What to Pack for a Gorilla Trek Safari

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

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What to Bring

Packing always feels overwhelming. Trying to figure out the best way to pack everything you need (and everything you want) in a small piece of luggage or backpack is the only part of trip planning I do not look forward to. But whether you or on a two week vacation, a one month trip, or a year long adventure around the world, we wanted you to have all the essentials (and a few extra goodies) to make sure you weren’t worrying about your wardrobe before heading out on one of the greatest adventures of a lifetime.

So here it goes! Our packing guide to everything you need on a Gorilla Trek.


The basic rule is you want to be comfortable but also well protected from the rain and painful (trust me) wild stinging nettles. When they told us to pack gardening gloves I thought it was a bit much but man am I happy we did! You also want to avoid bright colors (especially red. Clearly we didn’t get that message). As far as the weather goes, temperatures are consistent year-round due to the short distance from the equator. Daytime temperatures are usually around 23°C/ 73°F and 11°C/51°F at night. Even if you are visiting during the dry season, you will always need to be prepared for the rain! 

Below is a list of everything we wore during our trek. Also I used to work at Lululemon which is evident from my list. These are just suggestions to help you plan for your trip so don't feel like you need to purchase everything I have listed here! I had the advantage of an employees discount :).

 And since our trek was paired with Golden Monkeys the following day, we just wore the same outfit again. Don’t judge! (PS. This packing list is only for a gorilla trek and doesn't include further travel around Africa or elsewhere. I'll work on that packing list next.)

Disclosure: While our little blog doesn't make much (read: any) real income, some of the links below are affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through our links and make a purchase. Thanks, friends! 


  • Top: Layering is key here so I wore a Lululemon CRB with a sports bra (something like a Flow Y or Free to Be) with a long sleeve over it for when I got hot (I never actually took it off). Long Sleeve: Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve
  • Pants: You have so many choices with pants. I decided to go with my favorite pair, All the Right Places Crops because I knew I would continue to wear them on our trip. Also, I love these because of the super breathable Luxtreme fabric and the pockets. I will say though that they didn't protect me from the stinging nettles very well (plus I fell into a bush of them so I'm not sure anything would have helped). A thicker, perhaps waterproof, pant is also a great choice, like the Lululemon Dance Studio Pants (lined if you are on a short trip, unlined + paired with leggings if you are going on a long trip).
  • Lightweight Rain Jacket: Clearly Brian and I chose the most obnoxious colors but any lightweight rain jacket will work fine here. We loved the Marmot Crystalline series. The  Marmot PreCip Waterproof  Rain Jacket is really similar. 
  • Socks: A pair of Brian’s soccer socks over my pants
  • Shoes: If you are on a short trip, hiking boots are recommended but we couldn't travel with ours for a year so I went with the Salewa Women's Ultra Train Mountain Training and couldn't have been happier.
  • Hair: Braided my hair and wore a bandana (a hat will also work here)
  • Hands: Gardening gloves (we left them at the lodge when we were done with the trek). We wore these gardening gloves but I think these would be better if you have the space!
  • Backpack: We traveled with this packable day pack, New Outlander Packable Daypack. I also like this one! 


  • Top: Brian didn't want to wear two shirts so he opted just for a long sleeve, Metal Vent Tech Long Sleeve but you can always any type of sweat wicking short sleeve underneath.
  • Pants: Brian wore his lined Seawall Track Pant (which he loves). They are great for cooler temperature hikes. Lululemon has discontinued them but it looks like they were replaced by the Great Wall Pant *lined
  • Lightweight Rain Jacket: Brian wore his Marmot Mica Jacket and loved it. This one is also similar, Marmot PreCip Men's Jacket 
  • Socks: A pair of soccer socks under his pants
  • Shoes: Again, we couldn't travel with hiking boots so we both went with trail running shoes. Brian still wears his Nike Men's Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3.
  • Hair: Bandana (a hat will also work here)
  • Hands: Gardening gloves (we left them at the lodge when we were done with the trek). We wore these gardening gloves but I think these would be better if you have the space!
  • Camera Bag: We did a lot of research on what type of camera bag to take with us and finally decided on the Tenba DNA Messenger Bag - small. We still use this bag today but when it comes time for a new bag, I think we may opt for a backpack combo like the Peak Design Everyday Backpack.


  • Camera: We have a Sony Alpha 7 II which we love love love.  It's a mirrorless camera, so it's small and ideal for traveling, but takes excellent photos. 
  • GoPro: You'll definitely want a GoPro especially on a long trek like this!  Get the latest GoPro Hero.  It's lightweight and takes excellent photos and videos.  A selfie-stick/tripod is a great accessory. We used this selfie-stick tripod combination and really enjoyed it, but there are plenty others to choose from if that's not your style.
  • Selfie Stick (I see you rolling your eyes but I swear they are practical!) - There are a ton out there to choose from, but we like this one.
  • Binoculars - I only think this is necessary if you are on a short trip and or pairing with a game drive safari. We didn’t have any and honestly, you are so close to the gorillas I don’t think they are necessary.
  • Extra camera batteries and memory card - You don't want be in the middle of the forest and run out of either of these!  This will obviously depend on your camera, so be prepared.


  • Lunch/Snacks. You never know how long your trek will take. Ours took over five hours before we saw our first gorilla. Another group I met only spent thirty minutes hiking while others took over seven hours. Also, I packed extra food and shared with our guides, porters, and scouts and they seemed very thankful for the snacks. 
  • Water Bottle - We carried our CamelBak water bottle on our entire journey but I can tell you it wasn't my favorite. It leaked constantly and the straw and mouthpiece didn't feel very sanitary to me. Next time we will definitely take something like the Klean Kanteen. These collapsable ones look pretty cool too!
  • Sweater and thicker jacket for back at the lodge- we were freezing. We loved our Patagonia Nano Puff jackets (and we still wear them today). 
  • Gaiters - we didn't have any but people find them useful, especially during the rainy season. These have really great reviews on Amazon.
  • Wet wipes/Toilet Paper
  • Bag for trash: Everything you take in with you needs to leave with you! (ps. I pack black/dark bags instead of clear ones)
  • Walking Sticks (short trip): we didn’t have any but we found a couple sturdy bamboo sticks along the way and they really did help
  • Mosquito Spray: If you don't want to use Deet, this Natrapel is a great alternative. If going all natural isn't your jam, the Repel stick is great for travel.
  • Sun Screen: We love traveling with Neutrogena Sunscreen because it's great for your face and is under the travel limit! Update: Today, I never leave home without Glossier's Invisible Shield Sunscreen (but this one is just for your face).
  • Sunglasses: We only wore our sunglasses in the beginning of the hike. You will have to remove them before the gorillas.
  • Power Adapter: We always travel with this travel adapter and have never had any problems. It also has two USB charging ports! We also love the Belkin SurgePlus Surge Protector and always have it with us.
  • Proof of Travel Insurance - Always have a copy of your Travel Insurance policy with you
  • Proof of Yellow Fever - Always have a copy of your Proof of Yellow Fever with you
  • Copy of Passport- Always have a copy of your passport (and visa pages) with you
  • USD for cash tips (see tip guide here)

Well that's it for our Gorilla Trek Packing Guide! We hope it helps you prepare for your epic journey! Is there anything you guys found useful that we haven't listed? We'd love to hear about it! Leave us a comment and we will add it to the list. 

Up Next: What to Expect on a Gorilla Trek in Rwanda

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