For some people, packing is a tiresome chore. For others, it’s when it finally hits you that you’re about to go on a fantastic trip. The biggest thing to remember when packing for Yellowstone is that you will spend most of your time outdoors, and the weather can be unpredictable. Comfort and safety are essential, so make sure you have the right gear for the activities you’ll be doing. We’ve compiled a list of essential items to pack for your Yellowstone trip so you can focus on the fun stuff.
Essential packing list for Yellowstone National Park
Hiking boots or sturdy athletic shoes with good traction for hiking
Layers for both and cold weather
A reusable water bottle
Sunglasses, sunhat, and sunscreen
1. Hiking boots or sturdy footwear
If you plan on hiking, a good pair of hiking boots will be your best friend. Some of the trails are long, steep, rocky and wet, so it’s essential to pack a pair of waterproof boots that will support and protect your feet. Make sure you break them in before your trip to avoid nasty blisters. If you don’t plan on walking more than a few miles here and there, a sturdy pair of trainers should do the job (make sure they have decent grip).
2. A waterproof jacket
Afternoon thunderstorms can come out of nowhere during summer, so you’ll need something to keep you dry. While downpours usually come and go quickly, the temperature can plummet afterwards so make sure your jacket is waterproof and warm. Spending the rest of the afternoon soggy and cold doesn't sound too fun!
3. Layers for warm and cold weather
The temperature can fluctuate a lot during summer and autumn, with hot days and chilly nights. Bring plenty of light layers for your daytime adventures and warmer layers to rug up when the temperature drops. Light layers could include shorts, hiking leggings and thin, long-sleeved shirts. Warm layers include a fleece, winter hat, gloves, warm jacket and trousers.
4. A daypack
A small daypack is a must to carry your travel essentials around the park, such as a waterproof jacket, warm layers, snacks, phone, camera, torch, water bottle and a basic first aid kit.
5. A reusable water bottle
Hydration is key. A trip to Yellowstone is an active one, and you probably won’t realise how much you’re walking and sweating. Avoid dehydration, headaches and heat stroke by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re hiking. There are water refill stations around the main lodge areas, but take extra caution if you’re going on a long hike.
6. Bear spray
Yellowstone is home to over 700 grizzlies and black bears. Sightings are common, and park staff advises everyone to carry bear spray on the hiking and walking trails. The first and best method of defence is to go to the visitor centre to learn about the trails, any areas to avoid and what you should do if you encounter a bear. You can buy or rent bear spray from the kiosk at the visitor centre.
7. Sunglasses, sunhat, and sunscreen
Yellowstone has an average elevation of 8,000 feet, making sunburn easier. Bring a hat that covers your entire head, face and neck, as well as a good pair of sunglasses and some high-SPF sunscreen.
Last but not least, don’t forget your camera! Yellowstone is seriously beautiful, and there are so many sights, animals, and landscapes you’ll want to remember forever. Ensure your camera is fully charged beforehand and bring a replacement battery or charger with you.
We hope this guide has helped you pack your Yellowstone essentials. Check out our ultimate packing guide for a more comprehensive list of items you should bring on your Yellowstone trip.
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