The Essential Wwoofing Pack List.

By Posted in - Big Trip & Europe & Featured Post & Italy & Travel Gear & Travel Resources & wwoofing on March 2nd, 2011

Packing for the first leg of our RTW was tough! Not only were we camping our way through Europe (with a tent, etc), but we were going through an array of temperatures – from Iceland to Southern Italy. On top of that I really wanted to wwoof and I had no idea what type of clothes to bring. Then I had to pack all this stuff into a backpack! Aghh!

During our time on the farm I took a lot of mental notes on some of the most important items we needed – some we had with us, some we wished we had. So if you’re planning on wwoofing and wondering what to bring this list is a pretty good starting point. Keep in mind most likely you will get really dirty on a daily basis!

Our Cerreto Libri Wwoofing Tribe – Me, Esther, Randy, Benita, Jim, Chen, Todd, Anna

1. Quick Dry Clothes – This is so important since most places you wwoof will not have a dryer and in Tuscany at least, it took a full 2 days for regular clothes to dry. I had 1 pair of quick dry pants and some days they were stiff from caked on mud, dirt & sticky grape juice. An extra pair would’ve been awesome.

2. ExOfficio Underwear – Technically this could be lumped in with the above item but having clean underwear is not an underrated item. A couple pairs of clean, quick dry underwear to switch off and on with is worth the investment. If you can find quick dry socks snag ’em. I didn’t have any and it took FOREVER for socks to dry on the farm. A couple of times I had to borrow socks from other people.

3. Headlamp or Small Flash Light – We never needed this during the day but it really came in handy when we had to walk back from the train station late one night. The farm was perched on top of a large hill with a very long, dark & winding, dirt driveway. There were no lights on the secluded, somewhat creepy dark walk among the vines. Oh thank you little headlamp, you made the walk a wee bit less scary.

4. Bug Spray – Did not have this, really wished we did. By the time we left the farm I was covered in tiny red bumps. Turns out they were small bites from minuscule spiders that lived in the grapevines. I don’t even want to think about the ratio of bugs to grapes in every bottle of wine. Lemme tell you – it ain’t good. There are a lot of bugs on farms.

5. Sun Block – I have olive skin and I rarely burn so I didn’t really need this but if you burn easily make sure you bring some. We spent most days directly under the warm Tuscan sun and getting a sunburn is a really easy in the field.

6. Big Sunglasses or a Hat – ULTRA IMPORTANT. Like I said, we were out in the sun most days and having shade over your eyes is a really good thing.

WTF?? Todd, Benita & Jim were the 3 translators for our group. This picture really shows the constant confusion of daily life on the farm. I laugh every time I see it.

7. Language Book – We hardly spoke a lick of Italian when we arrived on the farm. Thankfully some people in our wwoofing group spoke a little bit and we were able to get by. Without them I can’t imagine the insane amount of confusion that would’ve ensued. A small language book will help you out heaps! As an added bonus we understood basic Italian after a couple weeks on the farm – Yah!

8. Lightweight Rain Jacket with Hood – It rained a few days and because harvesting grapes is a time sensitive job we had to work through most of them. Having my waterproof rain jacket was irreplaceable on those days.

9. Shampoo & a Nail Clipper – Bring a LOT of shampoo. Each day it seemed that my hair was knotted and full of burrs. I used a lot of shampoo because I was always dirty. A nail cleaner would’ve been nice since my nails were gross and dirty every day. After a while we gave up trying to clean them.

10. A Going Out Outfit – A couple nights we went out to the local pub and it was nice to put on non-farm clothes! You never know what you might do on your time off so having some non-work clothes is a good thing.

One of our typical dinners, intimate, cozy & fun! (Not the one we cooked.)

