June 6, 2023

Trip Packing Lists – An Introduction

I don’t do numerous destination-specific trip packing lists, however I’m going on numerous adventurous journeys and I’ve discovered myself wishing that I had a single useful resource to begin with whatever the vacation spot. So I’m creating that useful resource! That is primarily based on current journeys to Switzerland and Uganda, an upcoming return journey to Antarctica that I’ve already began planning for, and former journeys to, properly, just about in every single place – Patagonia, Greenland, Tanzania, Faroe Islands, the Galapagos and Nicaragua to call just a few.

After all no packing listing goes to be all-inclusive. However right here’s the place you must begin no matter the place you’re going. Hopefully there are a minimum of just a few issues right here that you just wouldn’t have considered packing, and that can come in useful.

Be aware: I’m together with hyperlinks to make it simpler to buy issues. The overwhelming majority of the hyperlinks aren’t affiliate hyperlinks. I’m not together with something right here that I don’t all the time pack. REI is my favourite place to buy outside gear and garments, however I continuously purchase issues straight from manufacturers’ web sites as properly.

Essential elements of my vacation packing list!
Important components of my packing listing!

A Backpack and a Daypack

I’ve a ridiculous variety of backpacks. I’ve a big 80L pack from after I used to backpack round Europe (I don’t try this anymore). I’ve a 40L critical mountaineering backpack (from Gregory primarily based on on-line critiques). I’ve just a few Minaal journey packs. And I’ve a number of small daypacks. In Switzerland we had a two-day stretch the place we had been mountaineering and didn’t have entry to our baggage, which was despatched forward. The 40L pack was good for toiletries and numerous clothes layers, and the waist straps made the pack snug. Nevertheless it was horrible as a carry-on in comparison with my Minaal – nothing was organized properly, since there was solely actually one small pocket for charging cables, energy banks, Kleenex, pens, automotive keys and every thing else that I usually carry with me for journey days, and my laptop computer wasn’t very protected. It was good solely having one fundamental pack with me, however it was a particular trade-off. Subsequent time I’m in the same state of affairs I could attempt the Minaal (it has waist straps as properly) as see if it really works higher total.

Vacation packing list: My 40L backpack at the Aare Gorge
My 40L backpack on the Aare Gorge in Switzerland
My normal carry-on from Minaal - this is the only bag I took in Nicaragua, and it's my favorite all-around backpack.
My regular carry-on from Minaal – that is the one bag I took in Nicaragua, and it’s my favourite all-around backpack.

And I just about all the time journey with a small day pack – good for working round cities and theme parks, biking and day hikes. I all the time maintain in there ache killers, Kleenex and bandages. My favourite was gifted to me at a journey convention years in the past – a Kohla pack from Austrian Tourism. There are dozens of fine day pack manufacturers at REI. I’ve discovered an 18-23L pack is good.


I’ve actually grown to understand good mountaineering boots and commonly journey with them. I purchased a pair from Oboz for lengthy hikes in Uganda and Switzerland and I beloved them – light-weight with nice help.

Adventurous Vacation Packing List - A long hike to get to our lodge in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in my Oboz hiking boots. My pants were tucked into my socks to prevent ant bites.
A protracted hike to get to our lodge in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in my Oboz mountaineering boots. My pants had been tucked into my socks to forestall ant bites.

Strolling Footwear

As a lot as I really like my mountaineering boots, I don’t wish to be caught in these again at lodges or strolling round cities, so so long as I’ve the area in my duffel I’ll all the time take regular strolling footwear as properly. I often alternate between OluKai (snug and handsome) and Hoka (tremendous cozy for strolling however typically unattractive) relying on the journey. And in Switzerland I wouldn’t have wished to e-bike in mountaineering boots. My OluKais labored completely.


I’ve had numerous depressing experiences around the globe after I didn’t have antibiotics and wanted them, and my spouse has been hospitalized a number of instances with infections. I’ve began carrying a pack of antibiotics with us in every single place. It’s a kind of issues that I’m prepared to spend cash on and hope that we don’t want them. However they’re additionally doubtlessly life-saving, particularly after we’re in areas with out glorious, straightforward medical care – which is numerous the world. I’ve a kit from Duration Health (not an affiliate hyperlink). It’s a cool system – you have got a Zoom session with a health care provider who talks by way of every thing you could want primarily based in your well being and the place you’re touring (e.g. perhaps you should be coated for malaria and parasites), after which just a few days later you obtain a package through FedEx – antibiotics plus meds for nausea and vomiting, allergic reactions, movement illness, altitude points and extra. Additionally they ship a discipline information with data on what you must use in particular conditions.

