The Most Extensive Peace Corps Packing List EVER

If you’re reading this, you’re probably freaking out right now. How can I possibly fit everything that I need for two years in just two, fifty pound bags?! Well I’m here to tell you, don’t worry about it. If there is anything that you should get out of this packing list, this is it: when it comes to anything you decide to bring, make sure it is either going to be useful or bring you joy (bonus if it’s both). Following this rule will make sure that when you arrive in country you will be happy with what you brought and not regret anything. This list is what Eric and I wish we brought, though it is pretty close to what we actually have here. Now let’s get into the nitty gritty.

I wish I brought more of these and less clothes

 

CLOTHING

Tina’s Picks

Dresses and Tops
2 dresses (can be worn casually or for work)
1 nice dress (for weddings or swearing in)
7+ polyester blouses (NOT see-through so you don’t have to wear an undershirt)
2 lightweight casual t-shirts
2 lightweight casual tank tops
3 workout shirts
2 lightweight cardigans (one black/grey, one navy blue)

Bottoms
2 pants (can be worn casually or for work)
2 patterned flowy pants/capris (can be worn casually or for work + GREAT for traveling)
1 black leggings
3 skirts (around knee length or longer – some areas are stricter than others about women showing their legs)
2 yoga/workout capris
1 sweatpants/joggers
2 running shorts

Swimwear
2 bikini tops
1 board shorts (I prefer these but it seems like regular bottoms are fine as well in metropolitan areas)

Outerwear
1 fleece wind breaker jacket (wind breaker is important)
1 nano puff winter jacket
1 lightweight raincoat

Socks and Undergarments
1 slipper socks
5-8 pairs socks (all darn tough brand if possible – they have an unconditional lifetime guarantee)
8 exofficio underwear
3 exofficio bras
2 sports bras
1 hiking gaiters
1 pair calf compression sleeves

Shoes
1 hiking/running shoes
1 durable activewear sandal
2 Toms classics
2 dressy sandals/flip flips
1 black heels
1 house shoes (I have flip flops)

Miscellaneous
2 hats (one sun hat, one trucker hat)
1 winter scarf
1 winter hat
1 winter gloves
2 good polarized sunglasses
5 buffs
5 lightweight scarves (for work)
jewelry (nothing of great value)

It does get cold here. Especially at the coast.

 

Eric’s Picks

Tops
5 cotton t shirts
3 workout shirts
3 undershirts
10 dress shirts (some long some short sleeve)

Bottoms
1 sweatpants
1 compression tights
2 athletic/running shorts
1 casual shorts
1 board shorts
6 pants (can be worn for work or casually)

Outerwear
1 sweater
1 base layer top
1 rain jacket
1 patagonia nanopuff jacket

Socks and Undergarments
12 pairs socks
1 hiking gaiters
3 exofficio underwear
5 boxers

Shoes
1-2 hiking/running shoes
2 dress/work shoes
1 durable activewear sandal

Miscellaneous
5 ties
1 belt
1 sun hat
3 buffs
3 gloves
1 scarf
1 fleece buff
2 sunglasses

Pretty much what Eric wears everyday after school.

 

TOILETRIES

Dental Care
1 sonicare toothbrush w/ travel case (highly recommended by tina)
1 sonicare spare brush head
1 spare basic toothbrush
1 toothbrush with case (eric’s)
2 tubes natural toothpaste (they have regular brands here)
2 travel sized natural toothpaste (good for weekend travel)
1 retainer

Hair & Body Care
3 natural travel soaps (you’ll want this during the first few days before you can get to a store)
1 leave in conditioner
1 Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap (I use this for laundry and bathing)
1 Dr. Bronner’s hair cleanser
1 razor + 4 replacement blades
3 natural deodorants (they have regular brands here)
8 of tina’s favorite lip balms (the med kit ones are just ok.)
essential oils (most importantly tea tree, lavender, and peppermint)
1 gold bond peppermint foot powder
1 travel sized q-tips (haven’t seen these here)
1 bag organic cotton balls (they have these here)
2 nail clippers (one big, one small)
1 toiletry scissors
1 nail file
2 hair brushes (one bristle, one flat)

Feminine Hygiene
2 lunette cup (bring 2 because if you lose one in a pit latrine you will be very upset)

Supplements
emergen-c chewable tablets
vegan B12
vegan omega-3 capsules

Miscellaneous
1 package anti-bacterial wipes (to wipe down tray table and arm rests on the plane)
1 travel mirror
2 extra spray bottles (I make my own perfume and deodorant with essential oils and filtered water)
1 mini first aid kit (for hiking)
2 bandanas (cut into 4’s and used as hankies)

Packed for a week long Peace Corps training.

