For some people, packing is a tiresome chore. For others, it’s when it finally hits you that you’re about to go on an amazing trip. If this is your first trip to Yellowstone you might be thinking, “What on earth should I pack?” The weather in Yellowstone National Park can be unpredictable. The biggest thing to remember is that you’re going to be spending most of your time in the great outdoors. Comfort and safety are key, and you need to make sure you have the right gear for the activities you’ll be doing.
Essential packing list for Yellowstone National Park
We’ve put together a list of essential items to pack for your Yellowstone trip:
Hiking boots or sturdy footwear
Layers for warm 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 important 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 or hiking more than a few miles here and there, a sturdy pair of trainers should do the job (just make sure they have a decent amount of grip).
2. A waterproof jacket
It’s never fun getting caught in the rain. Afternoon thunderstorms can come out of nowhere during summer, so you’ll definitely want something that can keep you dry. While these downpours usually come and go quickly, the temperature usually plummets after the rain and you probably don’t want to spend the rest of the afternoon soggy and cold.
3. Layers for warm and cold weather
Park temperatures can fluctuate a lot during summer and fall with hot days and chilly nights. Bring plenty of light layers for your daytime adventures as well as warmer layers to keep you warm when the temperature drops. Light layers include shorts, hiking leggings, thin long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts. Warm layers include a fleece, winter hat, gloves, warm jacket and warm trousers.
4. A daypack
A small daypack is a must to carry your travel essentials around the park. Items include 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 active and you probably won’t realize 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 out hiking. There are water refill stations around the main lodge areas but be prepared in advance 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 advise everyone to carry bear spray on the hiking and walking trails. The first and best method of defense is to go to the visitor center 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 center.
7. Sunglasses, sunhat and sunscreen
Yellowstone is pretty high up with an average elevation of 8,000 feet. This makes it a lot easier to get burned. 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 sing home about. Make sure your camera is fully charged beforehand and bring a replacement battery or charger with you as well.
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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