Packing for The Mongol Rally

by Mike on July 14, 2014

Deciding what to bring is a huge undertaking for this epic adventure. This car drive to Mongolia isn’t exactly your typical fall foliage drive with pumpkin pie at the end of the day. There’s numerous logistical questions for this month long road trip.

One of which is deciding what’s going to be purchased State side and carried over(or shipped over if it wasn’t cost prohibitive) or what’s going to be purchased in the U.K.

A debated items was a roof box. After researching a bit, all I could find in the UK was a Thule branded box and these were expensive for what we were going to use it for. I researched options if any US supplier would ship a cheaper make roof box over, but the shipping cost would negate any cost savings.

After checking the shipping weight of the roof box parts and the weight limitations on checked luggage for my flight to London, I bought a cheap aluminum roof box from eBay that required assembly with the intention of checking it on my flight.

Luggage for the Mongol Rally

Packed Luggage for the Mongol Rally

This may not sound like the most logical approach, but the car is going to get scrapped once we reach Mongolia, thus buying an expensive roof box would be a waste.

Aside from the roof box, here’s a list of items I brought. Some of the items it made more sense to buy in England than purchase in the States and bring over, but friends and family were throwing out items that I could find use on the drive to Mongolia. In the end, I took it off their hands to use on the drive, which meant I had to check it as part of my luggage.

Bottle Jack(1/2 ton) – This was one of items my parents were throwing away, so I scooped it up and debated whether it was worth to take with me. My luggage didn’t go over the allowable limits, so it ended up taking the ride over.

Zip ties – My former colleagues gave me this as part of my going away present.

Duct tape – Again another going away present from my colleagues.

Stereo Head Unit – I wanted a head unit that has the ability to play MP3’s and my brother happened to be getting rid of an old Sony head unit. This was checked in my luggage.

Replacement Stereo head unit for Mongol Rally

Replacement stereo head unit to play an iPod

Air Horns – This is a three-piece horn set with a compressor. A friend gave this to me so it has to be installed on our car.

Relay/switches/wires/wire harness – Most of these items were items I needed for the air horns.

Air Horn parts and Electrical Pars for the Mongol Rally

Air Horn and Automotive electrical parts

Gloves – I brought a pair of leather work gloves and several pair of latex gloves. Leather work gloves are great when it comes time to change tires or filling up your gas tank from your jerry can. Latex gloves comes in handy when you need to do engine work in middle of nowhere and don’t have access to wash your hands.

Camping Tent – There’s going to be some nights where we’ll be nowhere close to civilization and we’ll have to camp out in the dessert.

Self-inflating air mattress – Again something I bought stateside because it was much cheaper than buying in the U.K.

Sleeping Bag – I bought one from a UK website and had it shipped to a friend in the UK. I didn’t want to buy one state side and pack it along because it’s too bulky to fit in my checked luggage.

Ratchet/socket set – I brought this along because I found a great deal during a clearance event at a hardware store. I don’t think I could have found a comparable quality set in the U.K. for the price I paid.

Hersey Dipping Sticks – A good snack item for along the trip and would make great gifts to children along the route.

Hersey dipping sticks

Hersey dipping sticks

Skid Plates(underside protection)  – My former colleagues manufactured one based on a template I made when I bought the car.

Skid plate for Mongol Rally

Skid plates

American Flag – I brought one over because our team consists of all Americans.

American Flag for Mongol Rallu

American Flag


T-shirt – I brought 5 t-shirts. I want to pack light because I’ll be traveling Europe for two weeks and don’t want to check any luggage on any internal Europe flights.

REI convertible pants – A versatile clothing item that can be used as pants in cooler weather and the bottoms can be zipped off when the weather turns warmer.

Mesh shorts – Something light to sleep in and to work out

Shorts – I brought a pair of golf shorts, the same ones from my gear list.

Exofficio Boxer briefs – I’m bringing three pairs of these because they pack light, dry quick, and feature anti-bacterial and anti-odor material, which makes it fitting for times when we won’t have regular access to laundry.

A pair of jeans – Just your typical pair of jeans

Long pants – Long pair of lounge pants to sleep in.

Zipper down Fleece – I anticipate some cool nights/morning so I want a long sleeve shirt.

Socks –4 pairs of ankle socks(two wool and two cotton).

Toiletries – Standard stuff like toothpaste and a toothbrush.

Medicine – The usually ciprolflaxin and azithromycin, both are antibiotics, but the latter is for respiratory infections.

Camera – I brought a point and shoot camera(Canon S95) and a digital camcorder(Canon Vixia HF R500) along with several memory sticks.

Bathing suit – Obviously useful for swims

Cell phones – An unlocked iPhone 3GS and I’m bringing my under contract iPhone 5S because it makes a handy pocket camera and I can use the wifi. The old iPhone 3GS has 32 GB of storage so it doubles as an MP3 player for the drive.

Laptop – I packed a Macbook Air because I need the ability to write and back-up videos and photos.

External Hard Drive – This is to back up my photos and videos because I expect I won’t have regular access to the Internet.

iPad – This contains all my reading material and doubles as back up to my Macbook Air.

Passport and other documents – My two passports, which contain all the visas are coming along. An International Driving Permit(IDP) is necessary for the Mongol Rally.

Since I was doing work on the car before the start of the rally, I had to bring a lot of car supplies over. I could have bought them in the UK, but with the lack of familiarity with stores and places to buy parts, my rationale for bringing over so much was that it would have been easier to buy it State side and carry it over.

Most of the stuff I was brining was small hand cartable stuff such as switched, relays, wires, and fuses, which didn’t add much to the overall checked luggage. Additionally, I think it was slightly cheaper to buy it state side, but the convenience of having everything on-hand while working on the car was the main driver to bringing the items over.

I bought two disposable wheeled luggage for $20 USD a piece to carry all the car components over. My intentions are to discard them in London before we set off to Mongolia.

Once we reach Mongolia, my plan is to fly back to Europe and travel around Europe for a few weeks. Since we’ll be flying internally within Europe, I don’t want to check any bags nor have a lot of luggage. With that said, I’ll be discarding a lot of the items in Mongolia.


Related posts:

Attacking the Visa Applications for the Mongol Rally
Frequently Asked Questions about My Mongol Rally Trip
Mongol Rally Videos and Trip Planning

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