 

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

camp towels
glasses repair kit (for sunglasses or glasses)
1 memory foam pillow (I love my pillow and I couldn’t live without it for 2 years)
pillow cases
travel sewing kit
AA batteries
AAA batteries
leatherman/swiss army knife
rechargeable flashlight
duct tape/gorilla tape
gorilla glue
twine
command strip hooks
pens and pencils
sharpies
notebooks
1 chef knife (I use this everyday)
1 serrated knife
1 rubber spatula
good can opener
ice pack(s)
Klean Kanteen 1L insulated water bottle (cold water is life)
Nalgene water bottle
To-go Ware reusable cutlery
tupperware (great to bring lunch during training)
reusable grocery bags (use every week)
travel tea cup (used every day during training)
rubber bands
water bottle brush + straw brush (gotta keep the water bottles clean!)
spices (filled a 1 gallon zip lock with different spices in containers – things that are hard to find here are red pepper flakes and chili powder)
nice tea + tea ball

ELECTRONICS

Laptop (something that will last 2 years) with keyboard cover (to keep the dust out)
2 iPhone 5s (just make sure whatever phone you bring has a removable SIM card)
Kindle paperwhite + case
Micro 4/3 digital camera w/ lenses
film camera
multiple rolls of film
portable bluetooth speaker (use almost everyday)
camera tripod
camera mini tripod
mini action video camera
associated chargers
1 extra iPhone charger (they break and aren’t the easiest to find)
3 outlet adaptors (type M)
2 US power strips
1 US extension chord
1 TB external hard drive (brought this empty, easy to fill up with stuff from other volunteers)
multiple USB thumb drives (good for presentations, printing out tests or worksheets at school)
4 ear buds

You will definitely need a laptop for school/work.

 

HOBBY ITEMS

2 eno hammocks + straps (one tina’s, one eric’s)
2 person backpacking tent
sleeping bag liner + thermarest travel blanket (tina’s summer/weekend set-up)
1 summer sleeping bag (eric’s summer/weekend set-up)
2 winter sleeping bags
2 sleeping pads (essential for weekend travel)
parachord (many uses)
2 headlamps (essential – the power goes out sometimes)
eno twilights
flint + steel
trekking poles (tina’s)
2 climbing shoes + chalk
2 hydration bladders
sawyer mini water filter (for camping)
swim cap, goggles, ear plugs
drawing pencils + sketchpad (tina’s)
ukulele + travel bag (If you play guitar, maybe bring a guitar. It has been hard to find one within the Peace Corps budget.)
longboard + extra parts (eric’s)
bike lock, bike pump (essential if you have a bike here)
grip strength trainer
muscle roller
resistance band
15 books (including a namibia travel guide)
settlers of catan (I ditched the box and brought just the pieces)
2 decks of playing cards
deflated soccer balls

Hobby items are what make Namibia feel like home! Don’t skimp on the things that make you happy.


LUGGAGE + BAGS

travel neck wallet (good for the airport but don’t use it day to day)
patagonia 33L backpack (weekend travel pack)
eagle creek 55L travel backpack (weekend travel pack)
gregory sage 55L backpack (for camping)
osprey exos 58L backpack (for camping)
osprey syncro 10L hydration day pack (for short hikes)
REI stoke 9L day pack (for short hikes)
2 extra large duffel bags
2 large rolling suitcase (osprey has very nice ones)
eagle creek packing cubes (various sizes)
hanging toiletry bag
camera bag
2 purses (1 medium, 1 small)

MISCELLANEOUS

sleep mask
ear plugs
2 travel neck pillows
bank of america travel rewards card (no international fees and I set it up to pay automatically from my bank of america checking account – great in case of emergency or if I want to book anything for vacations)
caribiners
print pictures (bring a few things that will make your place feel like home)
sarongs (can be used as curtains, tapestries, or skirts)
stickers (for the kids)
colored pencils, markers, crayons (for the kids)
american souveniers for host families

WHAT PEACE CORPS GIVES YOU


MEDICAL KIT (free refills on these items aka don’t buy these)
floss
condoms
sunscreen
bugspray
lip balm
safety whistle
iodine water purification tablets
scissors
ibuprofen
acetaminophen
antacid
lozenges
neosporin
hydrocortisone cream
anti-itch gel
oral rehydration salts
saline eye drops
assorted band aids
ace bandage
medical tape
thermometers
tweezers

OTHER
bug net + hooks
lockable green trunk

BY REQUEST
water filter
N$900 bike allowance + free bike helmet

THAT’S IT! I hope this ridiculously extensive packing article helps you pack for the Peace Corps. Just remember, make sure it is either going to be useful or bring you joy (bonus if it’s both). What works for me won’t necessarily work for you, but I hope you can use this as a guideline. And don’t forget to spend time with friends and family because you can’t pack them!

Remember that you can always get something shipped from home if you forgot it.

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