without much fumbling) yet will also protect it. If it's cumbersome to use, you won't use it.

As for power and memory cards, you need to decide how many photos (quality = file size) you might take and learn how quickly your batteries become exhausted. One way to figure that out is take your camera with fresh batteries on a typical day of photography. Decide your need and increase that by 50% to make sure you'll have enough memory cards and battery power. The big question then arises how many batteries you'll need... do you really want to lug a lot of heavy disposable batteries (until you can dispose of them properly) or are there some alternatives to throw–aways? The first tradeoff to consider is the use of a charger and rechargeable batteries. A second idea is to consider a solar charger to help supplement your battery's charge while you are away from electricity. Unless you spend a lot on a larger solar panel charger, you can only realistically expect a typically small solar charger to increase the charge level of your batteries, not actually recharge them — even in full sun — unless it's done over several days time.

You can find solar/electrical all–in–one chargers which can help fill both roles to carry you through your trip. Be sure to keep in mind if you are charging a special internal battery (so you need the correct power plug connection) or using AAA or AA batteries which can also be used to power other equipment you might bring. Know what you're bringing, research your options and test everything before you go!  




 
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