Mongolia - Kit list

AccommodationLuggageFood PhotographyGifts  | Money | Medical | Clothing | Miscellaneous 


We will be staying in Gers, or Hotels during our time in Mongolia. As such sleeping bags are not required. Sheets and gers or hotel rooms are always tidy and clean, though some clients prefer to bring their own sleeping bag liner and pillow cover.

If you have a particular pillow preference there are many comfortable down travel pillows available ( have several)

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Our gear will be transported in our 4 wheel drives with us. In some parts our route takes us through very dusty parts of the Gobi. In an attempt to keep the dust at bay we should pack all items in plastic bags and line our backpacks / kit bags (preferred piece of luggage as they are generally very sturdy) with a plastic bag as well. In the event of rain the plastic lining is also useful.

You may want to keep one bag of clothes at the Hotel so that you have some clean clothes on return to Ulaan Bataar. You should make sure that this is an easy to lock bag, and bring your own padlock

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Cooking will be done for us by the staff of the Ger camps or hotels we stay in.

We are not expected to supply any cooking equipment or food. Bringing some treats you prefer is always a good idea.

The roads are often dusty and the water not always cold. Sharp or mint flavoured sweets have been a favourite in the past. Boiled water will be available for us. But as in the past, I will purchase a store of bottled water (still and sparkling) to bring along so that we can be self sufficient on the trip.

If you own water purification pumps or other devices that are portable, feel free to bring them along as well, though we seldom have had to forage for water. I would suggest that you bring a day or large fanny pack with you to use during the day.

Often our back packs will be inaccessible in the back of the jeeps, making your day pack a good place for your camera, drink bottle, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen and all those other essential items.

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It will be dusty so bring protection.

Make sure that you are familiar with the camera and that it works ok before leaving home. There is nothing worse than lots of blank film to show your friends!

At least one spare battery for your camera is essential. We will not be able to buy specialist, or good quality batteries in Mongolia. To reduce pollution, please take all your batteries back home.

Remember outside Ulan Bataar you will not have access to mains electricity so if you have rechargeable batteries make arrangements for solar or other forms of charging and bring the appropriate equipment with you (make sure you know how to use it and that you're able to fix it yourself if required).

Disposable Panoramic Camera (available duty-free) It is fun to have one or two of these to capture the length and breadth of the landscape.

A UV filter (because of the altitude) and a polarising filter are good for scenic landscapes.

A flash is essential for interiors. Bring spare batteries for the flash.

Film : Decide how many rolls of film you will need . . . then double it and purchase the latter amount. Running out is the worst thing in the world. Don't expect to be able to buy any in Mongolia.

A photo-wallet of your family, home, job, country, interests etc is a sure fire ice breaker. Everyone likes to look at photos, including your fellow travellers.

If you have one a Polaroid camera is a great addition, and makes very popular gifts.

Digital cameras : If you are bringing a digital camera be aware that once we leave Ulaan Bataar cutting images to CD will not be possible (unless you bring your own laptop). As with 35mm cameras, buy double the memory you think you'll need. Everyone I know who travels in remote places with digital camera's runs out of memory on their first trip. Also make sure you have some way of recharging your batteries that is independent of mains electricity.

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Gifts for our drivers, local herders, and other people we encounter in Mongolia are a good idea. In daily life Mongols frequently exchange gifts.

For Mongols a gift expresses feelings rather than words. The price of the gift is not important, for it expresses respect, sympathy, friendliness and wishes for health. As a rule, visitors will not arrive without a gift, especially when visiting a family with children or old men. e.g. something small/unusual/entertaining. Small items to give away are often useful and appropriate: packets of vegetable or flower seeds, needles, small scissors and good clothes. Brightly coloured scarves are a big hit with women, as are beauty products (lipstick, eye makeup, hair ties). Hats are also popular. Tobacco, cigarette papers, zip lock plastic bags, fishing kits, wire, pocket tools. If you have an idea for some gift you would like to bring but are unsure about, please contact me.

Please do not give sweets to the children, their dental cavities have increased dramatically everywhere in Asia that tourists go. Picture books to show children at camp sites are a much better idea. Books with yaks and camels in are very well received. Balloons, bubble makers, crayons and coloured pens are the most popular items with the children.

