What to bring
USEFUL ITEMS INCLUDE
• Water filter: check out models by PUR
• Sleeping bag: get a good quality down-filled bag. Even in summer, up in the mountains, it can get bloody cold. If you are going to be there anytime outside summer bring the best damn bag you can afford. I use a bag rated to minus 30 but sometimes wish I had one at minus 40!
• Sleeping bag liner: another handy item. Slip this into your bag for extra warmth or use it in hotels instead the sheets you’re given (they may not be clean).
• Sleeping pad: the inflatable kind work well. They provide comfort and will add an extra layer of insulation from the ground.
• Tent: This is definitely a good idea. Don’t bother with a flimsy, cheap tent or one only good for summer. A 3-4 season convertible tent should keep you warm. If you’ll be there out of season take a four season tent. Don’t forget a ground mat.
• Flashlight: headlamps are handy as they keep your hands free, but the basic ones are pretty weak. Shop around for the best quality headlamp.
• Back up pair of sunglasses: these always go missing and you won’t find a good spare in Mongolia.
• Paper back books: check the Mongolia books page on this site for ideas
• Mongolian phrasebook: Lonely Planet has one.
• GPS: I totally recommend bringing one. Sure, you’ll still get lost, but it can be fun to use the GPS to try and find your way to where ever you’re going. The LP book is loaded with GPS coordinates and you can also use Google Earth to find places. Any basic GPS made by Garmin or Magellan will do the trick.
• Travel medical kit: bring plenty of anti-diarrhea meds and some stuff for a headache. Also bring some ointment for burns or cuts and some bandages. That is the most important stuff, whatever else you want to bring is up to you.
• A zoom lens for your camera: For taking pictures of wildlife.
• A pair of binoculars: also good for spotting wildlife. Actually, this is one of the most important things to bring; you’ll use it a lot. If you can get a few cheap ones they make great presents for nomads.
• Mobile phone / Satellite Phone: (you can buy a SIM card in Ulaanbaatar). Make sure your phone is a tri-band or other type that will work overseas. The phone network is GSM. You can also buy a used phone locally. Phones work in most towns in Mongolia and are very handy if you need to call your trip organizer back in UB. A local company called Monsat (tel: 323 705) rents satellite phones for $5 a day.
• Ziplock bags of various sizes. These are great keeping the dust off electronic equipment.
• Pictures of your family, country and hometown: Mongolians love looking at family photographs, even if its not their own family.
• Gifts for locals: in the countryside, good gifts for locals include wind-up flashlights and binoculars. You could give them vodka but you may well end up drinking it with them.
• Electric converters: power is 22V, 50Hz. The wall sockets are designed to accommodate two round prongs (Russian / European style).
• Fishing gear. You can buy all sort of fishing rods, lines, lures and tackle in UB. It’s available in the Northland gear shop on Peace Ave. But if you have a favorite fishing rod, bring it.
• Besides all the obvious clothing items, don’t forget: pair of long underwear, flip flops, wool hat, rain jacket.
• If you are going to Mongolia in winter, bring various layers of fleece clothing and use silk as a base layer. Smart wool socks are great but expensive. Good pair of mittens, boots, wool hat and a scarf. My North Face down jacket with a hood has served me well. Jeans are fine for an outer pant layer; in the countryside I sometimes wear insulated ski pants. Honestly, you can buy almost all this stuff in UB at cheaper prices. Fake North Face gear is sold at Northland shop, the State Department Store and elsewhere. Buriat boot are great but hard to get in big sizes. You can even get Western brand stuff at Seven Summits but prices will be the same (or higher) than in the US. You can buy down jackets in UB.
Posted by: pktan
Having spent a few months in the amazing Mongolia for the past few years, PkTan is fascinated with this beautiful, complicated country. He love advising travellers to Mongolia and have developed this site to share all his knowledge of Mongolia with everyone.