Packing List

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.

Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers.

General Clothing

You will need a variety of clothing for warm and cold weather. Because of the nature of life and travel in Nepal, most of your clothes will wear out during your time here. If you want something to “last a lifetime,” do not bring it. Bring things that you would not mind saying goodbye to eventually. With this reality comes the expectation that you will dress as a professional in your relative field.

  • Two or three pairs of cotton pants (some Volunteers bring one pair that zips off at the knee level or lower)
  • Two or three-long sleeved shirts and two or three short-sleeved shirts
  • Two or three polo shirts (if you wear them)
  • Three or four T-shirts
  • One or two pairs of shorts/capris for sports (knee-length is recommended for women)
  • One or two wool sweaters
  • A pair of sweat pants, or warm, comfortable pants to wear at home when it’s cold
  • Six to 12 pairs of cotton socks of varying thicknesses
  • Cotton underpants (bring a two-year supply or arrange for someone to send you some replacements later)
  • One or two sets of thermal underwear (bigger sizes may not be available for purchase in Nepal)
  • One or two pairs of jeans (to wear when visiting Kathmandu)
  • Pajama pants (can be made almost anywhere in Nepal)

Note: The above list contains only a few things that cannot be made or bought in Nepal. Almost any item of clothing made from cotton or wool can be made in Kathmandu or a large district center. The quality is good, and it usually takes no more than a week to have something made (during your three months of training, however, it may be difficult to find much time to shop). Of special note is the issue of wearing shorts. Nepalis often say that seeing others in shorts makes them uncomfortable. Although some male Volunteers wear shorts for laborious work and at home, female Volunteers do not. 

For Women

  • One or two cotton dresses
  • Two or three cotton shirts
  • Two or three long-sleeved blouses
  • Cotton bras and jogging bras for bumpy bus rides (good quality bras are hard to find in Nepal)

Note: Women’s dresses and skirts should reach at least mid-calf if not ankle-length, and tops should be loose-fitting, cover the shoulders, and not be too low-cut. Most female Volunteers wear the local dress, or kurta surwal. Kurta surwals are cool, comfortable, and versatile, and are appropriate for both the home and the workplace. They are relatively inexpensive, readily available, and come in a wonderful variety of fabrics, patterns, and colors.


  • Jacket—warm and washable
  • Windbreaker—preferably waterproof for the monsoon season
  • Sun hat and hats for warmth
  • Two to four pairs of wool socks
  • Four to six bandanas (for use as handkerchiefs or head covers)
  • Gloves or mittens (wool)
  • Polypropylene or cotton sock liners for use inside wool socks (not readily available here)
  • Sweatshirt with hood
  • Warm fleece vest (an inexpensive version can be found in Kathmandu)


  • One pair of casual shoes, which can also be used for dressy occasions One pair of walking shoes (and running shoes if you jog)
  • One pair of hiking boots of light to medium weight
  • One pair of sturdy sandals (e.g.,  Chaco, Tevas)

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs 
  • Contact lens solutions (the medical office discourages the use of lenses and does not provide supplies, so disposable ones are best; bring eyeglasses as a backup)
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Nail clippers
  • Skin lotion
  • Tampons and pads (a three-month supply; after training the Peace Corps supplies a limited variety)
  • Pumice stone

Note: All of these items can be purchased locally at a reasonable cost, but certain brands may not be available. Most Volunteers find that they can get along with what they find here, but bringing your favorite brands will help you transition.


  • Audio player
  • Books or an e-reader
  • Digital camera
  • Hobby supplies (art, writing, music, etc.)
  • Extra batteries for electronic gear (rechargeable batteries and a solar or electric recharger are recommended)
  • Small musical instruments
  • Pictures of family and friends
  • Travel games such as Scrabble and Uno


  • If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards or traveler's checks are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns so you may want to bring an ATM card to access a bank account in the U.S. 
  • Small gifts for host family and friends (not required); knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; photos to give away
  • Day pack
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water bottle (2)
  • Swiss Army knife/Leatherman tool
  • Flashlight/Headlamp (2)
  •  Polarized sunglasses
  • Combination locks
  • Resealable plastic bags of assorted sizes
  • Wristwatch
  • Silica gel packs
  • Earplugs
  • Duct tape
  • One or two bath and hand towels
  • Plug adaptors

Note: Almost every Volunteer who brought a sleeping bag was glad that he or she did. But bags that are rated for temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit are too warm on most occasions. It is best to bring a bag rated to around 20 F. Mummy-style and lightweight bags are best. Many Volunteers who have brought large backpacks have found them to be of little use in traveling. Medium-size packs with waist belts or large day packs are the most practical.