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What to wear, what to leave home?

October 14, 2011

I remember signing up for a guided mountain-biking trip in Colorado. The guide outfitters told us to bring rain coats.

So we went out and bought raincoats, some nylon covered jacket with a thick inner lining. Big mistake. The jackets were bulky, too hot and completely inappropriate in every way for the high country of Colorado.

What we had was a failure to communicate.

So maybe the same thing could happen here in Florida. I live here. When I say bring swimsuits and water shoes, what could go wrong?

Well men, that doesn’t mean bring your Speedo bikinis, and it doesn’t mean bring your rubber boots or galoshes.

Men (all three of you), bring loose fitting swim trunks with inner liners and pockets — the kind you can wear as shorts all day. And bring several pairs, and perhaps even some that have zip off pants legs.

Here are some of my other suggestions. I’ve added links to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. If you don’t have it, just bring the next best thing unless you live near a place that sells them and you really want to buy them.

My wife, Sue Ellen, is going on the trip and also has listed her suggestions.

For men:
Light, wide brimmed nylon hat

Baseball hat, suitable for losing or getting wet

Party hat (of your choice, you’re in the Keys after all)

Long sleeve shirt with roll up sleeves, possibly ventilated

Zip off pants

Light short sleeve vented shirt

Heavier shirt that could double as light jacket

Very light hiking shoes or running shoes

activewear sandals such as Chaco or Teva

flip flops

Rashguard shirt with SPF protection


chapstick with sunscreen

liquid insect repellant in small container
I’m hesitant to recommend this at all. Don’t use before getting on the bus and don’t use unless absolutely necessary but keep it nearby.

Hooded rain jacket (no liner, packs in stuff sack)

A small dry bag if you have one already.

Camera, definitely. On the boat — maybe not.

A hiking bag with water bottle (If you have one already)

From Sue Ellen (for the 14 ladies)
See Bruce’s hat recommendations
Hooded rain jacket
2 bathing suits
1 pair board shorts (quick dry)
2 pairs other shorts (1 quick dry, 1 cotton)
1 pair quick-dry, long cargo pants
1 quick-dry rash guard shirt with SPF 50 (for beach, snorkeling, being out in the sun)
1 long-sleeved, light t-shirt (for cold rooms and cool nights)
1 long-sleeved light pullover hoodie (for cool nights)
2 tank tops
1-2 cotton short-sleeved t-shirts
1 pair flip flops (or you can buy great Kino Sandals in Key West! Only $13!!
1 pair Chaco sandals
1 pair water shoes
Quick-dry undergarments


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  1. Getting this in one suitcase is a challenge!

  2. Bruce Ritchie permalink

    Agreed… some of this is stuff you can wear for the Thursday tour as well. And wear “Keys Casual” in the evenings.


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