Beauty Packing Lists

Ultralight Travel: Packing List for North and West Africa in a 24L Backpack

The next packing record for North and West Africa was submitted by Elizabeth McCarthy. Be sure you take a look at more of our packing listing posts.

Packing mild for a journey to multiple climates can appear daunting. Including places less commonly visited by tourists to the combination will increase the challenge. Your first instinct may be to pack all the things you possibly can consider— just in case. Nevertheless, I discover packing mild is particularly useful for these experiences. With much less stuff, it is simpler to navigate crowded public transportation, to maintain your bag with you on the bus, and to start out exploring instantly on arrival as an alternative of needing to drop your luggage.

On a current journey to North and West Africa, I decided to take my 24L Cotopaxi Nazca journey pack as my only bag. After plenty of planning and apply packing, I used to be very proud of my determination.

Chrysalis cardi, hijab type in Biskra, Algeria. Photograph by Mark Gallardo.

The Journey Particulars

The trip was 5 and a half weeks long. I used to be touring with my companion, who additionally had a 24L bag. We started in Algeria, then visited Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. We had overnight layovers in Cairo, Casablanca, and London. As a result of we traveled in January, it was relatively chilly in the north and scorching and humid farther south.

One of the things that made this journey nice— and packing harder— was the number of activities, lodging varieties, and modes of transportation concerned. Typically we have been in cities visiting museums and staying at resorts, whereas different occasions we have been in parks and wildlife sanctuaries happening day hikes. We additionally stayed at Airbnbs and Couchsurfed.

We flew, took trains, buses, bush taxis, and motorbike taxis. I can’t advocate this for safety reasons, however greater than as soon as just one motorbike taxi was out there to take both of us. That meant three individuals and two luggage on one motorbike. It might not have been an choice if we had giant luggage. Smaller luggage mean extra freedom and flexibility.

Additional Packing Issues

You’ll notice a couple of things not usually discovered on a minimalist packing record. One among my favourite actions is viewing wildlife, which suggests I not often go on a journey without binoculars. I didn’t have room for my chook and mammal subject guides, so I put e-versions of them on my telephone. Prioritize what’s essential to you!

It was important for us to have additional area in our luggage so we might carry food and purchase souvenirs. At one level we would have liked sufficient food for three days, and we managed to squeeze all of it into our two luggage. Whereas this will likely appear to be a lengthy record, the whole lot fit in my bag with room to spare.

About to get on the boat to Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Sierra Leone. Photograph by Mark Gallardo.

Clothes and Equipment

  • 1 pair black travel/climbing pants
  • 1 pair unfastened pants
  • 1 pair light-weight base layer leggings – I wore these to sleep, underneath pants or a skirt when it was chilly, and underneath a gown for more modesty.
  • 1 black maxi skirt – I also used this as a bathing go well with cowl up.
  • 1 camisole
  • 1 lengthy sleeved shirt
  • 1 brief sleeved shirt
  • 1 unfastened 3/four length sleeved shirt
  • 1 light-weight merino wool pullover sweater
  • four pairs socks – 1 pair SmartWool
  • 6 pairs underwear – 2 ExOfficio
  • 1 bikini
  • 3 bras – 1 underwire, 1 bralette, 1 sports activities
  • 1 Chrysalis cardi – I ended up using this a lot—principally to cover my head in Algeria, but in addition as a scarf, gown, cape, and wrap. I’m not as proud of it as many, as a result of it is costly for what it’s, and a number of of the snaps started coming unfastened although most of the time I wasn’t even using them!
  • 1 light-weight rain jacket – I made a decision not to deliver a heavier jacket. The plan was to purchase a jacket in Algeria if I used to be chilly, and give it away once we left as an alternative of carrying one for the whole journey. I didn’t find yourself needing to purchase one. The only time I used to be cold was the last night time on our layover in London.
  • multiclava – This is Eddie Bauer’s model of the multi-functional Buff. It was especially helpful to cover my nostril and mouth whereas on public transportation in Nigeria, where pollution and mud have been a drawback. Additionally, in elements of Algeria the place it’s advisable ladies cover their hair, I used it as a headband and tucked my Chrysalis Cardi into it to maintain it in place. I’m not hijab skilled, but that system worked fairly properly.
  • solar hat
  • 2 pairs of earrings
  • 1 ring – I wore it as a decoy wedding ceremony ring.
  • watch
  • sunglasses


what i packed for north and west africa

It appears like a long listing, however it all fit into a 24L bag with room to spare.


