How To Pack For Two Different Adventures: Beach And Trekking Edition

I’ve been on a lot of trips to Asia that involve two things: islands AND jungles. If you’re anything like me you want to do everything when you’re away and don’t want to have to limit yourself to just one type of activity.

How to Pack for Two Different Adventures - all the things

If you’re planning on two drastically different adventures, it kind of feels like you’re going to need two drastically different suitcases though right? I’ve done this one a few times and have managed to keep it down to one case (after packing and repacking and agonizing over how many pairs of shoes I want to take).

Here are the essentials you can pack to make it work for these two trips!

How to Pack for Two Different Adventures - packing

Multipurpose Heroes:

  • Slightly oversized linen or cotton shirts. A lightweight, fast-drying, sun-protective trekking shirt makes for an easy-breezy beach coverup. Outfits sorted.
  • Convertible pants. Lame in theory, genius in practice; two pairs of pants in one! I didn’t like the idea of the ones that zipped off to make shorts so got some that could be rolled and buttoned instead. They were lightweight and perfect for all situations. Find some with a bit of extra room and lots of pockets.
  • A good coverage hat. Massive beach hats just aren’t backpack worthy, but a good cap or bucket hat is a face-saver.
  • Sunscreen so good it could probably protect you from lasers. Lots of it, too.
  • Insect repellent. Sand flies are annoying. Mosquitoes are annoying. Don’t be annoyed.
  • Not-your-designer sunglasses. They may get salty from sea spray or sweat. Plan accordingly; I have lost a few cherished pairs to the salt (RIP).
  • A sturdy pair of thongs. For hot beach paths, questionable shower cubicles and campsite trekking nights when your feet will be desperate for fresh air.
  • Camping soap – you never know when you need to do some on-the-go sink washing.
  • A heavy-duty, multipurpose balm. Slather on sunburns and blisters alike. Life. Saver.
  • Lightweight, quick-drying towel for after the beach, to clean off after a hike or just as a clean spot to sit mid-mountain. I relied on mine in Botswana. There are lots of good options out there – this one is my favorite.

Beach Essentials:

  • One cute bikini and one practical one piece. You could swap the one piece for your favorite board shorts if you prefer. Keep your options open, right?
  • One light sundress or some casual shorts and a top in non-crushable fabric for those trips into town or out to dinner.
  • Some magazines and ebooks downloaded onto your phone. Reading on the beach is even better when you didn’t have to sacrifice precious suitcase space for it.

Trekking Essentials:

  • A pair of boots. Supportive, worn-in, waterproof boots. If you’re doing any sort of serious trekking, you will come to love them like a limb. Although if you’re not doing serious trekking, some hardy sneakers are sometimes more versatile and comfy. Choose one or the other depending on your plans, as you won’t usually need both and they are heinously bulky.
  • Thick bamboo socks. Lots of pairs. Bamboo is fast drying, good wicking away heat and sweat and doesn’t tend to smell as bad.
  • Your favorite sports bras (if you have need of them). Enough said.
  • Deodorant powder. For your shoes, your feet, your body, your tent buddy… whatever might need it.
  • Heavy duty plastic or canvas bags. Keep your washing separate, your food stuff separate, your backpack organized. Hygiene people, it’s important.
  • A little camping utensil kit. Collapsible bowl, cup and spork is the usual.
  • A pillowcase and sleeping bag liner. They pack down to just about nothing and will give you that extra sense of comfort (and cleanliness). Rather than packing a whole pillow, you can just stuff the case with spare clothes each night to pad it out. I’ve even found that in tropical climates, as long as you or your tour has good tents, you can get away without a sleeping bag and just sleep in your liner with a pillow.


So there you have your essentials for a two-part beach and trekking trip! Excluding of course your essentials like undies but hey, some stuff is just a given. Depending on how hardcore your trek is, other essentials like sleeping bags, tents, cooking equipment etc. may be part of your list as well but again that just depends on how you do it!

Hope this has armed you with an arsenal of things needed to take on a trip like this…

How to Pack for Two Different Adventures - ready

images: quickmeme (1), giphy (2)

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Laura Hamblin

Currently living in Perth, Australia, Laura is a law student, environmentalist and lover of photography. She has been to 22 countries but is constantly looking to add more to her list.

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