Packing Checklist

Field Trips | History | Packing Checklist | Preparation | FAQs

Not everything on this list is essential. Use it as a general guide to jog your memory.

Health and safety

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip protection
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Sturdy but comfortable hiking shoes (don’t wait to the last minute to buy a new pair; be sure they are well broken-in)
  • Shower flip-flops (personal preference, but some lodging may have communal shower facilities)
  • Whistle (available in sporting-good stores; carry it in your day pack in case you get lost or injured)
  • Cipro (or other prescribed antibiotic for intestinal disorders and/or other infections; see your doctor)
  • Pepto-Bismo or imodium tablets
  • Pain/Headache pills
  • Antiseptic/antibiotic wipes
  • Bandaids
  • Roll of TP (carry a generous supply in your day pack, just in case!)
  • Small towel and washcloth (washcloths are often not provided in other countries)
  • Prescription eyeglasses (second pair, just in case)
  • Medical prescriptions (written prescriptions in case you lose your prescribed medication)
  • Standard medications
  • Pillowcase (personal preference)
  • Toiletries
  • Earplugs
  • Eyemask (earplugs and mask in case you are a light sleeper; also helpful on overnight flights)
  • Malaria medication
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Portable bed net
  • Water bottle (always carry at least a liter with you; more on longer hikes)


Paperwork and money-matters

  • Passport + Visa + photocopies (store photocopies separately)
  • Airline tickets
  • Money/passport pouch (several types available).
  • Cash
  • ATM Card
  • Travel Insurance Info



  • Field clothing should be comfortable and casual; keep in mind the customs and sensibilities of the native peoples. Shorts, jeans, T-shirts are generally fine. If you sunburn easily, loose-fitting, long-sleeved cotton shirts. Convertible pants with zip-off legs are very practical.
  • Tennis shoes (or similar; for comfortable lounging)
  • Rain gear (we usually travel in the dry season, but showers or rain is possible; very compact rain items are available)
  • Bandana
  • Hat
  • Swimsuit
  • Fleece jacket for layering


Enjoying and recording the experience

  • Day pack/ belt pack (a day pack is required. It should be roomy enough to carry camera equipment, binoculars, map, field guide, notebook, water bottle, snacks, medications, emergency supplies, etc.)
  • Camera + accessories (lenses, filters, etc.)
  • Film bags (lead-lined film bags are preferred by professional photographers for protecting film from airport x-rays)
  • Extra batteries (for camera and other electronic equipment; be sure they are fresh (I learned the hard way!))
  • Film and/or memory cards (On good days it is possible to shoot many hundreds of photos. Your favorite film and memory cards will not be available in most small towns. For digital cameras, consider taking a laptop or compact, battery-operated hard drive and download your memory cards nightly.)
  • Binoculars
  • GPS unit (if you want precise altitude and/or coordinates of stops. Usually several people have these, and it’s not necessary for everyone to bring their own.)
  • Map
  • Itinerary
  • Plant List, Bird list, Mammal list
  • Guide book
  • Journal/Notebook
  • Spare Nylon bag for souvenirs



  • Battery recharger(s), recharging cords (for rechargeable batteries, if any)
  • Electrical Adapter (check what is appropriate for the destination)
  • Flashlight/Headlamp + batteries
  • Travel locks (optional)
  • Book, MP3 player (for those long flights)
  • Plastic bags (1-2 heavy duty jumbo garbage bags may be useful for wrapping luggage in dusty areas.
  • Ziplock bags of various sizes are ideal for money, wet clothing and towels, and numerous other needs)
  • Paper seed envelopes (if you are inclined to collect seeds)
  • Clothesline + a few clothespins (for small emergency laundry needs)
  • Wristwatch with alarm (or alarm clock)
  • Favorite snacks

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