Planning a trip to see the pyramids during the colder months? Here’s the ultimate list of what to pack for Egypt in the winter!

What to Pack for Egypt in Winter

Traveling to Egypt is an epic, once-in-a-lifetime experience. But packing for it can be very chaotic. That’s partly because no one is sure what they can (or should) wear: can women wear leggings? Do I have to have a headscarf? Can men wear shorts? Can anyone wear shorts? Will I even want to wear shorts or does it actually get cold in Egypt in the winter? (Spoiler alert: yes, it DOES get cold!).

These are all questions that I had before my own 7-day trip to Egypt and questions that I’ve gotten from others since. So to help you out, I put together a guide of what you should pack for Egypt in the winter!

Weather in Egypt in the Winter

When I think of Egypt, I think hot, dry, and sandy year-round. But it turns out that Egypt actually has a true winter! Sure, they don’t get mountains of snow, but it does get cold (and it did actually snow in Alexandria the week I was there). While the rest of the year is the scorching hot Egypt of our imaginations, the winter is one the best times to visit because that’s the one time of year when Egypt isn’t like that.

In November through March, daytime high temperatures are usually in the 50-60s in Cairo, with Aswan getting into the 70s. Nighttime can easily get into the 30s. It can also be rainy in Alexandria and Cairo this time of year.

What to Pack for Egypt in Winter

Clothes And Shoes

General rules: Yes, as a Muslim country, Egypt has a more conservative dress code. But as I write about in my top Egypt travel tips post, tourists are free to wear whatever they want so long as they are respectful. You won’t be kicked out of anywhere if you wear leggings or wander around in workout gear. However, you will feel out of place and you may get some uncomfortable looks. It’s not hard to avoid this though: women don’t have to cover their hair, but locals will appreciate it if you at least keep your knees, shoulders, and cleavage covered up. That’s especially easy when visiting in the colder winter months.

Tops

Basic temperature regulating t-shirt: A basic quick-drying t-shirt is perfect for any trip because they’re so versatile and comfortable, particularly in Egypt. Even in the winter, the days can be warm, so a shirt like this one is perfect for layering up or wearing by itself. Plus, it’s sweat-wicking but doesn’t look like an athletic top.

Long-sleeved temperate regulating top: When deciding what to pack for Egypt in winter, this type of shirt is a necessity. Egypt is pretty mild in the winter, with comfortable daytime temperatures and cooler nights. A long-sleeve shirt that handles that range will be very useful. I wore this shirt from REI most of the time – you can roll the sleeves up or down, and layer the shirt or wear it on its own. It’s super versatile and perfect to pack for Egypt in the winter. This one is another great option.

what to pack for Egypt in winter

Me on the Nile in my favorite travel shirt

Blouses: In addition to the previous two shirts, you’ll also want one or two cute tops for when you aren’t hiking around some Egyptian temple. People dress casually but not sloppily in Egypt, so keep that in mind. This shirt also got a lot of use in Egypt.

Jackets

When considering what to pack for Egypt in winter, remember that Egypt does, in fact, get chilly in the winter. I ended up wearing my jacket every day, and some days I never took it off. Not only can the temperature be in the 40s-50s, but it can also be very windy, especially in Luxor. A simple cardigan will not be enough. You need a jacket heavy enough to keep you warm but light enough not to be overkill. I have a cargo utility jacket, similar to this one, that worked well for me in Egypt. You could also consider a classic windbreaker or a light fleece jacket.

what to pack for egypt

A very cold and windy day at Hatshepsut’s Temple

Bottoms

Lightweight loose fitting pants: Leggings are a no-go in Egypt if you are being respectful of the local culture. Instead, reach for a pair of lightweight, loose-fitting pants. I’m a huge fan of these joggers – I have multiple pairs in multiple colors and love that they can be dressed up or down.

