Trek America – Full Packing List



Trek America – Full Packing List


This list is mainly aimed at the Southern Sun Trek during the summer months – it is 21 days long, but you can amend it to whichever trek you like.

First of all, I just want to clear one thing up – I can pack lightly, but I am not one of those people who can survive a month on 4 t-shirts, I like to have a few options. Saying that, this is a revised packing list to the one that I actually had before I went on trek. I took way too much stuff and my suitcase was ridiculously heavy and big, especially when now I can travel for a month with an 38 litre backpack.

I tried to include all of the stuff I think you’ll need, literally. Therefore, try to stick to it as much as you can so you don’t get annoyed with yourself later. I have linked most of the stuff to Amazon – some of it is what I have and some I found better but cheaper versions of so you don’t have to spend ages researching. You’re welcome. 😉

Click below if you want to find out more about Trek America:

Trek America – What, How & Why

For questions such as ‘How much money do I need,’ ‘Suitcase or a Backpack’ and ‘How big should your luggage be’ visit my previous post:

Trek America – Pre-Departure Questions & Checklist

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I like to have a few choices, as let’s just face it – I don’t want to look exactly the same on all of the photographs that I will be wanderlusting over later on. Saying that, you don’t need 25 different tops like I though I did at the time, there is absolutely no way you will wear all of them and remember that there are laundry rooms in many campsites & hostels.

● x8 Casual Tops / T-shirts

x3 Smart Tops / Shirts

x1 Long Sleeve /  Hoody

x1 Cardigan / Nicer Jumper

x1 Trousers / Jeans

x3 Shorts
(2 denim & one cotton/light & comfy for hiking etc. you will live in shorts)

x1 Waterproof Jacket

x1 PJs

x5 Socks
(1 thick pair)

x7 Underwear

x1 Bikini


x2 Dresses 
(One casual, one smart – ideally try to take ones that work for both)


x1 Dress & x1 Skirt

x2 Bras
(you’re best bet is to take black ones – one t-shirt and one ‘nicer’ one)

Try to take neutral coloured clothes and ones that work together for mix and match. Girls – remember that you can always accessorise, for example wear a certain top with or without a necklace and a cardigan to make it look different.

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x1 Pair of Sandals

x1 Pair of Flip Flops
(Ones that you can use in the showers as well –after years I finally gave in and decided to give havainas a try and oh my! I love them)

x1 Pair of Trainers or Hiking Shoes
(I would recommend running shoes, they are light, have a grip and are very comfy. Do not buy new hiking shoes and not wear them in. Please, Or you will struggle)

x1 Pair of  Day Trainers / Pumps
(I lived in my Vans and flip flops)

“Should I take heels?!”

Every girl in my group had a problem with solving this mystery. After talking to each other, most of us decided to take a pair – mainly for Vegas. My other reason was going to New York, Los Angeles & San Fransisco after, where I didn’t even wear them once.

Honestly? I wouldn’t recommend taking heels, you can wear nicer sandals in Vegas and after living In your flip flops for 3 weeks – your thinking will quite possibly be: ‘f**k the heels.’ If you’re worried about what the other girls will wear in Vegas (I know you are) – find them on the trek forum and ask! 🙂

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You will need them in the summer months

One that will go with everything, you might loose or mostly gain a bit of weight..

Day backpack
You will need it for hiking the grand canyon etc.

Girls – Day Bag
Big enough to fit your stuff in but small enough to take it to bars etc.

Cap / Hat
(Super useful for hiking)

As mentioned before, you will most likely buy a pillow in Walmart and this will make it more cosy, it’s also good for sensitive skin if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the hypoallergenic one.

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Storm incoming

Camping & Packing Essentials:


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Packing Cubes

These are a life changer when travelling. Keeping all of your stuff organised can get really tricky especially when living out of a suitcase / backpack for a few weeks. I’ve used mine both for backpacking and trek america and could not recommend them enough!


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Sleeping Bag Liner 

Great for when you get too hot (you can sleep on top of the sleeping bag in just the liner), if you don’t like the ‘feeling’ of a sleeping bag or for suspicious hostel beds etc. I have a cotton one but you can get a silk one as well.

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Sleeping Bag

For summer months – 2 Seasons should be more than enough, other than that I would recommend 3 or 4 seasons. I would also just get a cheap one (my more expensive one broke after 1 or 2 nights anyway) and I binned it after the trek. I can’t even explain how glad I was to not have to trek it back home.


Travel Towel 
You will love me for this one! I discovered Hammamas (100% cotton) due to my allergy to synthetic fibres but I will not use any other travel towel even if I wasn’t! There are lots of different types and makes to choose from, due to the type of cotton – they dry quick, are very light and perfect for the beach or an accessory as well! Worth every single penny.

I would also take one very small towel as well.

Sleeping Matt

I personally didn’t take one and your trek leader will most likely supply you with it – nothing fancy but it works. I was lucky and managed to get my hands on a thicker one as our leader had one spare but if I was doing another trek – I’d probably just buy one from Walmart at the same price as in the UK or even cheaper.

If however, you would like to get one – here is a great Self-Inflating Mattress

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Inflatable Travel Pillow

This is optional – You can get one of these or just buy a proper pillow out there (which you probably will do anyway).

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Water Bottle

I use this Filter Bobble one – it’s great for when you’re a bit funny when it comes to drinking tap water, it saves a lot of plastic bottles & tons of money!

Head Torch

I cannot recommend this enough! These things are perfect for camping and not only – whether you are trying to find something at night and you don’t want to wake up your tent or hostel buddies or need to go toilet at night, you will use it very often as it lets you have both hands spare.

