Sri Lanka is a country that I initially didn’t know much about, and I never thought I would visit… but after spending some time spent immersed in this culturally rich country it is now one of my favorite countries in the world!
Two to four weeks in Sri Lanka is a perfect amount of time to explore and discover all the hot spots and hidden gems that this destination has to offer.
From the pristine coastlines, countless waterfalls, scenic train rides, elephant safari parks, verdant hill country landscapes, and much more… There are awesome adventures to be had for everyone!
Having backpacked all over Sri Lanka myself, I have a pretty fair idea of what you need to add to your Sri Lanka packing list and why!
Sri Lanka has a wide range of accommodation options from luxury resorts to budget hostels and everything in between. I use booking.com to search and book all of my accommodations.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SRI LANKA
The best time to visit the west coast, south coast, and hill country of Sri Lanka is December through to March, which is the dry season. Definitely try to avoid these areas of Sri Lanka during the monsoon season which is between May and September.
If you plan on heading over to the east coast of Sri Lanka to Arugam Bay the best time to visit is between April and September.
WHAT TO PACK FOR SRI LANKA
Most likely you are going to get up to a lot of adventures overseas whether it be hiking volcanoes, exploring waterfalls, or beach hopping! A waterproof phone case is a must-have item to keep your phone safe from water damage, sand, and scratches. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Check Prices → Waterproof Phone Case
A reusable water bottle is an essential Sri Lanka packing list item and something I take with me on all of my adventures. Not only will the Hydro Flask keep your water icy cold all day but you will also be helping the environment by reducing the use of plastics in Sri Lanka.
Check Prices → Hydro Flask Water Bottle
If you are searching for the best day bag to take with you on your next trip to Sri Lanka then look no further. The Nomatic 20L day bag is one of the best backpacks on the market and perfect for those everyday adventures! This particular Nomatic bag is water-resistant, anti-theft, light-weight, and incredibly durable.
Check Prices → Nomatic Day Bag
A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when deciding on what to pack for Sri Lanka. The weather in Sri Lanka can be very sporadic due to the tropical climate and a downpour can happen at any moment. The best rain jackets I have come across for men and women are the North Face waterproof rain jackets with a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar. Be prepared and add this essential item to your Sri Lanka packing list.
Check Prices → North Face Lightweight Rain Jacket (Mens)
Check Prices → North Face Lightweight Rain Jacket (Womens)
There’s an old saying, ‘If you can’t afford travel insurance, you shouldn’t be traveling’. I have been traveling for almost a decade and in that time I have tried many different travel insurance providers. As of late, I have been using World Nomads Travel Insurance on every trip, and in my opinion, they are without a doubt the best travel insurance provider on the market. I always choose the World Nomads Explorer Plan as it covers just about everything.
Check Prices → World Nomads Travel Insurance
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Arriving in Sri Lanka and not being able to charge your phone, laptop, camera, and other accessories is a nightmare for most travelers. I highly recommend equipping yourself with a universal power adapter that can be used everywhere in Asia and also in the UK, Europe, Africa, the United States, and Australia.
Check Prices → Universal Power Adapter
Packing Cubes are honestly my favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear, and more! Packing cubes make packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space and reducing packing frustration for your next trip to Sri Lanka.
Check Prices → Packing Cubes
One of the best things about having a portable power bank is that you can keep your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures throughout Sri Lanka. This Anker Power Bank features 2 USB charging ports, a rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo, and more! Also included is a micro-USB charging cable, travel pouch, and 18-month warranty.
Check Prices → Anker Portable Power Bank
One of the most popular cameras on the planet. I love using the GoPro Hero 9 for everything involving water shots and those fast-paced adventures overseas. It captures all of my best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use and I highly recommend this camera when backpacking.
