Packing for an island adventure is always tough. Somehow, no matter how little I bring – I always bring too much. I have been adjusting what I bring on these sorts of trips and below is what I would suggest is “must brings” for a trip like the upcoming BVI Flotilla.
What you bring your stuff in is actually a pretty big consideration. Schlepping through the airport, getting on/off busses, cabs and ferries and then storing it all when you get aboard are serious considerations for you bag of choice. For me, a soft duffel in the 45-90 liter range is just the ticket. I prefer the 45, but sometimes have to bring the bigger bag if I have a bunch of teaching materials. If you don’t bring your multitool – it is pretty easy to walk on with this bag.
While I wouldn’t want to hike the Appalachian Trail with the bag, it does sling on your back pretty easily. If you don’t stuff it full your carryon bag should fit inside making for a one bag transfer when you hit the ground. The most important part is that it packs flat when you get to the boat or can do double duty. Anything with wheels and hard sides isn’t going to do that. I am partial to the Patagonia Black Hole series of bags, but any duffel will do.
You won’t be wearing shoes for most of your trip. It is a fact. Flip flops will cover most of your shore side footwear (no shoes required in many places) and a pair of running shoes would cover the rest. Think light and leave the slingbacks and boots at home. This past trip I wore Astral Filipe’s and loved them for the whole trip. I brought my Astral Brewer’s… but never wore them. Had we done more hiking, I would have been happy to have them there.
You need two swimsuits. No more. One is drying and the other one you are wearing. Switch as needed. Black Patagonia Baggies or your favorite board shorts are all you will need for in the water, on the boat and at the restaurant or bar. A pair of lightweight pants can be OK for buggy nights, but frankly I think they are overkill. If you justify them as something to wear on the plane you can get away with it – but once you hit the airport…change. It gets hot quick.
Two long sleeve tech shirts, one light button down shirt with a collar (for the plane or if you want to feel fancy) and you can call it good.
I lightweight rain jacket will keep the squalls off your back, but frankly they are short lived, feel pretty good as a wash down and the charter boats are so well protected it isn’t needed.
Bring your phone. I travelled this past event and used my phone (iPhone 7plus) as my email, camera and navigation tool. I have a travel keyboard which makes email easy. Arrange international service with your provider before you go for no hassle comms, and take tons of photos and video. You don’t need your computer. If you can’t do what you need to do from your phone, then it will wait for when you return.
They charter company has plenty of snorkel gear. You don’t need your own. But if you think you will snorkel one other time this year… bring your own mask and snorkel. Use their fins, unless you are also using fins in your masters swimming practice.
Hat and sunglasses are key. Bring a hat you don’t have to return with. It will likely get blown off, crushed or left on the dance floor.
In addition to your normal toiletries – bring campsuds. Most of your showering will take place on the back of the boat. Jump in. Get out. Wash down. Jump in. Get out. Freshwater rinse. Campsuds make that process better.
OK, so that’s my bag… what are you bringing?