What to pack for Yellowstone National Park

For some people, packing is a tiresome chore. For others, it’s all part of the fun of going on holiday. The biggest thing to remember when packing for Yellowstone National Park is that the weather can be unpredictable, so you need to be prepared for rain, wind, sun, and maybe even snow.

We’ve compiled a list of all the essential items to pack for your Yellowstone adventure.

Essential items

1. Hiking boots or sturdy footwear

If you plan on hiking in Yellowstone, a good pair of walking shoes will be your best friend. Some of the trails are long, steep and rocky, so you'll need boots that support your feet. Make sure you break them in before your trip to avoid blisters. If you don’t plan on walking more than a few kilometres here and there, a sturdy pair of trainers (with decent grip) should do the job.

2. Waterproof jacket

Afternoon thunderstorms can come out of nowhere in summer, so you’ll need something to keep you dry. While downpours are usually brief, 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 fun.

3. Layered clothing

The temperature can fluctuate a lot in summer and autumn, with hot days and chilly nights. Bring plenty of light layers for your daytime adventures and warmer layers to rug up after sundown. Light layers may include shorts, hiking leggings and thermal t-shirts. For your outer layers, bring a fleece, beanie and warm jacket.

4. Daypack

As well as your main bag, you'll need a small daypack to carry your waterproof jacket, snacks, phone and water bottle. If your daypack isn't waterproof, ensure you put any valuables in a dry bag before setting off.

5. Reusable water bottle

It's all too easy to overlook how much you’re walking and sweating. Avoid dehydration and heat stroke by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re hiking. There are water refill stations around the park's main lodge areas.

6. Sunglasses, sunhat and sunscreen

Yellowstone has an average elevation of 2.4 kilometres, so it's easier to get sunburned. Bring a hat that covers your entire head, face and neck, as well as a good pair of sunglasses and high-SPF sunscreen.

7. Camera

Yellowstone is seriously beautiful, and there are so many sights, animals and landscapes you’ll want to remember forever. Don't forget to bring a camera... and ensure it's fully charged before your trip! It's worth bringing a replacement battery or charger with you, too.

8. Bear spray

Yellowstone is home to over 700 grizzlies and black bears. Sightings are common, and the park staff advise everyone to carry bear spray on 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 Yellowstone Visitor Centre.

Check out our ultimate packing guide for a comprehensive list of items to bring on an Intrepid trip.

Still want to learn more about Yellowstone National Park? Return to Yellowstone National Park FAQs

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