My Christmas gift to my husband this year was a trip to see the Redwoods, and this past month we finally made it happen. I was so excited to show my husband the Pacific Northwest, where I lived for six years during graduate school. For this packing list, I was inspired by the blues and greens of the woods and ocean as well as the purples of the stunning coastal sunsets.
PNW Travel Essentials That Go From Campfire To Cocktails
My packing list reflects both time spent in a city and time camping and enjoying nature — I’ve included outdoor essentials like hiking boots and a sun hat as well as a dress and heels to wear to a restaurant. I hope you find this packing list helpful if you’re doing a combo city/nature getaway this year.
I bought my first and only Fjällräven backpack in Hong Kong back in 2013. Initially, I bought it because I liked the design. Then, after I lugged this backpack through about twenty different countries, I realized that people love these bags because they are basically indestructible. For me, the Kånken backpack was a worthy investment.
Excuse me while I curate my way-too-extensive collection of water bottles to make room for this stunning purple Hydroflask. In my defense, I am incredibly well-hydrated and carry water wherever I go. Maybe one more bottle is just what I need.
Bucket hats are practical and trendy, so this packable sun hat by Madewell is a double win. You can keep your delicate facial skin hidden from the sun and also peer out from under the brim mysteriously at passersby. Is she examining that seashell on the shore, or is she making eye contact with a handsome stranger? Hard to say.
This metallic lilac swimsuit is a mermaid’s dream, and who doesn’t want to bring a touch of Mermaid Core to the beach? With the premiere of The Little Mermaid, Dua Lipa playing Mermaid Barbie in the Barbie movie, and the fascinating MerPeople documentary on Netflix, mermaid-inspired fashion is big (again) this summer.
Teal and purple? Oh yes, please. Practical, budget-friendly, and fun, these Goodr sunglasses are the perfect addition to a mermaid-inspired beach bag.
I recently bought my first pair of Birkenstock sandals with the intention of comparing them to sandals with a similar design from another brand. Welp, the Birks now have a permanent home in my closet, and the pretenders had to return home. This sandstone color is just perfect for any outfit with a soft color palette.
The beautiful celadon color and gentle A-line of this Madewell dress are flattering on a range of body types, including my pear-shaped frame. Linen is the fabric of the summer season to stay cool and look elegant, yet casual. If the open back of the Madewell dress doesn’t suit you, I’ve rounded up a ton of options below.
Rumpl’s outdoor blankets are just so beautiful. The Rumpl blanket above features an image of Crater Lake National Park, but there are plenty of designs to choose from. One genius detail is that it has a “cape clip,” so you can wear this as a cozy extra layer when sitting around the campfire.
We are not messing around when it comes to sunscreen, right? Good. Shiseido makes some of the best sunscreens for the face available in the United States. This sunscreen formula is thin in texture rather than goopy and doesn’t pill when makeup is applied on top.
This cropped, lilac T-shirt from Adidas is so fun and will keep you cool during the dog days of late summer. What brand does athleisure better? If cropped styles aren’t for you, never fear — I’ve rounded up more options below.
For the granola girl, only a beautiful and subtle scent will do. Lake & Skye 11:11 is the grown-up version of the beloved White Musk oil I used to buy at The Body Shop in the late 1990s. The notes are white musk, amber, and “ozonic accord,” a combination that blends seamlessly with your body chemistry and inspires those to smell the fragrance to lean in a little bit closer.
I am cursed to be a woman with permanently dry lips, so I am super picky about my lip gloss. This Tower 28 lip gloss is really soothing and comes in a bunch of different colors. My favorite color is Cashew — a sheer, milky rose shade.
14. Parachute Pants
I love the parachute pant trend. I love the billowy look of these Free People pants that says, “I might go on a desert safari, but I insist on looking chic doing it.” The drawstring at the ankles is a key detail, and the large front pockets are an interesting detail.
I love these AGOLDE shorts because of the frayed hem and the crisscross waistband detail. As a size 14 (32 in jeans), I seldom find high-end denim brands that fit my curves, but AGOLDE is one of the few that work for me, and I have to say I love their designs.
A rain jacket is a must for a Pacific Coast trip. The essential ingredient in Redwood growth is the mist in the fog that blows in off the ocean and waters the tops of these gorgeous and ancient trees. That means you need to be prepared for that mist as well, a fun, color block raincoat from a sustainable brand like Cotopaxi is just the ticket.
17. Platform Sandals
I love sandals that give me just a little extra height but are still comfortable enough that a ten-minute walk between hotel and restaurant doesn’t become an insurmountable obstacle. These Madewell sandals are just the ticket.
These Danner boots are my favorite. Not only are they classic in design but Danner is a Portland, Oregon-based company that has been around since 1932, so this is a gold-standard Pacific Coast brand, and these boots are made to last forever. Shana has already written about why she loves her Danner boots.
19. Beachy Earrings
Monica Vinader is one of my favorite jewelry designers in no small part because her jewelry includes so much inspiration from the natural world. The metalwork on the clasp of these drop earrings mirrors the natural contours of the pearl, and I think that’s stunning.
I love leather handbags in natural and neutral colors. This cute and practical Madewell crossbody tote bag is a purse I would carry for all sorts of occasions because it pairs so well with different colors.
I hope this list inspires you to dream up a road trip of your own that involves sleeping under the stars and a dip in a lake, river, or ocean. What colors in the natural world inspire your wardrobe?