Travel Essentials: Outdoorsy Vacay

My OCD packing list for an outdoorsy cool weather vacation.

I’ve always appreciated the value of a well-planned packing list… it’s part of my slight obsession with travel “gear.” Joe always makes fun of my uber-detailed pre-trip checklists. Preparing for Canada was no exception… especially since the weather forecast changed every day prior to our departure and I knew we would be outdoors hiking or sightseeing each day. Here’s a list of my must-haves for a similar trip.

Regular Clothes:
Moisture-wicking long sleeve shirts (I wore UnderArmour UA Tech 1/2 zips pretty much every day)
Sports bras
Hiking pants or workout pants (depending on preference and level of activity, I mostly wore thicker full-length workout leggings)
Underwear (if you have workout underwear great, but I didn’t, so regular VS worked for me)
Hiking socks (I like Smartwool or Injinji)
Jeans and regular tops/sweaters for post-hike cocktails and dinners

Rain jacket (I brought two, a heavier one and one that was really just a poncho with sleeves… not this exact one but similar TNF)
Light down jacket (similar to this)
Fleece sweater (I brought this one)
*I didn’t bring any vests but in hindsight either a light down or fleece vest would have been nice to wear on some cooler days.
*The more “packable” your outerwear is, the better!

Hiking shoes (I brought my hiking shoes and not boots which are harder to pack. They were perfectly fine 95% of the time. We did go on one tougher hike where I wished I had better ankle support coming down the mountain.)
Running shoes (definitely had grand plans to work out while away and never used them)
Flip flops
Light, casual walking shoes (I’m obsessed with my Crocs but something like Toms or Converse would work too)
*I almost brought my hiking sandals (Keens), but ran out of packing space. Take them or leave them, depending on the weather forecast.

Besides the regular makeup, toiletries, and sunscreen, here’s what I brought:
Backpack (I LOVE my Osprey Tempest 20 daypack)
Sunglasses with croakies/straps (so they stay with you for the duration of the trip!)
Buff (I used this as a light towel and bandana for some sweatier hikes)
Collapsible water bottles (I have Platypus 1L and 2L versions… better to carry around on hikes than a bulky plastic bottle!)
Sweat-wicking baseball cap (mine’s from Trailheads) and/or bucket hat (mine’s from REI)
Phone power bank/portable charger (I used mine from RavPower every single day)
Headlamp (I usually bring this headlamp for a hands-free flashlight)
Selfie stick (don’t laugh, they really come in handy!!)
Bear spray (better safe than sorry!)
Car phone charger
Waterproof phone case (for canoeing or getting too close to waterfalls!)

*I wish I had brought an extra packable tote bag (like a Longchamp) to house my work laptop and other non-hiking things that I carried over in my backpack. It’s on my list for next time!
*I also wish I had (and knew how to use) a Freshette pee thing, could have been handy in the woods on hikes

Stuff I didn’t bring that I saw other people with:
Hiking poles (could have been useful, but not 100% necessary)
Go Pro cameras (wish I had one)
Drones (ha, really!)

And yes… all this fit into a carry-on bag!!! 🙂

Yep, I looked pretty much like this every day 🙂
What are YOUR packing essentials for an outdoorsy adventure? Let me know in the comments!


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