Jeans: For chillier days, jeans or heavier pants are a good option. These Columbia pants are my favorite travel pants because they are flattering, comfortable, and keep their shape.

Skirts: I personally never wore a skirt in Egypt, but if you plan on having a nice dinner at some point on your trip, you may want to pack a dressier outfit. However, a friend of mine wore a maxi skirt for most of the trip and she was very comfortable! So to each his own. Just remember to keep it longer than knee length if you do choose to pack one.

Scarves

You do not need to pack a scarf in order to cover your head, even in the mosques visited by tourists. You may, however, want a scarf to keep you warm. I was definitely glad I had brought some for that purpose.

Shoes

All-purpose sneakers: Comfortable shoes should definitely be on your what to pack for Egypt list. You’ll be doing a lot of walking over some uneven terrain, so you need reliable footwear. I am a huge fan of Allbirds – they are worth the hype. As someone with high arches and issues finding comfortable tennis shoes, these are amazing. They are cute, easy to wash, and work well for both hiking around the pyramids and exploring a city. For Egypt, I recommend the Tree Runners over their Wool Runners (the wool line is made for colder climates than Egypt).

Sandals: Egypt is a desert country, so if you want something that fits the Sahara aesthetic more than sneakers, add a pair of sandals to your suitcase. These Teva sandals are amazing! They are so comfortable all day long and again, are great even if you have high arches. They can be both casual or dressed up a little.

Gear

Purse

I used to be a crossbody bag kind of girl, but I had a bad habit of stuffing so much stuff into my purse that my shoulder would hurt after a while, especially if I was carrying it all day while exploring somewhere. So when I found this cute backpack purse, it changed my travel life! I love that it has room for everything I need for the day but also has security features so I don’t have to be too worried about carrying it on my back where I can’t always keep an eye on it.

what to pack for Egypt

Me and my Travelon purse at Abu Simbel

Filter Water Bottle

Yes, it’s true – you cannot drink the tap water in Egypt. Bottled water is readily available everywhere, but in case you’re in a pinch, having a filtered water bottle like this one will come in handy.

Toiletries and Accessories

Sometimes when packing for a trip, you can think “well if I forget it, I can probably buy it there!” Which is true if you’re going to some countries. But don’t assume that with Egypt. Your favorite brands will either be completely unavailable or much more expensive than at home. It can also be a hassle to get to a pharmacy or general store, especially outside of Cairo or Luxor. So play it safe and don’t forget any of the toiletries you need on a regular basis.

In addition, a few things to make sure you put on your what to pack for Egypt list:

Toilet Paper

You read that right. Toilet paper is not used by Egyptians, so almost no public restroom has any in stock. There might be a lady handing some out for a fee, but if you don’t want to deal with that, bring a roll of your own.

Sunscreen

Even in the winter, sunscreen should be on your what to pack for Egypt list. It’s still sunny, even when the temperatures aren’t blazing hot, and many of the temples and sites are outside and exposed.

Medicines

Pepto Bismol: In addition to the water issue, Egypt has some different food options and you may not always know what you’re eating. I have a bit of a sensitive stomach, so I don’t go anywhere without Pepto Bismol, and boy am I glad I had it on that trip!

Immodium: In case you do accidentally drink the water or eat too many fresh vegetables washed with it, you might find yourself in need of some anti-diarrheal Immodium.

Umcka Cold Remedy: Illness can strike at the most inconvenient times! My favorite cold remedy is Umcka. It’s all-natural but super effective and definitely helps shorten and relieve cold symptoms.

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Planning to visit the land of the Pharaohs in the winter months? Here's a list of what to pack for Egypt in winter! #egypt #traveltips #packing    Planning to visit the land of the Pharaohs in the winter months? Here's a list of what to pack for Egypt in winter! #egypt #traveltips #packing Planning to visit the land of the Pharaohs in the winter months? Here's a list of what to pack for Egypt in winter! #egypt #traveltips #packing

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