The Ultimate Packing list for hot and cold weather in South America!

If you know me the you’ll know I struggle to pack light! I’m very proud that more recently I’ve managed a few long weekends away with carry on luggage only. So imagine my concern packing for 9 weeks in 2 wildly different climates on the same trip?! In Peru I will be sleeping in a tent at high altitude which means sub-zero temperatures! By contrast, it will be the height of summer in Brazil (and the depths of winter when I arrived back to Gatwick!) I will also have to carry my bags for 9 weeks and this time I’m starting with a misbehaving back so packing light is more important than ever! Therefore this time I have done my research (as always other blogs are invaluable – I liked www.annaselundberg.com) and I have compiled my packing list which I thought I’d share with you!

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In terms of how to carry your stuff, I usually go for an 70-80L backpack but I aim to only fill it to 2/3 so room for souvenirs and no need to spend ages trying to squish everything down into it each morning! My backpack can be filled from the side or the top (which is useful when what you want is at the bottom) and has a 2nd compartment at the bottom. I do wish it had more pockets though – always look for pockets! I then have 2nd smaller pack I wear on my front which I use for hand luggage and carrying all my electricals. Right so for the list…

Equipment 

  • sleeping bag
  • self inflating sleeping matt
  • sleeping bag liner
  • travel pillow
  • walking poles (Only if you’re doing a lot of hiking! For me its the Lares trek help take the load off your knees and give stability going downhill. )
  • washing line
  • biodegradable soap

Clothes 

  • shoes – I’ve debated for so long over this!! I’ve decided on hiking boots, 1 comfy pair sandals, 1 pair flip-flops (for campsite showers etc.) I’m also adding some super comfy Toms but this is a luxury. I enjoy dancing and am hoping to do some dance lessons in Buenos Aires and Rio – these are light, comfy and easy to spin in! Flip-flops or sandals would be a nightmare!
  • 1 pair walking trousers
  • 1 pair gym style leggings (can be used for hiking and as PJs in colder climates)
  • 1 pair jeans  (Hmmm still debating adding a 2nd pair for cold weather…)
  • 1 pair regular leggings
  • 2 pairs shorts for hot weather.
  • long sleeve thermal top
  • long sleeve normal top
  • micro fleece
  • 1 black cardi which goes with everything
  • waterproof warm down coat (down gives plenty warmth but is super light and squishy)
  • lightweight waterproof for warmer climates
  • 2 exercise gym t-shirts for hiking (quick drying, anti-bacterial)
  • 4 t-shirts – choose mostly dark neutral colours so you can mix and match clothes and they wont show the dirt if you have to make do with handwashing! The first time I ever backpacked (aged just 17) I took a white t shirt to the jungle! Really?!!
  • 2 strappy tops
  • 3 cotton dresses to wear over leggings. Super comfy for travelling and slightly smarter for any nights out. Can also be worn on the beach as a cover up.
  • a sarong – so useful! It can be a pillow, a beach cover up, for warmth, a spare towel or can be used to cover your knee/hair when going into religious buildings.
  • 1 bikini and 1 regular swimming cossie. (I will be swimming every day in the Galapagos)
  • 10 pairs underwear
  • 3 bras
  • 5 pairs socks – 3 will be hiking socks
  • 1 set summer Pjs.
  • gloves and hat
  • sun hat (though I have to admit I don’t wear it as often as I should! )holiday-trip-packaging-8434

Toiletries

  • Contact lenses
  • first aid kit / regular meds / just in case medications  (more on that later in a separate blog)
  • small bag of basic makeup – it’s nice to occasionally feel a bit girly after weeks on the road. But I keep it to basics and I try to get all makeup with SPF so at least its dual purpose!
  • shampoo and conditioner – I’m going for a smallish bottle but not travel bottles – I’ve been warned that decent conditioner is hard to find in south american countries so I’m hoping to eek it out as long as possible.
  • small soap, toothbrush and paste, deodorant
  • small face moisturizer – I’d ditch this in my 20’s but your 30’s are less forgiving!
  • razor
  • sample bottle of perfume
  • tweezers – useful for many things  when travelling as well as stopping your eyebrows from resembling the jungle you are visiting!
  • hair brush and lots of hair ties – these ALWAYS go missing!
  • sun cream – I also take a specific face sun cream to try to avoid greasy spotty skin whilst travelling. Using regular sun cream means most of my photos from a previous trip got rejected as I looked like a spotty teenager!
  • lip salve with SPF
  • anti bacterial hand gel
  • tissues
  • inset repellent
  • a wash bag which unfolds and has a hook for hanging in the shower!
  • dry shampoo
  • 1 nail polish and remover pads

Technology 

  • kindle
  • iPhone
  • a new charger (I always find out these wear out fast!)
  • solar charging pack
  • I’m still debating iPad vs laptop – an ipad is definitely the way forward if you’re not planning to do much work. Alas I will be busy beavering away on my blog so the laptop will probably win out!
  • DSLR camera
  • 2nd more discreet waterproof point and shoot
  • Chargers for both. Spare DSLR battery
  • plenty memory cards
  • 2 lenses – 1 multipurpose lens eg 18-140mm, 1 zoom lens 55-300mm – a prime and a wide-angle would be luxuries
  • a gorrila pod as a tripod alternative
  • worldwide adapter
  • headphones rawpixel-com-191157

Admin 

  • Passport
  • yellow fever certificate
  • copy of passport, insurance details, flight details, tour details
  • debit and credit card and enough cash to get me started
  • small purse

Miscellaneous

  • day bag
  • a canvas bag that can be folded down and used as a beach bag  (or keeping things in that you need handy in your tent)
  • quick dry towel
  • energy bars for lares trek
  • To save money on buying bottled drinks all the time, I will be taking a couple of super concentrated squash squeezy bottles. They are only small and this will hopefully save me money on the Galapagos boat where only tea coffee and water is provided. I’m one of those strange folk that doesn’t drink tea OR coffee! And water gets boring after a while!
  • a small cross body bag for evenings out. I feel more secure with a cross body bag.
  • packing cubes for clothes
  • sunglasses – always cheapies as I lose and replace sunglasses time and time again travelling. Everyone loves a pair of ‘Roy Bons’ right?!
  • eye mask and ear plugs
  • small wrist watch
  • padlocks
  • money belt
  • headlamp
  • small notebook and pen (mostly for scribbling blog ideas!)
  • Toilet paper
  • pack of cards
  • dry sack. Useful for getting on and off boats in the Galapagos to stop me having a heart attack over my camera each time!

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So that’s it, my in-depth packing list to cover all climates and last for 9 weeks travel, camping and adventure activities! Do you think I’ve missed anything? Do you have any packing questions I can help with?

If you enjoyed this you may enjoy my other posts about travel planning!

The comprehensive guide to preparing for your big trip (with freebie prinatble trip planner)        AND

The REAL girls guide to training for a high altitude trek

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6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Packing list for hot and cold weather in South America!

  1. This is such a detailed list. I travel often, but you’ve listed some things I never take that really should be must haves.

    1. Thanks Nakeya! I think we all realise we’ve missed something important when we go away but hopefully this tick list will help!

  2. Hi
    You need a she wee some of the toilets in South America are bad and sometimes you have to go to the toilet in the middle of no where.

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