  • travel adapter
  • compact digital camera with giant zoom and case
  • 3 SD playing cards
  • iPhone and waterproof case
  • Kindle Hearth and cover – I was not planning on bringing this. I acquired it for Christmas a few days earlier than our journey so determined I’d as properly take it. It was helpful but undoubtedly not needed.
  • headphones
  • bluetooth headphones – These have been nice for loud aircraft and bus journeys, as they block out more noise than my normal ones.
  • headphone splitter
  • charging cables – for telephone, digital camera, and Kindle/headphones
  • battery charger – for AA and AAA rechargeable batteries
  • Steripen with rechargeable batteries – Our model is a number of years previous and requires batteries. Newer fashions might be charged by way of USB and are smaller. We discovered using rechargeable batteries to be a nice system. I do know some individuals say this is an unnecessary item, but we really appreciated having it. It decreased the number of water sachets and bottles we had to purchase, lessening our environmental influence. Once we stayed in places with operating water we have been also capable of shortly treat it for cooking and consuming.
  • headlamp with rechargeable batteries – Once more, having rechargeable batteries was great! Alternatively, USB charging headlamps at the moment are out there.
  • energy bank – I charged this each time I might as a result of there was no understanding when electricity can be out there subsequent.


  • electric toothbrush – it’s the dimensions of a regular toothbrush and the battery lasts for three months
  • dental floss and picks
  • toothpaste
  • dental retainers and case
  • package deal of 20 moist wipes
  • lip balm
  • journey measurement deodorant
  • menstrual cup
  • folding travel brush/mirror
  • tweezers
  • nail clippers
  • tiny nail file
  • Venus snap razor
  • partial bar of Dove soap
  • Dr. Bronner’s liquid cleaning soap
  • conditioner
  • physique lotion
  • strong laundry cleaning soap – We also purchased laundry powder alongside the best way, and used Dr. Bronner’s.
  • rest room paper

*I picked up shampoo and bathe gel from lodges on the journey.

what to pack for north and west africa

Packing cubes in use.

Medical Package

  • malaria remedy – It’s your decision malaria prophylaxis as properly. Unfortunately I’m not capable of take it.
  • Azithromycin – antibiotic for diarrhea
  • Ibuprofen
  • Imodium
  • chilly drugs – day and night time
  • contraception
  • motion-sickness drugs
  • motion-sickness bands
  • sleep help
  • chewable antacid
  • anti-itch cream
  • eye drops
  • cough drops
  • antibiotic ointment
  • a number of adhesive bandages
  • sunscreen
  • DEET insect repellent

For Packing

  • Cotopaxi 24L Nazca journey pack
  • The PNW Co. packable waterproof backpack – I really like this thing! We used it as our daypack. If I had bought a lot of souvenirs I might have used it as a personal merchandise on the flights again, but every part match in my primary bag.
  • giant and small drawstring stuff sacks – I used the small one for electronics equipment like cables and SD cards. The massive one typically had food and spices in it.
  • small toiletry bag
  • giant, medium, and small compression packing cubes
north and west africa packing list

What’s inside my bag.

The whole lot Else

  • passport
  • yellow ebook of vaccinations
  • pockets
  • passport wallet – I used it as a purse typically when my outfit didn’t have a pocket for my telephone.
  • credit and debit playing cards
  • cash – five 100 USD payments. Some locations we went you get a a lot better trade price utilizing money changers as an alternative of ATMs. Other places didn’t have ATMs.
  • copies of passport – We had to give one copy to an official, so it was nice to have two copies.
  • copy of itinerary/flight reservations
  • plastic folio for paperwork and money
  • 2 pens
  • compact binoculars – Notice: We discovered the exhausting method that bringing binoculars into Algeria is unlawful. Ours have been confiscated on the airport. We have been very relieved to get them back simply before leaving the country, however it was unclear if we might for a whereas.
  • small tripod
  • combination lock
  • Vapur collapsible water bottle
  • spork
  • several plastic zip luggage of various sizes
  • rubber bands
  • additional hair elastics
  • earplugs
  • eye mask
  • permethrin-treated mosquito internet – As a result of I was touring with my companion, we have been capable of share some things. He carried our mosquito internet. If I had been traveling alone, I’ll have needed to depart a couple gadgets of clothes out to fit it comfortably, because it’s lightweight but cumbersome. I’ve learn on several packing lists that this is an unnecessary merchandise. Nevertheless, for us it was absolutely required. The overwhelming majority of places we stayed didn’t provide them. Destination and lodging varieties will aid you decide whether or not it is needed for a specific journey.

>> You could be interested in these things to pack that clear up issues.

female packing list for north and west africa

With all my stuff in the Sacred Grove of Osogbo, Nigeria. Photograph by Mark Gallardo.

Things I introduced however didn’t use

  • USB thumb drive
  • rain cover – Completely happy to have and not need!
  • 2 lash straps – To strap issues to the surface of my bag. I gained’t convey them subsequent time.
  • shoulder sling strap – My backpack converts to a shoulder bag, so it comes with a shoulder strap. Whereas it may be useful, I didn’t need it for this trip.

Concerning the Writer: Initially from Pennsylvania, Elizabeth went to graduate faculty in Australia and presently lives in Oregon. She works seasonally as a subject biologist, which leaves loads of time for travel the remainder of the yr.

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