Packing Tips for Jordan’s Wadi Rum

April 22, 2014 Nellie Huang

G Adventures, in co-operation with ‘Visit Jordan‘, is proud to announce our “Highlights of Jordan Week” on the Looptail. And we’re marking the occasion by giving away the adventure of a lifetime to this land of mesmerizing beauty—including airfare up to US$1,000. Check out today’s tips by G Adventures Wanderer-in-Residence Nellie Huang and then enter to win at the bottom of this post.

Studded with towering jebels and covered in fine rose red sand,  Wadi Rum desert boasts extraordinary scenery unlike any other place on earth and is a definite highlight of any trip to Jordan. With the changing angles of the sun, the desert displays a myriad of moods and dramatic colors and is best experienced on an overnight trip.

The region known as Wadi Rum is actually a series of valleys about 2km (1.25 mi) wide running north to south for ~120km (74 mi). Among the valleys is a desert landscape of sand and rocks, punctuated by towering jebels that have eroded into a soft sandstone over millions of years. The epic Jebel Rum (1754m/5754 ft) dominates the central valley and is one of the highest peaks in Jordan.

Book yourself on a camel trek or four-wheel drive tour so you can sleep under the stars at night and awake to spectacular sunrises each day. For those planning to do just that, here are some packing tips to ensure you have a comfortable stay in Wadi Rum.

Wadi Rum from above. Photo courtesy Nellie Huang.

Wadi Rum from above. Photo courtesy Nellie Huang.

The Basics: Questions to Ask

These are some questions you should ask yourself or your tour operator before deciding what to bring:

What kind of activities are you doing?

Most Wadi Rum overnight tours include a slew of activities such as a 4×4 adventure around the desert and sand boarding. You can also opt for a camel trek at the camp or even sign up for rock climbing. Deciding your activities will help you choose what gear you’ll need in the desert. For climbing, you’ll clearly need specialized shoes and clothing.

What is your travel style? Staying in a Bedouin camp or sleeping under the stars?

Most travellers bed down in several Bedouin camps at the edge of the desert. These camps usually supply mattresses, blankets and pillows. There is no real need to bring sleeping bags—but check with your tour operator to ensure there are no suprises.

When and how long will you be in the desert?

In winter (Dec–Feb), it can rain in Wadi Rum and snow in the mountains is not uncommon. In summer (May–Sep), daytime temperatures often soar past 40°C (104°F). Throughout the year (including summer), however, night-time temperatures can fall to ~0°C (32°F)—so come prepared with lots of layers.

Exploring Wadi Rum on 4x4. Photo courtesy Nellie Huang.

Exploring Wadi Rum on 4×4. Photo courtesy Nellie Huang.

Day pack

I would advise leaving your main luggage in the city (even if that means you’ll need to return to pick it up), to minimize what you have to carry into the desert.  A day pack should be sufficient if you are just staying in the desert for a night or two. Most Bedouin camps don’t have showers or WiFi so leave your rubber ducky, and tablet or laptop behind.


Layers are the way to go regardless of season. There can be a huge swings in temperature  between day and night—so always put on a t-shirt followed by a fleece and jacket. Ladies should not wear anything too skimpy especially when in the village (halter neck, singlets or shorts).


Unless you’re rock climbing, you don’t need hiking boots in the desert. All the walking you’ll do is light hiking. Trainers or any shoes with covered toes will suffice. Trekking sandals are a good option when it warms up.

A bedouin camp. Photo courtesy Nellie Huang.

A bedouin camp. Photo courtesy Nellie Huang.

Packing checklist

  • Daypack
  • Sleeping sheet
  • Extra fleece
  • A thick jacket
  • T-shirt (s)
  • Head torch
  • Water bottle
  • Energy bars and snacks
  • Camera, charger and battery
  • Cap/hat
  • Scarf
  • Toiletries and first-aid kit


Enter below to win the adventure of a lifetime to Jordan


Each day we’ll post a new article about Jordan, along with a question. Simply provide the correct answer and you’re entered to win the adventure of a lifetime to Jordan. Pretty simple, huh? Make sure to check back daily; you can enter up to five times to increase your odds of winning! One winner will be picked at random from the correct submissions on April 28. Good luck! Click here to learn more about the contest.




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