What’s in my bag? My packing list for hot climates.

After my students finish with their exams next week, I will have more than a month off from my job here in Ghana. I plan to spend that time exploring more of Ghana, and maybe some other nearby countries. The plans are still loose, I know that I will spend the first week in the area Northwest of Kumasi. After that I am not entirely sure, though I have some idea. Regardless, I aim to pack light! I have my packing list almost down to a science, here is what I generally take with me when I am going someplace hot:

– Two pairs of very lightweight hiking pants. They are long, but not too heavy to wear when it’s not. I wear them all of the time. They shield my legs from insects and sunburn, and they cover me up in those parts of the world where legs are not to be shown (i.e. Ghana!)

– Two lightweight t-shirts in a moisture wicking fabric. I’m not big on tank tops, I like a t-shirt to protect my shoulders from the sun and to avoid unwanted attention.

– One UV protecting long-sleeve top to wear when I’m going out in the blazing sun. They are amazingly lightweight so you don’t overheat, but they are made of a high-tech UV protecting fabric.

– Two pairs of fast drying ex-officio underwear (these things are great!)

– Two cotton sports bras, no underwire… harder to wash in the sink.

– Two pairs of fast-drying socks (mine are from Darn Tough

– My fast-drying travel towel

– Lush shampoo & conditioner bars, and a chunk of Clinique cleanser bar.

– A small bottle of sweat-proof suntan lotion, my face lotion, deodorant, travel toothbrush & paste

– Sunglasses (usually cheap ones that I’m not afraid to lose)

– A bathing suit (you never know)

– A sarong. I always take a sarong with me. It’s small and it comes in handy as a skirt, towel, blanket, satchel, you name it.

– My “Buff” – this is basically a UV protecting head scarf that you can wear in many different ways. I’m always putting my hair up in hot climates, and hair ties can be damaging. It comes in handy too, a few times I’ve tied the ends and stuffed it full of clothes to use as a makeshift pillow.

– Pajamas that are lightweight, but modest enough that I can wear them in a mix-gendered dorm room at a hostel.

– A dress. Something I can wad it up and toss in my bag, and it still looks decent when it comes out. You never know when you want to do something that requires you to look somewhat nice.

– A pair of hiking sneakers

– A pair of sandals

– A bar of laundry soap

– A universal drain plug

I shove all of that into my Big Shot backpack, and I’m ready to go! Not many outfit choices, and I’m stuck washing a few items in the sink every night but at least I don’t have to deal with lots of luggage! This is my packing list for when it’s HOT. I also would not recommend this “wash in the sink every nigh” technique if you are going someplace very humid or rainy, because your clothes will never dry and you will be miserable (on that note, remind me to tell you more about my Colombia trip.)

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