What to Pack for South America – for men

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This is a detailed packing list for men. Though they’re similar, here’s a guide for women.


1 Osprey Fairview 55L backpack including Daypack
1 Canvas tote bag
A set of packing cubes
Large padlock for lockers
Small padlock for backpack


  • Try to pack your bag with clothes that have the following properties:
  • Light
  • Anti wrinkle
  • Odor resistant
  • Quick dry
  • High wicking
  • Multi-purpose
  • Easy to mix and match

Choose from the following materials which contain some or all the properties above.

Merino wool, a natural material that meets all the criteria above. It’s naturally odor resistant and keeps you cool in warm weather and cold in hot. As a result, it’s also the most expensive but worth it read more about it here.

Tencel, a natural cellulose fiber made from the raw material eucalyptus wood. It has all the properties listed above and is often found blended with Merino.

Lyocell, a eco fabric that has natural breathability and 50% greater moisture absorption than cotton. Due to its moisture management, lyocell is also anti-bacterial.

Synthetic, for example Polyester & Nylon, are light and fast drying however it’s not odor resistant and can look shiny or cheap but hey it is the most affordable.


Try not to pack anything cotton or white. Cotton clothes are heavy, bulky to carry, smell easily and a nightmare to dry. It’s best to leave at home or they will end up in the bottom of the bag waiting to be washed for your whole trip.

City & Towns

4 t-shirts for city (6 t-shirts total)
1 short sleeve shirt
1 casual sweater
1 pair of denim shorts
1 pair khaki shorts
1 pair of denim jeans
1 pair of comfortable trousers
1 pair of casual runners
1 pair of sandals


2 high wicking t-shirts (6 t-shirts total)
1 long sleeve base layer top
1 fleece
1 pair of sports shorts
1 pair of lightweight hiking trousers
Gore-tex raincoat
2 pairs of ultra-light merino socks
1 pair of trail runners


2 pairs of swimming shorts
1 pair of flip flops


4 pairs of underwear (merino/tencel)
4 pairs of trainer socks
1 pair of light underwear shorts

If you haven’t heard about merino wool and are wondering why I am advising on this expensive underwear read about it here. The socks never smell, we can’t get over it.


Sun Hat


1 clear wash bag & 1 clear make up bag
Gotoob Silicone Travel Bottles
Seagale Linen Towel
2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner
Dr Bronner’s soap for body, shaving cream, laundry and hair (in a pinch)
Suncream (Face & Body)
Toothbrush cover

Medical Supplies

Personal prescriptions
Rehydration sachets
Anti diarrhoea tablets
Motion sickness tablets
Pain relief tablets
Jungle Insect repellent

In times of need the last thing you want to be doing is trying to explain to a pharmacist what is wrong in pigeon Spanish using google translate. It may seem unnecessary before you board the plane but when you’re not feeling 100% and it is on hand you will be so so thankful.

Useful bits

Tupperware with cutlery
Klean Insulated water bottle
Reusable coffee cup
Washing line
Universal sink plug
Waterproof bag for cash, phone etc
Eye mask 
Travel Guide for each country

These items usually seem the least important before you leave but end up being the most used once your new life living in hostel begins.

Our most used item has definitely been our insulated water bottles. Think about the environment and your wallet before you start traveling and drinking 10 plastic bottles of water a day. I recommend splashing out on the insulated type so that you don’t end up drinking warm/hot water all day.

Earplugs are a must if you don’t fancy waking up multiple times a night and an eye mask helps if you want to stay asleep after 6am.

We wash our clothes daily and hang them out to dry. This means it doesn’t pile up and then we need to use expensive laundry services.

Admin & Travel Documents

Photocopies/pictures of passports
Revolut prepaid cash card
BOI mastercard credit card
BOI visa debit card
N26 black debit card
Vaccination certificates
Medical certificates
Proof of prescriptions

All cards have proved useful in varies situations depending on what we are booking or buying and what machines are available. Free withdrawals and no exchange fees have made dealing with new currencies much easier. It depends on the type of ATM but it has worked nearly every time. So make sure to sign up for your Revolut and N26 accounts.

Don’t forget your vaccination certificates the airlines can check your books when travelling between countries in South America before you board the plane.


DSLR Camera & Lens
Wireless Headphones
Worldwide adapter
Portable speakers
Cables & chargers

So there you have it. The summary of what I have packed for my South American adventure. The varied climates were definitely a struggle to prepare for but after careful planning and dedicated research I am confident this list will cover all the bases. It has worked a treat so far.