What to Pack on an Adventure Vacation
As we gear up for a trip this week to Washington (pun intended!), we started writing out our packing lists and realized both of our lists are pretty similar. We’re great list-makers but over the years have learned it’s also important to actually refer back to the list when actually packing 🙂 (guilty! -Sara)
While this particular trip is more of an “adventure vacation”, as we plan to do a lot hiking and outdoor activities, these items and outfits are very versatile. Sara packed most of them on her recent trip to Michigan, as well as many of the same ones for a beach trip to Florida. Katie recently returned from a long vacation in Colorado so it was nice to see what items she was glad she brought what she could’ve done without.
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Adventure Gear when Out and About
ONE | Packable Towels
We have a variety of packable towels. These Sand Cloud towels are soft and easy to pack. We also have these Dock and Bay towels which are at a cheaper price point. Note: they take a few washes to soften up.
Any of these type of towels are great for travel because they take considerably less space than typical terry-cloth towels.
TWO | Cooler
We recently invested in the Yeti Backpack Cooler after several years of contemplating and having some big trips coming up with HOT weather. This backpack cooler can be used as a carryon and will come up with us on our upcoming trip to Washington.
We also have this backpack cooler that is much more budget – friendly. We had a minor zipper issue, and it doesn’t stay cold as long as some, but works well for most things.
These collapsible coolers are also a great option to pack in your luggage if you’re flying.
THREE| Hiking Carrier
If you’re going to be hiking and traveling with a toddler, these hiking carriers come in so handy. We love this one, which is a little pricey, but offers great support and extra storage for a hike. Tip: try Facebook marketplace, we lucked out there and were able to find it for under $100
FOUR| Beach Bag
If you’re flying, a packable beach bag is nice to have for day trips. On most of our big trips, we have rented a boat and its nice to have a a bag for your towels. Any mesh beach bag works, this specific one is a new purchase this year and I have been really happy with it. It has a zip closure, its lightweight, packs small, and is splash-proof.
We always bring a backpack when traveling. Even when heading into town, we opt for a backpack instead of a tote because we like being hands-free. This backpack is a nice quality backpack that fits a smaller-framed person. Works great for a small day-pack.
OK, who am I kidding, this is a fanny-pack. I love having a fanny pack for hiking to throw in my phone, keys, chapstick, etc. Usually only one adult in our family will bring a backpack so this is a great option for things I want on me.
SEVEN | Dry Bag + Wet bag
If you’re planning on any kind of boating or watersport activities, it’s always a great idea to bring a dry bag. They usually roll up really small and are easy enough to stick inside another bag for a day out. Wet bags are nice to store sunscreens, plus toss in wet swimsuits after a day on the water.
EIGHT| Sunscreen, bug spray, goggles etc..
In one of the wet bags, we like to have a stash of sunscreen, bug spray, and other miscellaneous items like goggles, SPF lip balm, extra hair tie, etc. We usually have some brand of cream, spray, and stick sunscreen as well as kids and adult bug spray.
NINE| Water Bottle
We like to have water bottles on hand and typically pack empty water jugs and thermoses from home in our luggage so we can avoid buying any plastic water bottles. We love these ones but have a variety of different ones. Here’s the large 1-gallon water jug we fill up at home before leaving for the day and filling individual water bottles as we go.
TEN| First Aid Kit
Since we will be doing some hiking, we each are packing one of these pre-packaged first aid kits to keep in our day packs. Hopefully we won’t need them but better safe than sorry!
Selfie sticks are a great way to capture group pictures. The one we have has a tripod option with a remote so we can get group shots easily.
TWELVE| Packing Cubes
Not only do we pack our clothes in packing cubes, but we love them for while out on vacation too. They are great to pack extra change of clothes in or whatever else you want to keep contained. It’s so easy to switch these from backpack to beach bag.
Other Travel Essentials
ONE | Can Coozies
It is going to be HOT while we’re out in Washington, but either way, we like to pack our own coozies. This one is great because its versatile for different size cans. The guys also love the insulated tumblers for beverages too.
TWO | Speaker
When we’re hanging out we like to listen to music. This bluetooth speaker has been great and is waterproof. Nice to take on the boat!
THREE | Laundry Bag
Don’t forget your laundry bag! This collapsible hamper is nice because it folds up small but has structure to throw dirty clothes while your on vacation. We tend to lean towards rentals with laundry so that we can pack less.
