Dubbed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest cities in Brazil and an extremely popular tourist destination. Rio has activities for all travel styles. Travelers can hang glide, relax at beaches and visit world famous monuments. This Rio packing list contains a list of recommended items and travel gear to take on your trip to Rio de Janeiro.
Climate In Rio De Janeiro, Brazil:
Rio’s climate can greatly effect what you should pack when visiting. Since Rio is primarily hot and humid, you should mainly pack shorts and t-shirts.
Due to it’s proximity to the equator, Rio De Janeiro’s climate is extremely hot and humid. Rio is in the southern hemisphere and in the summer (1 December to 28 February), Rio can reach temperatures near 90°F. During the winter, the temperature in Rio can drop to the 70s°F.
Average Temperature in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil:
Average Rain Fall in Rio de Janeiro:
Rio isn’t the most rainy area, however you would be best off bringing a rain coat or an umbrella when traveling to Rio.
Depending on your style of travel, you may want to bring either a suitcase or a backpack. I happened to pack relatively light, so I only needed a backpack. If you are looking for a suitcase to bring on your trip to Rio, you may want to check out the eBags EXO 2.0 Hardside Spinner, or the Samsonite LIFT Spinner.
Kelty Redwing 50 – The Redwing 50 was the primary backpack that I used while traveling in Rio. The Redwing 50 is a 50-liter capacity internal frame travel backpack. Unlike most other travel backpacks, the Redwing isn’t obnoxiously large and isn’t too hiker-ish. Also, the neutral colors of the backpack don’t attract too much attention. Pack barely meets carry on requirements, so I had to be careful not to over pack it. You can read my full Kelty Redwing 50 review here. You might also want to check out the Kelty Flyway and the Osprey Talon series, which are both travel backpacks that I’ve heard other travelers rave about.
REI Flash 18 – In addition to my Kelty Redwing 50, I also brought the REI Flash 18, which is an 18-liter daypack. Whenever I left our apartment to explore Rio, I would take my 18-liter pack with some essentials such as a water bottle, camera, cash and snacks. My primary backpack would be left at the apartment or hotel. When not in use, I would pack the Flash 18 into my Redwing 50. The pack weighs less than a pound and can be rolled up to take up less space, which makes it a good choice for being a secondary backpack. See my review of the Flash 18 here.
In Rio, almost all the locals wears shorts and t-shirts. This a list of clothing to pack for visiting Rio: *Note: Depending on your needs and activities, you may need to bring more or less clothes.
- 1 Pair of Jeans – Though Rio is a primarily hot area, you may want to bring a pair of jeans because of their versatility. Jeans can be heavy and take up lots of space in your suitcase, but they also can be used for several types of occasions. If you aren’t staying in Rio for a long time, you may not need to bring jeans.
- 1 Pair of Convertible Pants – Pants that convert into shorts are especially useful in Rio because they can be used for any occasion. Some convertible pants such as the prAna Stretch Zion Convertible Pants are water resistant and UV protective. Convertible pants are also much easier to hand wash than jeans.
- 2 Pair of Athletic Shorts/Shorts
- 4 T-Shirts – While in Rio, I wore t-shirts almost every day. I prefer for my travel t-shirts to be made of materials like polyester rather than cotton. Polyester is usually lighter, easier to hand wash and faster drying. I’ve noticed that it’s hard to find drying machines in South America; so quick drying shirts have an upper hand. I would highly recommend are the Patagonia Capilene 1 Silkweight T-Shirt, which is quick drying, UV protective and odor resistant.
- 1 Polo Shirt
- 1 Dress Shirt – Bringing a dress shirt is important if you are planning to eat at a fancy restaurant or attend a formal event, etc.
- 1 Rain Jacket – To protect yourself from the rain, you may want to bring a rain jacket. Waterproof jackets with waterproof and breathable technologies such as GORE-TEX, are fit for serious outdoors enthusiasts and can handle the most extreme conditions. They can be expensive, but worth are the cost if you wear them often. If you aren’t planning on using your rain jacket often, or if you are visiting Rio during the dry season, you can always bring a poncho.
- 1 Fleece/Jacket – Though it isn’t too cold in Rio, you might want to bring a fleece to keep warm on the plane or when the temperature drops at night. I wore the First Ascent MicroTherm Down Hoodie, which is extremely lightweight and moderately warm.
- Undergarments – amount depends on the length of your trip, though I wouldn’t bring more than 7 pairs of underwear
- 4 Pairs of Socks – socks are easy to hand wash, so you probably won’t need to bring too many. I brought 4 pairs of below ankle socks.
- 1 Pair of Sneakers – I wore a pair of Vivobarefoot trail running shoes as my ‘go-to’ pair of shoes in Rio. They are lightweight, comfortable and have good traction.
- 1 Pair of Sandals – I also brought a pair of Adidas Superstar Slides. They are really comfortable and great for wearing casually. Sandals or flip flops are important to bring if you plan on visiting the beach.
Toiletries and Hygiene:
There are several places in Rio to purchase toiletries, so it isn’t completely necessary to bring all of your toiletries from home. Travel Tips: Most toilets in Rio and Brazil in general can clog if you flush toilet paper in them.
- Etc. – See the general packing list for a full list of toiletries you may or may not need to bring.
The voltage of the outlets in Brazil are different from the voltages of the outlets in the US, which are 120-volts. Also, the charger prongs of American electronics won’t fit in the Brazilian outlets. Some chargers, such as laptop chargers support different voltage outlets, however you should purchase a voltage converter to prevent your chargers from burning or frying. This is a voltage converter review that I wrote for the voltage converter that I used while in South America.
Rio is notorious for being dangerous, so be sure to be watchful over your electronics and valuables. I tried to use my laptop and other electronics only in areas such as in our apartment or other areas which I knew were safe.
- iPhone and iPhone Charger
- MacBook Air and Charger – While in Rio, I still needed to do some work, meaning I had to use my computer pretty often. Thankfully, my 13-inch MacBook air wasn’t too heavy or bulky. The only downside to the MacBook Air is that it can be a bit flashy due to its sliver body. Internet connection in Rio de Janeiro was not an issue as it wasn’t hard to find places with internet and the speeds were fine, however internet in the US is a bit faster.
- External Battery – To keep my electronics powered up on the go, I brought the Anker External Battery, which can recharge an iPhone 4-5 times and an iPad 2 once.
- Flashlight – just in case there is an outage, or in an emergency.
- Voltage Converter
- Hard Drive – for backing up images.
- Passport Money Money Belt – Money belts are extremely helpful when traveling around Rio because you won’t need to fear pickpockets. Money belts are great for keeping large denomination bills just in case. My money belt, the Travelon Money Belt, can hold about 8-12 bills.
- Sunglasses – Rio can be really sunny, so you would probably want to bring a pair of sunglasses.
- Camera – I’m not a photographer, so my only camera was the one on my phone. If you are serious about taking pictures, you may want to consider taking a DSLR camera.
- Lock – Though all of my bags were carry-on, I still opted to lock the primary compartment of my backpack. I used the Master Lock TSA Luggage Lock.
- Watch – I took my Timex Ironman Sleek watch. Some links found in this page are affiliate links, meaning that we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. We would never endorse a product or service we didn’t actually use and believe in.