Essential Items to Pack for Your Trip to Mongolia

Plan ahead for your experience with the nomadic people of Mongolia with Lisa Cape's tips on what to pack, and what to expect from Mongolian food.

Photo © Getty Images/Anton Petrus

My mother always told me, "Wash your hands, and have clean underwear."

So when preparing for a 12-day, self-organized trip with six other adventurous women to Mongolia, these words of wisdom rang clear.

Mongolia offers a chance to experience perhaps the last of the truly nomadic people on the planet. In such a commercial, fast paced world, Mongolia gives travelers the rare opportunity to escape, even from time itself.

To protect this pristine and delicate status quo, all travelers have a responsibility not only to protect the environment, but also to protect themselves. You need to think about your safety, your belongings, and for some, your diet.

I should point out that one woman in our group is a vegan – a culinary challenge anywhere you travel. However, with the staple diet in Mongolia being anything that can be derived from Yak milk and a hearty blend of meat, meat, and more meat, it made for very creative suggestions on what we should pack. After some serious (and not so serious) research and constructive input, we compiled the following suggested checklist.

Food to Pack for Mongolia

  • Two-minute noodles
  • Freeze-dried meals (just add water)
  • Space-food sticks
  • Muesli bars
  • Hard candy, nuts, trail mix, dried fruit
  • Gastrolite and hydrolyte tablets
  • Tea bags and coffee
  • Spices – sugar, chili flakes, salt and pepper packets

Other Things to Pack for Mongolia

  • Toilet paper, baby wipes, sanitary hand gel
  • Fully "topped up" first aid kit
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Clothes line
  • Small fold-up umbrella  for shielding yourself when you need to pee roadside
  • Can opener (apparently cans are not of the pull-ring variety)
  • Ladies sanitary products
  • Red wine (that’s just for my daily required intake)

Needless to say that for the dietary-challenged member of our group, it was more about survival than taste, I’m afraid. However you prepare and whatever you take, just remember that you have five senses – and use them all to fully experience the wonderful thing that is travel.

Now back to my mother...

A few years ago, the same usual suspects who accompanied me to Mongolia ventured to the Elvis Festival in Parkes. Yes, in the middle of Australian summer, we headed off to the heartland of high temperatures, sandals, and singlets. What we got was two nights in a tent with 44°F (7°C) nighttime temperatures and a backpack full of inappropriate attire. I slept with two pairs of clean undies on my head, a pair around each foot and a pair around each hand... which also kept my hands clean!

Ah, my Mum's haunting words. Who knew they would become a travel mantra.

Listen to the World Nomads Travel Podcast - Mongolia

The best treks, the art of throat singing, and why travelers describe Mongolia as one big campground.

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