Your Guide: How to Pack for a 6-Month Road Trip.

Ready to Embark

When hitting the road for six months, one must think about packing needs and an organizational system to fit said packing needs into (in our case) a compact SUV. As we shrink from apartment to car, we’ve outfitted it with storage organizers, a cooler, and essentially all of our needs for the next half year and the seasons we will be visiting.

The Buick Encore pictured here is now also our closet, kitchenette, and porter of shelter (i.e. tents) for the outdoor aspects of our journey. ‘How did they do it,’ you ask?

Starting Point at Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett, NY

Preparing the car

  1. We removed the back seats for added storage space. Even with the most consolidated of six months worth of gear, there is no room for passengers.
  2. For the mini fridge and wine cooler, we purchased a Coleman Powerchill 40 Quart Thermoelectric Cooler. Flexible doors allow for convenient access and plugged in, the cooler keeps everything chilled at 40º cooler than the status temperature, which will keep our produce fresh while using less energy.
  3. Bins. Bins for clothes. Bins for pantry. Bins for kitchenware and a fold-up grill for campfire cooking, and toiletries that don’t already fit in a handy hanging toiletry suitcase (including a hair dryer).
  4. Storage cases from the Ikea Skubb collection and a handful of vacuum bags made by Ziplock. Large cases are handy for storing air-tight winter wear that we will not need for several months of west coast living. Small ones are great for shoes.
  5. The Outdoors. One tent. Two outdoor chairs. Two sleeping bags. Two pillows. One set of sheets. One extra wool blanket. Two yoga mats. Plus, we found an amazing canvas tarp and chic-looking rug we got as an impulse purchased from Ikea for an added touch to the outdoors part of our journey.
  6. Technology. All the needs for working in a mobile fashion and taking pictures. Plus, we set up with a Go Pro to do a time lapse from the Atlantic to Pacific. Video coming as soon.
Camping in Boone, NC

Packing List

But what about clothes? From campsites to weddings in wine country and a few cities and sites in-between, how on earth does one pack for that? Here’s how I netted out.

Dakota:

  • 18 sets of underwear
  • 3 bras, 1 strapless bra and 3 sports bras
  • 14 pairs of socks
  • 2 sets of bathing suits plus some fringe and floral wrap thing that seems appropriate for when I don’t want to get clothes dirty when I’m poolside, oceanfront or lakeside.
  • 4 dresses. 2 are casual and 2 can be dressed up.
  • 2 blue jeans. 1 pair white jeans. 1 pair of black pants. 1 pair of grey pleather pants (because why not?).
  • Prescription glasses. Sunglasses. (one pair each)
  • 16 shirts (dress and cotton)
  • 2 workout pants and 1 pair of work out shorts.
  • 1 pair of pajama boxers
  • 1 small purse (for wedding attendance… did I mention we have three this fall?), one larger purse — for when a backpack isn’t appropriate but I want to fit my camera. 1 Backpack.
  • 1 crewneck sweater, 1 turtleneck, 1 massively warm cardigan, plus 1 sweatshirt for campfires (because it’s easily washable).
  • 1 pair of hiking boots. 1 pair of sneakers. 1 pair of flip flops. 1 pair of heeled black suede low boots. 1 pair of of brown suede — but more rain proof—low boots. 1 pair of high heels.
  • Trench coat. Barbour. Blazer.

Andrew:

  • 7 T-shirts
  • 6 collared shirts
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 2 pairs of athletic underwear
  • 1 pair of boxers
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of dress pants
  • 1 pair of work pants
  • 1 pair of swimming trunks
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 pair of sweatpants
Sunset in South Dakota

Since we first set out on the adventure we discovered the addition of an attic — or car topper — would make heaps of difference by placing all of our camping gear within it. Now everything has a permanent place and does not need to be removed to grab one thing or another, such as our tent.

East Coast meet West Coast. We made it to Northern California, seen here: the Pacific Ocean.