What to pack for an overland trip

What to pack for an overland trip

I found packing for an overland trip going through varied climates hard. It was a 6-month overland trip, and I was intending to continue to travel for some time after.  In addition to this I was moving out and renting my home AND I’m a serial over-packer AND I was restricted by how much I was physically able to carry as I’d had surgery 8 weeks prior to travel and well, the difficulty was compounded.

It was a very stressful final week before departure.  Turns out it was for many of us on our trip.

The company you travel with will often provide a suggested packing list – and it’s usually pretty spot on.  I’m hoping on my next trip I will handle it better and accept that actually….you pretty much live in the same three sets of clothes.  In addition to the packing lessons I’ve already learned, my last bout of long-term travel taught me the following.

1. Most toiletry items are available worldwide.  Yes.  True fact.  It appears other nations brush their teeth, wash their hair, use soap and  shower gel.  They also shave, use plasters, and wet wipes.  Global brands such as Nivea, Imperial Leather, L’Oreal are exactly that.  Global.

2. Every item of clothing you take needs to stand up to the task alone.  Don’t bring a top that can only be worn if you have another top to wear under it, because you can guarantee the first item you leave in a hotel room will be the accompanying item.

3. Layers: It’s all about layering.  Instead of taking a heavy duty warm waterproof, take a lightweight rain jacket and a good-quality down jacket.  When I was out of the cold, the down jacket went home, but I kept the lightweight raincoat.  As it turned out, I never wore it.  If you’re somewhere hot during the monsoon, it’s still hot.  See the aforementioned 80/20 rule and learn from my mistakes!

4. Depending on your plans, type of trip or propensity for shopping, it may be worth having a budget to post items home

5.  Something to consider: One essential item I would consider bringing enough of is sun tan lotion.  Particularly if you have sensitive skin. It does depend on where you’re going if it’s SE Asia most well-known brands are available, but we struggled in Central Asia and China to find brands we recognised and were a bit sceptical of the SPF rating.  Plus, in China and parts of SE Asia, many products are labeled as ‘whitening’, yes even sun tan lotion, and roll on deodorant!

Her packing list

This section has a list of the items I took travelling.  When I wrote it out I was shocked and embarrassed.  It was way too much.  I list what I took, whether it was useful and what I’d do differently.

His packing list

My partner, whom I met overlanding,  is a serial overlander and long-term traveller.  He has a very streamlined approach to packing.  This is his packing list. But do bear in mind he a) seems to have a body temperature that operates several degrees higher than most and b) only wears shorts! Read it and weep!



Much of the information and advice expressed on this website is the personal opinion of the writer. If you choose to follow any advice you do so at your own risk with no recourse to the writer or Adventures in Overland.