Now that spring break is over, it’s time for us to start thinking about and planning for summer, and the trips that happen during those glorious months. We’ve already got two big trips planned, with other shorter activities in the works, but more on that later. Today, I want to share with you my packing essentials. Items that will travel with me in the Monkey Barrel, and my reason behind why I pack what I pack.
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Items that make their way into my Monkey Barrel closet must have the following criteria: they must be comfortable, versatile, and interchangeable. The joy of traveling in an Airstream means that you have space to bring all the clothes you want. But why do that when you can be efficient and travel with the items that you need? Who wants the added stress and work of packing, folding, and washing clothes while on a trip? Further, when you have clothing that coordinates well with one another, getting dressed in the morning is a breeze… and then you’re on to the fun stuff in your life! Lastly, these items have endured the test of time. I’m on of those people who like to purchase an item I truly love, and then keep it for as long as it lasts. Because of this, I am willing to invest more in each item so that it lasts for a really long time. Waste not, want not, am I right?
So, without further ado, here is my essential summer packing list:
I’m a big fan of Athleta athletic wear. They make cute, quality athletic wear that is affordable and durable. Their swimwear is no different. Not only do they have a huge selection of designs, colors, and patterns, but they understand that women come in all shapes and sizes and they accommodate that as well. So, whether you are a stick figure (like I am) or you’ve been extra blessed with extra curves, Athleta swimwear has your back, and your backside, covered. The swimsuit I chose for myself this year is the Women’s South Swell Bikini Top with the Sand Sprint Short, both in black. Yes, I am 39 years old. Yes, I have had four children. And yes, I still wear a bikini. Further, my girls are finally old (and big) enough to wear Athleta Girl swimsuits (YAY!), so The Boss picked out the Athleta Girl Make Waves Tankini with matching reversible bottoms, and Little Bit picked out the Athleta Girl Team One Piece.
I’m a runner. Have I mentioned that before? Well, I am and I am also a big fan of (surprise, surprise!) Athleta running gear. This skort is one of my favorites, which surprised even me. Most Athleta sports (and running shorts) have this awesome grippy strip along the inner hem of the shorts part, which helps keep everything in place when you’re in motion. When I first saw this skort, I just fell in love with how cute it was, so I ordered it without double checking to see if it had the grips. It does not! So, I decided to use their “Give It a Workout Guarantee” and try it out anyway. The legs stayed in place throughout my entire run, and the skort quickly became one of my favorites. The bright fuchsia gives me an extra splash of color that is really fun.
Several of Athleta’s tops also have the grips along the bottom hem, and this one is no different. This tank stays put, wicks moisture away like a champ, and layers fantastically. I’ve even worn it under some of my other Athleta close-fitting running tops on extra cold days, and nothing has bunched up. The Speedlight also comes in short and long sleeves. I own one of each and love their versatility.
Every runner has not only their particular brand of running shoes, but their specific model as well. I used to be a diehard Brooks Glycerin fan, until one of the later models failed to provide enough space in the toe box. So, after much research, I tried the Transcend 5 and have fallen in love all over again. I even wore these throughout my training and race day of the Mississippi Blues Marathon “Quarter Note” (10K) race back in January… and they’re still going strong!
I didn’t become a runner until after I had all my babies. Before, during, and after all of my pregnancies, I never had any vascular problems at all. Even when I was regularly enduring long flights or working nights in the hospital emergency department, I never had any problems with my legs or my veins. However, once I started running, I noticed that my legs felt fatigued. Not tired, like, “oh no! I ran too hard and they’re sore!” but a deep fatigue. I started doing some research and realized that I may need to try some compression socks. CEP Compression socks were recommended to me by a friend, so I decided to give them a shot. WOW. I never run without these! Further, there are days where I’ll slip on a fresh pair under my jeans, especially after a particularly difficult or long run. When we’re facing a long day on the road, I’ll put these on in the car. They have made all the difference in my running, and quite honestly, I’m not sure I would have been able to continue running at all without them.
Y’all, I gotta be honest. I’m a sucker for comfortable clothes. Who are these people who wear uncomfortable clothes? Who has time for that? Not this momma. So, when I saw these Patagonia leggings, I decided to give them a try. I love Patagonia products, and I love leggings, so I figured it was a win-win. Little did I know, it was a win-win-win (any fans of The Office around here?). These cropped leggings are cute, comfortable, and even cropped on my 5’4″ body. Usually when something says “cropped” it means “ankle length” for me, but these leggings are the perfect length. They pack well, they wear well, so they travel well.
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it’s time to put up the fleece! There are plenty of chilly nights for us, especially when we’re on the road. Once the summer heat starts creeping upwards, we look for higher elevation, and higher latitudes, which means cool nights by the campfire and chilly mornings while sipping my coffee outside. This Patagonia fleece provides the perfect amount of warmth, plus the kangaroo pouch keeps my phone handy.
These shorts are made with ripstop nylon, repel dirt and stains, and ladies, they have four zippered pockets. I’ve found that the 4-inch inseam is the perfect length between the super short (but still cute) 3 inches and the 5 inches. Even though they do repel dirt and stains, their quick drying fabric makes them easy to wash, wring out, and dry when you’re on the road.
I’ve always been a bit on the preppy side, and my love for this Cloth & Stone button down is no exception. The shirt is lightweight, super soft, and can be used as a swimsuit cover up or wear it with jeans out to dinner. I always have a place for it in my Monkey Barrel closet. Further, a white button down is just a classic staple that belongs in every closet.
There is a reason why these shorts are best sellers. They are comfortable, classically stylish, and go with everything. I have a pair in navy, with a khaki pair on order. I love finding shorts that can be dressed up or down, which is why I love these so much!
OluKai flops I’m not a big flip flop wearer, but my super trendy sister-in-law (a native of Florida, which is clearly the home of the Flip Flop) had a pair of OluKais and they looked so great, I went out and bought myself a pair! I appreciate the arch support in the sole, and the fact that they look more like sandals than your standard flip flops. Although they look delicate, they’ve held up really well around the house, around the campground, as shower shoes, beach sandals, you name it. Made from vegan leather, you don’t have to worry about getting them wet, and they’re cute enough to go with anything. I also own a pair of OluKai U’i and they are fantastic!
We’re a fishing family. I grew up (mostly) fishing freshwater, and Kyle grew up fishing saltwater. We even got engaged one beautiful October day while we were bass fishing! We all love these Columbia PFG fishing shirts. They are comfortable–not just the fabric against your skin but they keep you cool wile you’re out on the water for hours on end. Further, with a UPF 30 rating, flipping up the collar and rolling down the sleeves works just as well as trying to slather more sunscreen all over yourself. Plus, this keeps your hands from getting all greasy with sunscreen! It’s a win-win.
Growing up in the cockpit of my dad’s single engine aircraft, he would never let me wear sunglasses with wide sides because he said it interferes with your line of vision. He is correct. So, aviator sunglasses made their way into my life and are here to stay. What else can I say about sunglasses? If you’re looking for a good pair, you won’t find a better pair than these.
I’ve talked about the Cotopaxi Kusa blanket before, but this is another one of their products that I really love. Their Do Good t-shirt is just a simple shirt that feels great, fits great, and has a simple, yet great, message: Do Good. I typically don’t like wearing clothes that have words and messages on them, but in this case, I make an exception. It’s a simple reminder to myself, and my kids, that we can (and should) do good no matter where we are.
Lastly, all this fits nicely in your carry-on (if you know, you’re not traveling in an Airstream), with room to spare for a day pack, a book, and a couple of souvenirs. What are some of your favorite items?