What to Pack for a Weekend Sailing Trip

What to Pack for a Weekend Sailing Trip

Written by Shannon O’Donnell on

Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008 and has lived everywhere from Southeast Asia to Barcelona, where she now calls home. She travels slowly and supports responsible tourism along the way, winning numerous awards for her work advocating for the communities impacted by travel and tourism.


What to Pack for a Weekend Sailing Trip

What to Pack for a Weekend Sailing Trip

Space is at a premium on most sailboats, so now isn’t the time to pack everything that you own. Check out this packing guide to figure out what to bring along for a weekend sailing getaway. Ahoy!

So, you’re heading out on a weekend sailing trip! Sailing is not only great fun—it's also a whole new way to experience travel. Space is generally limited on even the largest sailboat, so you’ll be packing one carry-on bag for the occasion. A duffel bag is the best choice for a boat, since its soft sides mean that it can be stashed away easily.

The first thing you’ll want to think about is your skin. You’ll be spending plenty of time out in the scorching sun, so be sure to pack sunscreen (with a high enough SPF to protect your skin) and some sun-protective clothing as well. Cover-ups, sarongs, sun shirts, and other such clothing will ensure that you come back from your trip with just happy memories and photographs—and not a sunburn. Don’t forget the sunglasses and a big straw hat! Just in case you fail to avoid a sunburn, bring an aloe-based lotion to soothe burned skin.

As for your hair, the salty sea air (and ocean water, if you happen to take a dip) will wreak havoc on your locks. A solid shampoo bar is just the ticket for travel. It takes up less space than a big bottle, and it’s more environmentally friendly. Packing organizers like the Pack-It series help keep your toiletries organized in your bag.

Unless you know for sure that you don’t ever get seasick, remember to pack some motion-sickness medication. Even if you think that your stomach is rock-solid, a squall could turn up and make you feel sick. Also consider bringing a sleep aid, such as melatonin, since the constant rocking of a boat doesn’t necessarily lull everyone to sleep.

Don’t get too fussy about clothing, as the dress code is very relaxed on a sailboat. Shorts and t-shirts are the norm, even for dinner. For ladies, a comfy sundress or two could be just the thing. Naturally, you will want to bring swimwear—and preferably more than just one swimsuit, so that one or two can be drying while you are wearing another. Luckily, swimsuits and/or swim trunks don’t take up too much space in your travel bag. And ladies, put some consideration into what type of swimsuit you choose: A teeny-tiny bikini may look the hottest, but will it stay in place during a variety of activities?

Speaking of activities, be sure to make room in your bag for your snorkeling gear. This way, you’ll be able to spontaneously explore what’s going on beneath the waves.

For shoes, you might want to bring along two pairs: one pair of non-marking deck shoes, which will help you keep secure footing while aboard and flip flops for just about everything else. Pack a shoe organizer to keep salty, sandy shoes away from the rest of your stuff.

In terms of organization, you’ll want to bring a wet/dry bag that's similar to what is used at a gym. Eagle Creek makes a great one.

Don't forget about miscellaneous items. Bring an extra battery or a portable charger for your phone. Electrical outlets on a boat may be limited. Make sure you bring extra batteries for your camera, as well as a waterproof case and plenty of memory for all the great shots you will take. A specific case for your electronics can help keep your digital stuff safe and contained. Some books or an e-reader will come in handy for down hours. A deck of cards will similarly be helpful—plus, if you are sailing with people you don’t know, cards are a great way to make new friends. Pack a few Ziploc bags to keep your cash, documents, and electronics dry while in your bag.

Read more on how to use Eagle Creek’s Pack-It System on your next trip.


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