You’ve secured your PTO, bought your plane tickets, and booked your B ’n’ Bs—which means you’re ready for the worst part of adventure travel: packing.
If you’re like most people, packing for a trip can trigger all kinds of decision-making fatigue, lost-luggage phobias, and nerves about packing the wrong thing. If you pack too little, you might have to shell out for missing items once you’re on the road. If you pack too much, you could be in for a major hassle—and a major expense. With flight prices soaring and luggage fees not far behind, now is the best time to learn how to pack light.
Here’s how to pack just the right amount of stuff for an adventure-travel trip of any length.
How To Pack for a Weekend Trip
Weekend trips can be deceptively tough to pack for, especially if you’re flying a small, budget airline and have limited carry-on bag space. Here are a few tips to make it easier.
Aim to pack a single backpack or duffel about 30 liters in size. It can be tempting to throw a bunch of stuff into the car for a weekend, but trips always run more smoothly when you don’t have to juggle armfuls of belongings every time you switch locales. Getting organized will take more time on the front end but save you a ton of hassle and stress over the course of your trip.
Use a hyper-organized backpack
You likely won’t have time to fully unpack on a weekend trip. As such, organization is a must. Make sure your bag has plenty of pockets, pouches, and zippered compartments. That way, living out of it won’t leave you frazzled.
Double-check the essentials
It’s easy to justify buying an extra phone cord or a pair of socks during a long trip. But if you find yourself buying new stuff for a short weekend, you’ll be kicking yourself. Don’t let the trip length lull you into a sense of complacency; check and double-check your packing list before you leave.
For a weekend-length trip, try to stick to the basics. Bring just a few outfits, and make sure they’re tailored to the weather and outings you expect to encounter. Add a rain shell, wind jacket, hat, or gloves as needed to suit the season.
- Basic toiletries
- 2 to 3 shirts (including base-layer tops)
- 1 pair of travel shorts or pants
- 1 pair leggings or base-layer bottoms
- Jacket or sweater
- 3 to 4 undies
- 2 pairs of socks
- 1 pair sneakers
- 1 pair sandals
- Water bottle
- Headphones or earbuds
- Electronics, including camera gear
- Charging blocks and charging cords
- Book or podcast
- Any specialized outdoor gear you may need (climbing shoes, running vest, etc.)
- ID, passport, international driver’s license, COVID vaccination card, and other documents