Check Prices → GoPro Hero 9 Waterproof Camera
Everyone loves a good selfie, right? This slick and stylish selfie stick can extend to 1.2m and I find it much easier to shoot photos and videos with the GoPro Hero 0 when it is mounted to the SandMarc Selfie Stick. This is definitely something you will not regret adding to your packing list for Sri Lanka.
Check Prices → SandMarc Selfie Stick – Metal Edition
The last thing you want when visiting Sri Lanka is a body covered in itchy mosquito bites or worst-case scenario, dengue fever. As I mentioned earlier, Sri Lanka has a very tropical climate and mosquitoes along with other nasty insects like to hang out almost everywhere on the island. Be sure to get a bottle of insect repellent to throw in your check-in baggage when packing for Sri Lanka.
Check Prices → Insect Repellent 100% Deet
Yes, sunscreen! Some of us hate it, others can’t live without it. Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to throw in a tube of sunscreen when packing for Sri Lanka and I guarantee you will end up using it every single day when you are out exploring! In my experience, sunscreen is quite expensive in Sri Lanka so it’s best to pack some before you go.
Check Prices → Sun Bum 50+ Sunscreen
I think it is safe to say that 9 out of 10 of us have been a victim of travelers’ diarrhea, or more commonly known as ‘Delhi Belly.’ I personally eat a lot of street food and enjoy the odd seafood BBQ on the beach, but typically these types of eateries are known for bacteria-infected or out-of-date foods. So to be better safe than sorry, I recommend purchasing these Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets which are fast-acting and a safe way to rid your system of the toxins that cause stomach upset.
Check Prices → Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets
I know for sure that you are likely to visit at least one waterfall or find an epic cliff jumping spot during your travels in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a mecca for water adventures and muddy hikes so definitely consider purchasing an affordable pair of slip-on waterproof shoes when deciding on what to pack for Sri Lanka.
Check Prices → Slip-On Waterproof Shoes
To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? It’s a question I ask myself too often when planning a trip to Sri Lanka. A standard beach or bathroom towel can take up quite a lot of space in your travel bag, though a quick-dry travel towel is a perfect alternative! This light-weight, microfibre travel towel is perfect for the beach, camping, backpacking, and general traveling.
Check Prices → Quick-Dry Travel Towel
Kindles are the best alternative for books when traveling. The Kindle e-readers are perfect for long-haul flights, a relaxing read on the beach, or a quiet evening away from the beach bars. The new Kindles are waterproof, linked with Audible, pair with Bluetooth headphones or speakers, adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions, 8GB – 32GB storage, and rechargeable batteries that last for weeks!
Check Prices → Kindle E-Reader
I never go on a trip without my hidden money belt. The best thing is that they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing to prevent pickpockets. They are perfectly designed to keep your cash and other valuables safe for when you are out and about enjoying Sri Lanka’s nightlife.
Check Prices → Hidden Money Belt
Along with the money belt, a travel passport wallet is a great addition to your Sri Lanka packing list. I find it best to always keep my passport, valuables, travel documents, credit cards, and cash all in one place, stowed away in this easily organized travel wallet.
Check Prices → Travel Passport Wallet
A dry bag is always a good item to consider packing on your next trip to Sri Lanka, especially if you are planning on going snorkeling, spending some time at the beach, exploring waterfalls, or island hopping. Best to keep your phone and other valuables safe from water damage.
Check Prices → Earth-Pak Dry Bag
Something that I have surprisingly been using quite often is a head torch. It may not be an essential Sri Lanka packing list item for everyone but if you do plan on hiking, which I highly recommend, then this waterproof and USB rechargeable head torch will quickly become your best friend on your Sri Lanka adventures!
Check Prices → Foxelli Head Torch
SRI LANKA TRAVEL GUIDES
- Sri Lanka Travel Guide: 2 Week Sri Lanka Itinerary
- Hikkaduwa Travel Guide: 7 Things To Do In Hikkaduwa
- Unawatuna Travel Guide: 8 Things To Do In Unawatuna
- Ella Travel Guide: Best Things To Do In Ella
- Udawalawe Travel Guide: Udawalawe Safari Tour
PIN IT FOR LATER
MY CAMERA GEAR
I get a lot of messages from people wanting to know what camera gear and travel essentials I use while backpacking around the world, so I have put together a list of everything I carry with me on my travels and that I can personally recommend to you.
