What’s in Your Shore Kit?

As cruisers, a shore kit is standard issue.  If you are a self-reliant family that just rowed your dinghy to shore for a 4-mile hike to the top of a volcano on an uninhabited island… you better be ready for anything.  But, I’ve found that my handy shore kit gets just as much use if I’m in a remote location as when I’m taking BART around San Francisco.  Having a compact kit of all the little items that one might need makes you prepared.  I’ve also found that it is a great way to be of service in your community.

I carry my shore kit with me EVERYWHERE and ALWAYS.  It’s just a habit that I’ve gotten into and I’ve been rewarded so often with the ability to use it that I just don’t leave the boat/home without it.

I’m going to share with you in detail what exactly is in my shore kit and I encourage you to make a shore kit of your own!   Adapt your shore kit to your life and your specific needs and you will find that it will become something that you won’t leave home without.


This is my shore kit.  Luxurious, I know… It just happens to be dark green velvet with a gold zipper.  A gift from my sister a few years ago.  Any cosmetic bag will do.  I’ve also seen people use really heavy duty plastic ziplock bags, but I bet if you look under your bathroom vanity, you will find something suitable.

Let’s open it up.


I shove it all in there.  It’s compact, but I organize it so that I can pull out the bottles or tubes easily without messing up the organization.  I keep the meds and the bandages in little ziplock bags so there isn’t anything floating around.  I also store my little blunt-nosed scissors right in the middle as I use them a ton.

Now, by category:  Bottles and Tubes


From left to right.

  • A travel tube of Advil
  • Next, we have my essential, essential oils; On Guard and DigestZen.  On Guard is dOTERRA’s immune support oil and a drop of this in a glass of water or under the tongue when anyone in the family is feeling run down or right when feeling that little twinge in the back of the throat has kept us healthy so many times.
  • DigestZen has been my saving grace when Montezuma’s revenge is knocking at the door.  This is a travel must as tummies always get a bit funny on the road.  I rub it on the belly or take in water.
  • I don’t use hand sanitizer all the time.  I’m of the school that the more complex biome we carry around the better, but there are some situations where there can be too much biome or biome of a not-so-familiar-and-friendly nature.  When we haven’t had a chance to wash hands before eating at the roadside vendor after a long day of provisioning, I’m happy to spread this love.  I like EO’s but you can use Long’s Drug version and put a splash of your favorite essential oil in it yourself.
  • I keep an antibacterial ointment on hand.  There are lots of philosophies on wound treatment.  If the wound site is cleaned and kept sterile, it isn’t needed, but there are times and places where that is hard.  It’s less ideal in warm humid environments in our experience, best to keep it clean and dry.  But, it’s handy for little scrapes while you’re on the go.
  • Bug spray is key.  This is the one that I don’t end up using as much, but boy…when I need it, I need it.  I buy the straight-up DEET off of Amazon then mix a bit with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, some water and dOTERRA’s “Terra” which is supposed to ward off bugs.  With mosquito-born illness on the rise around the globe, and with it not always being possible to go indoors at sunset, we opt for measured use of DEET.
  • A small stick of sunscreen is handy. I like Blue Lizard or Badger – really anything that uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide rather than the chemicals in the something-or-other-benzone category.  If you stick to sun BLOCKS rather than sun SCREENS you can also stay a bit safer from the cancer-causing chemical world.  Neutrogena is NOT my go-to, but this little stick was just the right size for my shore kit, and sometimes that is the key.  Let not the perfect be the enemy of the good.  I prefer the stick rather than the lotion as the lotion inevitably leaks.
  • Floss is super handy, and not just for teeth but as a bit of string in a pinch.


I use a small ziplock to keep my bandages together.  From left to right.

