What to pack for the Trans-Siberian

There are so many packing lists out there and I have to say that before I left on my own adventure, I probably studied at least 100 of them. In the end, I didn’t create a list of what to pack for the Trans-Siberian on its own (I was travelling long term so I took everything with me), BUT, there were a few things that I specifically took just for this train journey. Below is a list based on my updated RTW packing list, but it has been specifically tailored for people on the Trans-Siberian.

Remember that you also need to pack for your stopovers (unless you are doing the trip in one go) so you will need more than your comfy train clothes! And don’t forget the all-important snacks!!

Bags

For our actual time on the train, my travel buddy Sue and I had a day bag with things that we wanted to be able to easily access on the train, grocery bags with snacks, and our main backpack (which was stored under the seats). We didn’t get out our big backpack at all while on the train. This is particularly important if you are travelling solo and you decide to choose the top bunk. Luggage is stored under the bottom bunk and if you don’t know who your bunk-mate is it might not be too easy to get your bag out a few times a day. Plus, the cabins are quite small. There isn’t much space to get out suitcases or backpacks and hunt through them for things.

For more about seat selection, read my article about How to book the Trans-Siberian.

Clothes

what to pack for the Trans-Siberian www.grassrootsnomad.com

Here, you need to make sure you have enough clothes packed in your day bag so that you don’t need to open your larger bag on the train. You will need temperature appropriate clothing in your larger luggage for your stopovers. Make sure you check the weather to determine how hot/cold it will be. To give you an idea of how much it changes – we got on the train in Moscow at 25 degrees celsius and sunny. Five days later we got off the train and it was -4 degrees and snowing!

On the train

Stopovers

Miscellaneous

DO NOT TAKE A SILK LINER. Completely unnecessary because you are given clean, comfortable sheets and blankets. The silk liners are expensive and just a waste of money

  • Small dry bag for dirty clothes – Outdoor Products 3-Pack Ultimate Dry Sack
  • Eye mask – Dream Essentials Dreamlite Sleep Mask
  • Spork. We bought a lot of noodles so I loved my spork.Light My Fire Titanium Spork
  • Mug. This would have been handy. I drink a lot of tea so bought one cup from the train attendant and then kept the mug and reused it and gave it back before we got off the train. Didn’t have any issues with doing this.
  • Locks – Make sure you lock your bags while you are on the train. Each compartment locks so you don’t have to worry about people stealing anything while you are sleeping. We never felt like we, or our belongings, we unsafe. But better to lock your bags just in case! Tarriss TSA Lock 

Electronics/Entertainment

what to pack for the Trans-Siberian www.grassrootsnomad.com

Toiletries

  • Wet wipes! A shower substitute for the long train rides!
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Other standard toiletries you will need for stopovers (e.g. shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc)

Documents

what to pack for the Trans-Siberian www.grassrootsnomad.com
  • Passport
  • Train tickets. Make sure you get them back after each journey – you will need these as proof of how long you stayed in each city when you are departing Russia
  • Copies of onwards journeys and ticket reservations
  • Local currency. People come on and change money for you when you cross borders but their exchange rate isn’t very good. Make sure you have enough for any food or snacks you need. Once you are on the train you can’t go to an ATM until your next stop.
  • Notebook and pen. Just in case you feel inspired to write!

Next steps

Don’t forget to read my other Trans-Siberian posts:

Note: This article includes Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I will receive a small commission.

Have you been on the Trans-Siberian or Trans-Mongolian? What is your advice for packing for this adventure? Is there anything I forgot? Comment below and let me know!

The Trans-Siberian or Trans-Mongolian is an epic adventure. Discover what to include on your packing list at www.grassrootsnomad.com

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32 Comments
Sally E

Great and useful post! I’ve never done the Trans-Siberian myself but I’ve always been curious about it. Those temperature changes are crazy!

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Grassroots Nomad

It really was crazy! I loved watching the seasons change as we sped through the countryside!

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Kerri

That’s incredibly comprehensive Laura! I haven’t had to do a lot of train tavel so they were very useful. Any tips on where the best site to download movies is these days? I have netflix and a couple of other paid subscription services at home but they won’t work when I travel !

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Grassroots Nomad

Australian’s are known as the best pirates in the world for a reason! Email me and I can give you a hand. Whenever we had internet we were able to use Netflix though, although I think it might be a bit harder with Netflix saying it won’t work anymore using a VPN…

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Safari Junkie

Trans Siberian is on my bucket list and this post is going to my pinterest board! The list is very comprehensive and very useful. However if you have time to tell more, i was always confused about the trains. which one did you take and how long are the stops in between?

