– Last update in Januar 2019 –

This packlist is for Mexico + Latin America (for other countries you maybe need less clothes)

First of all: Your needs are individual, though will your packlist be, but there are some things which are essential, therefore you can see my packlist here. You are invited to learn of my experiences:

  • Sunglasses, sun hat and sun protection

  • Swiss multi-knife (not allowed in Mexico), a spoon/fork/knife in titan and a foldable cup and foldable bowl (the dishes/kitchens at the hostels are not always clean)

  • Whistle, compass and flash light (don’t trust your smartphone!) and extra batteries

  • First-aid kit (put it in your big backpack during the flight because of the scissors) with:
    – All the usual, which comes with a new one
    – A crepe bandage; one time gloves
    – A first-aid blanket (the kind you have in the first-aid kits for cars, it takes not so much space)
    – “safety pins” of different sizes
    – Tweezers for removing the tiny black-legged ticks (if you anyway got them)
    – Medicine you usual need
    – Batteries for hearing aids, if used (in Mexico you buy new batteries at the shop where you buy watches and clocks = in Spanish “tienda de relojes)
    – Repellent against ticks and mosquitoes with DEET (essential in some countries like Mexico and Central America)

  • 2 travel towels (a smaller and a bigger one)

  • 2 locks – I have one for my small and one for my big backpack, they are number locks because I never will lose a key that way. They are also approved by the customs.

  • Sewing kit, small

  • Maybe extra purse with a visa card, banknote, old smartphone – none does work (for robbers!) – There was no need of them during my trip throughout Mexico!

  • Money-belt (or in the locked pockets of your pants – mine has zips and a hidden pocket):
    Passport, visa card/mastercard, health insurance and vaccination documents and a list, what you are allergic about, especially medicines, the first flight ticket and ICE*-details – Don’t forget, that your passport has to be valid for almost more than six month, when you are entering a country!

  • A copy each of the passport, health insurance and vaccination documents, contact details of your ICE* and your visas as well as another credit card, another id, the other flight tickets and some money – that I put in my little backpack. Perhaps your driver’s license and IDP. – It is also possible, that you need a “letter of conduct” for each country you have been living in) – I also carry with me a USB-stick with all that documents and one with my health history.
  • Smartphone and note book (or tablet or laptop)

  • Maybe a camera

  • Metal water bottle (“thermos”) – for cold/warm drinks

  • A little cooler bag, especially if you have medicines – I am still looking for one in the “right size” for me – though I used a “lunch box”.

  • Extra battery each for the tablet and the camera, smartphone and the cables needed as well as adapter for the foreign electrical system(s)

  • Little note-book – paper (don’t take one with hard cover – it is too heavy) and a couple of pens

  • Clear bag with washing lotion, tooth paste etc. – your individual choice, what you need. I take a concentrated all-purpose detergent (all the same for your body, clothes, dishes, you name it).

  • If you will  sleep outdoors: Sleeping bag, insulating pad and an inflatable pillow

  • 4 pairs of pants (hiking or others, leight weight is essential)

  • 1 scarf – good for everything: cold/warm – on shoulders, head, broken arm

  • 10 t-shirts with short or long sleeves (see underwear) – in the evening you need long sleeves because of the mosquitos

  • 1 fleece jacket and a warm jacket – depending on the weather (layer on layer)
  • Thermal underwear: 6 shirts and 4 long pants (of Merino wool), because of the cold nights
  • 10 x underwear (in the heat and by the humidity you need one each day and in hostels it is not allowed to wash your clothes, they usual do not have washing machines either. There are laundrys – in the most of them you have to leave your clothes, they will wash them for you and tumble dry and you can pick them up the following day. At a few places, e.g. Tijuana, there are wash salons, where you can wash your clothes by yourself.

  • 6 pairs of socks (4 thin = non cotton, 2 woollen) In the really warm areas you might not need socks, therefore it is enough with this.

  • Swimming gear

  • 1 pair of hiking shoes

  • 1 pair of sandals (which do not suffer to become wet – especially necessary for the rainy season) – maybe you can use your flip flops

  • 1 pair of flip-flops (for the showers!)
  • Rain poncho which also covers the backpack.
  • Trekking poles (they are 60cm, when folded and just fitting into my backpack)

What you need to think about for hiking you’ll find here: Outdoor Safety Code. You might be wondering, why I link to the code of NZ. I did not find one for Mexico and you can be sure, that weather is changing fast in Mexico and the rest of Central America as well, especially when you are hiking in the mountains. You also have to be aware of the hour, when it is getting dark. It is different, how close to or far away from the equator you are and often even by the season.

I packed it all in my Eagle Creek Doubleback 26 (backpack 59 l) with wheels and day back (17 l). I was very happy about that backpack and it was a really good choice. Before I put all my clothes and other items in the backpack, I put it in water-resistant bags. They were not cheap, but I think, they are worth its price, because when it is raining in Mexico, it is raining heavily and my backpacks did not even stop for a rainy day on New Zealand. In addition to that it helps me to find my clothes easily. UPDATE: I found, that this backpack was too small for my needs (1 year travelling in different climates). Because I am not able to carry a biger and heavier backpack I decided to take a big suitcase next time and a little backpack of 30 l.

I put my documents in plastic bags with zips and sorted them all after where they are for, that means I had one each for flight tickets, ferry tickets, visa, insurance, letters of conduct, accommodation etc. I even put my note-book in a plastic bag with zip. The paper editions I took for the case my digital is not working. I write my expenses down daily in the papers edition, because it is easier than a big xls.file – too much to scroll. This way I not only know how much money I spend and how much I have left, but also that I did not got wrong change. In foreign valuta that is important. I also take photographs of important receipts and back them up online.

My big backpack had a weight of 11 kg (including a tripod) and the little one 4,5 kg, when I left my home for the first part of my RTW-trip. I hoped I could reduce it next time. This time I do not have a tripod, but the backpacks were heavier. The suitcase will be heavier as well.

* in case of emergency contact

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