Philippines Deserted Island Tour – What To Pack

Whether you are thinking of going or already booked your deserted island tour, this article is for you! If you are wondering about what to pack for a deserted island tour in the Philippines, save and pin this on Pinterest so you can read and refer to it later!

What to pack for deserted island tour

We went on a 3-day deserted island tour when we were in the Philippines. We have published our full itinerary here. Deciding on what to pack for a deserted island tour can be tricky, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. We are sharing a complete packing list guide (what we brought, what we would’ve brought, and what we recommend you to bring) right here! Here is the list of all essentials that we brought with us for this expedition:

What to pack for water activities ⤵

  • Dry bags ⇢ each of us carried our own dry bags. Since we need to store our large bags underneath the boat, having a dry bag as a day bag was very convenient. One of our dry bags was filled with our gadget and camera equipment to ensure that they stay dry. The other two bags were filled with our personal items. We used dry bags from The Friendly Swede and FeActive. There are local vendors both in Coron and El Nido who sell dry bags as well, but we heard that some of them don’t have the best quality and might not keep everything dry
  • Water shoes/aqua shoes
  • Sunscreen ⇢ by the end of our trip to the Philippines, we both got sunburned pretty badly. In hindsight, we would apply more sunscreen because the heat in the Philippines was no joke! We started using coral reef-friendly sunscreens that are also water and sweat resistant. We use this lotion and this stick sunscreen
  • Swimsuits/swim trunks ⇢ we brought several swimsuits and swim trunk because we got in the water multiple times a day and there wasn’t enough time to dry them. We recommend black, white, yellow, orange, green, and red for the colors to pop out for photos
  • Rash guards ⇢ very useful for those mid-day snorkeling sessions when the heat is hardly bearable if you are only wearing swimsuit/bikini/swim trunk. I have this one from ROXY
  • Fins ⇢ we brought our own fins from Finis. Though it was not necessary, but it was nice to have our own fins when we snorkel
  • Mask & snorkel ⇢ the expedition provider provided complimentary mask & snorkel that you can use during the expedition, but we chose to bring our own because we also use them when we scuba dive. Having your own gear that you feel familiar and comfortable with is always better than renting/borrowing a gear
  • Quick-dry towel ⇢ we love this one from REI. It felt comfortable on our skin, lightweight, and dry quickly
  • GoPro dome ⇢ to take 50/50 underwater photo like this one

What to pack for the sunshine ⤵

  • Sunglasses ⇢ though we didn’t get 100% perfect weather, we still got lots of sunshine during the expedition and a pair of sunglasses were essentials! We brought a couple of pairs of sunglasses from Woodies
  • Thin long-sleeve shirt ⇢ linen and cotton are ideal for this. We needed to have some cover-up when we hang out on the sandbar, the beach, or on the boat to cover our skin from the sun
  • Baseball cap/hat
  • Solar charger/power bank ⇢ we had sunny days during our expedition, so several people took advantage of it and charged their solar charger/power bank. We didn’t have any, but we would definitely bring one if we are going on a similar expedition again

What to pack for your stay on the deserted island ⤵

  • Insect repellent ⇢ the bugs can get really bad in the evening and night. Although we had mosquito net inside our hut, an insect repellent was very helpful to have on when we ate dinner outside and hang out with the rest of the expedition members before bedtime
  • Thin cover-up/cardigan/jacket ⇢ it was a little bit cold in the evening/night/early morning
  • Pajamas/sleepwear ⇢ bring something comfortable and breathable
  • Day clothes ⇢ short-sleeve shirt and short pants were what we wore most of the time there
  • Toiletries
  • Underwear + extra! ⇢ there is no laundry service during the expedition, so we would recommend bringing the necessary amount plus some extras just in case you need it

What to pack for capturing memories ⤵

  • Camera and GoPro ⇢ We have a Sony a5100 mirrorless camera and GoPro Hero 5. We use the GoPro a lot when we snorkel and to take underwater photos/videos
  • GoPro handheld holder ⇢ It’s easier to use the handheld holder than holding the GoPro by hand. It minimizes the risk of dropping your GoPro as well
  • Extra batteries for the camera, GoPro, and other gadgets ⇢ there was no electricity at all for the entire trip (though the hut did have a light inside), but there was no way for us to charge our gadgets. Bring extra batteries just in case!
  • Tripod ⇢ We have this light and compact one
  • Intervalometer

It’s nice to have ⤵

  • Toiletries
  • Travel first aid kit
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Medication ⇢ remember to bring motion sickness pills/remedies if you tend to get sick on a boat ride
  • Snacks ⇢ Breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking water, and snacks are provided. Pack some extra snacks for yourself
  • Cash ⇢ we had one quick stop on a small populated island and there was a small convenience store that sells snacks. Having cash on hand was useful for us to give tips to the crew and to pay for our transport from the port at El Nido to our hotel. We did not see any ATM by the port in Coron and El Nido, so make sure to get some cash when you are in town

Every evening when we arrive on the deserted island, we had the option to access our larger bags. The process was not quick because the crew needed to get the larger bags from underneath the boat one-by-one. We would recommend that you put (most of) these essentials in the dry bag (day bag) that you carry with you in case you don’t want to wait until the evening to retrieve it from the larger bag. For us, we wanted to experience to live a simple and minimalistic life during the expedition. It made us realize that we can get away without having so many things with us. Another thing to note is to make sure that you keep your valuables safe! We would recommend a durable and waterproof bag for your laptop, camera, and other valuables. Enjoy your deserted island tour in Palawan!


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