Guatemala Trip Pack List

The Climate

Guatemala only has two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. We will be visiting during the rainy season BUT we are going during a lighter period in the rainy season. The intense rains do not begin until the end of August or beginning of September. For most of the trip, we can expect mild temperatures of 55 degrees at night to up to 85 during the day, but generally a bit cooler than that. During our volcano hike, however, you can expect much colder temperatures, with overnight lows usually around 30 degrees but sometimes reaching down into the low 20s. Guatemala has a tropical climate, but humidity will likely be broken up by small afternoon showers many of the days that we will be there. As for swimming, you’ll be happy to know that Lake Atitlán is thermally heated by the surrounding volcanoes, so water temperatures stay consistently near 70 degrees all year and it’s even great for a night time swim! 

Packing List Basics

  • Travel Backpack
    • A carry-on size travel backpack is a much better way to travel than suitcases for this type of adventure! A few great options include the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L or 42L and the Osprey Porter, both sold at Roads, Rivers and Trails in Cincinnati. If your bag does not meet carry-on regulations, you’ll have to pay for a last-minute checked bag.
  • Clothes
    • 3-4 t-shirts- at least two should be ‘athletic’- dry fit or light merino wool are both great.
    • 2-3 pair pants that are comfortable for hiking- hiking pants are great if you have them! Leggings or yoga pants a good option too. 
    • 1-2 swimsuits for the lake 
    • 1-2 pairs athletic or hiking shorts- it is probably not going to be that warm most of the time, but you never know!
    • 3 pair hiking socks with one pair being warmer for the volcano.
    • Hiking or running shoes/boots- this is personal preference, just make sure to wear them in and be ready to put some miles on them!
    • Light casual shoes or sandals- up to you if you want to carry an extra pair of shoes or just wear your hiking shoes the whole time. 
    • Warm hat and gloves- it gets cold at night on the volcano!
    • 2 light-weight long sleeve shirts or one plus a baselayer- merino is awesome! Under armor style works too.
    • Warm leggings or a baselayer to wear under hiking pants at volcano camp.
    • 1 medium-weight sweater or long sleeve shirt- we’ll be layering up on the volcano! If you are really cold-sensitive, you might bring a couple of these to layer.
    • Lightweight warm jacket- down is great. – also for the overnight on the volcano.
    • Rain jacket or poncho
    • Hat and/or sunglasses if you don’t like the sun in your eyes. 
  • Gear
    • Water capacity! For the volcano hike, our guides recommend you be able to carry at least 4.5 liters. Water bottles or hydration pack/reservoir- minimalists may choose just to buy and reuse plastic store-bought water bottles. If you don’t have enough water bottles, you can supplement with store-bought single-use bottles for the volcano hike.
    • Camera- our phones have great cameras too and I will take lots of photos with my professional camera, so no need to buy a camera if you don’t have one! 
    • Chargers- whatever tech you bring, keep it alive or else it’s dead weight!
    • Carry-on size backpack- there are great options in the ‘extra gear tab, or feel free to ask your guide before buying something.
    • Daypack- any lightweight backpack that you can fit your camera, water and some extra clothes in will do. Suggestions in the extra gear tab. 
    • Eating utensil- a simple camping spork is always great to have! 
    • Headlamp for the volcano hike- lots of good cheap options on Amazon. Make sure you have fresh batteries! 
  • Toiletries
    • Whatever you need! Remember it must be TSA-approved sizes, keep it compact! 
    • Towel- travel towel highly recommended. Suggestions linked below.
    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
  • Extras
    • Snacks! We have lots of travel and hiking time, so energy-dense snacks like granola bars and trail mix are a great idea! 
    • Any extras you’re thinking about bringing, just remember that you will not regret packing LIGHT! There will be short periods when you have to carry everything that you bring on your back. Leave some space for souvenirs too! 

Extra Gear to Consider

Notice something different about the links below? Wherever possible, I swapped out the Amazon links with links to Cincinnati’s best local outfitter, Roads, Rivers and Trails! I might not make any money off of these links like I did from Amazon, but No Strings Travel is committed to supporting local and sustainable businesses whenever possible! Roads, Rivers and Trails goes to amazing lengths to protect the outdoors and is constantly working towards becoming a more sustainable business. It is also just run by great people! I doubt that I could really say any of that about Amazon! Learn more about RRT and their incredible sustainability efforts here.

  1. Water Filter– Wanna know a major hidden cost in travel? Water. All those cheap water bottles that you buy really add up for your wallet and the environment! It does not take long for these nifty water filters to pay for themselves, and it will do so over and over and over again! These are both great options!
    1. Grayl Bottle
    2. Steripen
  2. Travel/camping Pillow: An inflatable pillow that packs down to pocket-size.  
  3. Travel towel– probably the biggest space saver on this list! Definitely a great investment. 
  4. Carry-on bag- Unless you want to pay extra for a bigger checked bag, only a carry-on is included. You’ll find that this is a much better way to travel anyways! If you are looking for a great pack that will last you a lifetime, the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L and the Osprey Porter are sweet travel options that are both carried by RRT! 
  5. Daypack- this is really a personal preference thing! Here are some awesome options offered at Roads, Rivers and Trails. Just do your best to keep the dimensions very close to airline ‘personal item’ requirements: 8 inches long, 14 inches wide and 8 inches high.
  6. Minimum two liters of reusable water carrying capacity-  You’re going to need to be able to carry a minimum of 4.5 liters of water for our volcano hike, but we can buy bottled water from the grocery store if you don’t want to lug that many water bottles around all the time. If you decided to buy a steripen from above, pairing that with two Nalgene water bottles is a great call! A water bladder is another great option!
  7. Buff– great and versatile! Keeps you warm and sun-protected. I also use mine as an eye-mask to help me sleep on flights and long drives!
  8. Merino socks- merino wool! Experience it’s smell-resistant magic!
  9. Merino t-shirts and base layers– Not necessary and may seem silly to spend so much on a t-shirt or “long johns,” but they are great at resisting odor and easy to hand wash and dry! Their smell-resistant magical properties means packing less clothing to save space for souvenirs!
  10. Packing cubes– lots of great options on Amazon.
  11. Travel lock– a smart move for keeping gear safe and secure! 

Guatemala Trip Packing Demo Video