As usual, I did a lot of research to prepare my Morocco packing list for a 2-week trip in November. Morocco is a country of varied landscapes and climates, meaning I was going to ride off on a camel into the desert AND see Game of Thrones filming spots, so I wanted to be ready for anything. I checked the high and low temperatures and rainfall in each city and also researched dress customs for travelers.
I think it’s important to pack minimally keeping in mind all of the activities and stops along the way. On this trip I also wanted to make any reasonable modifications that would help avoid unwanted attention. After my research, I decided on pants and below-the-knee dresses with tights. I packed longer tops that also covered my shoulders, with a scarf added for any v-neck shirts. I only covered my head for the Sahara excursion and in mosques. I’ve seen some travel blogs advising women to cover their hair and buy caftans or djellabas (the Moroccan version with a hood and long sleeves), but I don’t think that’s necessary unless it suits your personal style. If I had traveled in the summer, I would have worn loose long pants and dresses/skirts, but I think capri pants would be OK too.
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Morocco Packing List (Winter)
My Best of Morocco itinerary with Intrepid Travel was what I’d call an adventure trip – city to city, with lots of sightseeing and outings planned, and few nights out. Most of our dinners were at our hotels, especially in the remote towns, which allowed me to pack less. This is important when you’re lugging your bag from city to city. (Remember my mantra: more prep, less schlep!) Consider your itinerary as well as your travel and personal style, of course, when preparing your own Morocco packing list.
In places like Casablanca, Fez, Essaouira and Marrakech I was fine with only a cardigan or denim jacket. In contrast, the nights in the Atlas Mountains, Ourzazate and the Sahara were quite cold. Instead of a coat, I opted for a rain jacket with layers underneath to save packing space. The sleek, slightly stretchy fabric didn’t wrinkle and any dirt brushed right off, so it had the added bonus of looking more pulled-together.
A packable sun hat came in handy in Volubilis and for other sunny days. I was glad I had a warm hat and fingerless gloves for the Sahara overnight.
Athleta La Viva Pant | Athleta Metro Classic Pant | Athleta Wander Pant
Toad and Co Shadow Stripe Dress | Eddie Bauer Departure Dress | Leggings
Eddie Bauer Daisy Wrap | Fluxus Nomad Scarf | Pashmina Scarf | Leopard Scarf
I brought three pair of pants and also two knee-length dresses to wear with opaque tights underneath. I kept the Metro Pant for flights or wearing with longer shirts and a cardigan. My tops included three short-sleeve, one long-sleeve and a sweatshirt. A Sahara overnight will be cold no matter the season, so plan layers for that portion of the trip.
Scarves are a must-have in Morocco. You can use them to cover your neckline or head if needed, or to breathe through and keep from gagging at the smell of tanneries in Fez. You’ll even learn how to tie them into a turban from your Berber guide. I wore my Fluxus Nomad Scarf (a favorite for flights) into the desert and it made a perfect turban.
For shoes, pack hiking shoes or lace-up sneakers that you can wear into the desert and for hikes in the Atlas Mountains. I brought a pair of slip-on Skechers that looked more like black flats for the flight and to wear with dresses, plus another pair of slip-on Skechers sneakers. I wished I had brought flip flops for some of the showers in the places we stayed! If I had traveled in summer, I would have switched out a pair of sneakers for my Ahnu Tilden sport sandals. If you’ll be going out in cities, you might want a pair of nicer sandals. I recommend flats over heels because of the uneven streets and walkways.
I packed a small fleece sleeping bag that I used as an extra layer on the coldest nights including at the Sahara camp. Homes and hotels in Morocco often don’t have adequate heating, so expect to see space heaters and ridiculously heavy blankets if you travel in the colder months.
Lastly, you’ll need a backpack for a trip into the Sahara, plus my itinerary included an overnight homestay. For these nights you’ll store your bags and take only a day pack. I travel with an older Lowepro Fastpack or Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack, which have separate sections for your camera gear and other belongings. Now, though, you can buy removable inserts to add camera storage to any bag. You won’t need much for only one night in the Sahara: I recommend just face wipes and basic toiletries, since the facilities are limited and you’ll head back to the auberge for breakfast where you can clean up there.
Next: check out my Two Weeks In Morocco post for more info on this amazing destination!