Vacation packing list: Next stop for my Duration Health antibiotic kit: Antarctica
Subsequent cease for my antibiotic package: Antarctica

Different Drugs

We discovered early on that numerous child drugs weren’t as straightforward to acquire abroad, so we put collectively a package that we mechanically took with us wherever we traveled, with issues like a thermometer, Band-Aids, ace bandages and vet wrap, Pepto, ibuprofen and acetaminophen for teenagers and adults, allergy meds and electrolytes, and bug chunk treatments.

A Hat

This can be a broad class! Assume by way of what you’re going to be doing and have a look at the climate forecast and take an acceptable hat or two. In Switzerland I wore a heat merino wool beanie for half my hikes and a baseball cap for the opposite half. Glad I took each.


This isn’t an apparent merchandise for a trip packing listing, however all three of my adventure-oriented 2022 journeys require(d) gloves. In Uganda we had been doing critical bushwhacking to succeed in the mountain gorillas, and there have been numerous thorns, and thick gardening gloves had been indispensable for getting by way of the comb with out getting poked and scratched. In Switzerland I had gentle gloves which saved me heat for biking and mountaineering – the biking particularly would have been depressing with out them. And for Antarctica I’ll want heat winter gloves. Lots of journeys might not require gloves, however a minimum of have it in your head when packing, since whenever you want them, you want them.

Adventure packing list: In Uganda - one photo with half the things on this list! Note the boots, socks, hiking pants, merino wool shirt, gloves and hiking poles.
In Uganda – one picture with half the issues on this listing! Be aware the boots, socks, mountaineering pants, merino wool shirt, gloves and mountaineering poles.

A Jacket

As with backpacks, I’ve numerous jackets – gentle, medium and super-insulated, all in waterproof and non-waterproof variations, and I’ve particular jackets for snowboarding and winter sports activities too. I’ll solely take one or perhaps two on any given journey, however I’m glad I’ve all of them because the climate and actions range enormously from vacation spot to vacation spot. The vast majority of my jackets are from Patagonia, since I reside close to their headquarters and have mates who work there, and it looks as if they’ve choices for each situation, however there are different good manufacturers as properly.

Merino Wool Shirts

Merino wool shirts have revolutionized my trip packing listing. I used to overpack, and I not often received by with only a carry-on. Now I solely take a pair shirts (long-sleeve and short-sleeve) regardless of the place I’m touring, since they’re good in nearly state of affairs. In Switzerland I wore the identical shirts every single day – on my flights, as a base layer whereas mountaineering and biking, whereas enjoyable after mountaineering and biking, after which additionally to networking occasions and features, they usually by no means appeared soiled or smelled. In Uganda I lived in them, and in Antarctica they’ll be my shirts on the ship and my base layer whereas on land. Unbound Merino‘s shirts are one of the best that I’ve discovered.

Vacation packing list -A day hike in Switzerland's Val Piora in merino wool
A day hike in Switzerland’s Val Piora in merino wool

A Fleece or Sweatshirt

I’ve a number of fleeces (typically from Patagonia) and merino wool sweatshirts (from Unbound Merino) and can take a minimum of one on each journey. At all times suppose layers!

Mountaineering Pants

For any sort of an adventurous journey, I reside in khaki mountaineering pants. A few of mine are zip-off, however most aren’t. I by no means put on them at house (I typically hike in shorts), however they’re necessary for locations the place I’ll be mountaineering or simply outdoors loads. They even labored nice for a day of biking in Switzerland. I took a pair of exercise pants from Lululemon and put them on earlier than heading out, however they simply didn’t really feel proper. I switched to mountaineering pants they usually had been good. I’ve favored my Patagonia mountaineering pants higher than these from different producers.

Vacation packing list - My son and me in our hiking pants - on a sunset hike to see puffins on Mykines in the Faroe Islands
My son and me in our mountaineering pants – on a sundown hike to see puffins on Mykines within the Faroe Islands

Socks and Underwear

Fairly customary. I choose merino wool socks and underwear whereas touring – snug they usually dry quicker after I wash them within the sink.

Rain Pants and a Rain Jacket

Rain pants and a rain jacket saved me in Switzerland! We hiked and cycled loads within the rain, and I stayed dry. They’re tremendous gentle so that they’re straightforward to pack simply in case I want them for wherever that I could get moist. My rain pants are from Patagonia. My gentle rain jacket is from Prana.