11. One Recipe You Know by Heart and Can Cook for a Large Group of People – Our second night on the farm we were in charge of cooking dinner for about 10 people. Randy is a big fan of SpaghettiO’s and while I like to cook, we had spent the past year living on the boat and cooking the bare minimum on a hot plate. Not exactly gourmet. We hid our anxiety about it but honestly that was a big “Oh Sh*t” moment for us. We didn’t really know anyone yet and we were terrified of making a horrible dinner. Thankfully the garden had plenty of eggplants and we made my old stand by, Eggplant Parmesan, with a lot of interesting little side dishes. Luckily, enough wine makes everything taste better!

12. Waterproof Shoes or Rubber Boots – Every day we started work while there was dew on the ground. The weeds were high and I always ended up with cold, wet feet (even though my hiking shoes were supposed to be waterproof). I ended up wearing a pair of rubber boots I found on the farm. If they didn’t have them I would have ended up with raisins for toes.

13. Vitamins, Band-aids, Etc. – I few of us got sick on the farm. Of course, I was one of them. I tried Israeli sage tea, a strange German concoction involving a purple onion & brown sugar (and strangely it worked!) and a couple other things when I was under the weather. Really I should have kept up a little better from the get-go with my vitamins. Technically your host should supply first aid gear but having some Band-aids and other health related items will definitely come in handy! I acquired many a blister on the farm.

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14. Water Bottle – The walk from the vineyards to the villa was a long one and it got hot picking the grapes. Having a large refillable water bottle was priceless!

15. Sleep Sheet/Sleeping Bag– We had nice, clean sheets on our bed but the silk sleep sheets & sleeping bags we had provided just enough extra warmth on the colder nights when there were no extra blankets.

16. Camera – This goes without saying but there were so many amazing photo opportunities on the farm and that doesn’t include the pictures you’ll want to take of all your new friends. Make sure you have a camera and tons of memory cards.

17. Relaxing After-Work Clothes – After 8 hours of manual labor and a quick shower it was SO SO SO nice to put on a pair of clean yoga pants, a hoodie and a pair of slippers. It was always too early to change directly into pajamas but having some comfy clothes was something I looked forward to at the end of every day.

Anna just got injured but you’d never know it. Having a good sense of humor is key to enjoying life on the farm.

18. A Really Good Sense of Humor – I saved this one for last because it just might be the most important! We laughed the entire time we stayed on the farm – I’m serious! I think I added 20 years to my life just by laughing day in and day out! Not only was everyone really funny but there were just some things you had to laugh at. Before we all started laughing at life, a few of us were pretty grumpy dealing with the seemingly nonsensical & ancient way work was done on the farm. When we started going with the flow and laughing at the Soviet era machinery & seemingly backwards style of work time on the farm became downright hysterical and more fantastic with each day.

**Bonus Item**

19. A DSL Computer Cord – We had internet on the farm but not Wifi. My plans to catch up on work were dashed quickly since 7 out of 8 volunteers had brought a laptop with them. Only one person was smart enough to bring their own cord (it wasn’t me or Randy). Another wwoofer was still working for a company and conference calls almost every night. He ended up going to an electronic store and buying a splitter and another cord. It helped out a lot but between everyone’s Skype calls, travel research & work meetings it was pretty tough to get online long enough to get work done. If you’re bringing a laptop and planning on wwoofing for an extended period of time bringing your own cord is a pretty good idea.

There you have it – my essential Wwoofing pack list. Of course you might need a few other/different things depending on where you are going and what type of work you are going to do but this list will get you headed in the right direction. Writing this post made me so nostalgic for our days at Cerreto Libri. I felt so happy on the farm, really it was hard to remember a time I had been happier and less stressed. I can’t wait to wwoof again – I just wish I could take all the people we worked with to the next farm as well!

Curious about wwoofing and want to learn more?

Be sure to check out more of our wwoofing articles for other stories & photos.

*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me. Thanks!

