Pack for Any Trip 2.0 (for women)

Obvious metaphor: We're feeling pretty unencumbered.

Obvious metaphor: We're feeling pretty unencumbered.

Written by Megan

We had a recent blog post about what a young lad might pack for his epic trip, and while I think he did a reasonably good job with the essentials, he left out a few things that us ladies might be interested in bringing. So, here’s a list of things to include in your pack, chick style. Because, let’s face it, some of us want to look cute while we’re getting dirty!

Clothes & Footwear

1 jacket

This element was on the guy list, and it still stands. The great thing about a jacket is that you can wear it with you when you travel, so it doesn’t necessarily have to fit in your pack. It can double as a pillow on long bus trips, too! Alternatively, you may choose to purchase a jacket when the weather gets colder, adding a functional souvenir to your journey. For example, when I was in France, I purchased a yellow, woolen, military inspired coat. It was completely impractical in the Trek Hard sense, but I love it and wear it all the time to this day.

1 pair of jeans

I won’t be caught dead in those convertible, zip-off pants that were mentioned in the previous post (sorry, Karl!). I choose a pair of semi-stretchy, medium-wash jeans that can go day to night without looking too dirty. They can be dressed up or down depending on which shirt you pair them with.

1 pair of shorts

If you can find a quick-drying pair, that’s a plus. Otherwise, a reasonable length denim pair should do the trick. Opt for something durable because these will probably be your choice for activities such as climbing and hiking.

1 bikini

You never know when the urge to swim will strike. Alternatively, you never know when your hostel bathroom shower curtains will be ripped or nonexistent! We can’t always swim in shorts like the boys can, so this item is vital.

1 pair of leggings

The basic black yoga-type will do just fine. These can be thrown on under your shorts or dress for a little more warmth and coverage, and they can be used as sleepwear. Either way, this small item is totally worth it.

4 tops

I like to put in a couple lightweight tank tops, a simple V-neck, and a classier, floral kind of thing. You’ll be looking at these pictures for years, so you might as well pick clothes that look nice. The tanks can be layered for different looks, and you can sleep in any of them.

1 dress

Choose something that is cotton based and has a nice pattern or print to hide wrinkles.

7+ pairs of underwear

Unlike the gentlemen, we cannot get away with wearing the same underwear day after day. Pack enough that you can feasibly go a few days without double-wearing (gross). These can be easily washed in a sink if need be. Just wrap them in a towel and hang them up for drying.

2 bras

Keep those girls in check with a basic black bra and a basic tan bra. Don’t choose frills or lace because they won’t hold up. You can always make the bras into the racerback style with a safety pin or a rubber band hidden beneath your shirt.

6 pairs of socks

I have a tendency to mismatch my socks, so when I’m traveling, I literally just pack twelve socks of all different colors from the same brand (I’m partial to K. Bell). My feet can’t tell the difference, and it adds a certain flair to my footwear. Okay, maybe I’m just lazy.

1 pair of shoes

A slim athletic shoe will serve you well. If you’re not doing much hiking, pick the ever-versatile black on black Converse. They last forever and look fine with both shorts and pants.

1 pair of cheap flats

This is for going out. Heels are impractical and uncomfortable, and they don’t allow you to Trek Hard. A basic flat will hold up for the length of your entire trip and let you look nice for the occasional restaurant or bar. Pick patent leather to avoid stains, and opt for elastic for easy packing. This versatile pair should do the trick.

How is it possible to get by with so little?

It might not be your whole wardrobe, but you can easily mix and match for different outfits. I even traded with other travelers on the road to acquire new things and unload items I didn’t need or want anymore. As Karl stated, Laundromats are all over the place, as are sinks, rivers, and streams. Wash clothes in the afternoon, so they will dry before you set out the next day.


The short list is a netbook, a digital camera, and possibly a phone. Karl covered electronics in his packing list, and he also weighed in on the issue of bringing a computer or not.


Karl recommended a Chamois, a combo lock, and some toiletries, but I’m going to expand on those thoughts for the girls. Not all of these items are essential, but they help me to feel human in the most dire of situations.


A mini toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and a small bar of soap are pretty critical, as mentioned before. Some other ideas include floss, a little wad of T.P. for emergencies, condoms, a nail file, and lady products. (For tampons, pick up the kind without an applicator! They save space and aren’t as yucky as you might think.) Hairy legs are okay by me, but hairy armpits are a no-go. Bring a razor.


I’m going to add a few beauty must-haves for my bag, such as a mini three-in-one shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, such as this simple product from the drugstore. Having one product that does triple duty is such a life-saver. This is echoed in my choices for makeup, too.

Instead of facial lotion, sunblock, skin serum, and concealer, pick a Bb cream that does it all at the same time. I like this brand if you’re on a budget and Dr. Jart+ Beauty Balm for a little more luxury. You can layer for more coverage, or apply just a little to cover those dark circles earned through constant sleep deprivation.

Instead of blush and lip gloss, choose a long lasting lip and cheek stain that does both, such as Stainiac. Also, skip the eyeliner and eyeshadow and settle on simple, waterproof mascara instead. Remember: we’re trekking hard, not walking the runway.

Last but not least, a mini hairbrush and some hair ties will keep you looking cute without the hassle. I like Twistbands because they don’t leave a kink in my ponytail, and they double as bracelets. As you can see, with just a few products, you can look and feel your best no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Trek Harder

Go without makeup entirely! Just don’t forget sunscreen to prevent premature aging and sun damage. This goes for the boys, too!


While we’re definitely choosing function over form, looking presentable doesn’t have to be sacrificed. The boys can get away with only a few things, and more power to them! This isn’t to say that femininity comes from makeup or floral dresses, but if you want to preserve your personal style while traveling, know that it is possible.

As was mentioned in earlier posts, you can always buy things you have forgotten and unload items you aren’t using.

Is there anything I left out? How do you stay lovely when Trekking Hard?

About the Author

Megan's picture

Megan spends nine months of the year planning how best to spend the remaining three. The perks of being a teacher!