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Grassroots Nomad

Hey, thanks for pinning! I have a few other guides already out in this Trans-Siberian series and the next one will be where to stop! We took the Trans-Mongolian route through Mongolia to Beijing but there are other options. If you check out my article about How to Book the Trans-Siberian, there is a map that shows the different routes available. And as to the stops, you can stay as long as you like (and your visa allows)! We had a bit of a time limit so generally spent 4-5 days in each place, but other people we met were going straight through without stopping, while others were getting off every few stops for up to a week at a time. All depends on your schedule 🙂

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marie

I always love getting ‘what to pack’ tips from someone who has already undertaken a journey, it is so useful! I’m looking forward to reading your other posts about Russia.

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Marie! Check out my St Petersburg one – it is one of my favourite cities and I want to convince everyone to visit!

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Megan Indoe

This is a great resource for knowing what to expect taking this trip! I really want to do the Trans Siberian Express! There’s something about train trips that have always intrigued me! I look forward to reading more about your experience!!!

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks, Megan! It was quite the adventure and I know that you would love it! If you want any specific tips, let me know 🙂

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Vyjay Rao

Trans Siberian is an epic train journey and all your tips would definitely stand in stead for the trip, thanks for sharing.

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Caroline

This is perfect! I’ve been thinking about doing the Trans Siberian for ages now (just gotta save more money) but my mate is doing it in a couple of months! I’ll send this link over. On ya! 🙂

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Caroline!! Make sure they check out my post about visas – that is the most confusing part of the whole trip!

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Sarah from Tales From a Fork

Wow I love that you listed everything out. I literally don’t have to think about what to pack which is one of the “worst” parts of a trip. I like that you listed which bag can fit under the seat. That’s important!

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Sarah! If you get a grumpy bunk mate there is a chance they won’t be too friendly about lifting up the seat all the time to get your luggage so a day pack is definitely a great option 🙂

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Amanda Williams

This is a great post and you are SO well organised. I like the way you have divided it into what you need on the journey and what you need for stopovers. Really useful as this helps you know how/where to pack things for ease of access as well as what to pack.

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Amanda! It was a trip years in the making so I had plenty of time to plan!

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casstravels

So thorough and organised!! My packing planning is usually throwing things into a bag an hour before I’m supposed to leave. I definitely need to take a leaf our of your book!

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Grassroots Nomad

Haha, packing light means you have to be careful what you take and leave behind!I went with the opposite approach for my current trip to Guatemala and now have waaaaaaaaay too much stuff!

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The Thought Card

My DSLR and laptop take up so much space and are really heavy. I don’t know if there is a way to get around it but I’m loving your tips. Is your Surface Pro a laptop?

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Grassroots Nomad

It is! It is a tablet and a laptop – they really are amazing and really light. My camera is small as well so it doesn’t take up too much space and it can be fully manual and you can change lenses and everything. Everything I buy is always small and light!

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abcdeghizzy

I’m honestly so impressed when people compile their traveling gear in such a neat order like this. It’s hardwork and kudos to you for doing such a great job chronicling this effort. I’ve heard rave reviews about the Surface Pro 3 for blogging needs. I currently have a macbook air and it weighs maybe 2.5 pounds so its great too! Also the rubbish bags tip; wow, I thought i was the only one who advocated for that. You never realize how many places are not equipped with proper trash disposal until you start traveling frequently!

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks so much!!! I did one for my RTW packing list before I left home and then I updated that after 6 months to show all the things I thought I would need and were useless/things I forgot and so it wasn’t too hard to just separate it for the train. I love my Surface Pro but I think I might love it too much – it has started whirring… :s

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Toronto Seoulcialite

Wow – could this have been any easier to read? Plus other blog posts for how to book? Awesome! Thanks for all the details. I’m glad you mentioned what not to pack too. I hate lugging things around I don’t need. Can’t wait to read more on your experiences on the trip!

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Grassroots Nomad

Thank you so much! I read so many packing lists and advice before I left and the main thing they all said was a silk liner – they are so expensive and such a waste of money!!! 🙂

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Grassroots Nomad

Having a carry-on sized backpack forces you to otherwise you would never fit anything in!! 🙂

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