Here is an update to my previous packing guide for South America.
There are the things I brought, and the things I wish I brought…
Almost two weeks into my trip, and I’m already wishing I could make edits to my backpack contents, something I wrote about in a previous post. Below you’ll find my fantasy packing list.
4-5 tank tops
4 t-shirts (some printed/fashion to wear socially)
3 long sleeved shirts
2 sweatshirts, 1 cardigan
1 thin rain jacket
3 pairs leggings (why did I pack so many?? Did I think I would be doing yoga the whole time?)
AT LEAST ONE PAIR OF JEANS (one backpacker blog insisted that jeans were useless cargo to have in South America, and I took him at his word. But I wished I had a pair when going out at night in cities like Quito, where the temperature drops when the sun does.)
1 pair comfy cotton pants (instead of flannel pajamas)- wishing I brought my fashionable cotton harem pants to lounge around in.
1 pair transformer cargo pants
3-4 pairs shorts (2 comfy and able to get wet, 2 jeans)
1 skirt, 1 sundress (happy with these)
3 sports bras, 1 good VS sports bra
10 pairs underwear (moisture wicking, fast dry, etc)
2 pairs flip flops; perhaps even 1 flip flop and 1 comfy gladiator sandals
1 pair hiking boots (wore these everyday in Quito- not fashionable, but other backpackers know you mean business)
I’m pretty pleased with my essentials. I haven’t gotten around to using everything in the list, such as the sink plug (because most hostels offer laundry services) and my first aid kit (because I haven’t gotten too cut up yet), but I have faith that I will get around to all of my supplies. So far, I am most thankful for my hand sanitzer, my water filtration system, and my ibuprofen.
I briefly wished that I had brought some antibiotics after catching a case of strep throat that is running rampant at the hostel I am working at now, but if you’re good at self diagnosing, it is fairly easy to acquire antibiotics at the pharmacy without a prescription.
Hope this helps any potential travelers! As my trip expands, I’ll make sure to update this list some more.
A guide to stuffing your backpack for an extended trip to South America.
From insect repellant to moisture wicking underwear, I believe I thought of everything I’ll need.
I figure the most important thing to think about before you go backpacking is if you’re really going backpacking. In Europe, I feel like you can call it backpacking but actually bring a small rolling suitcase because the roads are generally paved. I hear that this is not the case in South America, so I headed over to Eastern Mountain Sports during their end-of-the-summer sales and went HAM on some outdoorsy gear, everything from nearly toxic insect repellant to a portable water filtration system to SO MANY wool socks. But first I needed the backpack. After trying on a few adult sized ones ranging from $200-$300, the kind sales associate suggested that I try on the youth backpack, due to my short torso, whatever that means. It fit perfectly and was $100 cheaper. I stuck a pin on it, a gift that was given to me by my Australian friend who volunteered with me in Sicily, and proceeded to buy more things to stuff in it. Here’s my list:
Clothes: (the key terms we are looking for here are moisture-wicking and quick dry. Gotta keep all your junk fresh.) I hear layers are very important in South America, especially in countries like Peru where the weather does what it wants and you either have to remove to keep cool or put on to keep warm.
6-7 tank tops in slimming black and gray
2-3 t shirts
2 long sleeved shirts
1-2 sweatshirts (one stuffed in my bag, another around my waist)
1 cardigan (in case I need to cover my shoulders in a church, or something)
1 thin rain jacket (that my mom bought me from Costco)
4 pairs of quick-dry (there it is again) leggings
1 pair of SICK, SEXY cargo pants/shorts with scandalous removable legs
8 or so pairs of undies (if you can’t afford to buy 8 pairs of $20 underwear like the super-hot pair shown below, cotton is also a breathable fabric)
3 sports bras, 1 normal VS bra
8 pairs of socks (preferably wool)
1 pair of sandals (I packed my $2 pair of Old Navy flip flops. Hope I don’t lose them in a swamp)
2 pairs of shorts- 1 jean, 1 workout style (3 if you count my transformers)
1 pair of pajamas (mine consist of a pair of boxers, flannel pants, and a large Irish Yoga tshirt)
1 black skirt, 1 cute sundress
1 pair of ridiculously comfy hiking boots that I will probably wear errday
a first aid kit/personal pharmacy
lip balm with spf, sunscreen 30spf or higher, cough drops, neosporin, PEPTO BISMAL, hand sanitizer, rehydration salts, PAINKILLERS, flu meds, bandaids, Emergenc-E, etc.
tampons and pads…amrightladies??? Also birth control packs…ain’t nobody got time for cramps
insect repellant with deet
some makeup- I’m mostly going au natural, bringing along a tinted moisturizer with SPF for smooth skin, mascara for my utter lack of eyelashes, concealer for my other bags, and some lipstick
Sunglasses and a hat (imma buy the hat down there so I look like a local)
eye mask and ear plugs (so I don’t hear myself or other travelers snoring and rustling with their plastic bags)