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What To Pack for South America

What To Pack for South America

South America Clothes | The Essentials

Versatility is key.

There are a few special bits of clothing that you’ll need to bring to South America, but by and large you’ll be wearing and rotating the same shorts, t-shirts, and vests for much of your trip and across most of your experiences.

Remember though, it is NOT always warm and sunny in South America. Despite how the movies and TV series may regularly depict it, there are microclimates within microclimates and such climate diversity across the continent, and anybody going on a trip longer than a month or two is almost guaranteed to go from one place where it’s dry season to another where it’s wet season (or at least feels and acts like it).

Also, many of the the most popular cities to visit (i.e. Cusco) are at high altitude. This means that, regardless of season, it gets pretty chilly at night and you will be incredibly thankful to have packed that lightweight fleece or jumper and a thick pair of socks.

Lastly, it’s a personal bug bear of ours that some travellers to South America exclusively dress like they’re in the Amazon, on a hike, or that they’re at the beach. This is regardless of whether they’re actually exploring a cool city like Medellin, the ephemeral beauty of Buenos Aires, or a colonial masterpiece just as Salvador da Bahia. Just pack some relatively nice or stylish clothes that you’d, you know, wear at home if you were going out in a city!! Of course, nobody should backpack based an Instagram-driven aesthetic, but it really is nice to feel and look nice sometimes when you’re on the road and doesn’t make you any less of a traveller.

Ok, rant over.

This is what each person should pack for their South America basics.


one x lightweight mid-zip fleece | An absolute essential for South America, whether you’re travelling in dry or rainy season. We bought a couple which would be suitable for all our hikes and any chillier evenings in high-altitude cities (spoiler: there’s a whole bunch of these), but wouldn’t take up too much room or weigh too much. Emily’s Berghaus fleece did the job and is a very affordable option, whilst Andrew spent a bit more on this North Face fleece as he’d gone through cheaper ones too quickly before.

one x hoody or cosy jumper | For bus days, hostel days, adding an extra layer days. The lightweight fleece could easily replace this option, but we liked to have something a bit more snuggly and which didn’t make us look like we were just about…

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