If you’re like most adventurous travellers with Kyrgyzstan next on their travel list, you’re seeking some of the world’s best hiking, trekking and breathtaking outdoor experiences. And there are options aplenty – as a mountainous country free of plains and with the lowest area laying at no lower than 500 meters (1,600 feet), you can bet you have some unforgettable and challenging hiking trails to choose from!
But because Kyrgyzstan’s elevations vary widely and conditions can differ greatly, figuring out what your Kyrgyzstan packing essentials are is already challenging enough.
But, have no fear, because you’ve come to our comprehensive Kyrgyzstan survival guide to get all the information you need! Keep reading for a step-by-step game plan for what to pack for Kyrgyzstan that will prepare you for all conditions.
After reading this guide, you’ll have this what to pack for Kyrgyzstan challenge totally under control! So, get comfy and read on – and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to all the wonders and adventures that await in this Central Asian gem.
So let’s get to it…
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Ultimate Kyrgyzstan Packing List
Packing for Kyrgyzstan is not exactly straightforward. Firstly, the climate does change drastically depending on time of year and topography. We visited last summer and went from wearing t-shirts one day to winter gear within the same week as we entered the mountains.
If you are planning on trekking, you also need some serious outdoor gear. Whilst you can rent gear or join a tour, you will still need to bring some stuff with you.
Best Backpack For Kyrgyzstan: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before you even take on the task of figuring out what to pack for Kyrgzstan, you’ll need an amazing backpack to pack it all into. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the Nomatic Travel Bag.
The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking travel the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for Kyrgzstan checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and darn tough socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.
You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack.
Best Camera For For Kyrgyzstan: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones now feature cameras with stunning photo capabilities.
But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black. It does deliver pro-quality video and gives you a bunch of a different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie-mode).
Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here. If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic GoPro Alternatives.
Best Sim For Kyrgyzstan – HolaFly eSim
The good news about Kyrgyzstan is that there is pretty good 4g and 5g Internet coverage, taxi apps and food delivery apps. The bad news is that your native SIM card will not work and so you will not be able to access any of this online goodness until you rectify that particular situation.
You can waste time hanging around phone shops queuing to get a local SIM card or you can simply install a eSim onto your phone before you leave home. You just access the HolaFly site, choose the package you need, download it and off you go – you are online the moment you land at the airport.
eSims are easier to set up and better than the environment than plastic sims. The downside is that not all phones are eSim ready.
What To Pack For Kyrgyzstan Checklist: Personal Gear
The nations cities reminded us of Eastern Europe. In terms of what to wear in Kyrgyzstan, western clothes such as jeans and t-shirts are fine. The country is still a little on the conservative side though so bear in mind modesty standards.
Kyrgyzstan is a trekkers paradise. Some of the mountains routes however, are pretty hardcore and your legs will get a good work out. Why not make life easier on your self and get a pair of good quality trekking poles to help make your treks more comfortable.
The Ultra Strong model features comfy foam grips, lever locks, and a relatively sturdy aluminum shaft design. If you are looking to buy trekking poles for the very first time, the Montem Ultra Strong make a great set of trekking poles without a big investment.
The mountains are serious business and not to be taken lightly. If you are headed out for a multiway trek then there is no question – get decent walking boots.
This pair from Lowa reliable, comfortable and steadfast.
If you dont like the look of these, then check out the Saloman boot range instead.
Good Rain Jacket – Arcteryx Beta AR
Did you know that the surface of the earth is over 70% covered in water? And you know how that water got there? Yep because it tends to here rain here on planet earth quite a lot!
There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wing gear for it. Don’t let a bit (of a lot) of rain ruin your trip and make sure you are ready with some top notch rain gear.
This is our pick of the many rain jackets we have tried. It’s reliable & stylish and looks good worn out in the mountains or in city bars.
If you intend on doing any hiking or day trips then you will need a daypack. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick.
The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Check out our full review of the Osprey Daylite plus for more details.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
The higher you get, the closer to the sun you get and the more fierce it’s rays get. The mountains have some serious elevation and as such, we strongly reopened bringing a hat to protect from sunburn.
Patagonia makes great hats. I have probably bought three or four of these over the last five years. Simple. Practical. Comfortable. That is what you are after.