Adventurous vacation packing list: Wet but dry in Switzerland thanks to my rain pants and rain jacket
Moist however dry in Switzerland because of my rain pants and rain jacket

Mountaineering Poles

I’m an enormous fan of mountaineering poles, going again to my four-day hike to Machu Picchu when my girlfriend loaned me certainly one of her poles and it completely saved my knees on the downhills. I’ve poles from Black Diamond and have hiked with them around the globe. They’re additionally very useful for supplying you with extra footing whereas crossing rivers on rocks or logs.

Hiking in Switzerland: What I wore for our non-rainy hiking day
Utilizing my mountaineering poles in Switzerland. I additionally love this Patagonia jacket – heat and waterproof.


At all times pack sunscreen! Should you’re touring solely with a carry-on, simply take one or two smaller bottles.

Insect Repellent

Should you’re someplace with actually unhealthy bugs that chunk, hopefully your lodge or tour operator could have insect repellent out there, however that’s positively not all the time the case. I all the time take a small spray bottle if it’s simply me, or a big one if I’m with my household.

Sun shades

I maintain an additional pair of sun shades in my regular carry-on pack so I’ll have them if I ever should pack shortly. I can’t think about mountaineering or touring with out them! I really like Maui Jim however everybody has their very own favorites.

A Head Lamp

I discover myself utilizing a head lamp loads on adventurous, distant journeys. Possibly it’s a darkish path from the lodge to my cabin at evening, or perhaps I’m mountaineering earlier than dawn or after sundown. We’ve got a number of battery-operated head lamps, however I all the time seize my latest rechargeable one (from Nite Ize) since I don’t wish to should pack spare batteries.

Adventure packing list - My Nite Ize Headlamp at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona after a pre-sunrise hike
My Nite Ize Headlamp at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona after a pre-sunrise hike

A Water Bottle with a Filter

I really like my regular Nalgene bottles for brief hikes, but when I’m someplace the place I might find yourself having to drink from a stream, or the place probably unclean faucet water will probably be my solely choice, I convey a bottle with a built-in filter. There are a lot of good brands, together with Grayl, Brita and LifeStraw. I’ve bottles from Grayl and Brita.

A Dry Bag

Generally I embody a dry bag on my trip packing listing, and generally I’ll simply take giant ziplock baggage. Both means, ensure you have a option to maintain your pockets, passport and electronics dry whereas doing water sports activities or when it’s raining.

Energy Banks

Should you’re someplace distant, you could not have cell protection, however there’s a very good probability you’ll. That’s your lifeline if something occurs. Be sure to all the time have charged energy banks so you should utilize your cellphone in case of an emergency. And even when there’s not an emergency state of affairs, I’ve stayed numerous locations the place there was no electrical energy in my room/tent/cabin. Energy banks let me nonetheless use my cellphone and laptop computer. Then I’d cost the facility banks on the fundamental lodge, or at my subsequent lodge.

Vacation Packing List - My phone got soaked while kayaking in Nicaragua and I couldn't plug it in to charge until it was completely dry. Luckily I had a wireless power bank with me.
My cellphone received soaked whereas kayaking in Nicaragua and I couldn’t plug it in to cost till it was fully dry. Fortunately I had a wi-fi energy financial institution with me.

Journey Well being Insurance coverage

I’ve added a lot of the above objects to my trip packing listing through the years as a result of I discovered the exhausting means, someplace alongside my journey journey. It’s the identical with journey medical insurance. We by no means used to buy journey insurance coverage, however that got here again to chunk us final 12 months. Now we merely have an annual coverage (by way of G1G) that covers us for just about every thing, and we by no means have to consider it. Similar to with antibiotics, I’m prepared to spend the cash on it and hope I don’t have to make use of it.

Trip Packing Lists for Adventurous Journeys – Your Flip

I’ve packing lists from nearly each journey I’ve taken going again 30 years – what I took with me in addition to my post-trip reconciliations and notes – and I checked out these whereas placing collectively this listing. This represents the objects which can be remarkably constant for all adventurous locations. If there’s something I didn’t embody that you just all the time pack, please remark under!

Even in the desert I'm in a merino wool shirt and hiking pants! This is in Saudi.
Even within the desert I’m in a merino wool shirt and mountaineering pants! That is in Saudi.

This listing is under no circumstances all-encompassing. There are numerous issues I might also pack primarily based on the vacation spot – slippers and/or flip flops, pajamas, a swimsuit and solar shirt, shorts, denims, an additional duffel and an umbrella continuously seem in my baggage.