What’s in My Day Pack?

I was answering safari prep questions for one of my clients the other day, when she asked what I thought was a very good question. “Dawn, when you are out on safari, what items do you bring in your day-pack?” Aside from my main suitcase full of clothes, I do also bring a smaller back-pack that travels out “into the bush” with me during the course of a day, while the larger suitcase stays at the lodge. I thought it was a clever question, and perhaps the answer will be helpful to others as they embark on their own safari adventure.

Here it goes, my “Master ‘Day Pack’ List”!

• Sunglasses
• Lip balm (SPF 45)
• Facial cleansing clothes (“Olay Daily Facials Express” or similar)
• Mints or chewing gum
• Tylenol or Advil
• Small notebook and pen
• Sunscreen (SPF 50 or higher)
• Safari hat
• Pony-tail holder
• Kleenex
• Pet-waste bags
• Hand-sanitizer
• Insect repellent towelette
• Money/passport wallet
• Camera

Okay, so many items on the list are self-explanatory and seem to be common sense. But this list actually took me several different safaris to perfect!

Sunglasses are rather obvious. But it took me at least 3 trips to Africa and several episodes of sunburned/chapped lips before I figured out to bring lip balm with sunscreen!

The facial cleaning clothes, like the ones made by Olay, are a big lifesaver, especially when conditions are dusty, and the type that are especially formulated for your face will double as a skin care regimen for morning and evening.  At home I use facial cleanser and moisturizer, but these bottles of liquid are cumbersome to pack and I much prefer to leave them at home.

I bring along a small pack of Kleenex for minor emergencies. They are easy to keep with you, and just in case the toilet paper runs out I have my own backup. On a similar subject, I also bring along a pack of opaque “pet waste” bags to dispose of any toilet paper from using “bush bathrooms”. An easy and low-profile way to avoid being a litter-bug! Bringing along a small bottle of hand-sanitizer is also a good idea!

Nothing ruins a great trip like a headache. Sometimes the sun, dust and bumpy roads can initiate one, so I’m quick to nip it in the bud with couple Tylenol or Advil before it becomes a bigger problem. Of course I also bring along any other medication I might need during the day.

As much as I love to pop my head out the open-topped land-cruiser and feel the wind in my hair, it also gets tangled pretty quickly unless I use a trusty pony-tail holder or safari hat. I also bring along a brush or comb. One trick I’ve found to keep long hair tame is to wear it in a braid; this will result in very few tangles at the end of the day!

Instead of bringing insect repellent lotion or spray, which can be cumbersome to pack, I now use these handy pre-packaged towelettes. I like the brand “OFF” because theirs include DEET, which is extremely effective against mosquitoes, and they easy to find and purchase, either on-line or through many outdoor-type stores. The best part about these is how easy they are to pack and use! I can usually get by using only 1 per day.

I also bring along a small notebook and pen to take journal notes, as well as mints or chewing gum.  A clever product I’ve recently discovered are Brush-ups, which are a great way to quickly ‘brush your teeth’ while on the go.  Sunscreen is an obvious item to pack, but I think it’s a good idea to bring the strong stuff!  Think SPF 50 or greater. The climate in Northern Tanzania feels mild because of the high elevation, but here on the equator, the sun is stronger than you think! And if anything can ruin your trip faster than a headache, it would be sun-poisoning.

Of course I keep my passport and money with me at all times. I use a travel wallet, similar to this one:  Eagle Creek Travel Wallet

So that’s my day pack!  Obviously your contents may differ slightly from mine, but hopefully I’ve offered an idea or two that you too can use!

Of course, I also bring along a camera. But describing what type of camera equipment I bring and why is another (long) subject all on its own, and probably one that deserves special focus, perhaps in a future post!

6 Comments Leave a Comment

  1. Dawn, how excellent! As we get ready for our trip it was so helpful seeing exactly what you take out on safari. Some of the items I had already had but there were a few that I hadn’t even thought of taking like the doggie bags. You have been so helpful during this entire process, we chose well when we booked with Africa Dream Safaris!

    1. I used the go-girl on my trip to Cambodia last year and it’s a winner! Particularly because the “toilets” there are so filthy. Thanks for your tips for packing.

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