Need a hat for your trip? Amie Scott says this Tilley is a dilly.

You watch travelogues on TV and travel videos on YouTube, and you wonder: “These people look so prepared! How do they do it, how do they know what to take?”

It’s not as hard as you might think. Just walk into your local Great Outdoor Provision Co., tell one of our associates where you’re headed and be prepared for a steamer chest full of advice.

For instance, say you walk into our Chapel Hill shop and Amie Scott asks if she can help. Lucky you. Immediately, she starts asking key questions:

Will you be walking a lot?

“Yes,” you say, “an awful lot.”

Oboz Sawtooth II

Amie might well direct you to the Oboz Sawtooth II (men’s, women’s), a hiker that’s “sturdy, but not heavy, and has good grip. It’s interesting, some people come in certain that they need a full boot, for the ankle support. But what’s best for your ankle is a stiffer sole that won’t twist. Oboz have a good, stiff sole.” And the mid-size offers a comfortable compromise.

Going somewhere wet? A shoe with waterproof Gore-Tex protection is a good bet, says Amie. Another good shoe for walking, especially in wet weather: the Astral TR1 (men’s, women’s). The TR1 comes from Astral’s roots as a boat shoe maker, which means deck-gripping soles and shoes with automatic bailers!

Are you trying to limit the clothes you take? 

We’ve got lots of travel underwear to choose from.

“Yes,” you say, though you may not have given it much thought, “I suppose so.”

For one, Amie advises, that will mean not having to do laundry frequently — or at all.

“One of the first things I suggest is travel underwear,” says Amie. A good example for men: the Patagonia Sender Boxer Briefs, which are made of moisture-wicking recycled nylon/spandex stretch micromesh fabric. (Basically, that means they’ll take a lot, included days of extended travel.) And for women, the Active Hipster and Barely Hipster lines. Another great underwear option for guys: the Mountain Khaki Bison Boxer and Boxer Brief.

Also, you don’t want to be constantly fretting over wrinkles.

“We have travel plants and skirts that you can roll up tight and pack, and they’ll look great when you get where you’re going,” says Amie. To make her point, she takes a Toad & Co. Rosalinda Dress from a hanger, rolls it into a tube, then unfurls it. Instantly, it springs back to life. The secret? Polyester — yup, the same stuff that once clothed the sweaty disco revolution. “The technology has changed over the years,” says Amie, a lot. It’s really soft and it breathes.”

For shirts, Amie recommends a wide range of men’s and women’s Columbia shirts. “They’re lightweight, they have mesh-lined vents in the shoulder, and some have built-in UV protection. They also have a price point that won’t break the bank.” Plus, many of the long-sleeve shirts have sleeves that can be quickly rolled up and secured in place. 

Is being organized super important?

Sea to Summit Mesh Garment Bag

Yes? Then check out the Sea to Summit Traveling Light Garment Mesh Bag. Put all of your shirts in a blue one, your pants in a yellow one, your danties in a pink one. And if you can’t remember what’s in which, the mesh top gives you quick visual confirmation.

“They’re nice, too, because you can compress more stuff into the bag to further maximize space,” says Amie. (Sea to Summit also makes a Traveling Light Shirt Folder, Laundry Bag, a Shoe Bag, Hanging Toiletry Bag … .)

What about security? Is that a big concern?

Sea to Summit Expander

Your passport, your credit cards, your cash — yeah, it’s a big concern. “People like the neck wallets and neck pouches because they go inside your clothes and are harder to lose, harder to be taken.”

“Speaking of security,” adds Amie, “depending upon where you’re traveling it can be really helpful to have a see-through pouch.” For instance, the Sea to Summit Traveling Light TPU Clear Zip Pouch, which comes with six TSA carry-on-size bottles. 

And if you’re sleeping in a hostel, even though it may come with bed sheets, “some people like the extra security of a liner.” The Sea to Summit Expander Travel Liner, for instance, is a poly-cotton bag that you sleep in inside your hostel bunk. It provides extra warmth and protection from whatever may lurk in your home for the night.

Those are just a few of the more common items we help travelers with as they gear up for an adventure. Looking for something not-so-common? Swing by and ask. Odds are we can help with those, too.

For more travel gear recommendations

Check out these previous posts from the current Travel season: