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Best Multi-Purpose Items

Following Alton Brown’s hatred of unitasker items, we’ve put together a few items that can pull double duty and save space during your next trip or vacation.


Pajamas become workout gear

Most of us sleep in old t-shirts and shorts. So why not use these for workout clothes too? Assuming you go to the gym a few times during a week long trip, bring enough of these items to sleep in two or three days (let’s be honest, we all do it), hit the gym in the same outfit in the morning, and throw it all in the dirty laundry bag after. Even better, ladies, sleep in shirts with a built in bra. Now you don’t have to pack sports bras either!

Sneakers are hiking shoes too

Unless you’re doing some serious hiking, your sneakers are usually fine on an average hike.  Save the space and let your sneakers get a little muddy.  Most can easily be cleaned off to be mud free before the trip home.


Worried about your electronics getting scratched in transit? Throw your phone, camera, etc. into (hopefully clean) socks to keep them safe and sound.


Sarong = Towel = Beach Blanket

Sarongs are one of the best multi-purpose items out there. They’re cheap if bought in tropical destinations (not too bad in advance either) and will save you throughout a beach trip. Start as a bathing suit cover-up, transform into a beach blanket for more than one, and end the day as a towel. With such a low cost, you can leave it behind or take advantage of the thin fabric to cram into a laundry bag on the way home.

Drawstring backpack or Laundry bag

If you packed properly, you won’t have any clean clothes on the return. However, there always seems to be something that didn’t get used, and you don’t want to mix it with all the dirty stuff. A drawstring backpack used throughout your trip can be the perfect clean clothes separator.  Alternatively, that lightweight laundry bag you packed can become a separate carry-on or tote between destinations.  Keeping it out of your suitcase lets everything else stay fresh.

Wide Scarf

A wider scarf can save you from freezing, whether it’s chillier than expected or the air conditioning is turbo charged. Use this to keep your neck warm, as a shawl, or in times of desperation, a blanket.


Baby Shampoo

This gentle shampoo can clean it all. Use it as shampoo, body wash, and face wash. Even use it for hand washing items in the sink if you’re in a pinch for clean clothes.


Ladies, no need to pack shaving cream.  Conditioner serves perfectly well as shaving cream if you’re only gone a week.

If this is the type of packing plan you’re looking for, I recommend you review our basic packing lists.

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