 

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(34) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Lauren -

    March 2, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Really useful list, and I love the photos! I want to do a bit of WWOOFing this summer, so this will come in handy – I would have never thought of bringing a DSL cord! And as for cooking for 10 people – Eeek! They’d end up having cheese on toast if I was in charge of it! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Bethany -

      March 2, 2011 at 10:01 am

      hahaha! Well making toast was another difficulty on the farm – unless of course you wanted to fire up the ancient stove that you had to manually light!! DSL cord I didn’t think of either, until I needed it! ๐Ÿ™‚ @Lauren,

  • Andrea -

    March 2, 2011 at 2:32 am

    I’ve thought about wwoofing many times but it’s something I always put off, not sure if it’s really right for me. I’d hate to commit to it and then hate it! But reading your articles has made me think again. I’m sure it would be a great learning experience but obviously a lot of hard work too. I’d should probably stop thinking about it and just do it.

    • Bethany -

      March 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

      Well some farms are a breeze from what I hear – Anna, who commented below worked at a raspberry farm before this one and she only worked about 4 hrs a day. Our work was tough but I really wanted to learn about wine making. If you do it, just look for a farm close to a major city (we were 20 mins from Florence) and one that needs a lot of volunteers – makes the work a lot more fun! @Andrea,

  • anna -

    March 2, 2011 at 3:45 am

    hey beth, i love the article and the pics!!! =)
    maybe iยดm doing wwoofing in canada for two or three weeks?!
    i just can say: DO IT!!! =)

    • Bethany -

      March 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

      I heard!! So are you coming to Boston too? We want to see you!! @anna,

  • Andrea -

    March 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Love this list – looks like such an amazing experience. I think the recipe that you know by heart and can make for a lot of people is a really good tip for any traveller. Food is such a great way to get people together and it’s always awesome to be the one to facilitate this. Especially good is getting everyone involved in the cooking process – chopping, peeling, etc. Always fun with a few pre-dinner beers or glasses of wine =)

    • Bethany -

      March 5, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Thanks Andrea- you are def. right – it’s such a great way to break the ice. @Andrea,

  • Andreas -

    March 4, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I wish I was with you guys! It looks like you are always having a blast!

    • Bethany -

      March 5, 2011 at 11:28 am

      It was a lot of fun! I miss it!@Andreas,

  • Combine travel and organic farming?…Easy! -

    March 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Excellent and informative list guys. You see, when I first went wwoofing I kinda just shoved everything in, a list like this would have been perfect!

  • Sophie -

    March 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Very comprehensive and helpful list. I’ve never wwoofed, but it does look appealing. Especially if there are horses. Think that might be an interesting experience for children as well. Looks like you were in a lovely spot.

    • Bethany -

      March 25, 2011 at 10:35 am

      It was a great adventure and it’s also something great for kids. One day when I have children I am def. going to bring them wwoofing. There are a lot of farms on the list that say brining children is fine for them and a lot of farms where there are already kids so they can play togheter. Also, many farms w/ animals, including horses! @Sophie,

  • Candice -

    March 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Love the addition of the recipe…good idea! Even if I can’t cook…

    • Bethany -

      April 1, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Thanks Candice – it’s something I wouldn’t have thought of until I needed it! Usually when I need to cook something I pull out the computer and look it up on the spot – not so easy in rural Italy! @Candice,

  • Lorna – the roamantics -

    April 3, 2011 at 1:28 am

    awesome, thorough list! so much i definitely would not have packed, so thanks! #11 especially- yikes! i’m right there with you on that one- minus the one recipe ;P thinking of actually doing some WWOOFing in the states! heard of anyone doing it here?

