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If you’re doing the Race, you’ve been waiting for this. 

Maybe you didn’t know you were waiting for this, but you were. 

I’m going to lay out a detailed, in-depth packing list that will hopefully be helpful in all of your packing endeavors. 

Since future Racers will now be in Gainesville, GA for 6 weeks, I think I can bring a valuable perspective since my squad and the squads this year were the first to experience living in Georgia for an extended period of time. 

When I started planning and researching what to pack for my Race, I realized that there was generally a lack of in-depth blogs with clear packing lists. So that’s what I’m here for. I’ve included links to items I’ve liked, so that they’re easy to find. There’s also a part one of this series where I talk about some helpful and not-so-helpful items on my Race, so check that out!

Okay, that’s all. Without further ado, the World Race Gap Year packing list you’ve been waiting for!

 


 

Gear

Big Pack: I had the Rei Traverse Women’s 65L pack. I thought the 65L was a perfect size. I wouldn’t get any bigger, personally. I also think 60L would be great because it’d force you to pack a little lighter! 

28L Day Pack: Any backpack that’s around this size will work great! Just make sure it has plenty of loops to clip things onto and lots of pockets! Here’s two that I recommend: 

Tent: This one from REI was affordable and I had no problems with it! I definitely recommend a 2 person tent so that you can fit your gear in with you. 

Sleeping pad: Ok, this is where you gotta weigh your options. On the Race, I’ve generally seen two types of sleeping pads. They are self-inflating (SI) ones, and one you have to blow up yourself. There are pros and cons to both. SI pads typically have a little foam built in, are easier to set up, and are a little more heavy-duty. The only con is that they normally take up a lot of space. On the other side, the pad that you blow up yourself are great if you want to be more space conscious, and they are just as comfy as SI pads. The only con is that they can get holes a little more easier. Think about what you value and need! I originally had an SI pad but if I were to go back, I’d get the kind you blow up yourself. Links to good options for both are below!

Sleeping bag and/or down blanket: I personally would not bring a sleeping bag because my down blanket was all I needed! I did need a sleeping bag in the colder months in GA, but next year’s Racers won’t be there that long. The down blanket was also so nice for those chilly mornings in GA at devos and breakfast! If you do bring both, I’d recommend a lighter-weight sleeping bag. You can also get away with just one sleeping bag, but I’d make sure it’s for colder temps. The links to both the sleeping bag and down blanket I used are below:

Pillow: I brought my big pillow from home in a carrying case, and I did not regret it at ALL. This depends on how much you’ll be carrying when you travel. If you’re bringing something else big like a guitar, it’d be pretty hard to bring a big pillow too. 

Sleeping sheet: I’m a big fan of the one that I got. Most sleeping sheets are cocoon shaped and made of a weird camping material that’s kinda icky. This one was roomy, and since it was cotton, it reminded me of the sheets I used at home. It was also great to use by itself when it was super hot in Georgia.

Packing cubes: These are knockoffs from the eagle creek brand, but they are super affordable and good quality! They’ve lasted me my whole Race! The set they come in is all the packing cubes I needed. 

Airporter: I recommend this one from REI! I originally got the Osprey airporter, and so did many people on my squad. A lot of ours were destroyed by the end of our first travel day so I really don’t recommend it. 

 


 

Clothes & Shoes 

Clothes are obviously pretty subjective to each person’s tastes. They also depend a  lot on the countries you’re going to. Here’s just a general outline of what I personally would pack after having done the Race. 

