This is what I travel with! A 25L backpack.
This is what I travel with! A 25L backpack.

I always travel light. I love travelling minimally with as little to carry, and therefore worry about, as possible. There’s nothing worse than lugging a heavy suitcase around a country like Pakistan or India where there aren’t footpaths to pull your case along. It’s far more convenient to take a backpack.

The last thing I also wanted was to be lugging a big suitcase around Pakistan bringing attention to myself too.

Here’s what I packed in a small 25-litre backpack for a 2 week trip to Pakistan from India at the end of winter:

How to Blend in

Traditional Indian and Pakistani clothing, kurta pajama. Photo by Donal Mountain.
Kurta Pyjama. Photo by Donal Mountain.

One interesting item on my clothing list is the kurta pyjama. I wear a fancier version of this for formal events in India, but I decided to get a cheaper, plain and basic black kurta and pyjama pant for my trip through the more conservative parts of Pakistan. It’s what locals and villagers wear (except they prefer white).

I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and stand out in Pakistan especially as I was sometimes travelling alone and would be in the high-risk area of Peshawar near the Afghan border. A kurta pyjama allowed me to blend in and draw attention to myself.

You have to be mindful of colour and design of the Kurta too though. Red, maroon, or bright colours as worn in Indian cities will make you stand out. Plain white, blue, black, brown, and green colours are favoured in Pakistan.

The other thing to remember when packing for Pakistan is that they’re even more particular than India about revealing clothing. While certain areas of major cities in Pakistan are more progressive, many are not. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and keep your body covered.


  1. 1 Plain black kurta-pyjama
  2. 1 x Jeans
  3. 1 x Warm jacket (if winter)
  4. 2 x Socks
  5. 1 x T-shirt
  6. 3 x Underwear
  7. 1 x Polarised sunglasses (if summer)
  8. 1 x Microfibre travel towel
  9. 1 x Walking shoes
  10. 1 x Pair of sandals (for bathrooms)

All up that’s two sets of clothing. I wear one while the other is drying after hand washing.


  1. Bar of soap in a plastic case
  2. Toothbrush & toothpaste in plastic case
  3. Wet wipes (more portable and efficient than toilet paper)
  4. Hand sanitizer
  5. Floss

Electronics & miscellaneous

  1. Mobile phone with offline Google Maps saved
  2. GoPro & various mounts
  3. USB wall charger and cable
  4. Passport and 3 x copies of passport, Pakistan VISA, and passport photos
  5. USD cash to convert
  6. 2 x Pens

Medical supplies

You only need to carry these if you’re going to remote parts where there are no medical stores.

  1. Paracetamol (500 mg).
  2. Antibiotics for food poisoning (Novidat 500 mg, Flagyl 400 mg).
  3. Diarrhoea stopper medication (Lomotil).
  4. Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) sachets – helps you stay hydrated in summer or if you get food poisoning.
  5. SPF 30 Sunblock

Read the medical disclaimer.

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