So, you’ve decided to take part in an adventure under sail? Fantastic! Get ready to learn new skills, make new friends from around the world, and have the experience of a lifetime!
Once you’ve booked your place, it’s time to get ready for life on board. But what should you pack? How much do you need to bring with you? How many pairs of socks is too many?
To help you make sure you’ve got everything you need at sea, we’ve put together a handy kit list of all the essentials for a successful voyage…
Don’t forget that there’s limited space on board. Packing your kit in a soft sports bag is a good idea, because there won’t be space for big suitcases. Think layers, comfort, and a capsule wardrobe, and avoid your favourite jeans and t-shirts, as you’ll likely get dirty and wet!
When you travel abroad, it’s important to take the right travel documents with you. Otherwise, your trip may be a bit shorter than you’d hoped. Make sure you bring the following:
- European Identity card or valid passport for European citizens travelling within Europe (check your ID card for countries in which it’s valid).
- Valid passport for Non-European citizens or EU citizens travelling outside of Europe (valid for at least six months after you get home).
- Insurance card and copy of policy (liability, health and travel insurance).
Get in touch with your destination country’s embassy/consulate to find out which travel documents you’ll need.
Clothing and Essentials
It can get really cold when you’re sailing, even during the summer. So, make sure you pack warm clothing. This could include:
- Boots or waterproof shoes. Make sure you have two pairs, just in case one of them gets wet. Deck shoes are ideal (but make sure you wear them in first!).
- Waterproof jacket and trousers/pants, and warm sweaters and t-shirts. Pack enough clothing for all types of weather.
- Sandals (preferably ones that stay on your feet, no open toes).
- Socks, underwear and suitable nightwear/pyjamas.
- Warm base layers.
- Hat or cap, scarf, and gloves. Sailing gloves are good for rope pulling, but not essential.
- Bathroom toiletries, but avoid big bottles. Camping towels are good.
- Pocket money for on-board extras and harbour stops.
- Motion sickness medicine.
- Personal medicines.
Medication and Dietary Requirements
You can bring your own medicine on board, but you might need to show a doctor’s statement or prescription. Check with your vessel before you book your place.
For special dietary requirements, make sure that the vessel can accommodate your needs before you book.
We’ve looked at the essentials… but what about the little extras? Think about packing:
- Photo camera and film equipment. Don’t forget to check what kind of power supply your vessel uses and bring a suitable plug adaptor and backup power supply.
- Head torch.
- Sunglasses and sun lotion.
- Wet wipes.
- Small backpack for when you’re in harbour.
- Musical instruments.
- Addresses of friends and family for postcards.
- Pen and paper/journal.
- Special food from home you can share.
- Dressing up kit for parties, crew parades.
Once you’ve decided what you want to bring, the next step is packing. Efficient packing isn’t as easy as it seems… so here are some of our top tips to help you along.
- Pack as many socks and underwear into your shoes as will fit, then put the shoes in the bottom of your bag.
- On top of your shoes, lay down a layer of heavier rolled items – jeans, sweaters, and so on – packing them in as tightly as they’ll go. This minimises wasted space and prevents the rolls from coming undone during transit.
- If you have any fragile items, remember to place them in the centre of your bag on top of the heavy-roll layer to protect them from breaking.
- The next layer should consist of lighter rolled items like t-shirts and undergarments, also tightly packed to prevent unrolling.
- On top of these layers, place any of your folded items.
- Put your toiletry bag on top of the folded layer, then simply close the bag and you’re done.
You may need to unpack everything into a small locker once you are on board. Stuff bags are a good way of keeping your kit organised. Look for those with waterproof seals – you can put your valuables in them and then in your rucksack for trips ashore.
Vessel Specific Packing
Different vessels ask you to take different things. Check whether you need to bring a sleeping bag, pillowcase, bed sheet, or towel.