It can be tough to know what to bring and what to leave behind when you’re setting out to travel, but that’s the beauty of the internet and blogs these days, and that’s why I put together this South America backpacking packing list with everything I brought with me…
Undoubtedly, the bulk of our time will be in hostels, couch surfing, volunteering abroad, and busing around from city to city.
But I do hope to get in plenty of time in the mountains, at least camping and hiking, hopefully, a little peak-bagging (renting gear).
It is extremely challenging for me to balance the competing demands of city life and mountain life with only what I can carry on my back. I have never actually done the nomadic backpacking thing before.
I’ve traveled overseas, I’ve studied abroad, but I’ve always kind of had a home base when I arrived.
I’ve never had to fit EVERYTHING I need and want on my back for months on end. I’m pretty sure I want to take my sleeping bag, shelter, stove, etc in addition to my sweet travel laptop and camera gear.
All in all my FINAL packing list is clocking in at around 32 pounds, with no food and water. It all fits into my CiloGear 40L Pack with enough wiggle room for food and other stuff, and it makes for an awesome travel backpack, at least for us guys. Sorry ladies, I can’t help you, but you may be better served by this comprehensive guide to women’s travel backpacks.
Below you will find photos and my complete packing list for 6+ months in South America.
Backpacking South America Packing List
South America Backpacking Packing List
|Pacsafe 85L||1||4.8||Wrap up bag in wire and lock|
|Gregory 4300ci Pack Cover||5.6||More for neatness/discretion than rain|
|First Aid / Repair Kit||11.8||Deet, Cipro, Ibu, Potable Aqua, Seam Grip, etc|
|Black Diamond Z-Pole w/ bag||14.2||Hiking poles|
|MLD eVent Soul Bivy Sack||12.8||Jeff has a tent|
|Feathered Friends Vireo Sleeping Bag and stuff sack||1||2.8||Hoodless, zipperless sleeping bag.|
|CiloGear 40B Work Sack||4||1.2||Weight with all straps, support, etc.|
|Neoair X-Lite||13||Sleeping pad|
|REI Flash 18||11||Daypack/carry on pack.|
|REI TiWare 1.3L Pot and Ti-Tri Caldera Cone Stove||10.4||Alcohol and wood-burning stove|
|Aeropress with a metal filter||9.8||Make coffee anywhere at all|
|Hario Mini Slim Mill Grinder||8.6||Coffee grinder for fresh beans|
|Mesh kitchen sack||1.2|
|Alcohol fuel bottle w/ bag||8.4||(weight when full)|
|Sea to Summit Alpha Light spoon||0.2|
|REI blue plastic cup/mug||1.8||The light blue plastic one|
|28oz glad bowl + lid w/ DIY cozy||4.4|
|MLD Shoulder water holster||Included in pack weight|
|MLD Waist pockets||Included in pack weight|
|REI 20 oz Water bottle||5||Hard sided–odd size|
|Passport, immunization doc, visa photo, and document copies||1.6|
|Feathered Friends Jackorack||4||Wind shirt, light rain resistance, but not a rain jacket|
|Patagonia Houdini wind pants||3.2||Light rain resistance|
|Remington Electric Razor and case||11.4||USB chargeable|
|Outdoor Research Sun Sombrero Hat||2.4||Stay protected from the tropical sun|
|SPOT GPS||4.8||Emergency beacon|
|Sea to Summit Bug headnet||0.6||Mosquitos…|
|Sea to Summit waterproof bag and S-biner||1.2||Extra to keep electronics dry.|
|REI MultiTowel||3.8||Very portable towels|
|Altice Eclipse glacier glasses and case||4.8||Sunglasses as well|
|Petzl Tikka Plus 2 headlamp||2.8||Illumination at night, very important|
|Leatherman Squirt PS4 mini multi tool||2||Handy multi-tool|
|Steripen Ultra||6||USB chargeable version to purify questionable water|
|2L Platy (no hose)||1.6|
|Large Opsaks x3||4.4||Waterproof, smell-proof|
|Travel Lock x2||1.6|
|Two small spare stuff sacks|
|Patagonia R1 Full Zip fleece||12||Favorite jacket|
|Prana Stretch Zion pants||13.6||x2 (wear one)|
|Smartwool Light Hiker socks||2.6||Longer socks|
|Smartwool PhD Running Light short socks||1.8||Lightweight and fast-drying socks|
|Smartwool PhD Running Light short socks||1.8|
|Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Fleece Gloves||1.4|
|Columbia Long sleeve PFG sun shirt||7||x2 (wear one) I love these shirts.|
|Under Armor x2||4.8||(wear one)|
|Patagonia Capilene 2 long underwear pants||5||Extra base layer for cold nights|
|Icebreaker Merino Bodyfit 150 short sleeve T Shirt||5||Wool t-shirts don’t stink!|
|Montbell Light Alpine Down Parka||1||0.8|
|La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoes||2lbs 8oz WORN|
|Crocs Men’s Prepair II||11.8||Look COOL|
|Asus T100 Transformer Book 64GB Transformer||2||14.2||An amazingly portable laptop ideal for travel. Total weight with case and charger|
|Mini USB Mouse|
|JOOS Solar Charger||2||11.6||Since replaced with the BioLite SolarPanel.|
|Sony NEX6 Camera + Accessories||2||2.2||One lens, Case, Blower, brush, GND, Filter holder, extra battery, mem cards, charger|
|Joby Gorillapod||2.2||Handy little tripod|
|SD USB Card Reader||(No SD card slot on ASUS)|
|Samsung Galaxy cell phone and charger||8||Map, phone, camera, MP3 Player, Kindle, etc|
|x2 32GB Mini SD Cards||additional phone and tablet storage|
|My Passport 1TB external hard drive||(Not much hard drive space on ASUS)|
|Other MISC CHARGERS|
Bearing in mind that this packing list is meant to balance camping, city travel, WWOOFing, and a variety of situations, I think it is pretty comprehensive and overall pretty lightweight. In retrospect I was very happy with all my decisions.
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