Tips: 

  • LESS IS MORE. I wish I had brought less clothes. Remember that you can drop and pick up anything along your Race.
  • Bring what you wear at home. Don’t bring clothes for the sake of them being “missionary” or “World Race” type clothes. You probably won’t end up really wearing them, they’ll just take up space, and there will be times you wish you could just wear some normal clothes.
  • With that, keep in mind that most of your clothes are going to get moldy, dirty, hole-y, and just be absolutely disgusting by the end of your Race. Some key, good-quality items are good (like Patagonia baggies) but don’t break the bank! Thrift stores are a great place to shop 🙂

7-8 Shirts:

  • 4 normal t-shirts 
  • 2 “nicer” plain shirts
  • 1 t-shirt designated for working out, manual labor, painting, etc.
  • 1 wide-strap tank-top

5-8 Bottoms: 

  • 2-3 pairs shorts: I recommend at least 1 pair of Patagonia baggies or something similar. I also really wished I had jean shorts on my Race.
  • 3-5 pairs pants: 
    • 1-2 pairs jeans 
    • 1 pair of something comfy (leggings or sweats) 
    • 1-2 pairs loose flowy pants 

1 knee-length or longer skirt 

1 knee-length or longer dress

3-4 Shoes: I like my shoes, so I packed a little heavier in this area. If you’re good with two pairs for the whole Race, go for that. But honestly, I’d say more than 4 might be a little excessive. Here’s what I recommend:

  • 1 pair birks or tevas
  • 1 pair excercise/running shoes
  • 1 pair tennishoes: I had my white Reeboks and I wore these ALL the time. 
  • Shower shoes 

 Outerwear: Another area that’s so different depending on the person. I also love my jackets, but keep in mind the countries you’re going to and if they’re hot or cold.

  • Rain jacket
  • Jean jacket: If you’re willing to lug it around, bring it. In Georgia, I was so grateful for my jean jacket. It was a nice extra layer when it got colder, and a great option for those Sundays when I wanted to look cuter!
  • 1 or 2 sweatshirts

Other stuff:

  • Underwear: At least 14 pairs. Don’t skimp or pack light on this. Your underwear WILL get disgusting and you’re bound to lose at least a few pairs. 
  • Socks: Depends on your shoe situation, for sure. I’d recommend 6 or 7 pairs in total. I loved having a pair of longer socks in GA, and then had about 5 pairs of no show socks.
  • Bras: 2 normal, 2 sports. What I classify as normal is like the Calvin Klein ones, but you do you.
  • One-piece swimsuit

Accessories: 

  • 1 bandana/scarf: I had a polka dot scarf from madewell and it was fun to switch things up. 
  • 1 beanie/hat: I LOVED having a beanie in GA!

 


 

Toiletries 

Random Recommendations: 

  • A toiletry bag that’s not too bulky: You honestly don’t need a big toiletry bag, and a smaller one will force you to pack a little lighter. Keep in mind that you can get replacements overseas. This shower roll from REI is a good one.
  • Shower caddy: You’ll need this in Georgia to lug all your stuff back and forth from the shower! Check out this mesh one from Amazon.
  • Shampoo/conditioner bars: If you get your hair used to these, they’re gonna be so good on the Race. They pack light, last forever, and don’t leak when you travel! Also very eco friendly, a plus. Hi-Bar is a great brand!
  • Face wash bar: So good for the same reasons! I’m a huge fan of Skin Foodie on etsy. Her face wash bars last me at least a year, and they’re a great price.
  • Reusable q-tip: A space saver and an eco friendly choice! You only have to bring one q-tip for your whole Race! Crazy! 
  • Soap bags: Game changers. Your soap can actually dry and not get squishy and moldy. Saves on space too! 
  • Loofa: I LOVE these. They’ll last your whole Race and won’t get disgusting.
  • Diva cup: Even if you don’t use a diva cup, TRY. Think about all the space you’ll save. Not to mention, it’s eco-friendly! 
  • Reusable cotton rounds: The best! All you have to do is wash them after you use them!
  • Dr. Bronner’s liquid and bar soap: Bring both! The bar was great as body wash, and the liquid is a good thing to have. It can be used as back-up shampoo, body-wash, or even laundry detergent!

