When Clint Eastwood, starring as Korean War vet Walt Kowalski in the 2008 drama Gran Torino, introduces his workshop to Thao—a young Hmong teenager from a neighboring house—he says: “Take these three items right here. You can have this. WD-40, vise grips, and some duct tape. Any man worth his salt can do half the household chores with just those three things.”

Although most of us have no intention of figuring out the set of three essential items a traveler can manage his daily activities with—in fact, Mr. Kowalski’s approach probably shouldn’t be applied to traveling—provided below is a basic list of 10 practical items (excluding personal items such as toiletries and the more obvious sun cream/bug repellents) found to be useful on any trip to Mongolia, be it trekking, horseback riding, or sightseeing in the city. If you have questions regarding other items you want to bring but are not sure about, feel welcome to Contact Us.

Tents & Pack List Tips | Mongolia | Nomadic Expeditions

Large, flexible bag

It’s usually better to have a large, flexible bag instead of a hard suitcase to keep your main luggage in, because you will likely load it from luggage compartments to cars and so forth multiple times. You won’t be carrying it around with you every day, however, so it depends on the specificity of your trip. If you have pack animals (usually horses, or camels in some cases) carrying your luggage, soft bags are recommended.

Backpack or small bag

Backpack and small bag (belt pouch/ hip bag/ bum bag/etc): Besides putting your daily items in a backpack, having a small bag with your valuables—like your wallet and travel documents—is handy. As far as dimensions go, it should be small enough to carry around at nearly all times and big enough to fit valuable items.

Headlamp

This is extremely useful at nights and while tenting. Headlamps are priceless when reading at night as electricity is nearly unavailable in the countryside except in soum (town or administrative district) centers, where coverage is still somewhat unpredictable.

Rubber slippers

These are a must, especially when using showers in most ger camps.

Binoculars, camera, and camera accessories

Abundant wildlife spotting requires active searching in many cases, so if you really want to make the most of your time, binoculars are irreplaceable. If you take photos and/or use special camera accessories, be sure not to forget them as it might not be easy to find the right materials. Ulaanbaatar is the first and last resort for photo equipment and binoculars.

Personal medication

Although we provide first aid kits with basic supplies, it is forbidden to dispense medication of any kind by law. Make sure to bring your own medications, based on your traveling experiences and personal knowledge of your current health.

Warm coat/jacket and layers

The weather in Mongolia is unpredictable, and nights have been known to dip below freezing even in the summer in some regions. Therefore, multiple layers are always recommended: remember, you can always take layers off or put them back on. Raincoats and ponchos are not only a must for occasional rainy weather, but they can be good insulators when placed outside your sleeping bag.

Trekking shoes

These are very important in all regions of the countryside. From the Altai mountain range to the Gobi Desert, all terrains are truly wild and contain their own difficulties, wildlife and plant life. It is crucial to keep these on hand at all times as you traverse each region.

Riding boots for horse trekking

Unless you’re wearing chaps, tall riding boots are invaluable to protect your legs from chafing.

Ziploc bags

Besides their usual usage, putting valuables (documents, phone, etc) in Ziploc bags is a good idea to protect them from damaging rain and dust.


This post was constructed by independent blogger Setsen Altan-Ochir.