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Before we left Canada to head south, we knew that we’d be experiencing much colder weather before we hit the tropics. As such, deciding what clothing to keep and bring with us as opposed to what to get rid of was a bit of a quandary. So much so that we even emailed Seth and Jamie on Slapdash (an awesome blog by the way and if it’s not on your reading list, I think you should start right at the beginning of their journey and work your way forward) a year and a half ago to find out their thoughts. They were kind enough to send us this list and comments:

  • 1-raincoat and pants
  • 1-running shoes (no hiking boots. Vans works nice for the guys and they can wear them for dressup if they’re black or whatever)
  • 2 pairs-good flip flops
  • 10-tshirts (they will get destroyed)
  • 5-shorts (you’ll wear the same damn thing for days so no need to have loads of stuff)
  • 1 or 2-jeans (yes it does get cold out here)
  • 1-fleece sweater (doesn’t get damp from the salt air)
  • 1-long sleeve shirt (for sun protection, I’m so serious)
  • 2-3 pairs of socks (no really, I’m not joking)
  • 2-3 nice outfits for fun dinners, etc (up to you guys)
  • 2 pairs heels for the chicks (see above and think about how awful life would be without flashy heels)
  • 1-toque
  • 1 pair fleece mittens
  • 4-5 swim suits and boardies for the gents (you will live in them so get good ones and lots of them, they’re small)

You’ll end up needing to buy more t’s, shorts and flip flops of course, because boating is so hard on your stuff. But don’t overpack because the further you get away from North America, the cheaper clothes get. When you get to Panama you can buy REALLY cool digs for under $5. No kidding.

Don’t let anyone convince you that you won’t need warm clothes, you will. Just not often. Fleece ROCKS since it’s the only thing that doesn’t get damp from the salt air.

Some clothing comments from us now…

This morning, while anchored in Georgetown, SC, we awoke to a boat so cold that we could see our breath. As such, we are very happy that we kept the long underwear and hats/gloves that we used during past ski/snowboard excursions! Rebecca has also commented that she regrets not having kept some “dressier” warm clothing for evenings out (she did keep some for when we get further south). One of our very first sailing purchases was a nice set of Gill foul weather gear and that has been getting a lot of use as of late. Our swim suits have sadly not been getting any use but we anticipate (hope!) that will change in the next month or so.

Don’t forget to pack clothing appropriate for any unscheduled Karaoke events!


  1. Mike:I’m mildly amused by your new boating hair style.

  2. Eveningwear for cruisers:

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. Wish I could’ve just pasted in a photo.
    And no whining. At least you have palm trees and alligators.

  3. A nice black cardigan with a fine knit would work with dressy evening wear that’s a bit too light. I have one and wear it all the time with sleeveless stuff when it’s just too cool to go bare armed. And you can wear it with jeans to dress those up a bit too. A nice, versatile solution that takes up almost no room.

    I too love the boating hair, Mike. It sure has gone blond!!

  4. and what did you guys sing?

  5. Even on summer trips, I always have one complete set of fleece (pants that are semi-tights, jacket, socks); there is always one cold day. Definitely fleece socks; I can stand cold but I HATE cold feet, and one pair of really thin sweatpants for lounging.

    One set of tights and a rash guard, for when you want to swim but there are jellies or some other sea pest around. Also when the water cools just a bit in the winter; yeah, you’re from Canada, but your blood will thin after some time in south, you’ll see. Double as long johns or for running/biking when it’s cool.

    And I would add a very light windbreaker/semi-raincoat, since real foul weather gear is not much use when it’s hot and it’s too much trouble to carry ashore. Yet, there are times when you’ll still want the full kit.

    You just can’t out-run winter, can you? It looked like you had a good start, but then winter went into a sprint.

  6. Well at least you have one fan with a smile on her face as you two are singing!! Lol

  7. If you need something different than what you packed, head to the local Goodwill store. Not only do they have good stuff cheap, but it helps fund rehabilitation services for folks with disabilities.

  8. Value Village / Goodwill / etc. = awesome.

    Katy and I don’t live aboard (our current boat is small and open, and we camp on shore while cruising). Because of the “small and open” aspect and the fact that we tend to avoid cold weather, we’ve come to love light, breathable foul-weather gear (Mountain Equipment Co-Op stuff is a tad pricey but well worth it). Also because of the “small and open” thing, I like to keep clothing in small, well-sealed plastic bags within the big bag- if things get soaked (it happens), at least there’s a bit of dry stuff waiting for you in the morning. Add to that TYR swim trunks- the City standard during my lifeguard days around ’03; no matter how much sun, chlorine, sand, etc. you toss at them, they just don’t deteriorate.

    I used to pack an insane amount of stuff even just for short trips. Now that I’ve figured out I don’t actually have to bring two fleece jackets, three toques, an extra pair of mittens, seven pairs of socks, etc. for a summer weekend, everything fits in a small shoulder bag. Decent quality stuff, and not too much of it, seems to be the answer.

  9. Hi – we find hiking boots and appropriate socks really good. We like to walk/tramp/hike (pick your own English dialect) and see cool places. We did some great hiking in Elba nd Corsica this year. Some of the time it’s too hot, but not always and you can’t really get off road if all you have are trainers.

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