Basics to remember:

  • Hair products 
  • Make-up & make-up bag
  • Face stuff: Whatever you need! I brought argan oil and Cerave face cream!
  • Lotion: A somewhat big one would be good to last you through GA, and I’m sure you can get more once you go to your first country. 
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Essential oils: I brought lavender and tea-tree oil! 
  • Floss
  • Febreeze fabric spray: After about a day in Georgia, your clothes and your body will not smell good. It’s the truth. Bring things that make you smell good.
  • Razor & razor head
  • Tweezers, nail clippers, etc. 
  • Mirror: A big one. Not one of those tiny travel mirrors. You’re gonna want this in GA, there’s very few mirrors. 
  • Baby wipes: You’ll want these. Especially in Georgia, they’re great for tent life. Whether that’s wiping out your tent, wiping your feet before you get in your tent, or cleaning up a spill, they’re great. There will also be times you can’t take a shower for a while and while these aren’t a substitute at all, they help.

 


 

Electronics 

Laptop

Kindle

Headphones or airpods

Charging chords

Power bank

Power strip

Adaptors: Depends on the countries you’re going to!

 


 

Miscellaneous

Watch: Not a necessity, but I recommend this for times when you won’t have your phone. This watch is great! I know a lot of people prefer shark leash ones, but this was super affordable and a cool option.

Head lamp

Repair patches

Tent repair kit

Compression/stuff sacks (5L x2, 10L x1)

Sun screen & Bug spray

Supplements & Meds: Make sure to look at what you’ll need for the countries you’re going to! I also recommend melatonin and vitamin C!

Towel: I recommend a light-weight Turkish towel or sarong. The quick-dry ones often get moldy and gross.

Bible, journal, and plenty of pens: Don’t be afraid to bring a big Bible! I’d bring two journals and then you can always buy more when you need them! I’m very particular about pens, and ran out of the ones I like (a sad day), so I’d definitely bring lots if you’re like me!

Peanut butter: Trust me. In GA, this is a MUST. Whether you wanna spice up your brekkie a little, or need a snack during the day, it’s a great option. My squad went ham with the PB. 

Mug: This is also super helpful for GA. I’m a BIG fan of Miir mugs, this one is my favorite.

Cutlery set & straw cleaner If you’re like me and like having a water bottle with a straw, bring a straw cleaner to clean that bad boy out. It’ll get disgusting. You can get sets that come with cutlery, which I think is helpful to have, especially for Georgia. 

Tent broom: My teammate brought this, and it was literally the best thing ever. Living in GA especially, your tent will get SO dirty. The tent broom is a quick and easy way to get all the mud (and let’s be real, dead spiders) out!

 


 

Additions to Consider: 

Not necessary, but all the more reason to bring them. Obviously don’t go too crazy, but definitely bring a few fun things that you LOVE. These can be things that bring you rest or things you can share with your squad!

Here’s some ideas:

  • Watercolor set & paper: I love this watercolor set!
  • Brown paper stationary: For birthday cards, signs, or little notes.
  • Notes/pictures from home: You can hang these in your tent!
  • Fairy lights: A fun option to make your tent a little more cozy! We’ve also used these for decoration for birthdays or special occasions.
  • Straightener/Curler: Especially in Georgia, a lot of us liked to use straighteners and curlers. Some girls on my squad brought full sized ones, but I also have had a travel size one that does the job!
  • Film camera or disposables
  • Hammock: You don’t need an Eno! A cheaper one from amazon works just as good.
  • Guitar
  • Nail polish & pre-soaked remover pads 
  • Favorite card/board game
  • Favorite book
  • AeroPress: For all my coffee lovers. I never once regretted bringing my trusty aeropress. Coffee is sometimes, but not always, provided so I just didn’t want to risk it. Most of the time, you’ll have access to hot water so it’s easy to make a cuppa joe when you want to. Also, you can get reusable filters for these!
  • Ground coffee: To go with the AeroPress, of course. I brought a pound of coffee from my favorite coffee shop back home and it was really nice to have a little taste of home with me!

 


 

I know packing can be an insanely stressful time, but you got this! Coming into the Race, packing was something that was constantly on my mind. I encourage you to get what you need, but don’t obsess over it. No matter what you have coming onto the Race, you can come as you are. 

If you have any questions about packing or the World Race in general, feel free to reach out! 

Emma 

[email protected]