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Essential packing list for newbie sailors

Original post: Another World Adventures

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Featured Essential Packing List for Nebie sailors_Photo by Jonathan Smith on Unsplash

By Larissa Clark – Founder Another World Adventures

Whether you’re planning to join an expedition sail boat, join the crew of a tall ship or go exploring on a sailing catamaran, you’ll need to pack appropriately to enjoy the trip properly.

Adventure travel is taken to a new level when you choose to set sail.

Here are six packing tips to help make your adventure something to write home about if you’re planning to sail away to a sunny and warm destination.

Even if you’re a complete beginner, our essential packing list for newbie sailors will ensure you arrive with the right gear so you can really enjoy your sailing adventure.

With years of sailing adventure experience and many sailing adventures to choose from I’m happy to give advice so just get in touch if you have any questions.

N.B. if you’re off on a wild sailing experience somewhere cold it goes without saying you’ll need additional items!

Discover sail adventures HERE

Pack lite

As in all walks of life and travel packing situations. Less is More. Whether you’re on a small sail boat island hopping in Greece or a bigger tall ship on a blue water voyage, space on board is always limited. For longer journeys like sailing across the Atlantic Ocean you might be inclined to sneak a few more things into your bag but remember, big ship or small yacht, every bit of space is likely to be needed for really important stuff, like food. If you’re heading to the tropics, or summer weather, you’ll find yourself in shorts and swimsuits most of the time.

Pack soft

Use a soft bag. No hard cases. None. Don’t even think about it. Whether you’re on a yacht or a tall ship space is always at a premium.


The chance to explore new lands is half the fun of being at sea. Make sure you have good walking gear for hikes – consider walking sandals or dare I say it, crocs, for the transit between the boat and shore. Let’s face it, the style police can’t arrest you at sea. If a life in socks and shoes has rendered your toes a little soft you’ll be grateful to squish a pair of reef-walking shoes into your bag to protect them from coral, ants and nettles!

Pack for all weathers

Manage the sun, wind, rain by packing:

  • Light wind breaker to keep the breeze off and keep you dry from any tropical showers.
  • Baseball cap or sun visor – get one with a collar-clip to stop it blowing off … no self-respecting skipper will turn the boat around to save a hat and you won’t feel totally nerdy when everyone’s wearing one.
  • Sun hat for beach trips and while stretching out your sea legs on the shore.
  • Sun screen – the higher the better for the UV protection and do yourself a favour and make sure it’s water proof.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection (never hurts to have a spare pair too).

Everything else

Other stuff to remember (take small versions where you can!)

  • A bum bag is useful for carrying small cameras and cash when hiking or needing free hands on the boat. You might call it a fanny pack – but you’re almost certainly not from the UK if you do.
  • Beach towel – check to see if the vessel provides them but mostly they don’t unless it’s a luxury experience.
  • Prescription medicine – ensure your operator knows any medical conditions at the point of booking.
  • Reading glasses or a spare set of contact lenses & solution.
  • A journal to write mindful reflections and romantic musings of your new life at sea
  • Seasickness tablets – for you or to share with others. Even the saltiest sea dogs can have a green day so you’ll not be alone and may be just fine providing you go easy on the sundowner G&Ts the night before.
  • Mini-first aid kit – headache tablets, tummy settlers etc – just in case.
  • Mosquito spray if you’re coastal cruising or in the tropics.
  • A small torch is super useful, especially a wind up one.
  • Your camera! Remember a waterproof case, spare SD card and spare batteries or check what the charging situation is before travel.
  • Playing cards and a couple of books – you can trade with others so don’t pack a library.
  • If you’re planning to snorkel or dive it’s always best to have your own things but check with the operator what they have on board so you don’t have to double up unnecessarily.

Stuff to forget

Sailing trips are the PERFECT opportunity to disconnect in order to reconnect with the important things in life. Make the most of them. Facebook won’t even notice you’re gone until you’re back, and you upload a bunch of epic photos. So forget your phone. And that work project you think you could get done in half a day while you’re away? You won’t, so leave that laptop at home too!

Get inspired for your next trip

Now you’ve got the packing list sorted check out our favourite sailing trips here.

You could join a tall ship, learn the roles on an expedition yacht or just chill out on a sun-soaked sailing holiday. There are plenty of options for newbie and experienced sailors alike.

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