Packing for a national park trip can be a daunting task, and it can be a challenge to master the art of packing light when there are so many things it seems you need to consider. But with a few essentials, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way on your next adventure! In addition to plenty of food and water, start with these packing tips and you’ll be ready for anything:
The type of clothing you pack for your national park trip will naturally depend on the time of year in which you choose to visit. You’ll of course need heavier clothing if you vacation in the fall or winter than you would in the springtime or summer. As a general rule, though, packing layers is wise, since you can easily add or remove them to regulate body temperature. Synthetic thermal underwear is a great option for keeping you warm even when it’s cold and damp (rain pants and jackets can help there, too, but they’ll be much bulkier in your backpack). Hiking shoes with good traction are a must if you’ll be exploring the trails, and a sturdy jacket can fight wind that rages year-round at higher altitudes.
There are several great lighting options to consider when packing for your next national park trip. A flashlight is a must, and so are extra batteries. Lanterns provide a broader range of light if you don’t feel like starting a bonfire, and hands-free headlamps leave you free to hold maps and other essentials instead.
Speaking of maps, those are also necessary when packing for a camping trip, since it will be difficult to access a GPS system on your phone or elsewhere in the wilderness. You can find these at national park visitor centers when you check in.
Tents aren’t just for sleeping, though you’ll want a sturdy waterproof one for that. A screen tent to cover your picnic table and keep you and your food protected from bugs is also something you won’t want to go without.
Packing a first-aid kit is vital when preparing for a camping trip. Antibiotic ointment, bandages, gauze, and other basic first-aid supplies will treat the minor scrapes, cuts, and bumps that are almost inevitable when adventuring. Preventive supplies like insect/mosquito repellent are also useful.
Tech and gadgets
You might also want to consider packing various kinds of technological devices and other gadgets, like cameras, when embarking on your national park trip. To learn more about those, click here.
Now that you’ve got your essentials all squared away, you’ll need something to hold them in! Choose a pack that will fit everything without being too cumbersome, and you’ll be all set.
Ready to take your first or next national park trip, but still not sure what else to add to your packing list? Contact our experts at USA Parks for help planning the best camping trip for any weather, any time of year.
This article was created in partnership with the Wind River Visitors' Council.
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