Scotland in Summer Packing List

Here is where I admit that I’m a bit of an over packer. I fall prey to the idea of, “Oh I have lots of space, one more shirt won’t hurt.” Suddenly I have four shirts that I never wear and at least two skirts that never leave the suitcase. This time though, I attempted something new, I had read in a blog (I can’t remember which one or I’d credit it!) about only bringing one of each item. You can’t wear more than one t-shirt at a time, or more than one dress. As long as all the pieces are versatile, you can just wash things as you need. Seeing how this trip was a short one, I decided to give it a go.

What I ended up bringing was:

  • One black t-shirt
  • One patterned singlet
  • One comfy cardigan
  • One pair of green cotton trousers
  • One pair of black 3/4 lenght athletic tights
  • One tan bra and enough socks and panties for the trip
  • One pair of pajamas (though I probably could have just used the tights and a t-shirt for the same effect)

My whole backpack right there!

That’s it–everything fit into one packing cube. On the plane I did wear a pair of skinny jeans, a plain black singlet, and a hoodie. With those items rounding out my wardrobe I was set. I can honestly say that at no point did I wish for an additional item of clothes.

I did base my picks around two different scenarios, walking around a city and driving. If you have a long drive day, then you just want to be comfortable. The athletic tights and cardigan were great for an air conditioned car and sitting of hours at a time. Whereas I did really like having my jeans and Converse for Edinburgh. Where the jeans did slightly slip up was on our full day on Skye. Since they are quite stretchy, they were comfortable for all the driving, but when I took an unplanned slide down a soggy hill I had to spend the rest of the day with cold and muddy jeans. Not super pleasant. We encountered a bit more water and mud that we were originally expecting. If you’re going to get off the trail plan to have clothes that will both dry/wash easily, and have extra socks for when yours get soaked.


The results of our muddy misadventures. 

Extra to the clothes listed above, I had:

  • My Columbia windbreaker
  • A scarf (which I actually never wore)
  • One pair of black ballet flats (I wore on the plane and the days we were driving)
  • One pair of Converse high top sneakers
  • shower shoes
  • hair towel (’cause sometimes you need a little extra when you travel with dyed hair)
  • Medication and toiletries
  • hair dryer (judge if you like, but this is my don’t want to travel without luxury)
  • Head band
  • Chargers, power bar, and adapters for the myriad of electronic devices that make up modern life
  • E Reader
  • DSLR camera and accessories

I had brought the jacket more to deal with the rain, but I found I was more grateful to have it to deal with the wind. 

With the exception of the scarf, everything that I brought I ended up using. Some of the items that came in particularly useful in the hostel: the power bar because there are never enough power outlet and the head band because I could also use it as an eye mask when sleeping under the security light. One of the few things that I wish I had was something I actually didn’t even own, a portable battery pack. In an age of smart phones with batteries that die in less than a day, you need to have a way to recharge your phone always. This may mean that you have to leave your phone on the floor because the charge cable wont reach to the top bunk. Or perhaps, like happened with us, you killed the battery because you’ve been using your phone as both the GPS and music player in the car all day. Sarah had battery pack which she would use to charge her phone at night and then leave that to charge over the day. I’m getting one before I go to Oktoberfest because I know there is going to be little to no access to power outlets.


Sarah exploring the Fairy Pools. We both got covered in mud on that expedition and Sarah ended up going for a swim. Thankfully I had spare gear at the hostel and Sarah, knowing she’d end up in the water, brought some with her in the car. 

Shoes were the one thing that I had a bit of a problem with. First of all I had decided to wear my flats for travel days–both flights and our drive days to and from Skye. This was great until we stopped to see something and I was trying to gingerly step through a muddy field to see the ruins of a castle. My other footwear option, my Converse, were a little lacking for both the climb to Arthur’s Seat and for the Fairy Pools. The soles are too thin for climbing around on rocks (you feel every angle), and there wasn’t enough tread for soggy ground or loose gravel. Usually I love traveling with my Converse because they fold small, dry relatively quickly, and can be cleaned pretty easily when needed. That being said, if you plan to do any serious hiking in Scotland, or are the type of person to leave the trail behind, make sure you bring a solid shoe with you.

All in all, I found this system worked really well on a short trip. Whether or not it would be a system applicable for a longer trip, I’m still not sure. Though the addition of one skirt and one dress would have made that wardrobe go farther than it did. I will definitely be using the same system on my upcoming trip to Oktoberfest.