Packing for Adventure Travel: 3 Experts Share Their Must-Haves for an Active Vacation


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Whether you’re hiking in the Grand Canyon or dirt biking through the desert in Dubai, what you pack will make or break your active vacation. 

Practicality is key for adventure travel. It doesn’t matter how good you look; you won’t have a good time if you’re uncomfortable. 

In this post, we’ve asked three travel and fashion experts to share their must-haves when packing for an active vacation so you can stay comfortable and stylish. 

Image Credit: Viktor_Gladkov/istockphoto.

Before You Start Packing

The essentials you pack for a backpacking trip through the Rainforest will vastly differ from those you need for scuba diving in the Maldives. 

So, before you start packing, there are a few things to think about:

  • What’s the weather going to be like where you’re traveling? Stay up to date on local weather reports and pack accordingly. 
  • What activities are you going to do on your trip? Will you need specialist equipment, gear, or clothing?
  • Do you need to pack light? If you’re camping or hiking with your belongings in tow, packing light is essential. 

Once you have the basics, you can start sorting your travel items into “needs” and “wants”. Make sure you have room for all your essentials, and then add your optional extras only if there’s room.

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Expert Tips on Packing for an Active Vacation

No matter what kind of active vacation you’re going on, these helpful tips from travel and fashion experts will help you make the most of your time away. 

Image Credit: MStudioImages.

Pack Light

You need far less than you think you do for an adventure vacation, so aim to pack light. The 123456 rule is a great rule of thumb to follow – you’ll need:

  • One hat
  • Two pairs of shoes (walking shoes and sandals/flipflops)
  • Three pairs of pants
  • Four tops
  • Five pairs of socks
  • Six pairs of underwear

This is a great starting point for any trip and should last you two weeks. If you start loading more into your pack, it’s more weight to carry out on trails, through airports, and to accommodation. 

Of course, if you’re not planning on camping while on your vacation, you can afford to add more weight to your bags without worrying about carrying them around all day. 

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Back to Basics

It’s always best to go for function over style when packing for an active holiday. For the daytime, stick to basics to keep yourself comfortable, cool, and protected from the elements. 

For summer trips, lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric is key. Go for t-shirts made of merino, nylon, or polyester, and avoid anything too tight-fitting. Cotton soaks up moisture and will end up chafing, so read the labels before adding anything to your case. 

“For the evening time or trips to the beach, a lightweight, fun Hawaiian shirt will keep you cool and looking stylish. Plus, they take up hardly any space in a suitcase, so they’re a perfect space-saver.” – Nguyen Huy from Trendy Aloha

For bottoms, moisture-wicking flexible material is best if you’re planning on hiking, walking, or doing a lot of sightseeing. Even if it’s warm, long pants are best for hiking to avoid getting stung or cut while out on trails. 

Image Credit: Maridav / istockphoto.

Stop the Sweat

Planning a trip somewhere hot and humid? You’re going to sweat! Without the right clothing, excessive sweating will quickly lead to chafing, which is incredibly uncomfortable. 

“There’s nothing worse than sweat stains and body odor when you’re out trying to have a fun vacation. Don’t forget to pack your SweatBlock to stay fresh and dry on your active trip!” – Nahid Ali from SweatBlock

Breathable fabrics and looser layers can help minimize sweating. You could also pack a vest as a base layer for longer hikes or other intense activities. 

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Layers, Layers, Layers

It can seem counterintuitive to wear lots of layers when you’re doing activities, but each one serves a specific function. 

  • Your base layer (e.g., vest) should be moisture-wicking and breathable to help remove sweat from the skin. This will also keep you dry and warm if the weather takes a turn. 
  • Your mid layer (e.g., t-shirt) should be insulating and moisture-wicking to stop you from getting cold. 
  • Your outer layer (e.g., rain jacket) should be waterproof to keep your temperature regulated and your inner layers dry. 

The beauty of having layers is you can take them off or add them back on depending on the weather conditions. 

You’ll need a new base layer and mid layer for each activity or trip, so pack as many as you need to give you a fresh set each day. 

Image Credit: Zbynek Pospisil/istockphoto.

Choose Practical, Comfy Footwear

You don’t need heavy, leather walking boots to go on an active vacation. However, you do need comfortable, supportive walking shoes or hiking trainers to prevent blisters and sore feet at the end of the day. 

“If you’re buying new footwear for your active vacation, invest in a dedicated outdoor brand. Although they’ll cost more, you’ll get much better protection and comfort from brands like aZengear, OutdoorMaster, or Antarctica Outdoors.” – Andhi Ermawan from My Pros and Cons

You’ll need to break new walking shoes in for a good few weeks before your trip. No matter how incredible they are, brand-new hiking shoes will ruin your feet if you don’t break them in. 

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Ziplock Everything

Whether you’re camping or staying in a hotel, separate all your clothes and gear in ziplock bags. This helps you keep your used gear separate from clean items and ensures all your belongings are dry while out on trails. 

Even if you don’t plan on carrying a backpack with you on your adventures, separating your outfits into ziplock bags keeps everything fresh and organized. 

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Sun Protection is Key

If you’re going to be out in the sun, you need quality sun protection, and that doesn’t just mean a high-factor sunscreen. 

Make sure to pack a cap or hat that shades your face from the sun and a pair of anti-glare sunglasses. Without these, you’ll find yourself squinting while doing activities and end up with a pounding headache or even sunstroke. 

Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you’re sweating a lot during your activities. 


Image Credit: NolanWynne/istockphoto.

Enjoy Your Adventure Vacation!

No matter where you’re going, the packing basics are the same: choose breathable, comfortable clothing, practical footwear, and quality sun protection. 

Adventure holidays often mean forgoing style for comfort, but you’ll be thankful when you’re not sweating and chafing out on a hike! 

This article originally appeared on TheRoamWild and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: MargaretW / istockphoto.

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