My family and I just recently took a vacation to Yellowstone National park, and we had the best time. I loved spending so much time outdoors, but also going on a vacation that was very different from any one we had ever been on before. I would say our trip was very mixed in the types of things we did, and I will share in a separate post our itinerary, where we stayed, and places we ate! But, for this post let’s talk about packing.
I might be the only person (being from Houston) that didn’t know it can actually be pretty cold in Wyoming in June. This changed up our packing quite a bit, but spoiler alert, we arrived and they were having their hottest June ever. Granted it only got up to maybe 82 but still not what we expected after learning it’s usually cold. The week before we were there they had a high of 64 HA! So The packing list below is pretty broad to make sure you get your cold mornings and evenings covered, but also stay comfortable during the day. This list also includes items as well, not just attire that made our trip all the better!
Depending on how you will spend your time in Yellowstone you might need some hiking boots or shoes. There were for sure places we saw people wearing tennis shoes as well as SANDALS at times. These were in more of the tourist-y parts of the park though. If you are going to do any kind of trail (which I highly recommend) you need to get something with a little better grip on the bottom. I already had a pair of high hiking boots that were super comfortable which I wore the whole trip. I also recently learned that Adidas makes a hiking shoe that is very stylish and more like an athletic shoe if that’s more what you’re going for.
Don’t get me wrong I actually REALLY love hiking, but I’m not into hiking pants. To start they aren’t that cute, but add on top of that they usually are never my size and just swallow me. So I went with cute leggings I found still appropriate for hiking. Below are the ones I found most comfortable and have pockets. One day I wore leggings without pockets and it was just a pain!
After reading a ton of other packing guides it was thrown at me that COTTON KILLS. So I learned very quickly you want to go for a sweat-wicking material, basically like a Nike dri -it. Cotton for sure sticks to you in the heat which you don’t want, but I learned the other concern is if it gets too cold outside it could cause hypothermia which no one needs. We also were nowhere near that kind of temperature so I wasn’t too uptight about this special fabric, just stayed away from 100% cotton. Here are all the tops I packed for this trip.
Depending on the kind of trip you are taking to Yellowstone you might need a different kind of backpack. If you’re like my family you don’t need a large pack, but more like a day pack. I linked mine and my sisters below. A lot of yellowstone is driving, so for us we just kept extra snacks, water and our lunch in the back of the car and had no need to carry a large backpack with it. When we got out for a hike we would grab out water bottles and throw some easy snacks in our daypack and be totally fine. Now, if you want to do Yellowstone like my husband would prefer and you will be doing all day hikes or even overnight trails, you need something very different. He and I both have Osprey packs and love them! They come in so many styles and sizes you can’t go wrong.
I found this very strange to pack wool socks for a summer trip, but they were great. They make different types so your feet won’t sweat (as much, if you have sweaty feet already I don’t think it can stop that). Smartwool is a great brand that makes tons of styles as well as high and low socks. I brought both, but since I had traditional hiking boots the high socks were more comfortable for me.
When we originally started packing like I mentioned before we thought it would be colder than expected, and if you don’t have our luck then it probably will be when you go. We have friends who went in July 2 years ago and it snowed. I highly recommend getting a puffer jacket. They are incredibly warm when you need them to be, they are very light and super easy to fold up and throw in your pack without taking up a lot of space. Mine is from LLBean because they make a petite which I really appreciate. Columbia and North Face also make great options.
Another important item is sunglasses. A lot of what I read said it was very important to get polarized glasses, but you can do your own research on how important that is to you. I wore my normal Ray-Bans while we were there because they were ones I already had, but they are polarized.
Not that this is a shocker to anyone, but it is super important to stay hydrated if you’re going to be doing that much hiking. A reusable water bottle is very important!
OTHER RANDOM MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS:
This is just a rolling list of other items we brought on our trip that were very helpful and also very important. Links are all below, and then there is a bullet point list for easy copying. But, before I get to that, let’s talk about Bear Spray…yep you read that right. I didn’t even know this was a thing, but it is important when walking through yellowstone to have bear spray with you, and that it will go up to 30 feet. You can not travel on an airplane with bear spray so this is an item you will need to get when you get there! We saw 2 bears while in Yellowstone….
- Camera with a good zoom
- Dji Camera stabilizer –
- Sunscreen (body, face, lip) —
- Power Bank-
- Bug Spray
- First Aid kit
- Quick Dry towel – if you decided to swim
- Moisturizer (very important if you come from a high humidity area)
- Walkie-Talkies- There are maybe 2 spots in the park your phone will have service. We took Walkie-Talkies so if we were ever separated or part of the group wanted to go a different way we could still find each other
- Dried Fruit
- Protein bars
- reusable ziploc
- Collpatable packing cubes