Off the Map: Mongolia

An epic cultural immersion in the far reaches of Mongolia

Director's Program | $3,995 | 22 Days | 25 Service Hours


Our Most Rugged Adventure

Horseback ride through the breathtaking steppes, trek through the Wild West of the Altai Mountains, and visit the last Eagle Hunters on earth as you adopt the nomadic lifestyle.

Fact File

3 million people
Capital City
Tugrik: 1 USD buys about 1,340 MNT (as of August 2012)
Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, Nadaam Festival, Lake Khovsgol

Local Lingo

Сайн уу? (Sain uu?) Hello, are you well?
Энэ ямар үнэтэй вэ? (Ene ymar unetei ve?) How much does this cost?
Эрүүл мэндийн төлөө! (Erüül mendiin tölöö) To good health!

Did You Know?

  • The Mongolian Empire once stretched from present-day Poland in the west to Korea in the east, and from Siberia in the north to the Gulf of Oman and Vietnam in the south.
  • Genghis Khan means "Universal King". His real name was Temujin, which means “Of Iron”.
  • The first fossilized dinosaur eggs were found in the Gobi Desert in the 1920s.

Contact Us: For more information about Mongolia you can email us at

"With Heaven's aid I have conquered for you a huge empire. But my life was too short to achieve the conquest of the world. That task is left for you."

Genghis Khan

Packing List

To Help You Come Prepared...
Below is our general packing list of suggested items for all programs in Mongolia. Keep in mind that if you are participating in more than one program, there will be some overlap and it is not necessary to double pack. If Mongolia is your first program, you will have an opportunity to do laundry before you leave the country for your connection.

It's been said that Mongolia can experience all four seasons in a single day. Temperatures in the summer can climb up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and drop into the 40s (sometimes even the 30s!) at nighttime. In elevated areas, it can get a bit colder.

Bring with you any medications that you will need while you are away. You will need to tell staff what medications you have brought during your orientation period. This is done privately, but it is essential that you disclose to your staff all medications you are carrying.

Pack only what you need for your journey! Airlines have strict weight restrictions, and overages are costly and time-consuming. You must also be able to carry and load your own luggage, and space in the vehicles is limited.

If you have any questions about the Mongolia packing list please feel free to e-mail us at

A small backpack is the best carry-on bag and will be useful on day trips.

  • Valid passport – have multiple copies in different bags
  • Airline Tickets
  • Wallet/Purse (with about $100 emergency money)
  • Sunglasses
  • Toothpaste & Toothbrush
  • Book - suggested reading: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
  • Journal/notebook and Pens
  • Durable, refillable - but empty - water bottle. (Fill up at the gate and stay hydrated on the flight!)
  • Camera (Don't forget to bring your chargers, batteries, and memory cards! You can also bring your USB cords for downloading pics for emails)

Make sure everything you pack in your carry-on complies with the new carry-on regulations of the TSA.

Finally, try to pack one change of clothes in carry-on, if you can fit it. That can help you get by in the event of lost/delayed luggage, and can also serve as your “clean clothes kit” for when you return from the countryside.

A medium sized duffel bag or large backpack work best. Wheeled bags are OK as long as they are medium sized and can easily be carried like a duffle over rough terrain.

Sleeping Bag – nights can get chilly, so a minimum 20° F (-6° C) is recommend; synthetic is preferable to down filling because down does not insulate when wet

  • Sleeping Pad – since we will mostly be in tents or the floors of gers
  • 2-3x Light weight pants/jeans – recommended: 1x quick-drying zip-offs, 1x jeans, third pair is optional
  • 1x Long Underwear, mid-weight, non-cotton
  • 1x Waterproof pants – lightweight, should fit over your other pants
  • 5-10x Underwear – fast drying. For girls, sports/athletic bras are best.
  • 4-5x Socks – non-cotton
  • 3-5x T-Shirts – cotton or synthetic
  • 1x Heavy Fleece Jacket or Warm Sweater/Jumper – wool or synthetic, non-cotton. Zipper in front tends to be most practical but pullovers work, also.
  • 1x Midweight long-sleeve shirt or long underwear top
  • 1x Lightweight Rain Coat or Poncho – if possible, try for darker materials and materials that don’t crackle/rustle as much for horseback riding. Most rain jackets will crackle somewhat, so that’s fine, but do avoid neon or overly bright colors.
  • 1x Woolen Hat
  • 1X Gloves – consider 2 pair, one for warmth, one for riding/trekking
  • 2x Shorts – fast-drying are ideal
  • 1x Hiking shoes/boots
  • 1x Sneakers – comfortable pair for camp, shallow tread for horseback riding*
  • Sun Hat

*Note on footwear: Deep-tread footwear is not advisable for horseback riding. Many students and staff like deep-tread hiking boots/shoes for outdoor activities  – that’s good, but be sure to bring a pair of athletic sneakers with a shallower tread! This makes it easier to insert and remove your feet from the stirrups.

Please pack all items that could leak in a PLASTIC or ZIPLOCK bag

  • Soap or body wash
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm/chapstick
  • Insect repellant – heavy in DEET
  • Hand sanitizer – 1-2 bottles per week, keep these with you!
  • Wet wipes or towelettes
  • Towel – non-white; prefer a travel towel, which is compact and dries quickly
  • Contacts and solution
  • For girls: generous supply of feminine hygiene products and zip lock bags for disposal


  • Flashlight/Headlamp w/ Extra Batteries
  • 2x Heavy Duty Garbage Bags – recommend 1 contractor bag to waterproof your pack, 1 large regular bag for dirty clothing
  • 4x Large (one gallon) Ziplock© Freezer Bags
  • Small Personal First Aid Kit (recommended; our guides will have comprehensive first aid kits on hand, but having a personal kit is always helpful)
    • Band-aids
    • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
    • Anti-itch Cream – 1 Benadryl Anti-itch Gel works great
    • Medical Tape
    • Moleskin or preferred blister care
    • Preferred Mild Pain Reliever
    • Antihistamine – Benedryl or preferred type
    • 2 Non-adherent, sterile dressing
    • 2 Gauze dressing
    • 5-8 Sterile wipes


  • Watch with alarm clock – an inexpensive watch is always handy
  • 1x Lightweight long-sleeve shirt, for sun-protection in hot weather
  • 1x Sandals or Flip-Flops
  • 1x Swim Suit – be mindful and respectful of the conservative culture
  • Aloe Vera if prone to sunburn
  • Small packs of Kleenex tissues
  • Deck of Cards
  • Frisbee or hacky sack
  • MP3 Player/speakers
  • Reading Material
  • Gifts for your host families – something simple like a T-shirt or small souvenir from home, a few pieces of candy for the family’s children, a coloring book/crayons, etc.

PLEASE NOTE - Rustic Pathways will not be responsible for ANY lost or stolen items. During travel it is common for items to be lost or stolen so please bring only items you are prepared to part with.