Packing list – A journey to somewhere so special and remote as Papua and New Guinea, might mean you need to bring certain items on your trip that you had not thought about – or just the opppsite: some things you really don’t need in the jungles of New Guinea, when diving around East new Britain or hiking near Goroka !
We have made this basic list of things we think you should bring to PNG to let you have a stressfull journey around this remote and wild adventurous place.
There are always some little-known items that will greatly enhance your time travelling, but there are hardly any specialised clothing required for a trip into New Guinea. You can spend on your budget on the trip itself, not the equipment you bring.
If scuba diving around Papua New Guinea, like East New Britain, New Ireland or Tufi, then please have a look at our dedicated Dive Pack list as well –
Again, if you are worried about your budget needed for a trip to PNG: most of the below you probably already have lying around somewhere!
(Where applicable, we have added items that are necessary for female travellers)
ELECTRONICS – Gear, gadgets and your memories – (possibly the most important items to buy and pack… )
Camera – bring lenses, all cables, multi socket / adapter and (Spare) SD cards. If aiming to see birds (Papua New Guinea ofcourse has the world famous Birds of Paradise!) then bring a lens for this.
Bring (recharge-able) battery / batteries and bring spares !
If using film: bring film rolls.
Carry a small cool or foil lined bag to keep used film in.
Bring a USB stick (2) to download images or exchange with other travellers
Binoculars – if you can, take hooded ones for at sea when diving and in the strong sun
Torch or headtorch – this is very important. Papue New Guinea, and spefically East New Britain, has only 30% of locations hooked up to the National Grid. Your hotel will ofcourse have power and generators, but the minute you step outside, you will be in the darkness from 18:00 PM onwards. In case of one of the frequent power cuts in any place – you will be very happy to have a torch.
Bring a simple carabiner hook so you can hang your torch in room, tent, netting, boat cabin and spread the light.
Insider tip for birdwatchers:
-Bring a large sock and a freezer / Ziplock bag. Fill the Ziplock bag with rice or beans, lentils or even dry beach sand from a local shop and stuff this inside the sock. Use as beanbag / support for that large lens in a moving or idling vehicle when. After using, dump the rice / beans (and the single sock..) and voila – the cheapest beanbag ever. And: no extra weight with you when flying home.
Dressing sensibly and comfortably is more important then neging fashionable. Papua New Guinea is a humid, muddy, hot and rainy place and your clothing should allow you to hike the trails around Goroka, walk around the plantations of East new Britain or protect you from the mosquitos of the Sepik River. So be clever, layer up, use items for multiple purposes, and simply stay warm / cool / dry / safe.
So make sure you are comfortable and stay protected from the sun.
Wind / water proof jacket(light weight, foldable, store in a small stuff bag when not using)
Wind / water proof jacket(light weight, foldable, store in a small stuffbag when not using)
Lightweight Fleece or warm sweater (not a parka) for evening & mornings or a hike up a volcano.
Long trousers (1 pair): of strong but light material. Cotton is ideal in humid heat, stronger materials can be found in hiking pants. Light Cargo pants are ideal to carry small items with you. Don’t buy trousers too tight but a size that allows you to be dexterous – don’t count on loosing that extra kilo!
2 pairs of shorts: keep 1 for the ‘dirty work’ like hikes, walks in town, muddy tracks on hot days and use 1 clean pair for evening wear or flying around.
2 t shirts: one for the dirty work, 1 to keep clean. Light colored like sand, olive, khaki.
1 super heavy longsleeved shirt, with collar – for sun and insect protection. We were very impressed with the Blackhawk Shirts, and the 511 Shirts ranges. They kept out heat, sun, and most of all: all the mozzies in new Guinea! For American based Travellers: the Bass Pro Shop has a very good own-brand range of fishing shorts ideal to go to Papua with.
Socks & underwear: take for 1 week – you are likely to hit a laundry service within the week.
SHOES & HIKING:
Always tricky. For Papua New Guinea, where sandals are universally accepted as footwear, you could get away with hiking boots and sandals / light shoes.
As hiking boots: aim for boots that are ankle high and give good support with medium grip soles.
Some of the steep muddy hills of Papua New Guinea and around Goroka, will have you sink knee deep in the mud. When walking around towns in East new Britain or Port Moresby, you might appreciate the protection of a boot from holes, stones, sharp edges, unexpected items lying around and in the dark – you would be safe from cuts and infections. Sandals can be worn in any hotel, restaurant and on flights.
Only an item you may need when planning to some (serious) walking or hiking during your adventure in New Guinea. If you do: take collapsible strong, lightweight sticks. Invaluable.
Other small and handy items:
-A good watch is essential on every trip to a remote location like Papua New Guinea. Phones do not always show the right time.
-Insect repellent: enough said.
-After Bite gel: some small insect bites can get very itchy. Infections can start very quickly.
-Baby (talcum) powder: when hiking in humid locations, this is great for skin irritation.
-hand sanitizing gel. Always wash hands before eating, but if you cant: hand gel.
Recommended: spray the edges of trousers, some socks, and the back of a fleece with bugspray before departure. This will add resistance once in the car and you don’t annoy your fellow travellers with spraying.
Tiger Balm is a great alternative for any cut about to get infected.
-Hat or cap, sunglasses
-personal first aid kit: besides the usual, make sure you have some betadine cream and plasters for small cuts, bites and avoid small skin infections.
-Female hygiene products: always bring a basic supply with you. Do not count on finding these out in bushland.
-if you have an existing medical condition or suffer from a (severe) allergy / use a prescription medicine, try and find an accurate translation of these in the local language and print this on a card (plastic) – medical knowledge and languages are not always widely spread in remote areas.
If not available, find an image any item you are allergic for (sea food, peanuts, gluten) or of a cartoon of a person with asthma, epilepsy, diabetes.
REMEMBER: you may not be the person having to use this while in an emergency so make sure travelling buddies are aware of these !
Check this app:
Allergy Andy: a basic translator of items and allergies in 8 languages.
So, what do you use to pack all this in ? The jury is still out. It has to be easy to carry, move, pack, unpack. Sturdy zips, safe, but light….
We have travelled extensively with real Backpacks, duffel bags, and the hybrid style bags: the backpack that has wheels. This last makes travelling to remote dive areas easier, climbing on busses or trains and reaching the smaller hotels easier as long as it can actually be wheeled –
The wheels work as soon as you have pavements and roads with …. However, smaller ladies may find it hard to use these are backpacks when they need to be carried and may prefer a ‘real’ backpack…..
So: the only we can say make sure you can close it securely. ALWAYS CARRY A LOCK with it, and when travelling to Papua New Guinea make sure that it can survive the toughest of travelling and transit treatments.
Whatever you choose to take to PNG: avoid the hard shell suitcase. It does not fit in shared taxis, on roofs of busses, in small boat cabins, or under small local beds. We tried.
Does not fit.