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A young arriero leads a mule across fresh snow in the Peruvian Andes. Photo by Benjamin Swift (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist), South America Semester.


Hola todxs,

Below you will find some commonly asked questions in regard to packing. Remember to refer back to the comprehensive packing/gear list that you all received. Below you will find the attachment to the gear list as well. If you have any more questions about packing after looking over this post, please reach out to Chris Barlow at [email protected].

For all other questions or if you just want to reach out to say hi, send your emails to:

[email protected]

[email protected] 

[email protected]

Commonly asked questions about what to bring (or not bring) on our South American journey.

  1.     Do I really need puffy pants?
    •     YES! You will be much more comfortable overall if you bring them
  2.     Do I need a rain jacket that will fit over my puffy jacket?
    •     YES! There will be times when it may be very cold and raining. Unfortunately, rain jackets really don’t contain or provide much warmth.
  3.     Can I buy some of the items on the provided packing list when I get to South America? 
    •     No. We may not have access to las tiendas that carry the item you need and if we can find the item you’re looking for, chances are it will be substantially more expensive once we get there. Please bring everything on the list with you from home.
  4.     Should I bring my favorite outfit?
    •     We don’t recommend it. It is very possible for it to tear or get dirty while we are travelling. Save that outfit for your first day back at home.
  5.     Can I bring my cell phone?
    •     This is entirely up to you. Though there are specific rules to cell phone use during the semester. You will not have access to cell service while we are in the field and when we are in the “front-country” you will only be able to use your electronic devices during designated times. You can also choose not to bring your cell phone all together.
  6.     What about e-readers?
    •     E-readers are acceptable as long as they cannot access cell service. Kindles are okay, tablets are not.
  7.     Will I be able to charge my electronic device on a standard US outlet?
    •     Almost all of Peru uses the same outlets as the US. Chile on the other hand uses Type C (CEE 7/16 Europlug) and Type L (CEI 23-16/VII) outlets. There is an adapter in Chile waiting for us, but if you’d like your own you can either purchase it now or you can look for one while we’re there.
  8.     Should I bring a rechargeable headlamp or a removable battery powered headlamp?
    •     It’s up to you. If you bring a rechargeable headlamp, you should probably look into an adapter to plug it into the wall outlet. Also know that rechargeable headlamps generally don’t do well when it’s cold outside. They lose their charge very quickly.
    •   If you’re going to bring a headlamp that take AAA or AA batteries, know that batteries are VERY expensive in South America so you will likely want to bring enough batteries to “refill” a dead headlamp three times (i.e. if your headlamp takes 4-AAA batteries, bring an additional 12 AAA batteries.
  9.     Should I bring a Steripen or Aquamira for water purification?
    •     Yes… It is nice to have both. Steripens are useful when we are in town while Aquamira is nice to have as a backup in the backcountry. If you have a Steripen that uses batteries, remember that you should have spares.
  10. Can I take more than the recommended number of bags if I can’t pack it all into a duffel and backpack?
    •  We highly discourage bringing more than the recommended number of bags. Please do your best to get it all into your big backpacking backpack (say that 3x fast!) and your duffel. It can be challenging to travel with a lot of bags in a foreign country. Just keep the logistical component of maneuvering from place to place in mind when you are deciding on what to take with you.

See you all very soon,