  • Kinesiology tape!  This stuff is AWESOME.  Bandaids sometimes just don’t stick.  This stuff is a great alternative or aid to a bandaid.  It’s also great to use as protection for shoes that are rubbing you the wrong way or just as tape. I get it in the larger rolls then cut it into strips.
  • Moleskin for blisters that are further along.
  • Bandaids
  • Steri-Strips – in uneducated hands, these are just as good as a suture kit, that is, unless it’s a head wound (which I keep staples for in my larger kit).
  • Wound Tape


As I learned in my wilderness first responder course, meds are the place where you can REALLY go wrong when trying to be helpful.  Carefully select which meds you pack.  I keep only meds which we’ve tried before and know we don’t have reactions to.

  • DayQuil and Mucinex if we get hit with a cold while traveling
  • Anti-diarrhea meds which can be handy if you have to fly that day… but best to not use if you don’t have to.  Better to just drink lots of water and stay close to the bathroom.
  • Motion sickness pills for obvious reasons
  • Benadryl for allergic reactions
  • Alka-Seltzer
  • non-ouchy antiseptic towelettes to clean wounds which I would use after a good rinse with potable water.


Next goes in a few essentials for life on the road.

  • Lip balm
  • a very good set of tweezers to handle splinters
  • nail file
  • blunt-nosed small scissors found in most manicure kits.  These are great as they are allowed on the plane and they come in SOOO handy for all sorts of things.
  • hair ties are great as well for use as rubber bands or any number of things not to mention emergency ponytails.
  • Not pictured are several safety pins which I clip into the fabric of my bag from the inside.  Super handy.


Last but not least is some paper towel for those bloody noses (a common occurrence for one of my lovely daughters) and also a clean cotton handkerchief which is nice as it can be washed out and useful longer than a paper towel in remote places.

Other good options to put in your shore kit would be latex gloves and a mouth guard for mouth-to-mouth recitation if you plan to be a first responder.  I have a little keychain attachment than has these supplies neatly packed into them so I don’t keep them in my shore kit.

What you put in your shore kit will no doubt be different than what I put in mine.  A little preparation can go a long way in keeping you from getting eaten by bugs on a summer night or landed with a debilitating sunburn… not to mention the ability to take care of that annoying hangnail!  I find that I dig into this bag often and at times when I normally wouldn’t have thought to bring the supply I’m after.

Good luck and I hope that your shore kit comes in just as handy for you as mine has for me.  If you keep a shore kit of your own, comment below with your essential item.  You can post a photo of it on our facebook page in the comments section as well.

NOTE:  Everything in this kit can pass through security at the airport.  I’ve never even pulled it out of my purse and have never been asked about the content by airport security officers.  As long as all liquids and creams are in bottles 100ml (3.4 oz) or less, you are good to go.

The following photos are taken from my Nature Journal as we crossed the Pacific Ocean and through the Pacific Islands.


  1. Bruce McKendry says:

    Holy Exploration, BatGirl…what has our Annie morphed into behind out backs?
    The shore kit section is awesome…..the Martha Stewart of survival!
    And the Nature Journal: love the annotations. Darwin’s sketchbooks beckon (say THAT 3x quickly).

  2. Ruth Vawter says:

    Very informative blog. Thanks for the info. Your drawings in your journal are exceptional. They would be excellent in the book you will write with your travels. Continued blessings in all you do. Love you.

  3. Libbey McKendry says:

    Loved this blog. I carry a little net bag in my purse which is not nearly as classy as yours. It has about 1/2 of your items, but all very useful. Love your nature journal pictures, too. I can picture you getting up close and personal with your subjects. It is a great way to take in all the details around you. Live you all! Mom

  4. Marianne Z. McGriff says:

    Anne, I LOVED this blog. It’s SO organized! When we go to Europe for a month, it’s always helpful to have some of these on hand. I can’t wait to try the bug spray and some of your oils. A new one I just discovered and I’m in the process of ordering online: Liquid Glue. An ER visit with Carver introduced us to this item and it’s AMAZING!!! It’s fairly expensive, though; but, I’m adding a few to my ‘bag.’ I can’t wait to see you guys soon

  5. Barbara Vawter says:

    Anne, this is a great blog and I loved your nature journal too! My first thought was, I wanna travel with Anne, she’s prepared indeed. It’s always been sooo comforting knowing all the survival skills you learned before your voyage and continuing on. Thank you for sharing important info.

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