A Few of My Favorite Things: My Packing List
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
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Silver Threaded T-shirts T-shirts that have silver threaded through them help prevent them from becoming smelly as quickly. I like to wear these for long-haul plane rides or long days in the heat. I feel less sweaty and gross at the end of the day. They also are useful because you can wear the shirts more than once before washing them when you are in a bind. Lululemon regularly changes their styles but they usually sell some version of silver/anti-stink tees.
Hiking Sandals Hiking sandals are useful for any combination of hiking + beach, water, or boat. They are waterproof, and sand and water can flow in and out of them rather than getting stuck in a shoe or sock. I can hike for quite a few hours in my Keen Whisper Hiking and Water Sandals without pain or blisters. For more advanced hiking a boot is still best though.
Trail Running Shoes A trail running shoe is a versatile option when you don’t want to bring the weight of a hiking boot or bring a hiking shoe in addition to a running shoe. Trail running shoes can be used for regular paved or unpaved running, and they also work well for light hiking. They have more traction than regular sneakers, and some are partially or completely waterproof. I bring my Brooks Cascadia trail shoes on many of my trips.
Compact Rain Jacket Any of the rain jackets that pack small enough to fit in their own pocket or a compact carrier are ideal for travel. I never want to feel like I can’t continue with my itinerary because of a day of rain, so having a waterproof option is key. These are small enough that I can put them in my day bag for just-in-case days too. I have a Patagonia Torrentshell Men’s coat because they tend to make the men’s ones longer than the women's versions, so more of me stays dry.
Wool or Silver Threaded Socks I pack wool socks for a hiking-specific trip, but I also bring Balega silver, antimicrobial socks for every trip. The silver threads in these socks prevent them from becoming smelly. I can often wear these socks 2-3 days before they smell and have to be washed. This is useful when I am in a bind without laundry or am trying to pack less. Wool socks have similar properties where they are less quick to smell than cotton, but the Balega silver ones seem to last even longer.
Compression Socks On long-haul flights and long road trips I always wear CEP Tall Compression Socks. They minimize swelling in my feet and legs during the flight and help reduce the risk of blood clots too. If I didn’t wear them, I would have trouble getting my shoes to fit after long flights.
Inexpensive Polarized Sunglasses While traveling, I am constantly in situations where I could lose or break my sunglasses. I am hiking, kayaking, throwing them in and out of bags, etc. Knockaround Sunglasses are inexpensive and offer lots of polarized styles for under $30!
USB Charging Cords Invest in some extra long charging cords for your phone, e-reader, tablet, etc. They are a lifesaver when your lodging only has one outlet on the opposite side of the room, or when the only outlet available in the airport is feet away from the nearest chair, and for charging on planes too. I use 6’6” long nylon braided ones that are fast charging, by BrexLink.
Battery Packs This one may seem obvious, but when I travel, I never pack a day bag without one I never want to risk not being able to take pictures or find my way home because of a dead phone or camera! It is worth investing in one that lasts for multiple charges and charges quickly. This is the RavPower battery pack I travel with.
Tech Organizer I use a tech organizer to keep my headphones, battery packs, chargers, and cords organized. It’s useful for plane rides to be able to pull out this organizer and keep it easily accessible during the flight. This Travelon Tech Organizer is the version I travel with.
Shampoo Bar Save on packing weight and your carry-on liquid limit by packing a shampoo bar instead of liquid shampoo. One shampoo bar can give you 80 washes and only weighs 1.9 ounces. It’s also better for the environment, no plastic! I use the Lush Coconut Rice Cake Hair bar, but they offer many varieties for different hair types.
Mouthwash and Toothpaste Tablets Using tablets instead liquid mouthwash or traditional toothpaste is another way to save on your liquid limit if you are only packing a carry-on. The mouthwash tablets are a compact way to have mouthwash on a plane or for camping or overnight hiking. Lush makes options for mouthwash and toothpaste tabs that I have used as well.
Day Backpack I like to pack a lightweight daypack so I can be hands-free and still carry along everything I may need for the day. Almost all of my trips have some hiking, biking, climbing up temple stairs or ruins, etc where a small backpack is easier than a purse. I love my Arcteryx Index 15 Backpack because despite being compact and lightweight it still has a couple of zip pockets for organization, a pouch for a water bladder, and thick enough straps that they don’t dig into you. It’s not waterproof but it repels water well too. It also packs into its own pocket.
