Travel is like eating, sleeping or breathing for me. I gotta go. A constant change of scenery feeds my soul and I am beyond fortunate to live in a part of the world that offers just that within a few hours of my home…mountains, ocean, high desert, busy cities and even a foreign country are all less than a day’s journey from Portland, OR.
Yep, there’s a reason I call this place home.
The best thing? Many of these gorgeous destinations are less than two hours away, making them doable for last-minute overnights or a fun, easy weekend trip. I’ve taken countless numbers of these little weekend journeys in the 10 years I’ve been here and honestly it’s taken me that long to decide what’s best to pack for these jaunts. Haha. I’m a serially horrible packer. I want to bring everything that is my favorite everywhere I go, especially shoes.
What To Pack For A Weekend In The Pacific Northwest
But here, my friends, I’ve tried my best to narrow down a general overview of my favorite things to bring with me for a weekend in the Pacific Northwest (spoiler alert: lots of jackets.)
Obviously, where you’re headed in our lovely region will determine a few of these choices, but these are some of my favorite pieces I always tend to pack. Headed to Seattle or Vancouver? I’d add in a cool pair of heeled (but still comfy) boots for going to dinner or a concert, or other event. Planning to hike? I’d bring my fav waterproof, lightweight, hiking sneaker boots. This list should give you a good idea though of what I truly bring for most of the year!
First Off…All The Jacket Options
We literally do not go anywhere without a jacket up here. Even in August on an 80+ degree day, my friend hopped in the car to go out to dinner one night recently and was like “oh no I forgot a jacket.” Meanwhile, she already had jeans on and a short sleeve top. Haha. It’s so funny to this Southern-born girl. They are definitely our security blankets around here. Turned out we did kinda need our jackets that night. Heh.
So, if I’m off for a weekend trip anywhere out here, especially at the coast, I’m bringing all the jackets. I do not ever pack lightly, as I mentioned above, even as hard has I try to, so I need options.
1. A Cozy Jacket
2. A Raincoat (Duh)
This Everlane Renew Anorak is one of my very favorite, actually cute raincoats. This one is best for the times of year like summer and early fall when you might just get into a bit of rain. It’s not heavy enough or super water repellent for winter, but perfect for the warmer months out here. I’ve had it and loved it for months now.
For later fall, winter and early spring I like this raincoat from The North Face. The rain literally runs away from that jacket but it still has some really chic details.
3. A Structured Jacket
Since we’re pretty casual up here and many of my pieces are comfy, I like to throw in a structured jacket to offset some of that. Don’t worry, this Anine Bing Army jacket is still super comfy (I’ve raved about it for a year now) but it sharpens up my super casj looks (like the black tank and pants below). And it looks cute with jeans, too. I know it’s an investment price point, but I’ve been SO happy with it. I wear it weekly. If you are looking for a similar jacket under $100 though, I like this one.
Which Pants To Pack? Comfy Jeans, Versatile Black Pants & Always Sweats
Next up…pants. Sometimes this is so tricky when packing. Which jeans will go with all the shoes? Which pants are most versatile, don’t get wrinkly and dirty easily, AND are still comfy and appropriate?
1. Comfy Boyfriend Jeans
Right now I’m drawn to a good pair of boyfriend or weekend jeans. Since they’re looser, they’re cooler in warmer weather and comfy for eating all the food while traveling, hanging out next to a campfire or chatting while having drinks.
They can be easily dressed up with a cute sandal or heel, and when you hack them off like I did they go with all the shoes, including sneakers. These from rag & bone boyfriend jeans are so comfy soft and just easy. Sized up here, wearing a 29.
2. Versatile Black Pants I Can Live In
These are the Athleta Cosmic Wide Leg pants I talk ad nauseum about. Years later, they’re my favorite most versatile pants. Still. Grab them while they’re in stock. You will not be disappointed. They dress up and dress down, I’ve slept in them, they have a comfy waistband, they’re the perfect road trip pants, they go camping, to the office…there is nothing these pants can’t do.
I’m wearing a 4 Petite here. They run TTS. Snap them up while petites are still in stock, too, if you’re 5’4″ (or under) like me.
3. Cozy Sweats
A matching sweatsuit is just my jam these days. It’s cute enough to wear out and about but cozy enough for lounging. The sweatshirt is a great topper for the other pants, too. These sweatpants run just a bit big, but the sweatshirt is TTS and perfectly cropped for my higher waisted pants. Wearing a S in both pieces. Best made sweats, IMO.
Oh Gosh…Now For Shoes
This is the toughest packing category for me when I go anywhere. I want all the shoe options. But, after years of trying on a ton of shoes and then traveling with some of those shoes…nope I still have no idea. Haha. J/k I have a few go-tos depending on what activities I’ll be doing, of course. And a few thoughts on some shoes that go with everything from dresses to shorts to jeans…
1. Sneakers, But Make Them Cute
I love a cute fashion sneaker (for me, it’s usually a pair of high-tops), cozy slippers (like UGGs) or comfy slides, and then another pair of shoes that is also cute but not precious (this time, Vans).
If I’m visiting say, Seattle or Vancouver, I might bring a cute (but comfy) pair of heeled boots, too, but don’t feel like you have to pack your 3″ heels for the PNW. I don’t even know if I’ve ever seen any here. Haha.
2. A Go-With-Everything Comfy Shoe
Honestly, can you have too many sneaker options on a trip? I think not. My Vans slip-ons add a great graphic element to any outfit and literally go with everything. You could easily sub-in the Adidas Superstars here, too. I like the Vans for warmer temps and the Superstars for any time of the year.
3. Slippers or Slides
I always always travel with slippers. I wear them at home all the time so why wouldn’t I cozy up in a pair on vacation? Right? For this summer glamping/coast trip I brought my ridiculous marshmallow slides, but for cooler times of year I’d bring anything sherpa-lined, like these Koolaburra by UGG slippers I just got or my fav UGG Ultra Minis.
Lastly, A Few Notes About Tops To Pack
I feel like this is the easiest category and I’ve kinda covered it above with:
- the cozy gray puff sleeve sweatshirt at the top
- the lighter-weight, striped puff sleeve crop shirt (obvs into puff sleeves rn)
- the Nike sweatshirt
- the Vuori tank that can work for daytime or workout
- and this green racerback tank, great for layering, daytime or sleeping in (no judgement, k? I was glamping)
- and I’d throw in your favorite white or black tee (mine are these…ooh on sale!)
Whew. These packing posts are always a head-trip to write because this clothes horse likes all the options…meaning my list of the perfect pieces to pack could go on and on and on…haha but that’s counterintuitive to our goal. Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what’s useful for a little weekend jaunt in the Northwest.
Takeaways? Bring comfy clothes that are versatile and cute but not fancy…cozy pieces for our temperate climate…and lots of jackets.
Here’s to your next visit to our gorgeous upper left coast!
Would love to have you follow me over on Instagram @laurajansenstyle for more rad fashion picks, kitchen dance parties, donut reviews and a side of taking things not too seriously, all from Portland, OR.
Lovely photos by Posy Quarterman Photography