As a full-time backpacker, I try to travel as light as possible when I’m on the road and so everything listed below is all you will need to travel the world, take quality photos, and not have to carry too much weight.
Camera – Canon EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless
This model of Canon is one of the most affordable, compact, and best mirrorless cameras on the market. I shoot with this camera every day and my quality of images has increased dramatically since I made this purchase. You can browse through all of my images in my blog to give you an idea of what this camera is capable of.
Camera Lens – Canon Lens RF 24-70mm F2.8
The 24-70mm is my go-to lens for this camera. It is dust and splash-proof, also included is a lens hood, and cap. The versatility of this lens allows me to shoot detailed portraits and also offers a wide dynamic range for shooting landscapes.
Drone Camera – DJI Mavic Pro 2
The DJI Mavic Pro 2 drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy-to-control functions, and traveler-friendly capabilities. The Mavic Pro 2 shoots high-resolution images in JPEG + RAW and high definition 4K video. Purchase a DJI Mavic Pro 2 drone today and take your photography and videography to new heights!
Laptop Computer – Apple MacBook Pro 15″
The MacBook Pro laptop is very lightweight and perfect for backpackers traveling the world. Apart from my camera, the MacBook Pro is my most used accessory when it comes to uploading images, editing photos and video, writing all of my blog posts, and booking flights and accommodation when I am on the road.
Waterproof Camera – GoPro Hero 9
The most popular camera on the planet. I love using the GoPro 9 for anything involving water shots and for all of my fast-paced adventures. It captures all of my best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use.
CAMERA GIMBAL – FEIYU TECH AK2000 CAMERA STABILIZER
The Feiyu Tech AK2000 is an easy-to-use hand-held stabilizer suited for DSLR and Mirrorless cameras of up to 2.8kg. Works with Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic. Whether you are a travel vlogger or a filmmaker looking to create smooth cinematic video then this is the accessory for you!
TRAVEL BAG – NOMATIC 40L WATER RESISTANT TRAVEL BAG
The 40L Nomatic Travel Bag is the best purchase I have ever made. This bag has a designated water bottle pocket, RFID protected pocket, shoe compartment, laptop pocket, compression bag, and more! The Nomatic Travel Bag is designed to fit the maximum size allowed for carry-on luggage so you’ll never have to spend money on check-in baggage again!
Camera Bag – Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag
The Lowepro Protactic Camera Bag is one of the best camera bags on the market. It includes a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras, drones, lenses, accessories, and a laptop pocket. This is my bag of choice that I take with me on all of my adventures.
Selfie Stick – SandMarc Selfie Stick – Metal Edition
Everyone loves a good selfie, right? This stylish selfie stick can extend to 1.2m and I find it much easier to shoot with the GoPro when it is mounted to the SandMarc Selfie Stick.
GoPro Dome – Underwater Dome Port for GoPro
Have you ever wanted to know how to get those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This nifty little dome housing can create that perfect shot you are chasing. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card – SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB SDXC
The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for performance and uncompromising images and 4K video quality from my DSLR. Having 64GB of storage means that I can store my images on the SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
Spare Camera Battery – 2 Pack Camera Battery for Canon
Don’t make the same mistake as me by taking hundreds of photos on a big adventure day and running out of battery. Be prepared with this 2 pack of spare batteries.
Camera Tripod – Joby GorillaPod
The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras. This tripod is lightweight easy to use and perfect for setting-up a time-lapse photo or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
External Hard Drive – WD Elements External Hard Drive 4TB
As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use this compact external hard drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for a good year worth of content.