Tote I usually pack a collapsible tote that can turn into a shopping bag, beach bag, boat bag, or even a 2nd carry-on for the way home if I buy too much. Baggu makes durable bags that are lightweight and collapse small. I like the Baggu Cloud Bag because it zips closed and has an interior zipper pocket as well.
Dry Bag Dry bags are useful for boating, kayaking, rafting, beach days, hiking, or any day where you could be caught in the rain. The small ones are light and compact and are 100% waterproof so you have a place to put your wallet and electronics in any situation where you may get wet. Sea to Summit’s Ultra-Sil 2-Litre Dry Sack is the one I bring on every trip. It only weighs .8 ounces.
Reusable Ziploc Bags
I use Stasher reusable Ziploc bags for travel, camping, hiking, and more. They are extremely durable, dishwasher safe, and can handle extreme heat and cold. The bag has a strong seal so I don't need to worry about it leaking. They are an environmentally friendly option for packing snacks for a plane ride, hike, road trip, or long day of sightseeing.
Luggage I bought my first Away brand piece of luggage in 2016 and now own three sizes of their suitcases. I threw out all of my other luggage. The Away luggage is significantly lighter than the competition at their price point. It’s easy to organize with a clothing side and a nonclothing side (shoes, toiletries, etc) and a compression system to squeeze it all in tightly. They also are durable. There have been so many moments where I was so proud the wheels haven’t popped off and my luggage was still alive. I have dragged Away luggage up rocky, gravel hills, over dirt roads, in the rain, and put it in every condition imaginable. I regularly end up with the bag so full (too much shopping) that I have to sit on it to close it, and I’ve never had a zipper break. It’s also handy that their luggage size options stack inside of each other for storage. Each piece of luggage has a lightweight dirty laundry bag that I use for every trip too.
Travel Towel Pack a travel towel for beach and boat days or for when doing overnight hiking. There are many options in size and weight, but if I have the luggage space I like my Tesalate Beach Towel for beach vacations. It’s compact and quick drying, but still a decent size to be able to properly lay on. It weighs 17.6 ounces though. For keeping weight down for a hiking pack, I’d recommend an even lighter option. I also have this Matador NanoDry Towel that weighs 5.5 ounces.
I pack a water bladder for most hikes and even for kayak rides. It is an easy way to carry more water than a water bottle without the added weight of a water bottle. I like the Osprey water bladders because they are easier to fill up than some of the other options.
Immunity Drink Tablets I bring Nuun Immunity drink tablets on all my trips. I add one to water on flights and throughout my trip. I always want to avoid getting sick while traveling. Nuun tablets are better than other vitamin C packets on the market because they are made from natural ingredients and don’t have any artificial sweeteners.
Travel Laundry Detergent Packs I bring one or two laundry detergent packs on all of my trips in case I need to do sink laundry in a bind. I like the Tide Sink Packs.
Mini Hair Straightener- If a hair appliance is going to make the packing cut for a trip (it doesn’t always), I will pack my Eva NYC Mini Healthy Heat Ceramic Styling Iron- ½”. It has dual voltage so it works well in other countries and it is very lightweight and compact to pack.
Passport and Ticket Organizer A passport and ticket organizer helps keep you organized in airports and minimizes your chances of losing something. I couldn’t live without mine. You can keep your passport a bit protected but also keep paper airline tickets, luggage claim tickets, and immigration and customs paperwork all in one place. I keep a pen in mine permanently so I can fill out forms quickly from anywhere, avoiding lines sometimes.
Electrolyte Drink Tablets If I am traveling to a less developed country where it’s not safe to drink the water or eat uncooked produce, I will pack electrolyte drink tablets as well. If I end up with stomach issues from something I ate, these are an easy way to help avoid dehydration. I don’t have to worry about shopping for a Gatorade or something similar while on the trip. Nuun Sport Drink Tablets have a lot of flavor varieties that contain electrolytes and no artificial sweeteners.
Basic Pharmacy and First Aid Items It’s helpful to pack a few bandaids, painkillers, cold remedies, stomach remedies, etc. You never know how easy it will be to find a pharmacy on a trip or what medicines they may or may not have in that country.
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