Colombia Backpacking Packing Checklist

Colombia Backpacking Packing Checklist
What to bring – Travel essentials

The following packing list is ideal for trips of about one month or more. There’s lots of places to do laundry in Colombia (you could also bring some hand wash or a wash bag), so don’t worry about bringing enough clothes to last for your entire trip.

Remember to pack light, don’t over pack. Lugging a heavy bag around is a hindrance.  Pack the essentials, and leave a little room to bring back souvenirs!

Also check out my Colombia Preparation Checklist

Important Stuff

If you remember nothing else remember these few essentials

 ( + photocopy, this is important in case you lose your passport)PASSPORT PHOTOS
 Again you may need these if you lose your passportMONEY
 (In the form of cash, card, or travellers cheques)
 I always recommend bringing some cash (Colombian Pesos) to get started, and a card (or travel card)BOARDING PASS/ TRAVEL TICKETS
 Remember all boarding passes and travel documents and consider having photocopies of theseTRAVEL INSURANCE DOCUMENTS
 If you have purchased travel insurance (which I recommend you do) make sure you bring a copy of your travel insurance documents in case of emergencies

Clothes.pngRemember, the weather varies significantly in Colombia.  It is much much hotter in the North, compared to Bogota. At night time in Bogota you will need a jumper, and sometimes even hot water bottles to keep warm! Read about the varying weather here, and make sure you check weather reports before you travel.

• 2/3 x    T SHIRTS OR TOPS
• 1/2 x    SHORTS/ SKIRTS
• 7 x    UNDERWEAR
• 5 x    SOCKS
• 2 x    SWIMWEAR
• 1 x    SUN HAT
• 1 x    RAINCOAT
• 2 x    WARM JUMPER
• 1 x    JACKET/ COAT
if you plan to reach high altitude


 • 1 x   FLIP FLOPS
 Especially if you plan on visiting Colombia's beaches
 • 1 x   CASUAL SHOES (i.e. Trainers or Converse)
 Whether you choose to bring shoes or boots depends on how much hiking you think you will do.
 If you feel you are likely to hike mountains and long trails, a pair of boots may prove invaluable.  

For walking boots i took a pair of Brasher Hillwalkers.  I would highly recommend these, they were comfortable, waterproof and easy to walk in. You could also try Regatta.
For walking shoes (as boots are often bulky and difficult to carry) I recommend a pair of Tevas.  For every day walking and small treks they are comfortable and extremely resilient. Try these for women, or these for men.


To carry your toiletries, take a look at my Patchwork World Map Pouch

 • MEDICATION Including Malaria Tablets
Especially if you are travelling in a Malaria zone
 • MAKEUP (Optional)

And any other products you deem to be essential in your day to day life


Many people chose to take pictures on their smart phones, if you don’t, bring a camera to document your trip! Also remember your camera case, to protect your camera while travelling and any chargers/ batteries. You may also consider bringing a GoPro. Or for a cheaper alternative I have an Apeman, which I love! 
• PHONE & Charger  
• TABLET (Optional) 
Not everyone chooses to bring a Tablet travelling, but I find it very useful for when I have no access to a  computer. You could chose an Ipad Mini. Or if you're looking for a cheaper alternative, I recommend this Fire Tablet. 
For Colombia you will need a type A or B adapter. I recommend bringing a worldwide adapter. 
For long bus/ train journeys or treks you may also want to bring a portable charger.

Everything Else.png

Plasters and antiseptic are important for emergencies, always travel with a first aid kit, just in case. Try this travel size first aid kit or have a look in your local drug store (or Boots/ Superdrug) 

Hostels and night buses/ sleeper trains can be very noisy, ear plugs and eye masks will make it easier to sleep. Try this ear plug & eye mask combo. 

Money Belts are recommended for security while travelling, placed under your clothes it is unlikely that thieves will see and take your money belt.  Keep important things in here (like your passport or spare cash) when out. 
For a simple money belt try the Samsonite Double Pocket Money Belt  
Also Take a look at our 10 Best Stylish Bumbags for Travelers! 

Most hostels come with bed linen, however if you plan on camping or are worried about the cleanliness of the bed linen then consider bringing a sleeping bag liner.  Liners are lighter and easier to carry than sleeping bags, and are cooler in hot climates. (Silk liners are more desirable, but also more expensive) 
Try this poly-cotton liner, or this silk liner. 

You can bring a normal towel, however microfiber towels dry much quicker and fold smaller, and so are easier to transport while traveling. 

This is particularly important if you are planning on camping. I recommend this net.

There are lots of water based activities to try in Southeast Asia (For example Tubing in Laos). A Dry Bag will help keep your valuables safe in the water.

Padlocks are important for hostel lockers to keep valuables safe.  You may also wish to padlock your suitcase while traveling.

Not everywhere you travel in Southeast Asia will have streetlights. A torch is essential for safety, particularly in rural areas. I prefer to use a head torch!

PENKNIFE (Optional)
This is not essential, but if you are planning on doing a lot of hiking a penknife may come in handy. I used a penknife to eat a coconut that fell from a tree! 

When travelling I like to have a guide book, although you can research most places online.  Lonely planet guides are concise and interesting; they provide information on what to do, where to stay and where to eat. 
Try: Lonely Planet Colombia
Or alternatively: The Rough Guide to Colombia
You may also want to consider bringing a phrasebook! 

Not strictly essential, but with rugged travelling I find it important to protect your passport and other travel documents with a waterproof cover. Alternatively you could try these DriStore bags. 

Plastic bags always come in handy when travelling; for example to store dirty washing or muddy shoes.  When packing my rucksack i separate things into plastic bags, this makes it easy to unpack and repack your backpack without fuss. 

Not essential, but i personally like documenting my travels in a journal to keep a nice record of my trip. I use the Luckies of London advisable.

Now you will need two bags to carry everything in

 I took a 42l Lowe Alpine Crag Attack rucksack, which I can highly recommend.
 42l proved big enough to fit everything I needed, and was easy to carry.
 I recommend the ever popular Eastpak backpack; they are surprisingly spacious, stylish and rugged, with a long guarantee.
 Jan Sport Backpacks are also very popular. 
 Or take a look at our 10 Best Stylish Backpacks for Travelers!


8 thoughts on “Colombia Backpacking Packing Checklist

  1. Hey, what do you think of motel soap and shampoo brought from past travels? They are very tiny and fit anywhere! Also, a headlamp for national parks, and a compression bag for just about anything, sure the weight is the same but the space it saves is amazing! I am going to Colombia on a backpacking trip, a very first experience and I don’t want to miss anything!

    1. Hi Kevin,
      Yes I think bringing hotel soap and shampoo is a great idea! If its not enough for the whole of your trip you can always buy/ collect more in Colombia.
      I am in Borneo at the moment and have brought a headtorch for the first time,and I think its great! Would definitely pack one in the future, great for night walks and camping.
      I have never thought of a compression bag before but I’m sure this would be very very useful,I may invest in one for the future.
      I hope you have an amazing adventure in Colombia, I’m sure you will love it! Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  2. Pingback: Colombia Backpacking Preparation Checklist – luckytravelblog

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