If you’ve never sailed (or even if you have), it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to pack. After all, you’re going to be away from your home, away from the conveniences you know, and (gasp!) away from wifi.
However, if you’re just taking a short holiday aboard a boat, this list is perfect.
Clothes To Pack
Remember, you won’t be washing anything, at least not in the normal sense. You’ll be able to rinse things off in water, but that’s about it. So you need to take enough clothes to cover every situation but not so many clothes that you’re hauling around your closet. Smart choices are the name of the game here.
Before we talk about what to pack, a quick not about how to pack. If possible, avoid using a bulky, square suitcase, simply because they’re difficult to store aboard a sailboat. Space is at a premium and you may be required to stuff your bag into a tight location. Use a soft bag that can get thrown anywhere.
In terms of articles of clothing, you’ll probably want:
● Several pairs of shorts
● Several t-shirts or tank tops.
● A few long sleeve shirts
● Track pants or leggings for cold weather
● Possibly a dress or two (if you’re a woman)
● Enough undergarments for fresh ones each day
● At least two bathing suits (so you have one to wear when the other is drying)
● A pair of boat shoes or soft-soled shoes
● Flip flops or sandals
● A pullover, cardigan, or windbreaker
● A hat for keeping off the sun
Remember, you’re trying to balance having enough clothes with the ongoing space issues. Obviously, don’t go overboard and bring your ballroom gown or tuxedo, but don’t be a hero either with only a Speedo and a tank top. Unless you actually are a hero. Then you can wear whatever you want.
Depending on your desired level of hygiene, there is some flexibility here. You’re probably going to want to at least pack travel sized:
● Soap / shampoo
● Lip balm
● Eye drops (if you’re prone to dry eyes)
● Razor (if you plan on staying clean shaven)
Ladies, if you’re going to hit your period during the trip, make sure to bring tampons too.
Obviously, you can pack more items, such as conditioner and skin moisturizer if you think you need them, but those aren’t really a necessity. If you have long hair, a hairbrush may be important.
Actually, none of these are necessities depending on how you look at it. But seriously, your fellow passengers won’t want to be near you if you neglect toiletries. This isn’t Castaway.
Quick-drying towels are ideal for sailing. Heavy cotton towels will take hours to dry, if they dry at all. Bring at least two so you have one to use while the other one is drying.
You’ll probably want to bring along your favorite water gear, whether that’s something to float on, a snorkel mask, or even a wetsuit. If you’re going to be doing any fishing, make sure to grab your fishing pole and tackle box.
Pro tip: you really don’t want to borrow someone else’s snorkel. While you’re at it, why don’t you borrow their toothbrush and mouth guard? Nasty.
You may want to consider bringing along some portable electronics to help you pass the time. A Kindle reader is great for reading, and a tablet can be helpful if you want to play games or watch a movie (although seriously, do you really want to watch a movie while sailing?).
Make sure to grab a camera or your smartphone for taking pictures, and your GoPro if you want to shoot video.
You probably want to keep all these items in a waterproof bag to ensure they aren’t damaged. Of course, you could purchase an underwater camera so that you don’t need to worry about this.
Also, you’re going to want to bring a portable charging device if you’re taking electronic devices. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in the middle of the sea without any power, much like the Pilgrims when they crossed the Atlantic.
Finally, bring a flashlight or headlamp so that you’re not stumbling around in the dark and/or falling overboard.
● Pain relievers
● Seasickness medications
● Prescription medications
● A few bandages
● Mosquito repellent (technically not medical, but you get the point)
● Sunscreen / sunburn lotion
Also bring your emergency contacts and health insurance card. Hopefully these won’t be necessary, but you never know.
This is another category where you need to balance space against possible problems. You certainly don’t want to forget prescription medications, especially if you’ll get wicked withdraw symptoms without them.
You may want to coordinate with other passengers to ensure you both don’t bring the same things, which would take up extra space.
You’re probably going to want to bring along a few snacks, as well as account for any special dietary needs you may have. You’ll also want to bring a few bottles of water for whetting your whistle during the wee hours of the morning.
If you’re going to be sipping on vodka all day, don’t forget your flask.
There are a variety of things that can be helpful to bring, but probably aren’t necessary. Those items include:
● Earplugs/noise canceling headphones to drown out the sounds of a noisy marina or loud bunkmates. Snoring bunkmates are the worst, right? The headphones will only work if you have a tablet or phone, so keep that in mind.
● Board games or cards can be a great way to pass the time with friends. Just remember that, unlike your home, a boat constantly moves. A board game with hundreds of pieces is probably a mistake, so leave “Risk” at home.
● If you’re going to stopping at marinas, consider bringing some cash to purchase items. If the marina has a casino, consider bringing a suitcase full of unmarked bills. And an entourage of large bodyguards to impress people.
● If you’re the reflective, introspective type, don’t forget your journal. This is also a good item to have if you need to send out a message in a bottle.
● If you’ll making any stops in other countries, you’ll want to bring your passport. You don’t want to be that person who has to stay on the boat.
● If you don’t have a Kindle or tablet, you’ll want to bring a book or two. Just be sure to bring a book that can take some abuse since you’ll be around so much water.
● Binoculars are perfect for spotting whales or dolphins.
● You’re probably going to want to bring a small day bag or fanny pack for carrying around your cash, passport, and any other small items.
The water is calling your name. Adventure awaits you. The high seas (or rivers) have great things in store for you. Just make sure you know what to bring. Life favors the prepared. Those who have done the research and know exactly what lies ahead.
Daria Werbowy said:
Sailing is the closest I can get to nature – it’s adrenaline, fear, a constant challenge and learning experience, an adventure into the unknown. And of course there is nothing better than wearing the same T-shirt for days and not brushing my hair for weeks.
We agree with the first part.
This article was originally published on moboxmarine.com’s article “The Ultimate Sailing Packing List” and is re-used with permission.