A few weekends ago, we visited my sister and brother in law in Seattle, and I’ve been excited to share my packing list with you ever since — today’s the day!
- Destination: Seattle, WA
- Trip length: 4 days
- Destination weather: 45-55 degrees / mostly rainy and cloudy, with a little bit of sun
- Activities: Hanging out with my sister and brother in law. Exploring Seattle and the surrounding islands. Eating at cool little restaurants. Chatting at coffee shops. Oh! And visiting a pumpkin patch.
MY APPROACH TO PACKING
When traveling, my mantra is function first, style second. I started the packing process by checking the weather and thinking through our activities. It went something like this:
Rain likely. Okay, hooded rain jacket. Darker colors. No precious fabrics. Shoes that can get wet.
Lots of walking. Mhm, so durable, comfortable shoes that are already completely broken in and won’t give me blisters.
Varying temperatures? Alright then, layers. Soft and lightweight base layers, cozy sweaters, and warm jackets.
I centered my packing list around these things first. From there, I filled in the blanks, planning an outfit for each day, and editing out anything that was too precious or delicate.
Once I was done, my carry on suitcase was filled to the brim. Packing a carry-on for cold destinations is infinitely more challenging than packing for warm destinations. But I was able to free up some valuable real estate in my suitcase by following the advice that you already know if you’ve ever read a blog post on packing — wear your bulkier pieces on the plane. I wore my black jeans, ankle booties, base layer, sweater coat, and tote, in case you’re wondering.
My typical outfit each day was made up of three layers: a base layer tee, a sweater, and a jacket. And you know what? It worked! I felt perfectly comfortable each day by adding and removing layers as necessary, YAY!
WHAT I PACKED
01 | Tee by Madewell | While my suitcase was mostly neutral, I could create a color rich outfit with this tee and some cognac accessories. I paired this tee with my black jeans, ankle booties, and my sweater coat to make this outfit.
02 | Fisherman’s sweater (old by Banana Republic) | similar under $100 | similar under $90 | similar for under $55 | An oversized fisherman’s sweater, paired with a base layer, is the easiest thing to wear on a day when temperatures are back and forth. Feeling too warm? Take off the sweater and tie it around your waist. Too cold? Pop the sweater back on.
03 | Sweater by Topshop (Fit note: I’m wearing a 6) | With it’s slouchy silhouette and soft fabric, this one is quickly becoming my favorite sweater. I dressed it up a little and wore it out to dinner one night, pairing it with my black jeans and cognac ankle booties.
04 | Layering Tee by Halogen | I’m picky about my base layers — they’ve got to feel amazing on my skin. This one is the best I’ve found so far — it’s supersoft and luxe while being lightweight and not adding bulk. I’d just pop it underneath a sweater, add a jacket on top, and be all set for a day out. No matter how unpredictable the weather was, I could add or remove layers as needed.
01 | Rain Jacket by Penfield | also in black | also in tan | Last year, we lived in Seattle for a few months, and I quickly learned that a waterproof, hooded jacket is necessary. A little rain? No problem. Just pop the hood up and keep walking.
02 | Fleece Jacket by Patagonia (made responsibly) | This ended up being more of a lounge piece during the trip, but it was nice to toss on when we were just hanging out at the house. I even wore it to sleep a few nights.
03 | Cardigan (old by Madewell) | similar by Anthropologie | similar by Madewell | I take this cardigan with me everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. It looks as stunning with jeans and ankle booties as it does with yoga leggings and sneakers.
02 | Black jeans (old by Joe’s Jeans) | similar by Mott and Bow(made responsibly) | You know what I love about black jeans? They don’t show a thing. I could spill red wine on them and no one would know. Travel necessity in my book.
01 | Ankle booties (old by Sam Edelman) | similar by Madewell | similar by Fortress of Inca (made responsibly) | I always pack a pair of heeled ankle booties this time of year since I can dress them up for a nice dinner out or dress them down for daytime sightseeing. Don’t let their looks deceive you — they handle rain and mud like a champ, so I didn’t need to be careful with them in the rain. I’ve had them for years so they are already broken in and never give me blisters, no matter how far I walk.
02 | Sneakers by Veja (made responsibly) | I probably could have left these at home, but I’m going through a phase where I like travel with three pairs of shoes, instead of two, just in case I get blisters. Meh, on this trip, I could have done without ’em.
03 | Boots (old by Frye) | similar by Frye (on sale) | similar by Madewell | similar by Everlane (made responsibly) | These boots, both the color and the leather, are indestructible. They were perfect for traipsing around in a muddy pumpkin patch.
01 | Tote gifted by ONA | similar (made responsibly) | similar (made responsibly) | This bag is my go-to plane bag. It can hold my beloved Hydroflask water bottle, my computer, snacks, and any suitcase overflow with ease. This does mean it gets a little heavy, but I just set it on top of my carry on and roll them both.
02 | Small bag by Live FashionABLE (made responsibly) | similar | An extra bag may seem unnecessary, especially when trying to pack light, but I’ve been doing it more and more lately. Why? Because my tote can get just a little too heavy for exploring + sightseeing. So I downsize to this little bag mid trip.
03 | Carry On gifted by Away | This is my third trip with my Away suitcase and it’s growing on me more and more. At first I was a little thrown that it was so lightweight (can it really hold up?) and that it doesn’t expand at all (so, no overstuffing your bag). But, flimsy as it feels, it turns out it’s a tank. And now I kind of like that it doesn’t expand, because it’s broken my habit of overstuffing my carry-on. Would I recommend one? If you have a perfectly good suitcase already, no. If you’re in the market and you’ve had suitcases break down mid-trip, definitely.
OTHER PIECES (NOT PICTURED)
01 | Travel steamer | Not only does it keep clothes wrinkle free, it also refreshes clothes between washes. Since this particular trip was short, I didn’t need to hand wash any items — the steamer was all I needed to keep things fresh.
02 | A set of workout clothes | This trip, my workout gear doubled as my PJs to save on space — but also just in case we ended up doing some hiking or yoga. We didn’t, but it was nice to have them anyway.
03 | Toiletries | I think I overpacked in this department so I’m currently trying to downsize my toiletry bag. My dry shampoo and glasses case seem to take up the whole bag. Eh, I’ll figure it out one of these days.
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And that’s that! Now it’s your turn: Spill your packing tips! :) Particularly for when you’re headed to a chilly destination, and those bulky sweaters and boots threaten to take over the whole bag. Ready, go!