I’ve spent countless days in the car. I’ve driven hundreds of miles with the windows rolled down in a truck jam-packed with motorcycle gear and tents. We’ve hopped in tiny sedans in search of the best ramen on the coast. No matter the reason, space is always limited. When you’re in a pinch, here’s my guide to packing efficiently for your next road trip.
No matter what you choose to pack for your weekend adventure, make sure you’re picking things that you’re comfortable in that you want to wear while you’re out and about. Being prepared is half the work. There have been days where we’ve ridden the motorcycles in 100 degree weather where you’re sweating wearing only a thin t-shirt and a pair of jean shorts. We ended up being grateful to have a beanie and denim jacket to wear by the fire when dusk rolled around and the temperature dropped at night.
Your Favorite Jeans + A T-Shirt
On the road, you’re going to want something comfortable and easy to dress up or dress down. Jeans are a personal must have for me and a few comfy t-shirts are always important. My Paige Verdugo Ankel Jeans are extremely comfortable and soft. If I know I’m sitting in the car all day, I always go for a pair of pants that has a bit of stretch. These are great quality and easy to wear. My other favorite comes from Rag & Bone. Rag & Bone creates high quality denim pieces and some of my favorite pairs of jeans! Make sure to throw a couple soft t-shirts in your bag. I usually keep a light-weight white t-shirt around. For desert days, sheer white t-shirts with a pair of worn jeans are always a go to. The James Perse Casual Sheer Cap Sleeve Tee in White 3 is a nice option. If you’re in search of t-shirts that won’t break the bank (let’s face it… we get all dirty in these anyways), I really enjoy wearing the Richer Poorer t-shirts. These 100% cotton tees are extra soft and perfect for a day out exploring.
Having a pair of sandals that you can dress up or dress down is a great thing to have tucked away in your bag for the weekend. When picking out sandals, look for something that is comfortable to walk in and a pair that is a neutral color and could be worn with a lot of different things. Via Spiga is my go-to brand for sandals. Their sandals are great quality and break in nicely, never hurt my feet, and can be worn with lots of different outfits. The Via Spiga Women’s Kamille Block Heel Sandal is my current favorite. I have them in black suede and like pairing them with shorts and slouchy t-shirts, sun dresses, and even jeans. The Forte Block Heel Sandal is a little dressier and we also really like the Via Spiga Gisel Slide Sandal if you want something you can slip on and off easily.
For breezy mornings and nights sitting around the campfire, I always like to have a denim jacket in my bag. They don’t get dirty easily and keep you cozy when the temperature drops at night. A classic Levi‘s denim jacket is never a bad option. If you’re out and about and it’s supposed to be chilly, it’s nice to have something like the North Face Women’s Apex Bionic 2 Jacket around. It’s a great basic that you can wear with jeans and t-shirts and will keep you warmer at night time or while you’re out hiking during the day.
I always bring a pair of hiking boots or comfortable hiking shoes. You never know when you’re going to find yourself wandering through a lush forest or exploring a wide stretch of desert. I am a huge fan of my Redwing Heritage Classic Moc Toe Boots. I pretty much bring them everywhere. They are great for exploring the wilderness and double as a stylish pair of boots with some jeans and a warm jacket if you’re cruising around the city. Make sure you bring along some boot oil to keep them protected!
Bikinis are an essential for late night jacuzzi time and the random hot spring you stumble upon. I usually bring a one-piece and a two piece that you can lay out and tan in. There are times where being a bit more conservative or active is necessary so having a one-piece for those times is always a nice option. The Mikoh Mau Loa Swimsuit is a very stylish and flattering one-piece option. For tanning, try out the Mikoh Carmel Knot Bandeau Bikini Top with their Barcelona Bottoms.
Yoga Pants & Shorts
Comfort is key when you’re on the road. Pick out your favorite pair of yoga pants (and also a pair of shorts!) and toss them in your bag. You never know when you’re going to be climbing some boulders or want to be comfy around camp at the end of the night. Alo Yoga has super comfortable shorts — we like the Alo Yoga Daze Shorts a lot. For pants, I am a huge fan of Varley. The Varley Emory Leggings are very comfortable, are breathable, and provide nice shape. No matter which leggings you choose, make sure that they are comfortable and something you want to wear all day long.
Socks & Undies
Something no one wants to forget on a road trip. Bring a few pairs (and a couple extra for good measure). There’s nothing worse than ending your day and not having clean socks to throw on before bed. I’ve had a great experience with the Darn Tough socks for hiking.
A Dress Or Two
Having something cute to wear when you stumble upon a dressier restaurant or having a sundress to wear while you wander through flower fields or picnic next to a pretty stream is always a must. I usually like to have one that is a bit dressier and one that is more casual. Something like the Parker Penelope Lace-Up Sundress that can be dressed up with a pair of nice sandals or dressed down with some dusty booties and a worn sunhat is a great option. We also really like Free People’s All Yours Mini Dress — the white and red colors are personal favorites.
Hats are a perfect way to keep the sun off your face and to transform your casual outfit into something a little more interesting. For the days where my hair is a mess and I’ve been getting dirty all day, I like to have a hat around to hide my bad hair day and make my outfit more stylish (even if it’s just a tshirt and jean shorts). The Lack of Color hats are both stylish and easy to wear. For road tripping, try out something like the Lack of Color Ivory Rancher Hat or the Spencer Leather Banded Straw Boater Sun Hat.
Something A Little Unique
Pick an add on item the you’d like to have around to spice up your pretty plain wardrobe for the weekend. I usually like to have a wrap dress around that I can wear as a bathing suit cover up, sundress, or evening dress. It’s something pretty to wear and is very versatile. You could choose a unique jacket, a fun pair of pants, or an interesting pair of boots.