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Key Ring Flashlight

You will not have your keys on you I know, but this little thing is great as an addition to your head torch. I took it with me pretty much everywhere as it’s so small and useful.

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Travel Clothes Washing Line

You will most likely have to wash you socks, underwear or a t-shirt and whether your camping or staying at a hostel this will definitely help you out. It’s small and just great! You can take regular pegs instead.

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Zip Bags & Re-usable Bags
They can be just normal lunch zip bags and carrier bags, useful for toiletries, dirty laundry, make-up and lots more.

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Electrical Tape

It’s small and good incase something rips or breaks. Also good for sticking things in your notebook etc.

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Toiletries, Medicine etc:


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Squeezable Travel Bottles

Another life changer, I actually didn’t know about these before my trek and I seriously wish I did. My standard travel bottles leaked quite a few times which was getting messy, more than I needed. They are made of squeezable (BPA free) silicone, are easy to re-fill and have a built-in suction cups. More on the pricey side but I think it’s worth it, just read the amazon reviews!


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Hanging Toiletry Wash Bag

I bought a cheap one in Primark which was really good but quite bulky. If I had to buy another one – it’d be the one above as it looks great, I always have a lot of toiletries due to my skin being super fussy and this one has a lot of space, it even fits standard shampoo bottles!

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Incognito Natural Anti-Mozzie Insect Spray

Many of us seem to believe that unless a mosquito repellant has 50% DEET or higher – it will not work.
Now let me tell you, this is an absolute baloney right there. Incognito is 100% natural resulting in being much more gentle to your skin unlike ones with deet – a very harmful chemical that can even damage plastic. It is also clinically proven to protect against malaria and protects from other bugs as well. I was the only one with a natural repellent and got the least bites (and mosquitos love me)

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Zap It!

If you get bitten by a mosquito or other insects, even a jellyfish (!) quickly use this little miracle and it will calm the itching and swelling very quickly and very well! It’s chemical free, non-allergenic and completely safe to human body and environment.

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Travel First Aid Kit

You don’t need anything big, this has all the necessities and you can add more to it:

A few – Pain killers, Antihistamines, Anti-diarrhea, Constipation and Motion sickness tablets, Vitamins

Shampoo & Conditioner / Leave In Treatment

Shower Gel / Soap

Toothbrush, Small Toothpaste & Small Dental Floss

Hand Sanitiser 

Dry Shampoo
(Girlies you will use it a lot)

(you can use shower gel instead of shaving gel)

Little Body Lotion / Hand Cream

(click here if you have prickly heat or pmle)

Nail Clippers & Tweezers
(I did say that I’m including everything)

Roll On Deodorant
(I tried to find one that works well when camping, hiking and long warm days and the Triple Dry one is amazing. They also have a men’s one)

Wet Wipes & Tissues

Body Fragrance
(I never take perfumes with me unless they are one of those small testers. Instead, I take a little body mist by Victorias Secret, they have different sizes from 7ml-250m, stay on for surprisingly long and they’re just great)

Hair Bands & Grips

Hair Brush (Tangle Teezer)
(amazing for dry and wet hair, long and short, thick or thin)

(You honestly don’t need much – I used a mineral face powder, mascara & occasionally eye liner. It will most likely be hot so you want to keep it light and cheerful, a waterproof mascara is a good idea for swimming pools etc.)

Make-up Wipes
(I usually just get the travel size and rip them in half so they last me twice as long)

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(If you use a UK sim, do not use the internet, or you’ll end up with a £45 bill for just a few mins..)

(Click here for the Ultimate Trek America Playlist)

(I didn’t have one but they’re super useful for watching movies on the road, or just take a usb packed with some films and plug it to someone else’s)

(I took my dslr and compact. Take an extra memory card incase you ran out of memory or loose one)

Kindle / Book 
(Or just use your tablet)


Portable Charger
(This is a life saver, I use the one above which is an Anker Lipstick-Sized Charger)

Mini Bluetooth Speaker
(Amazing for camping, day trips etc.)

USB Car Charger Adapter (For Multiple Devices)
(Just imagine, 12 people trying to charge their phone via the one cigarette plug point. You can get the one above or just all chip in when you visit Walmart)

Small Notepad or Sketchbook & Pen
(I love my Moleskine and don’t go anywhere without it)

Pack of Cards

Safety Pins
(Not so much a gadget..)

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And Most Importantly:



(Yes, you do really need it)

Travel Card or Regular Bank Card
(Don’t take too much cash with you)

Photocopies of all documents
(Leave a copy at home as well)

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 Tip: Always have a spare $20 / £20 hidden somewhere safe just in case.

What I would not take:

Hair straighteners & hair dryer, lots of elegant clothes, laptop and any expensive items – you don’t want to spend your time worrying.

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I also asked some of you on twitter what are your trek necessities:

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Thanks guys!!

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I hope that this Trek America – Full Packing List will help you out!

Let me know in the comments below if you think I forgot to include something 🙂


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7 years ago

Doing the Southern Sun Trek in June! Just bought a few of your suggestions… the filtered water bottle (great idea) and the Anker portable charger, which is reduced from £40 to £10 on Amazon just now!!
Thank you so much for this list… it is amazing!


[…] Trek America – Full Packing List […]


[…] writing my little guides such as the packing list or the american road-trip playlist (more links at the bottom of this post) which I hope can help […]


[…] Trek America – Full Packing List  […]

Samantha Knight
Samantha Knight
7 years ago

This is fantastic, I am doing Trek America in April – The Great 48, and this is the best list I have found. Your road trip playlist is an inspiration. Thank you Eli!

7 years ago

This is amazing, I wish this was out when I was planning my trek – would be so much easier.
Probably the most detailed packing list out there that can even work for other trips not only trek america.
Keep up the good work Eli.