Think of an empty suitcase like an empty stomach. Here’s our guide on what to pack for a weekend away.
With nothing inside, it’s screaming to be filled. And you will. You’ll pack it with any old junk you find laying around (it will be junk, because no one makes responsible decisions under that kind of duress).
Afterwards, when you think back on the calorific meal you chomped down or the back-busting bag you just hauled through the airport, you’ll be filled with regret.
Overblown? Maybe a little, but the premise stands. A weekend away requires careful packing. Wait until the last minute and you’re bound to bring half your wardrobe and only a small percentage of what you actually need.
The good news is that you can simplify without sacrificing, as long as you plan ahead and prioritise versatility. Below are the basics on what to pack for a weekend away. Add or subtract more specialised gear as needed.
What To Pack For A Weekend Away – The Bag
It starts with the method of transport. A good weekender bag is a must for every man. Look for something stylish and high-quality that fits your budget. With such a vast array of materials, colours, shapes, sizes and price points, it’s worth it to scout around until you find one that’s just right. While you’re at it, scoop up something equally chic for your laptop and any other gadgets that need protecting.
Here’s where things get complicated. Your exact packing list depends on your destination, anticipated activities and the weather forecast. A bag for a business trip looks a lot different from a bag for a ski holiday (unless you’re the high-powered owner of a luxury Swiss Alps resort).
Today let’s keep it simple. For what to pack for a weekend away that’s a basic trip – no extreme weather, no thrill-seeking sports, no client meetings or black tie dinners. For a relaxed trip. here’s what to pack for a weekend away:
The navy blazer is the go-to option. It’s a wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or dressed down, and easily matched with a number of patterns and colours. It’s a safe bet to have one of these on hand so you can smarten up at a moment’s notice.
Make it dark and make it slim. It’s all about utility when you’re packing light, and it doesn’t get more practical than this. Steer clear of extremely distressed denim or other distracting details. Pack only your most classic, goes-with-anything pair of jeans.
In the event of a smart-casual emergency, deploy these with your blazer (even with chino shorts if weather permits). Alternatively, drop the blazer for cocktails when you want to look nice but not stuffy. Roll the cuffs if your goal is something more casual and fashion-conscious.
On the list of sartorial basics, it doesn’t get any more basic than this. One simple white tee or another in a neutral colour is a must. Throw in a second if you have space and are concerned about cleanliness. Not sure how? Check out our ultimate guide to dressing up the basic tee.
Bring along a button down for nicer evenings out. This cocktail look can pair with anything else on the list – the blazer, the denim, the chinos. Dress it up or dress it down according to your needs.
Layers are key when travelling. Pack a cool sweater so you’re prepared for unexpected changes in weather or formality. It can be worn over the dress shirt or the tee, with either bottoms, as well as under your blazer. How’s that for versatility on the run?
Leave the fancy kicks at home and opt for lightweight sneakers instead. This is the perfect time to haul out your Converse. If sneakers aren’t your style, loafers or some other kind of slip-on could substitute. Not sure where to start? See our pick of the 20 best sneakers for men.
Pack a pair of dress shoes – brogues, Oxfords, monks – for times when your footwear needs to be formal. A nice boot could also work under the right circumstances if you’re headed outdoors.
Socks & Underwear
Weekend commando by name, not by nature. Reliable underwear is a must. Obviously.
You may have noticed a theme with the clothes. Almost everything can be worn with everything else. The right selection, in an appropriately neutral colour palette, can be mixed and matched until you’ve turned limited means into surprisingly unlimited style.
The right accessories are the final piece of the puzzle. While the rest of your wardrobe stays simple, a few well-chosen adornments can be used to brighten and vary your weekend looks. Remember that you’re travelling light, so stick to the basics.
A tie and belt could both come in handy, and neither takes up much room in your bag. Roll them into your shoes to save space. You’ll want all-around stylish sunglasses, so skip anything brash or trendy in favour of classic aviators or Wayfarers.
As to your weekend watch, the same rules apply. Nothing ostentatious. Nothing too dressy. Nothing too casual. Aim for something simple and chic that Goldilocks (if she were a man and into horology) would call “just right.”
The Grooming Gear
Finally, there’s your Dopp kit. There’s only one rule you need to know about packing toiletries for a weekend away: if you use it daily, pack it. If you don’t, leave it in the medicine cabinet.
That means your toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant can come, along with any skincare or haircare products you use every day. If you take prescription medication, bring a sufficient supply. Take a razor and fragrance if you’ll need them. If possible, pack travel size products to maximize space.
Beyond that, just say no. You’ll be furious when your $400 bottle of face cream made from rare minerals and Nepalese yak sweat explodes inside your bag.