Sailing Holidays Packing List
Sailing holidays are my new favorite way of exploring a country. I just went on my first one this summer and it was incredible. We sailed from Sardinia to Corsica and explored hidden bays and empty beaches, indulged in delicious meals and swam in waters so clear that you didn’t need any snorkeling gear.
With just 6 people on board, our sailing experience was very intimate and relaxed. Best of all, we didn’t pay much more than for a regular Mediterranean cruise. However, as this was my first sailing trip, I was a little unsure of what to pack. There were quite a few things that I wish I had and some of the things I brought and I didn’t use at all. So I thought a Sailing Holidays Packing List might be helpful to you!
Sailing Holidays Packing List: General/Unisex Items
Before I get started with my packing list, I encourage you to ask your sailing tour company about storage availability on board. Will there be space to store your luggage? Should you consider leaving your hard-shell suitcase at home and go for a rolling duffle bag instead that you can shove under the bed?
Next up: Packing cubes! They are awesome and once you started packing with them, you don’t know how you did it without them. They are essential, when you pack or repack multiple times during your trip or if you are in confined spaces, like on a sailboat. They will keep your clothes organized and make packing a breeze!
Travel towels are another great idea! They dry fast and pack small. Yes, they are pretty thin and it doesn’t give you the same luxurious feeling as wrapping yourself in a fluffy bath towel, but in this case, practicality wins.
Dry bag: In most bays, you’ll anchor in the bay and then take a dinghy to the beach, where there may or may not be a pier to dock. Putting your phone, camera, tablet, towel or dry clothes into a dry bag is a good idea to protect it and keep it dry. Just remember to not leave it closed with your electronics inside in the sun. The heat and trapped moisture can fry your electronics if you are not careful!!!
Waterproof camera: The most well known waterproof camera is certainly the GoPro, but there are quite a few other models out there that are worth to consider. I have the 36oFly, which is also waterproof but has the added 360º functionality. Of course, don’t leave your regular camera behind, so you can take beautiful images of your time on board and of your excursions on land. Take a look at my Travel Gear and Resource page for all the camera gear I am currently using.
Being exposed to the elements and the constant exposure to salt water will give you an amazing tan that lasts for weeks, but your skin will be craving a little extra care. Bring nurturing sunscreen & body lotion and apply them generously.
!!! Medication !!! Most likely, you’ll be off the grid at least for some days and finding a pharmacy is not quite as easy as most bays are pretty secluded. Make sure you have all your medications. Your boat should be equipped with a first aid kit, but it is never a bad idea to bring a small stash of the medication you tend to take at home (painkillers, allergy pills, anti-diarrhea pills), just so you know that this medication works for you.
Sailing gloves: Depending on how involved you want to be in the actual sailing aspect of the sailing holiday, you might need sailing gloves to protect your hands. Otherwise, you’ll end up with blisters and cuts faster than you know it.
Hat with clip-on band: During navigation, you’ll need a baseball cap with a cord that fastens it to your clothing. Safe your wide-brimmed sunhat for the beach day.
Sunglasses with clip-on band: Yes, even your sunglasses will fly off, if you don’t secure them. In addition to securing your sunglasses with a clip-on band, I recommend you bring a cheaper pair to wear during navigation and swimming and leave your expensive name brand ones for sightseeing lounging on the boat.
Sailing Holiday Packing List: Clothing
Layering is key when you are on a sailboat. And keep in mind that even if you are sailing in a warm climate, the wind and moist surroundings will make it feel quite a bit colder than it is. If you burn easily, I also suggest light and airy long sleeved tops and long pants, as the reflection of the sun in the water will amplify its strength.
While you should definitely have a few nice outfits for sightseeing and embarkation and disembarkation days, keep the majority of your outfits practical for your sailing holidays. Sporty, comfortable, and moisture-wicking are things to consider when choosing your outfits.
Sailing Packing List For Women:
Bring 2-3 mix and match outfits for travel and dis/embarkation days as well as sightseeing. The rest of your clothing should be functional. Here are my recommendations:
Shirts: I would bring a few airy shirts like these here from Columbia. They are lightweight, fast drying, and even have a built-in SPF 30 to protect you from the sun. I like to wear camisoles underneath.
Shorts and Pants: I am usually not a big fan of cargo pants, but on a sailboat, these extra pockets to hold your phone, camera or notebook come in handy. You’ll need your hands free to hold on to the boat. Bring some leggings or yoga pants to keep you warm at night or to wear under shorts or skirts to protect you from the sun.
Fleece Jacket: Even if you are sailing in a warm climate, it can get really chilly at night and during navigation. A fleece jacket can give you the warmth needed. This one is great because it is lightweight and has zippers on its pockets to keep all your stuff safe. I only brought a regular sip-up sweater and I really wish I had had a fleece sweater for the chilly nights.
Wind- and Water-resistant Jacket: Keeping dry will keep you warm and comfy, so a wind- and water-resistant jacket is a must for a sailing holiday. This jacket by Columbia is nice, because it is a bit longer and will keep your behind nice and dry when you sit down or ride to the harbor on the dinghy. Buy it a little larger, so you can wear multiple layers underneath and move around comfortably.
Swimwear: I would suggest bringing at least 2 sets of swimwear, so you can let one dry as you are using the other one.
I also suggest to bring a sarong or swim cover. I prefer a sarong, as it can double as a cover when you go sightseeing and visit places that require you to cover your legs, shoulders or hair. I’ve also seen people wrap these into some stunning dresses, skirts, and tops.
Shoes: Onboard, you’ll be barefoot most of the time (so yes, get that pedicure before you go on your trip!). But off the ship, I recommend some waterproof sandals. You can use them on the beach as well as for exploring towns and villages on your land outings. These are perfect and also look cute with a nice summer dress.
Hairbands and clips: Who would have thought, but it gets quite windy on a sailboat. If you hate your hair flying in your face as much as I do, then bring some extra sturdy clips and hair bands to tame your mane. If you have long hair, I recommend braiding it and using lots of conditioner to get all the knots out. Your hair will thank you if you bring a leave-in conditioner.
Sailing Packing List For Men:
Shirts: Breathable and fast drying shirts are what you should bring on your sailing holidays. You’ll get wet sooner or later on your trip and you’ll want your clothes to dry fast.
Shorts & Pants: Fast drying cargo shorts and pants are great for sailing as those extra pockets come in really handy on a sailboat.
Fleece Jacket: My husband was so happy to have a fleece jacket to put on during navigation on our first day on board as it was quite windy that day.
Wind- and Waterproof Jacket: This is also a must on a sailboat! Keeping warm and dry will keep you happy and comfortable, so you can enjoy your sailing holiday to a max. This North Face one is the one my husband got and he loved it!
Swimwear: Bring two sets of swim trunks, so you can leave one to dry in the sun.
Shoes: The Merrell Active Sandals are great for rocky beaches, hiking, and sightseeing.
These things should come in handy on your next sailing holidays. I hope you’ll find them as useful as I did!
Disclosure: Intersailclub invited me and my husband on this incredible sailing holiday. However, I am trying to be as objective as possible and my opinions are my own!
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