Money Belt By Pacsafe
Whilst Kyrgyzstan is not particularly dangerous, crime can still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.
A lot of money belts are of a very low quality and they fall apart pretty fast. As such its worth buying a decent one like the Pacsafe one you can pick up at REI.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles. Rather than buying plastic bottles, get one of these and fill it from reliable sources such as fountains, coolers and or but the big 5 litre bottles and fill this up each morning.
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal water bottle to get not just for your Vegas trip but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another waterbottle again.
You have experienced Kyrgyzstan at all if you haven’t done at least some camping! The charm of the country is out in the mountains and meadows and not in its’ (still cool) cities.
This is more the choice for those in the market for budget backpacking gear. It’s got all the perks of a top-notch backpacking tent without all the freakishly high numbers on the price tag.
Yeah, it may not quite make the cut as ultralight backpacking gear but think of what you’re getting! The MSR Hubba Hubba 2p is mega-roomy and has multiple of pockets for keeping your self organized when settling in for the night.As far as budget backpacking tents go, this is one of the best. It’s a happy medium between the ‘prepared for anything’ mode and the ‘I wanted to go for a trek so I bought this for 2000 rupees’ afterthought.
At some point in your trip to Kyrgyzstan, you will probably go camping or at the very least will spend a night at a hostel with insufficient bedding, or with dirty bedding that you would rather not lay in. Therefore bringing a sleeping bag is often a great investment.
There are a LOT of sleeping bags on the market today and we have tried a lot of them. The quality and standards varies and not always in correlation with the price – pricey does not always mean better. The Nemo Disco 15 is a great all rounder sleeping bag packing in warmth, durability and a reasonable price tag.
Headlamps are great for traveling for many reasons. Firstly, they are useful as hell if you go camping or on an early sunrise mountain hike. Then, they come in useful for finding your way to your hostel bed at 3am without having to turn the lights on. They are also a Godsend if there is a power cut (pretty common in India, Nepal or Venezuela) and great for navigating darkened alleyways in Turkey & Spain.
In Kyrgyzstan, they are great for those nights you spend camping or staying with the nomads.
Not all headlamps were created equal and this is one of the best. The Petzl Actik Core comes with a USB rechargeable battery (full recharge in 3 hours or less); however, it is compatible with AAA batteries. Water-resistance is another critical feature. This product can withstand splashing; but keep in mind, water-resistant does NOT mean waterproof.
Travel First Aid Kit
You don’t need to tote around half a pharmacy, but a well-stocked first aid kit should be in all our backpacks. Stuff happens on the road and it’s inconvenient and embarrassing when you can’t manage small situations like a cut finger or hangover migraine.
You can tuck this lifesaver away in a forgotten pocket – and it’ll be there when you need it.
Tip: Add a few bits and pieces to the first aid kit after you purchase it, like extra headache medicine, any personal meds you need (like allergy pills), whatever you take to calm your stomach and a few more plasters.
Travel Insurance From World Nomads
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Thermal Layer For Winter
So yeah, Kyrgyzstan can get very cold in the winter and up in the mountains. The secret of surviving and thriving in these circumstances is to layer up. A good thermal base layer can make the difference between life and death on a cold a night!
Don’t risk hypothermia, add this to your Iceland packing list.
The key to staying warm is to keep our extremities warm. This means a good hat for the head, gloves for the hands and some decent thick wool socks to wear under your booths. Even if you are visiting in summer these are still a good investment as you will definitely get some use out of them at some point in your life. I own 6 pairs of these and wear them between October and February in my home city of Liverpool.
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Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Kyrgyzstan
There you have it, friends! Consider yourself prepared with all you need to know about what to pack for Kyrgyzstan with our comprehensive Kyrgyzstan survival guide. As you continue your travel preparations, just refer back to the above top-23 needs packing list, the tips we included on what to wear in Kyrgyzstan, the breakdown of the seasons and how to pack accordingly for different weather conditions. Don’t forget you also have recommendations tailored for women and men regarding their packing lists – plus, there’s the info on what NOT to pack for Kyrgyzstan.
We hope you’re feeling more at ease about your travel and packing needs and instead are feeling stoked for this adventure. There’s no doubt that Kyrgyzstan will wow you with all its beauty, so get out there and take it all in! Pack your bags and visit all of the coolest places in Kyrgyzstan.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!