There are two ways of traveling. One is to cover a long distance in a short time, taking in the general outline of mountain and valley and the most obvious characteristics of the people. The other is to stop, go deeper, strike root to some extent, and try to imbibe from the soil the invisible spiritual sap which nourishes the inhabitants of the place.
Fosco Maraini Secret Tibet, Hutchinson 1952

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In Mongolia only large restaurants and hotels take credit cards. Otherwise US$ cash in small denomination bills or Mongolian Tugriks is the best way to buy things. Make sure that you have new, or recently minted notes, this is especially true for the new US$100 bills, though US$10's US$20's and US$50's are best.

Travellers cheques in US$, Sterling or Yen are acceptable in Ulaan Baatar, but no where else.

Outside Ulaan Bataar transport, food and accommodation is included and you could get by not spending a cent. As with anywhere in Asia there is always someone selling something so having some cash for beer, soda and other items is a good idea.

Outside of Ulaan Bataar, local currency is much more acceptable than US$. So prior to our departure I'll make a recommendation on exactly how much we might need.

N.B. Getting cash with your credit card is possible in Ulaan Bataar but is a lengthy and difficult process, one better to avoid.

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Modern dentistry can't be expected in these areas so have a thorough check before departure.

The more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trip. During our time in Mongolia we will be doing a series of day walks so a moderate level of fitness is required.

Though no specific vaccinations are required you should ensure that your vaccination schedule against polio, meningococcal meningitis, tetanus, typhoid and infectious hepatitis is up-to-date or completed. If in doubt, feel free to contact us or discuss these issues with your own doctor.

Although parts of Mongolia are quite high, this is not an issue for our trip to Mongolia.

Our experience to date in Mongolia is that it is not common to get sick. There is a need for care however especially to avoid the risk of diarrhoea. Because of the change of diet it is common for people to experience more frequent and more loose bowel motions than at home. This can be regarded as normal. Significant diarrhoea is much more uncomfortable and less easy to control. To reduce the likelihood of problems I suggest:
• drink only purified or boiled water
• use bottled water in hotels for teeth cleaning
• don't eat uncooked vegetables or meat
• peel/wash fruit before eating
• pay extra attention to personal hygiene.

Try not to worry. In my experience, serious sickness is uncommon.


Diarrhea - Imodium or Lomotil
Constipation - gentle laxative, dietary fiber such as Agriofiber. Take laxatives only if you have to and never with abdominal pain
Stomach upsets - Alka Seltzers
Headache or other mild aches and pains - Panadol or panadiene, disprin
Respiratory Infections - nasal decongestant, throat lozenges
Skin care - sun block, after sun cream, hydrocortisone cream (for sunburn and minor inflammations)
Wound care - betadyne solution or prep pads, Neosporin ointment, Band-Aids, gauze, tape

Miscellaneous items
after-bite cream for mosquito bites
broad spectrum antibiotic ie Keflex
toilet paper and tissues
lip balm
mosquito repellent <<< Very important 
travel wash
water disinfectant such as Potable Aqua or iodine
antiseptic hand wipes for cleaning hands 

When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place is where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.
Alan Alda, addressing his daughters graduating class. Mountain Record, Spring 97

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The following is only a guide. 

Make your own judgment about each section. It is not suggested that you bring every item mentioned!

• Running / Casual shoes for round town
• Trekking shoes or boots. Light weight, high comfort, and good support should be stressed here. 
• Slippers sheepskin with a sole are best, & are great around camp at night.

You can help avoid blisters by wearing one light and one heavy pair of sox at the same time. For the same reason, fine wool is preferable to cotton as it absorbs moisture. Polypropylene are also ok as an inner sock
• 2 x prs of heavy sox (long/short)
• 2 x prs of light sox 

• 1 x tops polypropylene (or wool or American thermal)
• 1 x 'long johns' polypropylene (or wool or American thermal)
• 7 x nickers/underpants (in case washing or drying is difficult)
• 3 x bras
• some women find panty liners useful 

• 1 x fibrepile pull-ons or tracksuit
• 1 x cotton or Easy Care fabric for walking
• 1 x waterproof/windproof pr 

• Need to be loose fitting. They are OK for men but definitely not culturally acceptable for women unless they are at knee length or below. In Mongolia only young children wear shorts. I wear long light cotton trousers everyday.

• 2 light cotton. 

Pyjamas or track suit for bed use. A long warm nightie is also fine.