FOUR | Silicone Bag
These bags are versatile and so many uses. You can use them for snacks or as a bathroom bag. They are also nice for reusable sandwich bags while on vacation so you don’t have to worry about buying a whole box.
FIVE | Tablets
For the plane ride and traveling about we bring tablets for the kids. We’ve had these ones for the kids for a while and they do the trick.
SIX | Travel Journal
We created this simple travel journal for our kids to take along on vacation. Both of our daughters have these polaroid cameras so they can take photos and document them while on our trip.
SEVEN | Kids Activities
These Boogie boards are an easy way for kids to color and play games on. We typically throw some other games in our luggage if we have room.
EIGHT | Games
Our crew loves playing games. If we have room we’ll throw in some games. Uno or something similar are a nice packable size for when flying.
Read this post to review some of our favorite games!
NINE | Sleeping Essentials
A white noise machine comes in handy when there are multiple kids sharing a room. We have this one. It packs up small and is easy to operate.
Don’t forget to pack any other essential sleeping items!
Women’s Travel Apparel and Accessories
Katie: 5’5″, True size 4/6
Sara: 5’7″ True size 4/6
One | Uptempo Tee
We both have this tee and it is one of our favorites. I think we both agreed that we wear it on average, once per week. It is very soft and very versatile!
Katie is wearing a size XS. Sara sized up to a S for extra length.
TWO | Swiftly Tech Tee
This is another item that we each have. It is a great activewear tee with good length. I’d say size up in this unless you like your clothes very fitted.
We are both wearing a size 8 in this.
THREE | Love Tee
This is another great option for a versatile tee. This tee runs a little more true to size. I have worn it with both denim shorts and athletic shorts. It’s one of my favorite tees.
FOUR | Avenue Tee
Guess what? We both have this tee as well. This tee can be dressed up and is not as casual in appearance as some of the other tees we’re sharing but can go both ways – with dressier pants or casual shorts.
We both have size XS.
FIVE | Daily Tank
These tanks are another great versatile option. They can be worn with hiking shorts or worn with jean shorts for a casual patio dinner. Once again, we both own these and wear them often.
This tank is a similar option at a less expensive price point (size down if in between sizes).
Katie is wearing size XS. Sara is wearing a size S.
SIX | Everywear Tank
This lightweight cotton tank is a really simple tank that is very budget friendly.
SEVEN | Mindset Sweatshirt
This sweatshirt has been in my (Katie) closet for years. I have it in multiple colors. It is the perfect travel sweatshirt because it folds up small but looks good thrown over any basic tee or tank.
Katie wearing size Small Tall
EIGHT | High-neck Tank
Budget friendly high-neck tank. Versatile and casual.
Size up. We are both own this in size L.
NINE | Slim Fit Tank
This tank is very similar to the one listed above. It is another high -neck tank.
We both own this in a size Small Tall. Love the stripes!
TEN | Uptempo Long-sleeve
If you’re hiking on chilly mornings this long sleeve is great (short sleeve option listed in number one). It is soft, and lightweight. The only con is that it has higher side slits, they don’t bother me if I front tuck it though. I own it in two colors.
Katie: Size XS
ELEVEN | Soft and Cozy Wrap
This wrap is cozy and easy to throw over most causal outfits. Sara actually bought this girls one in a size XXL since it was cheaper. There is a similar women’s size as well.
TWELVE | Light-Weight Zip-Up
An investment piece for sure, but this lightweight zip-up has quickly become a favorite piece in our closet. Again, we both own this one as well. It is the perfect weight for a summer sweatshirt.
We both wear a size M.
FOURTEEN | Vintage Crewneck Sweatshirt
We both own this sweatshirt. We’ll pack this for lounging around the house. This is the perfect soft and cozy sweatshirt. We each wear size small.
FIFTEEN | Crewneck Sweatshirt
This crewneck is really soft. Nice layering piece. It washes up well. This tie-dye pattern is neutral but also adds a pop of color.
Sara wearing size Small Tall.
SIXTEEN | Quick-dry Shorts
These quick-dry shorts are some of our favorite. We wear them for hiking but they are also great beach/boating shorts. The length is good and not too short.
We both wear size S.
