Home to over 420 million people living in a dozen different countries spread across nearly seven million square miles, South America is a destination on every aspiring world traveler’s list of places to visit. Given the scattered nature of the continent’s greatest treasures, many visitors opt to backpack for some or all of their trip. But before booking your backpacking adventure to South America, it’s important to know what to pack. The last thing you want is to arrive only to discover the first item on your agenda is tracking down an essential item left back at home.
Here is an easy to follow guide for packing when backpacking across South America:
Traversing a tropical region on foot means placing an emphasis on utility when picking out clothes. T-shirts, short-sleeved polos, cargo shorts, and breathable chinos are the types of attire befitting this purpose.
However, what if you want to spend a night or two on the town? Your packing choices should include suitable options just in case. For example, a recently retired mom going on her dream trip to Argentina might want to pack one or two trendy plus size dresses for a weekend excursion into Buenos Aires. Her husband can bring two loose-fitting button-up shirts and a pair of slacks - or iron out his hiking chinos - to match her look.
Make sure to leave room for clothing options suitable for special conditions. If headed to the beaches of Rio, this means shopping for swim trunks and bikinis online before departure. If traversing across the Andes, this means insulated attire.
Packing footwear for a backpacking trip is all about keeping it as simple as possible. For a trip across a continent in the Southern Hemisphere, travelers would be wise to pack a pair of hiking boots, a pair of athletic shoes, and flip-flops/sandals.
Make sure the hiking boots are waterproof and take time to break into the athletic footwear before your trip. Don’t plan on wearing flip-flops anywhere besides the beach and the pool; any shred of ruggedness calls for sandals in the place of flip-flops.
Supplies for a backpacking trip to South America are all about the basics. Sunscreen, bug spray, and packable poncho are must-haves. Wet bags and dry bags are also highly recommended in case you encounter unexpected bouts of rain or find yourself wading through a river.
Don’t leave your smartphone at home. Mobile devices are too handy these days to simply not have, even if you want to avoid distractions. Turn the device off on your journey if you’re that afraid of remaining glued to it. In case of becoming lost or in another potentially life-threatening situation, your smartphone becomes your best friend. This is especially true considering the device’s geolocation feature will stay on even if service is disconnected due to being out of the country or too far from cell towers.
Assuming we don’t have to remind you to bring toiletries like a toothbrush and body wash, the last things to pack before heading to South America on a backpacking adventure will be the little extras. These include a few combination locks, a wall plug adapter, and backup charging cables.
South America is a massive continent providing visitors with a choose-your-own-adventure approach to travel. For those backpacking across the continent, what you pack will greatly impact the trip you have. So with that said, make sure to pack accordingly.