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Jordan: What Should Be in Your Bag?



So you’re going to Jordan? That’s cool. I like Jordan. Mostly I like to run around Petra pretending to be Indiana Jones, but who doesn’t? If you go to Petra and don’t pretend to be Indiana Jones, you’re missing the point. You’re also missing out if you go to Jordan and don’t make yourself sick eating too much Arabic ice cream (Booza). Ok, so aside from my Indiana Jones hat and a voracious appetite for ice cream and Jordanian cuisine (try the “Mansaf”), what else do I pack when heading to Jordan? Let’s see.

Bike Shorts
I’m just going to throw this out there and say I don’t like riding camels. At all. I thought that I would, but five minutes into a two-day camel trek through Wadi Rum, I realized that I, in fact, do not enjoy riding camels at all. They’re slow, plodding, and stubborn, but that’s not why I dislike riding them. Chaffing. Major chaffing. If you catch me on a camel again I’m going to bust out bike shorts underneath my travel pants. I don’t care if it makes my butt look big. If you’ve got a camel trek in your near future, I would recommend throwing in something with a little padding.

Indiana Jones Hat
Jordan is hot. Jordan in July is infernal. Jordan in October is somewhat bearable. Either way, you’ll want to pack a hat, and if you’re going to Petra, you might as well snag an Indiana Jones hat. Everyone else is doing it. I always recommend packing a scarf as well. For the ladies, you never know when you might want to cover up and for the men, well, the kefyah wasn’t always a fashion or political statement. It’s a practical item of clothing to shield yourself from the sun and the occasional sand storm. Probably not something you’ll need to bust out in Amman, but if you’re heading out to the desert, always useful to have.

Ear Plugs
The last time I stayed in Amman, I stayed at a friend’s house. This friend just happened to live right next door to a mosque. I love the call to prayer. I find it haunting, beautiful, and profoundly comforting. Just not at 5 in the morning.

Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
My last visit to Jordan, I ended up in a less than desirable hostel. Exhausted and just wanting to fall into bed, I tried to ignore the fact that there were no sheets as I pulled the stiff, wool blanket over myself. Now whenever traveling through the desert, I always throw a silk sleeping bag liner in my pack. It takes up virtually no space and comes in handy when you end up in a Bedouin tent in the desert or a hostel with no sheets. Lightweight, comfortable, and easy to clean, it will provide you just the right amount of covering.

Bathing Suit
A little time hanging out on the Red Sea anyone? The Dead Sea is a unique body of water that I never cease to marvel at, but for relaxation, diving, and just chilling out on the beach, the Red Sea is where it’s at. A bathing suit, a snorkel, and some flips flops and you are good to go. Incidentally, if you are going to be floating around in the Dead Sea, pack some vaseline or lip balm. If you’ve got any raw spots on your skin, that salt water will make you pretty uncomfortable in a matter of seconds.

So here’s a list of things to bring in your bag, but that implies bringing a bag.  You definitely don’t want to carry around something that’s going to stick to your back in the heat.  Here’s where one of our anti theft shoulder bags, like the Metrosafe 200, or a fanny styled pack like the Venturesafe 100 come in.  Great for day trips and even better for your sweaty back.

Lawrence of Arabia
Because you’ll need to get that shot of you reading it while riding a camel across the desert.

By Nikki Hodgson


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