Based on many years of travel experience, here is the packing list for 6-months of backpacking in Southern Africa and the Silk Road countries. I have always been a light packer (among my friends I’m famous for bringing too few clothes on trips). However, this time I will have quite a few kilo’s in my backpack as I’m bringing my own camping gear and much more electronics/camera equipment.

The packing list is focused on backpacking in Southern Africa and West and Central Asia meaning I need to prepare for:

  • Extremely hot days
  • Watersports
  • Hiking / safari
  • Covered clothing (e.g. long pants, long sleeved shirts and head scarves)
  • Limited access to clean water (some parts of Africa/Central Asia)

For those who are interested, in some cases I also specified the exact brand/product.
This article was updated in December 2018.

Vind de Nederlandstalige versie van dit artikel hier. 

Packing list for 6 months of backpacking Africa and the Silk Road

Backpack gear

Read more about How to Choose Your Backpack here. During the day I usually wear a small crossover bag together with a daypack (or totebag). This trip I will probably also start wearing a money belt. The Pacsafe 5L safe is truly handy for your valuables when staying in hostels. I’m a big fan of mini flash lights. I attach them to my bag or pants, so that I always have one with me.

  • Backpack 65 L (Fjallraven)
  • Flight bag / Rain cover 2 in 1 (Lowland)
  • Daypack 24 L (Osprey)
  • Small crossover bag (second-hand)
  • Money belt
  • Secret bra pouch 
  • Canvas tote bag (O My Bag)
  • Padlock
  • Pacsafe 5L travel safe
  • Rope / washing line
  • Mini key chain solar flash light
  • Headlight
Backpack gear – Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers

Check the Pacsafe 5L out on :)

Backpacking clothing

In terms of clothing I try to pack clothes that easily combine and don’t take much space. A colorful scarf is handy to have with you for chill air-conditioning buses, to cover your arms for the sun or simply to brighten up your outfit. Especially, when traveling solo I tend to dress on the modest side.

  • 1 pair of outdoor trousers (Fjallraven)
  • 1 pair of thin harem pants
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of jeans (extra, not really needed)
  • 5 simple shirts 
  • 1 thin jumpsuit
  • 1 vest
  • 1 waterproof jacket (The North Face)
  • 1 colorful thin scarf
  • Swimming wear (bikini / board shorts)
  • Underwear 
  • 3 pair of socks
  • Pyjama’s
  • Cap
  • Sunnies
Clothes – Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers

For all backpacking trips, three pairs usually do the trick. You only need hiking shoes/sport shoes, flipflops and sandals.

  • Waterproof hiking shoes (Hanwag)
  • Flipflops (I Panama)
  • Walking sandals (Keen)
Shoes - Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers
Shoes – Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers
My backpacking toiletries / health products

I try to bring as little toiletries as possible, but somehow I still ended up with this very long list. As I always get bitten by mosquito’s, I’m bringing extra anti-mosquito products. This is the first time I’ll be bringing water disinfectant, but it might prove useful during the water shortage in Southern Africa at the moment.

  • Shampoo 2 in 1
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Day cream including SPF 50 
  • Anti-mosquito spray (Care Plus)
  • Make-up (eyeliner, mascara) 
  • Facial refreshing tissues
  • Little mirror
  • Pincet, scissors and razors
  • Perfume mini 
  • Kleenex
  • Lipbalsem with SPF (Care Plus SPF 50)
  • Waterproof sun lotion (Care Plus SPF)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hair brush
  • Anti-diarrea pills / ORS / anti motion sickness
  • If needed: other medication / tampons 
  • Small plastic bags
  • If needed: 1 bottles of lens cleaner / night lenses
  • Hadex water disinfectant (Care Plus)
  • Hammam towel
  • Toilet bags (Burton / Smaak Amsterdam, bought via
Toiletries - Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers
Toiletries – Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers
Travel electronics

I can’t travel without my DSLR and (with exception of sleeping) it’s always around my neck. I also bought a GoPro, which I haven’t used much so far. Hope to use it a bit more on this trip, but it’s so much hassle having two different camera’s. I won’t be taking my laptop or tablet. Normally, I also bring a polaroid camera, but unfortunately there is not enough space for another camera.

  • Photo camera with two lenses (I have the DSLR Canon Rebel T2i 550D photo camera and a 17-50 mm Tamron lens and 18-200 mm Canon lens)
  • Lens hood 
  • Video camera (I have the GoPro 4 Silver with GoPro chest mount and 3 in 1 mount)
  • Polaroid camera (I bring a polaroid camera on some of my trips)
  • Memory cards (I have several Sandisks cards)
  • Corresponding cables/chargers
  • Iphone 5
  • Mobile hard drive
  • Powerbank
Camping equipment

A few other bloggers already gave good beginner camping tips for independent adventurers!

Hiking equipment

These days, I also always bring some hiking/trekking equipment on my backpacking trips!

  • Trekking poles
  • Rain poncho (cheap one euro plastic one)
  • Energy bars / gels 
Camping gear - Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers
Camping gear – Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers

I also wrote an article about How to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling.

  • Money cards (1x VISA, 1x Mastercard and 2x debit cards)
  • E-dentifier
  • Padi card
  • International health insurance card and travel insurance info (copies online)
  • Copies of passport and of the money cards (inc. info on blocking) (copies online)
  • Flight tickets (also online)
  • Vaccination information
  • Extra portrait photos for official use
  • Pen and notebook
  • Passport (copies online)
  • Some USD
  • Guidebook (I have the Lonely Planet Southern Africa in paper version and the Lonely Planet South Africa and Namibia/Botswana as a PDF on my phone)
  • Reading book (I’ll be bringing Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela)
  • Small presents from your home country to giveaway!
Documents / books - Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers
Documents / books – Packing list 6 months of backpacking. ©Bunch of Backpackers
‘Istanbul package’ packing list 

My friends are visiting me in Istanbul! As it is the perfect opportunity to swab some clothes and books, I asked my friends to bring this package.

  • Lonely Planet Turkey
  • Lonely Planet Iran
  • Lonely Planet Central Asia
  • 1 long blouses with long sleeves
  • Kaftan
  • Legging
  • Thin black pashmina
  • Water filter
  • Some toiletries
Don’t bring!
  • Too many clothes and/or toiletries
  • Jewelry / valuables
  • Unnecessary gadgets (I don’t bring heavy stuff like laptops, ipads etc.)
  • Pillows

Care Plus and were so kind to sponsor some of the above-mentioned products! Views and opinions are, as always, my own. I updated this list in 2018 on basis of my latest packing list. 

Did you find this list useful? Buy your backpacking gear through :) Booking through this link won’t cost you anything extra, but it will get me a small commission to keep this website up and running! ~ Thanks! Manouk


Packing list backpacking Africa Asia (1)Is anything missing in this ultimate packing list for 6 months of backpacking? Let me know!

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  1. I think it’s quite similar to what I pack, but I take more socks as we usually travel to colder destinations and a foldable down-jacket for cool evenings. Have a great trip!

  2. Nice post. I like the way you show pictures of your stuff and it makes everything clear. I’m going to backpack myself for a few months in Thailand and you inspired me :)

  3. First of all, I like your self proclamation of ‘travel mastermind’ — it’s catchy. The top picture on this page looks like you were on the set of Mad Max. Otherwise, your list couldn’t be more detailed. Love it, Manouk. Keep up the good work.


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