The Ultimate Weekend Bag

Whether you're headed into a city or out of one, we lay out everything you need for your weekend getaway
June 25, 2016Words by Zachary ShenalPhotos by Zachary Shenal

With the solstice behind us summer has officially arrived, meaning it’s the perfect time to consider a weekend adventure to get away from the everyday grind. The three-day weekend is the ultimate “escape and recharge” trip because it's short enough to be impromptu and occur often.

To make getting away even easier, keep a packing list of essential gear to get your bags packed and get your out the door even faster. Below are the ultimate packing lists that will set you up for a killer beach, city, or forest getaway. 

The Beach 

When you live near the water, summer weather is sure to find you down by the shore. The beach is the absolute easiest place to pack for. Just a few essentials will will guarantee a great time at the beach. 

The Bag 
A durable canvas bag is perfect for the beach. It’s lightweight, holds all of the essentials, and it won’t attract the attention of less savory characters while you’re out in the water enjoying the waves. 

The Blanket
A big beach towel is a given. You can lay on it, you can use it to towel off, or wrap up in it against the evening breeze. And if you are traveling with others, say a dog or significant other, you a larger blanket might be a good idea as well.

The Clothes
Swim trunks are obvious, but it’s a good idea to bring a light button up, short sleeve if you’re into that kind of thing, and some shorts for walks on the boardwalk or grabbing a bite to eat.

The Watch
For a beach weekend, only a diver will do. Marathon watches are regarded as some of the best by military and rescue crews across the country, and will more than stand up to the sun and surf.

An old 35mm camera and roll of film will help you remember the weekend while still focusing on having a great time

The Camera
It’s the beach, so why not have a bit of fun? An old 35mm camera and roll of film will help you remember this weekend while still focusing on having a great time. Or if polaroid is more your style, check out one of the hot-off-the-presses I-1 Polaroid Cameras from The Impossible Project

There’s always a human lobster on every beach. Don't be that guy. Bring plenty of sun protection.

Most beaches don’t allow glass bottles, and some don’t allow alcohol. Whatever your beverage of choice make sure it is permissible at your local beach. Craft soda, anyone? 

The City

It’s hard not to have a great time when you get the chance to visit the big city. Even if you’re a pretty casual dresser, it’s a good idea to step your game up a notch or two when packing for an urban getaway. Keep in mind that you’ll likely be spending a fair amount of time walking the city streets and riding public transportation. 

The Bag
The Saddleback Leather Medium Briefcase is one of the best weekenders out there. It can easily fit a change of clothes, toiletries, a book or two and a camera in it. Empty it out at the hotel and you have a great daypack for collecting souvenirs, knick knacks, and other urban detritus. (My current favorite souvenir: local craft brews unavailable back home.) 

The Clothes
This summer, you can’t go wrong with a couple of short sleeve button downs in summer colors and chinos.

The Shoes
Chippewa makes one good-lookin’ boot, especially their Service Boots, which are breathable enough for warm summer weather but provide plenty of protection for riding public transportation throughout the weekend. 

A book of poetry or short stories can fill those moments when you find yourself waiting for the bus or train to arrive

The Book
Navigating mass transit in a new city can be tough, and you’ll inevitably find yourself with a few minutes to yourself while waiting for a bus or train to arrive. A book of poetry or short stories can fill those moments, not to mention keep you company back at the hotel at the end of a long day of metropolitan adventures. 

The Product
You never know when you’re going to need to look like Cary Grant, or at least clean up enough for a night on the town. It’s always a good idea to bring along travel-sized pomade (or your product of choice) and a comb so you can look sharp when the occasion calls for it. 

The Watch
I've found that the key to a good watch is that it's handsome enough that you grin every time you check the time, but discreet enough that you don't look like a hip­hop mogul while you’re running errands. I use a Sinn 556 for my ultimate travel watch because not only does it meet the above requirements, but since Sinn watches have made it to space, I figure it should handle rush hour in NYC just fine.

The Camera
A small mirrorless camera is perfect for a weekend in the city. A Sony A5000 is an excellent choice that will give you some great snaps, but Olympus and Panasonic also have some great options for a small but powerful travel camera. 

The Forest

When the woods are where you’re most comfortable, there’s nothing like a long weekend in nature to re-energize you for the upcoming week. Here are the essentials for when you head out off the map. 

The Bag
A simple but hearty pack – a duffel or a backpack – is ideal for short trips, and does the trick for a short trip to not to overpack so you’re nice and comfy the whole time. A lightweight canvas pack holds everything you need just right. 

Hammocks are great because they keep your loadout light and get you off of the damp, lumpy ground.

For Sleeping
When the weather is this nice and warm out, you can easily get away with a hammock and a lightweight sleeping bag for under-the-stars sleeping arrangements. Hammocks are great because they keep your loadout light and get you off of the damp, lumpy ground. If there’s rain in the forecast, an emergency blanket or tarp can help protect you and your gear from the elements. 

The Shoes
Footwear is a highly personal choice, but between always being in boots while in the Army and doing tons of trekking in the summers, Crary boots are about as comfortable as they come. You’ll notice they look a lot like Danner boots, and that’s because Crary was founded by Danner’s son. He clearly learned a lot from his old man. 

The Clothes
You can go light here. For just a weekend, one pair of pants and a few shirts will have you covered. Even better, pants with zip-off legs that can easily convert into shorts give you short and pants in one garment, saving you space and giving you versatility. And don’t worry about being zip-off pants guy – the trees won’t judge you. 

For a field watch luminescence is a great feature as well as a bezel with countdown and navigational functions

The Watch
Luminescence is a great feature, whether it is a backlit face or luminous dial markers. A bezel with countdown abilities and directional navigation can be very useful in a sticky situation as well. Once again, the Huckberry Standard Issue Field Navigator watch comes through. 

The Gear
For cooking, make sure to bring along a Biolite camp stove bundle so you can grill and boil water. Other essential gear: protein/energy bars, first aid kit, and a light source. 

With those three situations covered, you should be set for a kickass getaway to just about anywhere. Pack light, have fun and see you out there. [H]

Zach Shenal is an adventure photographer based on Maryland's Delmarva Peninsula. He takes photos for Outward Bound and can't wait to give ice climbing another shot.


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