SEVENTEEN | Clementine Short
These shorts are also quick drying and have 4-way stretch. We each own multiple pairs of them. The 4-way stretch makes them so comfortable and a nice-looking athletic short.
We both wear Size M.
EIGHTEEN | Hike Shorts
We’ve shared these hike shorts before. One of our favorite things about these shorts is the nice pockets. They also have good stretch and are not too short.
Sara wears size S
NINETEEN | Mid-Rise Stretch Shorts
These are some of Sara’s favorite stretch shorts. They are out of stock right now in the 3″ inseam but are available with a 5″ inseam. A friend recently bought the 5″ inseam and loves them! These are great travel day shorts or great for hiking. Sara wears size small.
TWENTY | Stretchy Casual Shorts
These are new this summer but a favorite for Katie! They are casual but not too casual. These shorts also make great travel-day shorts.
Sizing is limited as they have been in and out of stock.
Katie wearing size 4
TWENTY-ONE | Best Summer Joggers, Ever!
The softest, coziest, lightweight, and stretchy joggers. They are definitely an investment piece, but have already gotten lots of wear and wash up great. They are a nice rise, not too low, as some pictures show. They are also a little on the shorter side, which we like for the warmer months. Sara wears size small.
TWENTY-TWO | Stretchy Denim Shorts
If you’ve been following us for a while you know these are some of our favorite, casual, budget-friendly shorts. A darker wash is here – we have both. We wear size 6 or 8 depending on outfit and fit preference.
TWENTY-THREE | Birkentstocks
We’ve been wearing our Birkenstocks for a couple years now. They are an easy casual sandal that offer good support. They have held up well over the years.
TWENTY-FOUR | Our Husbands’ All-time Favorites!
These are another tried and true for our crew. Our husbands each have 4+ pairs of these shorts. If we’re being honest, they’re probably the only shorts they will pack for our upcoming vacation. They have 4-way stretch and look more finished than the typical athletics short, plus come with a built-in boxer brief liner.
TWENTY-FIVE | Hiking Sneakers
We don’t do any major hikes or long distances that require sturdy hiking boots, so a pair of waterproof hiking sneakers do the job. Plus, we love stopping at a restaurant after a hike and these feel more like regular shoes. Katie has the older version of the ones linked and Sara’s had hers for over a year now and they’ve held up great!
We don’t have these, but if you are looking for ankle support, I know a lot of people with these waterproof hiking boots and are really happy with them. As far as quality hiking shoes go, they are a great price point.
TWENTY-SIX | Flip-flops
These flip-flops are nothing fancy but they are a great easy summer sandal. We love them for just throwing on but they’re also great for water, like a day on the boat. They offer more support than a typical flip-flop sandal. Katie’s probably been wearing this style for 4 years and Sara has for a couple years as well.
TWENTYS-SEVEN | Water and Hiking Sandals
These are great for wet hikes or water activities, a pair of water sandals always come in handy. Katie had this pair of Keens for 12 years and they have held up great. They are only worn them several times a year. They are perfect for things like river floats, white water rafting, hiking where you will be crossing small creeks. They are not cute, but they are comfortable and practical. Another added perk is that you dont need to wear socks, which is nice for some of those warm days.
Tip: Sara is a size 8 in women’s and was able to buy kids size for a cheaper price point!
TWENTY-EIGHT | Swim Cover-up
This swim dress cover-up is a very flattering fit and perfect to get the sun off you or for cooler mornings and days at the beach. It has side-cinches to pull over your bottom and wear as a dress, or a long-sleeved rash guard. Wearing size small.
TWENTY-NINE | Casual Summer Dress #1
This dress is a great lightweight dress option for summer. It has a nice length and is very breathable for hot days. The cinched waist makes this a flattering fit. It is a great option for an easy outfit for dinner on a patio.
Sara is wearing a size S
THRITY | Casual Summer Dress #2
The dress pictured has pretty limited sizes but has been coming in and out of stock. It is similar fabric to the one posted above. The best part about this dress is the built in shorts underneath. The zipper is functional. Katie is wearing a size small.
We’re also linking this dress which looks nearly identical and at a cheaper price point. There are more sizing options available for this one.
For all clothing information and links, click below to shop our outfits!
Thanks for sticking with all this! Now…off to ACTUALLY pack! We’ll report back after our trip if there are things we missed or could’ve left home. We also plan to share a post afterwards on all travel items kid-related!