    • Bethany -

      April 8, 2011 at 8:35 am

      How’d I miss your comment here? I have heard of people wwoofing in the states and I’ve been thinking about it too. Actually I heard there is a great farm in Hawaii right near the beach and you only work 2-4 hours a day, the rest of the day you sit on the beach! Pretty sweet. I have to find that one! Do you think you’re going to try it? @Lorna – the roamantics,

      • Lorna – the roamantics -

        April 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

        @Bethany,
        i DO want to try it! holy crap especially hawaii!!! i think the chinook and i have wwoofing adventures in our immediate future ๐Ÿ™‚ i’m thinking the spots in the states i go to where i’m not visiting folks would be a good opportunity to do it. you’ve got me super excited about it (though i know as we talked about before- a great experience at one place does not guarantee a great one elsewhere). lemme know if you hear of anymore hot tips. bookmarking all of yours here ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kelsey -

    April 8, 2011 at 8:14 am

    This is a really useful post! I’ve considered WWOOFing and other similar work before, and it’s good to have some advice that’s tailored to it. Great post!

    • Bethany -

      April 8, 2011 at 8:36 am

      Thanks Kelsey, Glad you liked it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wwoofing is really awesome. I highly recommend it. We had such a great time and we were nervous about it beforehand.@Kelsey,

      • Kelsey -

        April 8, 2011 at 8:43 am

        @Bethany, I worked on my college’s farm all throughout my university years, and I have experience in carpentry, welding, animal care, horsemanship, vegetable gardening, etc, so I suspect that I’d be pretty well suited to WWOOFing. It’s something I should really look into more.

        • Bethany -

          April 8, 2011 at 8:49 am

          Oh yeah, you are made for it. Any farm would die to have you! Just try to pick a farm w/ a lot of other wwoofers and near a big city (if possible) so you can get away and have some fun. There are a ton of farms in France too. ๐Ÿ™‚ @Kelsey,

          • Kelsey -

            April 9, 2011 at 6:15 am

            @Bethany, To be honest, I’d probably choose somewhere further away from a city. I’m really not a city girl, and much prefer the countryside. When I lived in the middle of nowhere in Korea, I only went into the nearby city (1hr away) once a month, at most.

  • […] The Essential WWOOFing Pack List […]

  • Sheri Oz -

    November 1, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I love your list. It made me laugh as I remember my first (and hopefully not my last) wwoofing experience in France. What you write is all so true.

  • Alexis -

    April 18, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I’m about to set out on my first WWOOFing adventure. Thanks for this list, and I’ll be following your blog now too.

  • Canyoning Wales -

    April 25, 2013 at 2:41 am

    Great article very detailed. I tried to work out what wwoofing was myself but had to resort to google. What a great idea, I love the sound of it. I’m certainly going to look into doing it. I may be back soon asking for some more advice (you’ve probably answered the questions ill have in previous posts so ill have a look around first!)

  • Shelby -

    June 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    This is so helpful!! I might go WWOOFing after graduating from college, so one of my new favorite methods of avoiding studying is scouring the interwebs for tips and tricks on WWOOFing. I’ve done a fair bit of travel, so I get the basics, but it’s nice to have a list with helpful comments!

  • rohan -

    September 27, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Thank you so much for this – I am about to embark on a WWOOF to an organic vineyard in Germany – your list is comprehensive enough that I’m quite confident that I’m sorted. BTW, I love the pictures and articles that you guys post – keep up the great work!

    Regards,

    Rohan, Pune(India)

  • rohan -

    September 27, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Thank you so much for this – I am about to embark on a WWOOF to an organic vineyard in Germany – your list is comprehensive enough that I’m quite confident that I’m sorted.

    Perhaps the only addition would be a universal plug point adapter – to fit your charging devices(laptop, phone etc) to the local plugpoint standard .

    BTW, I love the pictures and articles that you guys post – keep up the great work!

    Regards,

    Rohan, Pune(India)

  • Femke -

    October 21, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Exactly what I needed! Thank you! leaving on my FIRST wwoof trip this monday, and I have no clue at all what to expect!
    It’s in The Netherlands, where it’s now cold and rainy, so I definitely need quick-drying clothes. Didn’t think of that, so another thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Randy Kalp -

      November 1, 2015 at 10:08 am

      Awesome! So glad you found it helpful. We’re psyched you’re giving WWOOFing a try. I think you are really going to like it. Keep us posted about your thoughts.