Packing Lists

What to Wear in Wadi Rum: Packing List for the Jordan Desert

When I sit down to try and explain the allure of one destination in Jordan versus another, I’m often stumped: to me, the whole country is one giant bucket list! Seeing Petra – check. Float in the Dead Sea – you bet. Spend a night in the desert of Wadi Rum – of course! And there’s so much more… focusing on just one destination seems tricky, since all of Jordan is worth seeing.

There are some Jordanian destinations that beg extra information as you plan your itinerary though. For example, you might need to consider what swimsuit to bring to the Dead Sea (as a woman), or dig into the details of Petra-by-Night to decide if it’s worth it. Similarly, Wadi Rum presents a challenge in that the climate of the desert is quite different than other parts of the country. What exactly should you pack for Wadi Rum and the variety of activities – camel riding, 4×4 tours, hiking, stargazing, etc. – available there?

What to Wear in Wadi Rum Hero

In this post, I’ll share my best advice having visited Jordan twice, in 2016 and again in 2022. Both trips took me to Wadi Rum, which I consider an essential stop. The second time, I was much better prepared having been there once before. Hopefully, this post with my advice on what to pack for Wadi Rum will help you have a “second trip” experience (i.e. you know what to pack and are much more comfortable) rather than a “first trip” one.

Ready to cover the basics of Wadi Rum packing and get this part of your Jordan trip sorted? Let’s dive in. (P.S. I’ve also included pictures of my husband in Wadi Rum, so you can see how he chose to dress too.)

What to Wear in Wadi Rum: Tips to Start

Before jumping into the specific items I recommend you pack for Wadi Rum, I wanted to share some general tips; these inform what I suggest further down in the post, and will help you make smart choices on your own without having to follow exactly and only what’s listed on articles like this.

Tip #1: Understand Seasonal Differences

Knowing each season is the first piece of information that will take you far when trying to decide what to wear in Wadi Rum. I have monthly guides detailing the weather and other info here that are a good place to start.

As Wadi Rum is a moderate elevation desert climate, it experiences scorching summers and springs and chilly winters and falls; plan and pack accordingly based on your travel dates. You can always check the local weather forecast before your trip, to ensure you’re adequately prepared.

Tip #2: Dress in Seasonally-Appropriate Layers

Given the temperature fluctuations, dressing in layers is essential. Lightweight, breathable fabrics are ideal during the day, while a warm jacket or sweater becomes crucial as the temperature drops in the evening. This approach allows you to adapt to the changing climate throughout the day.

Layers are crucial for summer, too! You see, while wearing sunblock will prevent you from hurting your skin, it will end up being accessory. Long-sleeved clothes in light colors will protect your skin better from the sun. In a way, do as the local people do. Bedouins wear long-sleeved robes to absorb heat and prevent the sun’s rays from reaching their skin.

Tip #3: Prepare for Extreme Dryness, No Matter the Season

Wadi Rum is characterized by its arid climate – there’s no sign of rainfall in the forecast at all. So, when thinking about what to wear in Wadi Rum, the key is to pack clothes made of lightweight fabric: linen, cotton, and Merino wool are some fabrics to keep in mind. 

Also, hydration is crucial. Bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated during your explorations. Additionally, moisturizing lotion can help combat dryness, keeping your skin nourished in the desert environment.

9 Essential Items to Pack for Wadi Rum

To get more specific, here’s a list of essentials you should definitely pack for Wadi Rum if you want a comfortable adventure. These are items you should bring in addition to the basic clothes you’re planning to pack for Jordan as a whole. (If you’re confused about that part of your trip planning, I have a Jordan packing list, too!)

  1. Season-Appropriate Jacket – Since nights are always cooler in Wadi Rum, you should always bring a jacket. For colder seasons, a warm, insulated jacket will do the job. For warmer months, a light, breathable jacket is sufficient to face the chilly evenings. (I recommend Uniqlo, for women and men.)
  2. Extra Layer for Nighttime Adventures – As mentioned, layers are the name of the game when planning what to wear in Wadi Rum. Temperatures can drop significantly at night, so having an extra layer is crucial for nighttime activities like stargazing.
  3. Close-Toed Shoes – Wadi Rum’s sandstones and dunes are delightful But, they can hurt your feet. Get a pair of close-toed shoes to protect your feet from the rugged terrain that are also suitable for hiking and walking on sand.
  4. Day Pack – Whether you’ve booked camel or jeep tours, you’ll be away from the camp for a few hours at least. So you’ll need to carry a small backpack to hold essentials like water, snacks, a camera, and any extra layers. (I love the Cotopaxi Luzon del Dia 18L.)
  5. Sunscreen – Summer or winter, the desert sun can be intense, so bring a high-SPF sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn.
  6. Sunglasses – Sunglasses are great allies to shield your eyes from the bright sunlight and blowing sand.
  7. Hat or Headscarf – A wide-brimmed hat or a headscarf is essential to protect your face and neck from the sun. It will also mitigate the wind and sand. If you ask me, I’d go Bedouin style and get a headscarf! You can always ask for help in your camp to help you tighten it. You can buy a keffiyeh at several attractions in Jordan; my husband bought his at Jerash.)
  8. Chapstick – Just like lotion for your body will do wonders, a lip balm is a great option for combating dry lips.
  9. Flashlight and/or Headlamp – For those spending the night, bringing a flashlight or headlamp will take you far, especially on moonless nights. Of course, you can also use your smartphone light, too. (I use one with a red light mode so I can also use it while stargazing, like this one.)

Additional Items to Pack for Wadi Rum

Over the past decade since I started visiting Jordan, there are many more Wadi Rum camps and the quality of those camps has improved a lot – most provide everything you need, and certainly if you’re glamping, you shouldn’t need to bring anything extra during your stay.

However, some camps don’t provide things like linens, towels, etc. (especially if you’re booking a budget-friendly camp), so you should always check the specific camp for what you need to bring yourself. The best way to do this is first by checking the website for the Wadi Rum camps you’re considering, then check your confirmation email. If you still have questions about what’s included and what’s not, reach out to the camp directly to check.

Have any other questions about what to wear in Wadi Rum and packing for Wadi Rum? Let me know in the comments below!

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I fell in love with Jordan after my first visit in 2016; now I love returning to explore more – and writing guides to help you do the same.

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