The Ultimate Sailing Packing List

Watersports in Bigova

You’ve booked your next sailing holiday and now you need to figure out what to bring. Fear not! We’ve put together our recommended packing list for a sailing holiday with everything you’ll need out on the water.

The below list consists of all the lightweight sailing clothing, gear and accessories you’ll need as well as some recommended extras.

Our quick check list:

  • 1-T-shirt per day
  • Sun cream and after sun
  • Credit cards and euros
  • Duffel bag
  • Toiletries
  • Sunglasses
  • Spec savers
  • Waterproof phone case
  • A hat/cap
  • A few different swimwear options
  • Deck shoes
  • Flip flops
  • 2 sets of nice evening wear
  • Good book or two
  • Underwear
  • 3- pairs of shorts
  • Medication (if necessary)
  • Pack of playing cards
  • Insect Repellent 
  • In date passport, credit cards, travel money and important documents (sailing qualifications if you are chartering your own yacht

What to wear when sailing:

Helly Hansen

  • Quick dry UV top

When out on the water, it’s important to keep the sun off your back, while also wearing something that will dry quickly. Helly Hansen’s technical T-shirts have quick drying technology which wicks moisture away from your skin and provides UPF 50+ sun protection. A bonus is that many of its shirts are made from Oceanbound recycled plastics that otherwise would be polluting the ocean.

It’s also a good idea to pack enough quick-drying t-shirts, shorts or sailing trousers so you have a fresh pair every day, as well as a few outer layers or warm tops for the evenings.

  • Swimwear

Pack a few different swimsuits, bikinis or swim shorts, so that you always have a dry set to wear.

Deck Shoes

  • Deck Shoes

Why can't you wear normal shoes on a yacht?

A question we are often asked. Good grip and non-marking soles are a must for the shoes of all your crew to avoid any nasty slips on deck and prevent leaving any marks. Deck soles are usually designed with this in mind, so make a great choice. Chatham have a wide range of options, from stylish boat shoes to sturdy boots.

Crew Jacket

  • Sailing jackets

Even weathermen get caught in the rain sometimes, so it’s always worth having a light jacket wind and waterproof jacket with you. Helly Hansen’s crew jackets are suitable for a variety of conditions thanks to the Helly Tech® Protection. The breathable fabric means you won’t overheat while the fleece lining and waterproof outer layer will keep you snug on chilly or wet days.


  • Clothes for little sailors

From sun cream to water toys, you’ll almost certainly be packing more things for your kids than yourself, so it’s easy to forget things. Children's life jackets are available on a first come first serve basis, so we recommend bringing your own. Helly Hansen has everything your little ones will need, from buoyancy aids to sailing jackets. All the same advanced technology from the rest of its ranges goes into the children’s sailing clothes, so they’ll be safe and comfortable while out on the water.

What we recommend...

Duffel Bag

  • Soft-sided duffel bag 

To start, we recommend packing everything into a duffel bag rather than a hard sided suitcase. They’re much easier to carry on and off your yacht and once you’ve unpacked, soft waterproof bags are much easier to stow away.

Sailing accessories

  • Transparent, waterproof phone case 

Even though the purpose of a sailing holiday is often to escape the modern world, we would all be lost without our phones, so it’s important to bring the right protection. Avoid splashing out on a GoPro, if you don’t have one, and buy a transparent waterproof case which lets you take underwater pictures, capturing the amazing wildlife you’ll see while snorkelling. Whether you’re an amateur photographer or an avid diver, you’ll want to have a way to capture all your experiences while protecting your phone.


  • Sunglasses

At some point in our lives, we’ve all lost a favourite pair of sunglasses, so it’s worth making an investment to avoid that while sailing. A lightweight fabric strap will do the trick to stop them slipping. If you’re looking for a new pair, bear in mind you’ll be out in the sun for a lot of the day and will need to see where you are going, so prioritise high UV protection with anti-glare lenses. Picking a pair that floats and are designed for sailing will mean your glasses avoid salt and oil stains, meaning you can keep your sights set on that horizon.

  • Spec savers 

If you’re the skipper, you need to look the part and be able to see where you’re heading. To stop your sunglasses slipping off at any moment, invest in a lightweight sunglasses strap.  Most products on the market have neoprene fabric that provides a comfortable fit around the back of the neck, so as not to put any added strain on. We’d also recommend you purchase fully floatable and 100% glare-free sunglasses with high UV protection to get the best experience out on the water. Some glasses also come with hydrophobic and oleophobic coating to repel salt residue, fingerprints and oils leaving you with a view as crystal as the waters.

Sailing Gloves

  • Sailing Gloves

If you plan on helping with the sailing, we really recommend investing in some gloves. They can help you avoid getting nasty rope burns and blisters while providing plenty of grip while handling the ropes. Helly Hansen’s short fingered gloves offer extra protection, just remember to take them off when you’re moored to avoid some interesting tan lines.

What to leave off your packing list

From general kit to sailing equipment, so that you know what to leave off your packing list, take a look at what is included in your yacht charter.

The fun stuff...

Lost Years Rum

  • Bottle of Lost Years Rum

To fully unwind on board your yacht, we can recommend the delicious taste of award-winning Lost Years Rum, Sunsail’s official rum partner. As a brand, it is dedicated to creating a range of outstanding rums, devoted to saving endangered sea turtles. Lost Years works closely with its charity partner, SEE Turtles, a company that helps fund community-based conservation at key nesting sites across the Caribbean and Latin America. In the brand’s first year alone, it raised enough money to save more than 31,000 sea turtles!

Check out our favourite cocktail recipes using Lost Years for some island inspiration. 

  • Portable Speaker

Finally, a portable Bluetooth speaker is a great thing to pack as a lightweight item. Set the mood with your favourite songs or sit back with a podcast. Just make sure you bring someone who can find the right tune to match your holiday vibe.

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