His… Ultimate South America Packing List

Petes packing

Packing light has also never been one of my fortes. I seem to recall trying to include a pair of white jeans on my first attempt at packing for my gap year. God knows why… Anyway, this time round it has proven to be quite a bit easier. Famous last words, I know, but we’ll see.

Having been limited, entirely reasonably, to one jacket, that makes that decision easy. Everything else is basically dictated by common sense. So, here goes…

For Him –


  • Quechua Symbium Acces 70+10L backpack, or similar (mine is at least 6 years old, so not this particular model, but having taken it round the world before, I’d recommend it)
  • Light Sleeping bag – we plan to hire warmer ones, if necessary, while travelling
  • Head torch with extra AAA batteries – Petzl are best
  • Padlocks X2
  • Towel – I took a travel towel last time and quickly gave up on it
  • Travel Adaptor(s)– South America takes a mix of European and North American
  • Small plug board – avoids having to carry a whole load of adaptors


  • 10X boxers
  • 3X pairs of socks and 2X pairs of walking socks
  • 2x pairs of heinously colourful socks, because who doesn’t love a pair of colourful socks?
  • 1X pyjamas
  • 1X swimming shorts
  • 2X sets of thermals (top and bottom)
  • 1X Helly Hansen Base Layer thing
  • 2X shorts
  • 1X jeans
  • 1X chinos
  • 1X woolly hat
  • 1X jumper
  • 2X light, semi-formal shirts
  • 6X t-shirts
  • 1X scarf
  • 1X waterproof, insulated jacket



  • Sun cream – you know what you need
  • Razor, shaving gel/foam/oil & after shave balm
  • Toothbrush + toothpaste
  • Moisturiser
  • Nail scissors + clippers
  • Roll-on deodorant
  • Shampoo

General First-Aid

  • Mosquito repellent – Deet Jungle Formula (You can’t buy more than 25% Deet in South America)
  • Re-hydration sachets
  • Paracetamol/Ibuprofen
  • Plasters
  • Blister plasters
  • Voltarol muscle gel
  • Malaria pills, if needed (we’ve opted for Doxycycline)
  • Condoms (just in case!)
  • Travel wash

Little additional bits

  • Mints
  • 1X good book – ideally one you can swap in a hostel for another one
  • Sunglasses
  • Money belt
  • 2X dry bags

Electrical Equipment

  • Phone and charger
  • Head phones
  • MacBook Air – kindly lent by a friend for the duration
  • Camera kit – this deserves its own whole post (soon to come)


  • Copy of travel insurance
  • Passport
  • Copies of passport
  • Assorted booking documents – printed and digital, you never know
  • Credit and debit cards and drivers license
  • Proof of vaccinations (yellow fever certificate)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *