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One of our readers traveled carry-on only to East Africa in 2018. Her trip included a variety of activities including a gorilla trek in Uganda, which would almost require a packing list on its own. Keep reading to find out how she traveled carry-on only for her three week trip to East Africa!


Gorilla Trek Packing List

Written by: Nikki Harrison


I am back to reality after an amazing 3 weeks in east Africa. We experienced gorilla and chimp trekking, amazing safaris, city days, posh meals and beach days. We even got “snow” – 6 inches of hail in Uganda the day before our gorilla trek.

We both only did carry-on and we lucked out with the right options for every occasion. It was my husband’s first time traveling with carryon only and using packing cubes, and he is now a convert!

This was especially the case after we had a canceled flight on our last day. We luckily were allowed our carryon on our new flight as we had so little.


Start by reading these general packing tips for travel:


Looking for the best carryon suitcase? Check out our round up of gorgeous styles!



Along with a new found love for carry-on packing, my husband embraced packing cubes (much to the amusement of the TSA agent who opened his bag) and even invented his own hacks.

We brought Castille soap instead of shower gel and a sanitary pad in the soap dish stopped any mushy soap problems but the poor unsuspecting TSA agent got a surprise to see it.

I loved my packing list and it worked really well for various situations. Personally, I would bring knee-length dresses next time as midi doesn’t suit me as well and lots of locals wore knee-length.

I also would have liked gaiters for the gorilla trekking as the hail made it very muddy and slick. I also need to try to use proper hiking boots but just love the lightness of trail runners.

Treating all my clothes with permethrin worked great and, combined with Deet 100, stopped the mozzies so no need for my epi pen. I did need the exofficio shirt for tsetse flies, as Deet doesn’t stop sand fleas.


Here are more tips for the best insect repellent!


However, since I’m so happy with my experience, I thought I’d share my Gorilla trek packing list:



Tank | Shirt | Longsleeve | Tee | Vest | Pants 1 | Leggings | Pants 2 | Dress 1 | Dress 2 | Jacket | Cardigan | Shoes | Sandals | Hat | Backpack


East Africa Packing List


For this trip, I included just the essentials, which ended up working out perfectly!




  • 1 cotton midi dress (used as a beach cover and for town visits)
  • Elan 8 way dress (worn as a dress for city days and posh dinners at lodges, and as a skirt for town visits)
  • 1 pair of patterned jersey trousers (for evenings after safari, travel days, and city days)
  • 1 pair Athleta wanderer skinny pants (for hiking, travel days, and safari)
  • 1 pair of grey cropped yoga pants (for the yoga retreat, safari, and as pajamas)
  • 1 pair of long leggings (worn as pajamas and as a thermal layer)
  • 1 exofficio permethrin safari shirt (for gorilla trekking and safari in Tanzania with tsetse flies)
  • 1 camel long-sleeved shirt
  • 1 grey and 1 camel moisture-wicking tee
  • 1 green tank top
  • 1 black dressy string top
  • 2 string-top vests
  • 1 light black wrap cardigan
  • 1 light camel cardigan
  • 1 neoprene black zip up sweater
  • 1 Columbia waterproof trench
  • 2 bikini tops
  • 1 bikini bottom




  • 1 green hiking hat
  • 1 green beanie
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 grey and white scarf
  • 1 African wrap (bought in Kenya)




  • Merrill trail runners
  • Black bobs by Skechers
  • Ipanema flip-flops


Packing cubes changed the way I travel. They allowed me to travel carryon only for nine years!






Petzl Tikka Headlamp




  • Silk liner
  • Inflatable neck pillow
  • Head lamp
  • Medications
  • Toiletries
  • Camera
  • iPhone
  • Chargers and battery packs
  • Book of short stories from around Africa (bought in Africa)
  • First aid kit
  • Travelon crossbody bag



What would you add to this Gorilla trekking packing list? Comment below!


For more Africa packing list, please read:








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