Jackets Vs sweaters 
The wool/fibrepile argument rages on. Several layers of polypropylene/fibrepile are lighter than wool, just as warm and handle wet/damp conditions better. 
• 1 x fibrepile jacket

• 1 x rain/wind proof or poncho-jacket (with hood) 

• 2 x cotton T shirts for hot conditions
• 2 x long sleeved quick drying shirt for sun protection 

• 1 x polypropelene pair for cold desert nights

• 1 x warm balaclava
• 1 x sun hat (you may want one with bug netting, though I've never experienced the worst that Mongolia has to offer on this front)

• 2 x cotton/wool kerchiefs (or what you prefer they can have a multitude of uses) 

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· Sunglasses are essential (+ spare) Make sure they screen UV effectively
· Prescription glasses. Take a spare pair .
Toilet items 
· towels 1 x large, 1 x small (good for day pack) some prefer 2 x small 
· Chux cloths are useful as extra towels or wash cloths. (Large ones can be cut into 4 )
· "Wet ones" or “Johnsons baby Wipes” give a good hygienic hand-clean when water is scarce.
· soap in a container
· toothbrush, toothpaste
· shaver (not electric)
· shampoo (concentrate in a tube is best)-conditioner (likewise)
· hairbrush, comb
· some emergency toilet paper
· traveling mirror protected from breakage
· nail brush is essential
· nail scissors
· sun block The sun can be very intense eg 'No15 for faces only'; lip-protection ,Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream in a tube or lipstick has proved excellent.
· lip screen. SPF 30 or better, at least 2 sticks.
· lotion for dry/burnt skin (Alpha Keri)
· clothes washing soap (eg tubes of concentrate from camping shops, Cold water Surf) Some outdoor stores have environmentally friendly washing concentrates.
· sanitary napkins & tampons. Traveling seems to have an unpredictable effect on some women's menstrual cycle so it is best to be prepared. Indian sanitary devices seem to have been conceived with torture in mind so take what you need from here. These should be brought from home as selection is limited in Mongolia. 
· Cough lozenges help the sore throat that often happens dry desert air.
· Headache medication that works for you.
· A course of broad spectrum antibiotic that suits you
· Iodine Tablets or Aqua Mira Drops. For water purification.

· Torch (headlight type is good) with long life batteries from home. (Indian ones have a short life), take plenty of spares also spare bulbs. Probably a good idea to take two torches . 
· Mending kit and safety pins for emergency
· Writing materials & Diary 
· Books. 
· Snacks and drink crystals 
· Stuff bags and/or plastic bags (rubbish-bags are good) to keep your gear in order 
· Money belt or neck wallet. 
· Small padlock for your kitbag
· Spare shoe/boot laces
· Bandaids for blisters
· Swiss Army / Pocket knife N.B. put this into checked baggage when traveling by air, NOT your hand bag.
· Therma rest sitting pad.......some people like these to use during the lunch break.
· light plastic mug for your daypack
· male travelers might like consider bringing a ‘urine bottle’ for night time tent-use. (more awkward for the ladies!)
· altimeter, compass and thermometer for those who want to know just where they are on the planet
· binoculars are very useful for looking at wildlife and towards that far horizon
· toothpicks for the addicted
· plastic bags to keep your gear dry and in categories inside your kitbag
transparent bags are best as you can see what is inside
· matches
· fishing rod
· photos of your house / job / family / favourite animals in a flip book
· plastic tube to carry paintings / drawings home in (many water colours for sale)
· elastic washing line

Note: Suitcase keys, if kept on a hat-elastic cord around your neck, speeds things up if the airport customs
officials want your suitcase opened.

While most travelers do not self consciously set out in search of themselves, they often find, if they explore beyond the well-worn paths, that they are less surprised at unfamiliar sights than they are astonished by themselves. A person’s steadfastness and ingenuity are tested by the rigors of serious travel: inevitably there are frustration’s of plans, sudden crises, tedium and hardship. When pitted against the forces of nature one’s physical limits are defined. In an alien culture one’s values are challenged

Luree Miller On Top of the World, Five Women Explorers of Tibet
The Mountaineers, 1984 Seattle

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If you would like more information about a specific trip please email your wishes and we shall respond.
If the timing of this trip does not suit, and you would like us to arrange a tour for your own independent group check out what we offer.

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