What to pack for a sailing trip

The Worlds Best Sailing Packing List Ever!

The Worlds Best Sailing Packing List Ever!

That Sinking feeling…

Okay, you have booked a yacht, your flights and transfers – everything is ready. Then, a question crosses your mind; “What to pack for a sailing holiday?“

what to pack for a sailing holiday. There are some additional considerations when considering what to pack, some things will be obvious some comfortable clothes, swimsuits, a light jacket in case you are cold during sailing or at night, sunblock and a pair of dark sunglasses and a hat with string! Quite simple, isn’t it? Well we thought we would make it even easier with our comprehensive blog and a checklist you can download.

What, Where are When

The climate at your location for the time of year, your position in the crew, how far you plan to sail, are you planning eating on board, if so how often and what meals, are you going to be doing any night sailing, and so on.  For that reason, we can’t write a perfect packing list for all occasions, but we can give you a great guide, some top tips and a great checklist to download and run through.


Clothing is always the main issue. If you have not sailed before, your holidays wardrobe may will of consisted of your best bib and tucker to make you feel glamorous and smart at every turn.  Whilst it’s important to have something for every occasion, sailing is more suiting to light comfortable clothes and items that can tolerate a little sea water.  Some items of clothing and when they are worn might be down to: who you are sailing with and your modesty threshold – trying to get into a small boat to get ashore in that short skirt may be tricky if you want your modesty to remain completely intact!

What type of Bag Should I Use?

Stowage space is a premium on all but the largest boats and catamarans where things are a bit more spacious. The ideal bags to pack are soft and without any kind of frame. You can easily stow your belongings in your cabin, your bags can pack away safely somewhere deeper. Anything bigger of stiffer, then you will have to ‘live’ with it. This means moving it around at sleep time, and when trying to access equipment that might be stowed under your bunk.

A Thought About Safty

Lifejackets are provided by law on every charter boat in every jurisdiction. It’s a really good idea to try them out of day 1, the chances of you needing them are rare, but should the moment arise, it’s nice to have that confidence.

The life jackets are likely to the cheap, but very effective foam type. This makes them very difficult to wear as a precautionary measure. If you are a weak or non-swimmer, likely to sail far from the land or in windy conditions, you should consider your own PFD.

The horseshoe style ones are much easier to wear as a precaution. We recommend the Baltic Winner 150N Manual Lifejacket with Harness

The Little Things Help

The little things.  If you start sailing, and suddenly realise that you have no way of charging your phone, life can get a bit tricky. One of top tips (you will find the rest on the checklist) is to ensure you have a 12v Car USB charger, the type that goes into the cigarette lighter.  Nearly all boats have these fittings, and if you get one with a  couple of ports, it will ensure you can charge one or two devices.  Most yachts have some kind of sound system.  The best way to get your own tunes is to have a lead that runs from your iPod or smartphone to the radio; ask for a 3.5mm – 3.5mm jack lead

How much gear to bring?

When I brief my crews it’s some pretty straight forward advice. Pack, remove half, remove half again, and you should be about right!  Okay, that’s a bit tongue in cheek, but you are more likely to make too much, than not enough. For those serious about sailing, he’s a great bag that will never let you down.

This is our comprehensive checklist and guide of what to pack on a sailing holiday:

Excuse the modesty! Packing for a sailing trip can be a little tricky, to have the best trip, you probably don’t need as many clothes as you think and a slightly different style is usually called for. On top of that, there are a lot of small little nick nacks that can certainly make your a whole life easier.

For that reason we thought we would help out, more than that – we are going to keep updating this list with your stories, suggestions, idea. Please do leave a comment on the forum if you have something to add.

Please enjoy our list and we look forward to hearing how things went.

The Basics

√ Shoes

Really you should have one pair of deck shoes. They can be purchased very cheaply or you can treat yourself to a nice pair. They are designed to keep you safe and not mark or damage the decks of the boat. Flip flops and other light shoes with non-marking soles are a compromise alternative.

√ Shorts

√ Swimming Trunks/bikinis/bathing suits

A lot of sailing offers a lot of swimming opportunities.

√ T-Shirts

√ Cap or hat

(Ideally with a lanyard to clip to the next of your t-shirt or a string that goes under your chin)

√ Light jacket

Exactly what you need depends on your location – but it rains most places and you will need some protection if your going to help out with the sailing).

√ Gloves

(If you’re going to get involved in the sailing)

√ Underwear


√ Long Trousers/Collar/Tie

If you travel in longs – that’s normally enough for most trips. If you are going to be a tending any nice yacht clubs, top restaurants or hotels, this might need more thougt. Depending on your location, you may prefer or need a collar for certain restaurants although this is rare.


√ Light summer dresses

Dresses skirts, sarongs, baggy pants are all suitable for the evening. One nice dress maybe needed depending where you are sailing and where you intend to eat.

√ Make up

Many chose a much lighter touch when away sailing. Remember you might not have a hair dryer available to you most nights.

√ Sunglasses

You may want to buy something to stop them falling in the water. Lots available on the market.


√ Waterproof Sunscreen

Ensure you have a high SPF, expect to need more and a higher factor than on other holidays as the reflections from the sea magnify the effect.

√ Toiletries

Top Tip: The miniatures from the chemist help you pack nice and light!

√ Medications

Although there is a first aid kit on board, some basic supplies are recommended. You might want to consider sea sickness pills too.

√ Washing Soap

Make your clothes go a little further with some hand wash soap. That way you can wear that favorite top more than once! Things do dry quickly, but see the note on pegs below.


√ Snorkeling equipment

Many charter companies in the Caribbean provide these although it’s not universal and unlikely in Europe. You might want to consider hiring or buying when you get there are it can be very bulky to carry.

√ Water Bottle

Some crews pour drinks each time. More commonly bottles of water are used, but they do all look the same, your own drinks canister will help!

√ Towels

It makes much more sense to use the ones provided by the charter company than carry them. Some companies include them, others make a small charge. If you are so fond of you large beach towels you had better throw one in, the charter ones will not be that big.

√ Extra Tea Towels

Even with they are provided, there never seems enough. Ask all your crew to bring one (half will!) and you will have some spares.

√ Music

Make sure at least on of you has a phone or music player that has plenty of music. Worth checking if their tastes suit everyone!

Something Final things to about

√ 3.5mm – 3.5mm Lead

Most boats have a sound system with an auxiliary socket to plug in your phone or MP3 player. Try and make sure someone has these leads.

√ Waterproof document holder

These come in all sorts of shapes sizes and costs. I use the cheap ones from any good stationary with the “zip” top. Others have nice branded alternatives.

√ Camera

Electronic items hate salt water. Very expensive pro cameras are protected and can be cleaned, at most risk are standard mid-market cameras. Either be very careful or think about a cheap one or use your phone.

√ Waterproof phone carrier

I have a water resistant case, others use special bags, whilst you can just be careful. But again, phones don’t like salt water!

√ Money

In many sailing destination getting hold of money is relatively easy in the modern world. But do check your destination accepts credit cards if you planing to use them to buy groceries, fuel, etc.

√ Pegs!

Yes, your prized towel or favorite swimsuit you dragged all the way here has a mind of it’s own sailing. Don’t come back from hanging it up to find it has jumped in the sea and sunk. A peg will solve this problem!


If your trip demands it, or your swimming standards make it sensible, consider you own Personal Flotation Device that’s comfortable and easy to wear.

Have your say?

If you think we have missed something? Why not tell us on the forum.

We look forward to helping you out with your next amazing sailing adventure.


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