At AdventureWomen, we often debate the merits of different types of adventure travel clothing and gear designed for women. In fact, some of us are closet “gearheads.” We had a lot of fun (and some animated debates) while compiling this ultimate adventure travel kit for women of our favorite, functional, don’t-leave-home-without it essential adventure travel necessities just for women.
Everything on this list comes with our personal AdventureWomen stamp of approval. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about how this gear holds up and/or why we recommended it.
We’ve broken our women’s adventure travel gear recommendations down into the following five categories, and you can find a more comprehensive list online in our Ultimate Adventure Kit for Women.
#1 | On your body
We worked hard to narrow this down! There are so many options to choose from in each category. On our trips, we encourage minimalist packing – in fact, some of our trips have bag weight restrictions because we are using porters, whitewater rafts, or chartered boats.
Personal preference will play a big role in choice of base layer (underwear/sports bra).
- We love this Athleta Hyper Focused sports bra
- Patagonia’s Active Hipster underpants, which are wicking and antimicrobial, and can be washed in a sink while traveling.
- Pro tip: save space and bring just two or three pairs of underwear and wash them in a sink!
Bring your favorite athletic t-shirt or tank top, shorts or yoga pants for your middle layer – whatever your adventure will require.
- We love the Fleur tank top by Patagonia and the Double Time short sleeve v-neck by Title Nine for warmer climates.
- The women’s R1 fleece pullover by Patagonia is light and breathable and is made from Polartec Power Grid fabric, which has outstanding stretch, durability, and odor control. We love the details: the seams are slightly off the shoulder so it is more comfortable when carrying a backpack.
- The Coolibar side split shirt has a 50+ UPF rating and is designed for travel or everyday wear.
- We recommend Oiselle’s Kaleidog-Go Active skirt, which is ultralight and a fun addition to your travel clothes. It also has pockets, of course!
- Our go-to pants are the Clamber Pants by Title Nine (flattering and super stretchy), and the ever-so-functional Saturday Trail Stretch Convertible pant by Columbia.
Your essential outer layers are a windbreaker, rain jacket, puffy coat, and vest. We love all of these items because they are lightweight, so functional, and a few even pack into their own pockets.
- The Nanopuff by Patagonia is useful in so many different climates. It is windproof and water-resistant: it has a synthetic fill that is hydrophobic (repels water) and traps heat when wet. It airs out well post-sweating and it is perfect for all weather. It also compacts into it’s own pocket! Oh, and it is machine washable and dry-able. Win-win!
- The Patagonia Houdini windbreaker jacket is useful in sunny locations where you want a little extra protection but don’t have to worry about a rainy day.
- The Atom SL Vest is great for cool mornings and evenings or as a layer.
- And the Goretex Outdoor Research rain jacket is useful everywhere else! This 3 layer completely waterproof and extremely breathable rain jacket is specifically designed for women! Pro tip: to make it last the longest, don’t stuff it into your backpack or duffel bag, it will wear out the fabric. Best to roll it when packing.
- Last but not least, don’t forget your AdventureWomen hat to shade your eyes!
#2 | In your bag
Nothing could be more essential than finding the perfect luggage in which to tote your belongings. The right size, weight, durability, and features (pockets, zippers, closures etc.) can make all the difference.
- We love this universal women’s daypack. It’s great for day hikes, city walking tours, bike rides, rafting trips, and airline travel.
- This lightweight and durable rolling duffel bag doubles as a backpack and roller bag. It is sufficient to hold your AdventureWomen travel kit!
- And these nifty packing cubes help you stay organized when you’re visiting multiple locations on your trip. Pro tip: pack these cubes by itinerary day/accommodation mode, so you know exactly what you need and when.
#3 | Footwear
Everyone needs a comfortable, stylish walking shoe.
- The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus sneaker ticks all the boxes. We love it because it comes in multiple widths – and several colors!
- Whether you need a supportive sandal or a sturdy water shoe, Chacos fit the bill. These have been a go-to sandal not only for us, but for some of our guides as well. Their claim to fame is that they fit virtually any foot because they are highly adjustable. With so many strap options, toe loop options, colors, and patterns, need we say more?
