India Semester Packing Suggestions
Lugging a heavy pack around for the entire time we are in Asia can be extremely tiresome. We can find almost anything you’ll need in India, and you’ll also want to have room to pick up gifts. Seriously challenge yourself to pack light, and lighter still…you definitely will not regret it! That said, you will not want to leave out any of the cold weather clothing/gear suggestions--our trek in the Himalayas will require appropriate protection against cold weather.
Internal Frame Backpack – Your main “suitcase” should be comfortable, durable, and as light as possible…
Daypack – A book-bag or fanny-pack to use for daily excursions.
Duffel Bag – While you’ll want to be able to fit all of your things in a backpack and daypack, an extra duffel can be handy. This bag should be nylon and relatively durable.
Stuff Sacks – Light-weight and compact, using stuff sacks to separate clothes, food, toiletries, and everything else will bring order to your pack, and make your life simpler.
Ziploc Bags – Like stuff sacks, these can be invaluable for organizing and keeping things organized and dry.
Money Belt – A very important item to wear daily, under your clothes, safely hiding your passport, money, etc.
Sleeping Bag – Sleeping bags should be “mummy” style and have a temperature rating between 0 and 20 degrees.
Sleeping Pad – Much heat is lost through the ground, and a good insulating layer between the bag and the ground is important.
Water Bottle – Please bring two, one-quart, plastic. Nalgene bottles can be found at local outdoor gear shops.
Water Filter (MSR Sweetwater is a good one)
Head Lamp – Flashlights are okay, but headlamps are more convenient.
Alarm Clock/Watch – Travel-size, to catch early buses and trains.
Swiss Army Knife
Down Jacket – (Not vest.)
Outer Shell – Water-proof or gore-tex, ideally light-weight and breathable. Make sure any design detail on the shoulders won’t irritate you under the weight of your pack.
T-shirts – 3, in decent shape, but prepared for wear and tear.
Dress shirt – 1, for meetings and special occasions.
Pants – 2, ideally light weight. (Jeans are heavy and take a long time to dry.)
Thermal Underwear – 1 top, 1 bottom.
Gloves & Warm Hat
Socks & Underwear – 5 pairs each.
Sleepwear – Ideally, T-shirt/shorts can double for this. Minimize extra weight!
Skirt/Dress – Good idea for women, though you may want to buy an inexpensive skirt in Asia.
Hiking Boots – We recommend something fairly rigid, with good ankle support and most importantly, boots that are comfortable and already broken in to avoid blisters!
Sneakers – Durable and comfortable, for daily wear.
Sandals – Good for every day use in hot weather.
TOILETRIES (Just the basics! No hair driers, irons, etc):
Toothbrush & paste
Towel – Small and light (and ideally fast-drying).
Medications – That you take regularly. PVI will carry a separate first aid bag.
Glasses/Contacts – if you wear them.
Camera & film – Film is widely available in Asia. You should bring an extra camera battery and memory card if using a digital camera.
Book – Ideally about the places we will visit (we can swap around to minimize weight).
Gifts – A few light items to share with new friends (post cards of your home state, a simple t-shirt, a small calendar or picture book).
Passport!!! – Good for at least 6 months from the beginning of your program.
Extra Passport Photos – Bring 6 extra passport photos with you for visas.
Spending Money – This of course depends a great deal on your personal spending/shopping habits. In our experience, some participants spend less than $100 of personal money during an entire semester, while others spend over $1,000. We suggest bringing at least $500 in American Express traveler's cheques, in a mix of $20 and $50 denominations.
Shorts – 1 pair, at least mid-thigh length (shorts won’t be appropriate much of the time; in fact, you may never wear them, but they can be good to sleep in).
Bandana – These can serve multiple purposes while traveling
Umbrella – A lightweight, travel umbrella can serve you well in rain or shine.
Extra Reading Book(s) – Bring one to trade!
Extra Stuff Sacks
Duct Tape – Wrap a bunch around your water bottles or Tupperware bowl, and pull it off as you need it.
Purell – A small bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel or anti-bacterial hand-wipes.