Sierra Leone

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.

Clothing for Women

  • Two to three-week supply of cotton underwear
  • Five to eight bras, including a sports bra (good bras are unavailable locally)
  • A few pairs of socks
  • Three nice outfits appropriate for teaching, conferences, and meetings
  • Two or three casual long dresses/skirts that cover your knees, even when sitting (sleeveless or very wide straps are OK, but spaghetti straps are not appropriate)
  • One or more pairs of jeans or pants
  • Two to four cotton shirts (used ones can be bought locally—sleeveless or very wide straps are OK, but spaghetti straps are not appropriate)
  • Two or three short-sleeved, button-down or polo-type collared shirts
  • Clothes for outside of work
  • One sweater/cardigan
  • Rain jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • One or two pairs of long shorts if you plan to participate in sports
  • Hats or caps for sun protection
  • Five or more bandannas (for dusty taxi rides)

Clothing for Men

  • Two- to three-week supply of cotton underwear
  • A few pairs of socks
  • Three nice outfits appropriate for teaching, conferences, and meetings
  • One pair of jeans
  • Two pairs of casual pants (can be part of the “three nice outfits”)
  • Three or four short-sleeved, button-down, or polo-type collared shirts
  • Two to four T-shirts (easy to buy used ones locally if you need more during your service)
  • One or two long-sleeved shirts and one or two ties
  • One pair of shorts
  • Swimsuit
  • Five or more bandannas (for dusty taxi rides)
  • Hooded sweatshirt or sweater
  • Belt (leather acquires mold rather quickly)
  • Rain jacket (very light and very good)
  • One tie

Shoes

  • One pair of sandals
  • One pair of running/walking shoes
  • One pair of nice work shoes 

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • Two to four toothbrushes
  • At least two tubes of toothpaste
  • Mouthwash with fluoride
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizers, lotions
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Razor blades (enough for your normal shaving routine)
  • Makeup and nail polish (if you choose)
  • Tweezers, nail clippers, pumice stone
  • Travel toothbrush and soap holders
  • Gel hand sanitizer
  • Two pairs of prescription glasses
  • Feminine hygiene products, preferably menstrual cup (Diva Cup, Keeper, etc.)
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are included in your medical kit. Just bring a small supply to get started, unless you want a specific brand

 Miscellaneous

  • 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
  • Umbrella
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Good-quality sunglasses
  • Wristwatch (not “showy”)
  • Refillable water bottle like Nalgene
  • Swiss Army-type knife or Leatherman-type tool (remember to pack in checked luggage)
  • Zip-close plastic bags (some large, some small) and Tupperware
  • Flashlight or headlamp (mini-Maglight style might be the easiest to carry around)
  • Extra batteries (consider rechargeable or solar-powered)
  • Camera and memory sticks
  • Laptop (be aware of potential theft or loss and the expense of Internet connectivity)
  • Audio player with mini-speakers
  • Adapters
  • Sheet (full size) or sack sleeping bag
  • Pillow (pillows are sold locally, but quality varies)
  • Frisbee, volleyball, football, playing cards, etc.
  • Photos from home
  • Journal
  • Calendar/planner
  • A good book or two
  • Musical instrument (if you play one)
  • Sewing kit
  • Art supplies (e.g., markers, colored pencils, glue, glitter, construction paper, sketch books)
  • Backpack for travel within country (35-40 liter) and a multi-day pack (55-70-liter)
  • Quick dry towel
  • Duct tape
  • Sleeping pad
  • Calculator
  • Combination lock
  • Nice kitchenware, such as a knife, can opener, vegetable peeler
  • American stamps
  • $100-$300 for emergencies/travel
  • Laptop computer (bring case for dust/environment)
  • Sports balls deflated/Frisbee
  • “Must have” cooking spices 

Be conservative when packing since most things are available in-country and what is not can be sent.