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Your Overland Tours Packing List

Overlanding Tours

With so many countries and regions around the world, your packing list will vary widely depending on where you are going and the time of year you are travelling. What you need to pack will also depend on the travel style. Our Adventure Tours require less specialist equipment as you enjoy more day to day comforts. To view our packing list for Adventure Tours or if you are taking a Budget Expedition tour through Asia, click here. Below is a detailed packing list but please be aware that this is a guide only.


The beauty of Overland Tours is that for the majority of the time, your luggage will sit either in the overland truck or a few metres away in your tent. However, it is important to remember that in some major cities and towns, you will be staying in hotels and hostels and the overland truck may struggle to get down the narrow and busy streets. There may be times when you will have to carry your luggage some distances, down cobbled streets and dirt tracks. Space is also an issue on the overland truck and with up to 34 other passengers, it is important to take a versatile and sturdy rucksack that can take wear and tear.

We recommend that you bring along a frameless backpack or a sports type shoulder bag as these are less bulky and easier to handle than rigid suitcases or framed backpacks. Suitcases are unsuitable for our tours and are not recommended. Tucan Travel takes no responsibility for any damage to your luggage while on our vehicles or public transport. Make sure your backpack can be waterproofed and contains plenty of pockets as this makes living out of a backpack much easier. It is also recommended that you purchase a backpack where you can access the main body of the bag in multiple places and not just from the top.

In addition to your main bag, you will need a small daypack for your everyday excursions. Try to keep this bag as light as possible and make sure that all main sections of your bags can be padlocked. This daypack should have enough room to carry plenty of food and snacks for long hikes and treks and space to carry belongings for overnight excursions.

Sleeping bags

Sleeping bags and sleeping mats are essential on all Overland Tours where camping is necessary and on all Budget Expeditions in South America and Africa to make sure that you have a comfortable experience while camping.

The style and thickness of sleeping bag required depends on the region you’re travelling in. For all tours through Patagonia and areas of high altitude (Serengeti NP and Inca Trail for example) we recommend a four season bag with side zip which can be opened out when you reach warmer weather. If you do not have a four season sleeping bag, you may be able to purchase extra blankets locally. If you are doing an ‘Amazonia’ Overland Tour or you are travelling through Africa through the height of summer, you do not need a thick sleeping bag as the climate will be warmer. However, please be aware that weather can change from region to region and quite suddenly.

In terms of sleeping mats, Therm-a-rest self inflating mattresses are comfortable and provide protection against the cold ground, while foam roll mats are compact, inexpensive and have similar features. Avoid air mattresses as these can be bulky and puncture easily. You may also want to bring a sleeping sheet as this keeps your sleeping bag clean plus can be used on its own in hot weather.

Clothing & footwear

All clothes should be lightweight, durable and easily washable. Please do not bring any military or camouflage-style clothing as it can be dangerous to wear and occasionally illegal.

Everybody always packs too much, so rather than bringing lots of chunky sweaters, wear clothing in layers when in the colder regions. Nights can be cold at higher altitude so it is a good idea to bring at least one pair of warm trousers or jeans plus several thinner sweaters / fleeces which you can layer (note: it is very easy to buy extra sweaters / jumpers locally). Check the climate and altitude at http://www.weather2travel.com/ to get an idea of what the weather will be like on your tour.

It is also essential that you have good, comfortable shoes that are suitable for walking and trekking. These don’t need to be expensive boots, but they should have good ankle support and grip, be worn in and ideally waterproof.

If you are trekking the Inca Trail please see the Inca Trail Information Sheet for notes on packing and load limits. If you find that you have forgotten something, especially clothing, don’t worry as it is normally cheap and easy to purchase locally. Clothes in extra large sizes, however, might be more difficult to find in some regions.

When on safari, we recommend wearing neutral colours to increase your chances of watching animals in their natural environment. We also recommend avoiding blue or black clothing. These colours attract tsetse flies which deliver a painful sting

“When you are packed and all ready to depart on your holiday, you should discard half your luggage and take twice as much money”.

The Essentials

The essential items vary from region to region, depending on the time of year, the altitude and the place you are travelling. Make sure you pack plenty of layers and clothes that will keep you sufficiently dry if it rains.

The following items are important for all of our tours and are easily forgotten in the excitement of preparing for your trip.

    A lightweight water/windproof jacket with hood
    Easy to pack wide-brimmed hat or cap
    Sarong - can be useful as a beach towel, bag, hat, shawl and a wrap around
    Towel - you will need a towel for most overnight excursions and while camping.
    Sandals or thongs / jandals / flip flops

Suggested Equipment

The Tucan Travel team have travelled the world and have decades worth of travel experience altogether. With so many years of travel experience, they have become experts in packing and preparing for Overland Tours.

Below are some recommended items and useful tips you might not think of before you depart on your Overland Tour.

Judit in Africa Owen in Africa Becca in Zambia

Judit Angeli

Destination Manager for Africa

Bring a tent light

"This was handy when just getting changed inside the tent or when rummaging through your backpack at night. At times, we also used it making dinner when there was no electricity."

Owen Denton

Sales Executive and ex Tour Leader

Pack warm clothes

"It’s amazing how many people don’t realise it gets very cold in Africa sometimes, especially in places with high altitude. Pack thermal underwear and plenty of layers."

Becca Thompson

Digital Marketing Manager

Don’t wear white

"By the end of your tour it will be an indistinguishable colour somewhere between grey and brown. Bring clothes that are easy to wash and you don’t mind leaving behind."


The following list is equally as important if not more so and will help make your overlanding experience easier and more comfortable. We have left out the obvious such as clothing and footwear as this will vary depending on trip length and destination:

    Money belt
    Small calculator
    Lockable pouch for your money and valuables to use in safety deposit boxes.
    Plastic bags for waterproofing
    Inflatable pillow
    Small collapsible umbrella
    Pegless washing line & travel laundry detergent (bio-degradable preferably)
    Universal washbasin plug
    Swiss army type penknife
    Head torch or flashlight
    Travel alarm clock
    Travel plug adaptor with a USB port
    Small medical kit with diarrhoea remedy, rehydration salts,  antiseptic cream, sterile dressings, plasters, bandages, pain-killers, safety pins etc.
    Small sewing kit
    Lip balm, sun block with high UV factor
    Insect repellent (DEET 35% min) and bite cream
    Toilet paper (best to carry a roll with you at all times) and/or tissues
    Antibacterial hand cleansing gel
    Wet wipes
    Ear plugs and sleep mask
    Travel sickness tablets
    Cheap plastic wristwatch
    Spare pair of spectacles or contact lenses and solution
    Plenty of spare memory cards for your camera.
    Hard drive or USB stick to back up your photos.
    Spare rechargeable batteries for camera.
    Writing materials, address book and diary
    Pocket size phrasebook
    Travel games, cards and a couple of paperbacks
    As gifts for local children - pens, coloured pencils, small notepads. To discourage a begging mentality we recommend that you try to give these gifts at schools or childcare centres rather than on the street.

Have you been on an Overland Tour for a long period of time and have a useful tip or piece of advice for future travellers? Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with more information.


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