- Were you wondering about those colorful socks? We were too when we first discovered them! These merino wool non-itchy, fast-wicking and fast drying, seamless socks by Darn Tough are perfect as your everyday sock for any activity. Katie loves their fun colors, breathability and the fact that she has never had blisters with them!
- You’ll see that one thing missing from this travel kit is the perfect women’s hiking boot. At AdventureWomen, we each have a boot or hiking shoe that we swear by, but because this is so foot-specific (arch height, foot width, functionality requirements), we aren’t including explicit women’s hiking boot recommendations in our kit for now. We suggest that you visit your local outdoor outfitter to try on and test out what works best for you.
#4 | Gadgets galore
In an age of technology, we’ve got lots of great options now for making sure we women are fully equipped to power up and connect with each other and our destinations while out on the road on one of our adventure travel trips.
- We love our Klean Kanteens (and hope that you do, too!). It holds a perfect amount of water, it is durable and lightweight, and the sport cap is spill proof. The coating is also manufactured sustainably with people and the planet in mind!
- Don’t forget to bring a quality headlamp with you on your trip so that you can walk around outside after dark or use your journal without keeping your roommate awake. We love these by Third Eye– they have 6 settings and are manufactured responsibly.
- A universal travel adapter, a waterproof smartphone case, and a Kindle Paperwhite are other must-have gadgets for stress-free adventure travel.
- Another essential item for recording the little details you want to make sure you remember when you get home is a travel journal. You can press flowers, sketch an animal, make some notes, or even do some water coloring! We love having a journal that has a hard back so you can write wherever you go. The classic, small, Moleskine notebook does the trick.
- We had a fun debate over the best external battery, but this PowerAdd Pilot 4GS provides 4.5x charge for an iPhone and can fit in your purse. It’s a winner.
- We have two go-to gadgets we use for feminine hygiene: the GoGirl and the DivaCup. The GoGirl is good for peeing on the side of a trail, over a hole in the ground, or anywhere you don’t want to squat or remove your pants. Pro tip: practice at home in the shower before using it for the first time on your trip! The DivaCup is a fabulous and sanitary way to manage your period while on the road or the trail. Bonus: you can leave it in for up to 12 hours (including overnight). If you have any questions on female hygiene, just let us know. We are always happy to talk about this topic.
- A lot of our AdventureWomen destinations require long flights and multiple connections. A good neck pillow that doesn’t take up a lot of space and provides good support can make a world of difference. The Trtl is super soft and compact, and fits many necks!
#5 | Staff personal picks
This category is for those unique items that our team members find we just can’t leave home without. We would love to know what’s on your list!
Eliza never leaves home without a Fels-Naptha laundry bar. Small and compact, it’s great for washing clothes in a sink when she can’t bring more than one set.
Pro tip: use this like a regular bar of soap and wash your clothes while you are wearing them in the shower.
Emily adds a simple dryer sheet to her duffel bag so that everything smells fresh no matter how dirty it might be.
Erica never leaves home without her Baraka nose oil! This is perfect for dry planes or sleeping at night. Pro tip: Just apply a small amount to the tip of your pinkie and gently rub it on the inside of the nasal passage (maybe best to do when no one is looking!).
Judi loves the Sea To Summit lightweight dry bags. They are completely waterproof and great for carrying anything you don’t want to mingle with dust or water or if you don’t want the contents inside to mingle with the clothes in your bag! She uses it to organize her electronic cords, for dirty clothes, and for hair products.
Nicole recommends the battery-operated Quip toothbrush for adventure travel enthusiasts, everywhere. It’s affordable and compact, comes with its own travel case (and optional travel toothpaste!), and suctions to any mirror or wall. Best of all, there’s no need to worry about recharging it.
And finally, Katie wears Dirty Girl gaiters whenever she’s hiking. These are fun and functional – they keep grit out of your shoes and your feet blister-free while walking on any terrain other than pavement. Pick from unlimited patterns!
We designed our Ultimate AdventureWomen Travel Kit to suggest specific examples of our packing list essentials that we use ourselves and recommend as women travelers. We hope you’ll use it when you’re packing for your next trip with us and also let us know on Facebook what your recommendations are for the adventure travel woman on the go.