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If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone, find out what essential items you need to pack!
Yellowstone Packing List
Written By: Laura Pulling
Table Of Contents
Yellowstone was the first National Park in the US and it’s one of our best loved, namely because of its variety of things to see and do. With lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges, not to forget the geysers; this wide expanse of the best of Mother Nature’s offerings can all be enjoyed here.
The warmer summer months are seen as the best time to visit Yellowstone, as highs range from 70 to 80 °F, although you may find a thunderstorm in the afternoons. Yellowstone climate is generally influenced by its various altitudes, so be sure to consider your particular plan when pondering things to pack.
Whether you’re a day tripper, or are heading out on an overnight trip into the wilderness, TFG readers have you covered with all of the essentials you need to take on a trip to Yellowstone National Park!
What to Wear in Yellowstone National Park
Your shoes are the most important piece of your wardrobe when planning a trip to Yellowstone. There is so much to see, so you’re going to be walking a lot. When choosing the right shoes, look for ones with good tread, that is supportive of your ankle, and can withstand the types of activities you’ll be doing (are you a serious hiker or a casual afternoon rambler?)
Generally speaking, a pair of hiking shoes like these Merrell ventilated shoes, will work well for most seasons. If you’re planning on traveling in colder weather, we suggest these hiking boots.
Check out more hiking shoe and boot options!
If you’re traveling during the warmer weather, consider a pair of these Chaco hiking sandals, as they are lightweight, breathable, and double up as water shoes because they’re waterproof.
For more ideas, you can also check out our favorite outdoor sandals!
Even though it may be warm out, longer bottoms or even specific hiking pants could be your best option for a day of hiking in a National Park. Long pants will save your calves and ankles from unruly branches that may want to scratch and scrape at you. Plus, you’re also more protected from the bugs that tend to arrive during those sunset hours to bite and gnaw on exposed skin.
These pants by Eddie Bauer have handy roll-up ankles so if you do get a bit warm, you can change them to the shorter length to allow your ankles to breathe.
Choose pants that are moisture-wicking and quick-drying, in case you get caught in unpredictable weather. If you do prefer shorts, or maybe even a skort, look for ones with handy pockets.
T-shirts can be layered in all weather situations, get one with moisture-wicking properties, like this Columbia t-shirt, to stay extra cool. If it’s really warm out, a lightweight vest might be a good choice. In the afternoon as it cools, or if you’re in a shady region, a long-sleeved tee could be beneficial as it stops your exposed skin from getting a chill.
You may also want to consider a fleece jacket as an additional layer, especially around sunrise and sunset, as the weather can change by a few degrees, no matter what the season. Fleece is super easy to roll up and stuff inside your backpack without worrying about it getting creased (you could even pop it in a packing cube).
Check out some fleece travel jackets here!
If you want to catch the sunrise you may find yourself starting your hike when it’s feeling rather chilly, but by the end, there is glorious sunshine. Your outfit needs to match all kinds of weather, so layers are a must for a day at Yellowstone.
We suggest using Merino wool undergarments, as they are thin, but keep you cozy. They have sweat-wicking properties to help to keep you dry, no matter how tough the hike gets.
Check out a full range of base layer options that’ll keep you warm on the trails.
Columbia Arcadia Ii Waterproof Breathable Jacket Sizes XS-XL
At the pinnacle of a hike up Avalanche Peak, you reach the 10,566-foot summit, and it can get pretty chilly. Plus, afternoon thunderstorms are a frequent hazard, so you’ll want a jacket that keeps you dry.
Choose a jacket that is lightweight, waterproof, and windproof. Preferably, one with a hood will have you covered (literally) no matter what the weather!
This Columbia Jacket has an inner drawcord waist allowing for an adjustable fit, plus it comes in a wide range of colors and plus sizes.
Merino wool socks are a hiker’s best friend. It’s no good having the best hiking shoes on the market if your socks aren’t also up to the challenge. These socks keep your feet super dry and prevent any rubbing from your shoes after a long day on the Storm Point trail. We even recommend taking a spare pair in your backpack, for those “just in case” situations. (wrap them in a packing cube to keep them totally dry).
If you’re going to experience some of the water sports on offer, or take a dip in the hot springs at Yellowstone’s ‘Boiling River’, you’re going to want to pack a swimsuit too.
Things to Bring to Yellowstone National Park
Depending on the length of your stay at Yellowstone, you’ll either need a backpack or a day pack. If you’re camping you’ll need a bigger bag to ensure all of your equipment can fit in easily and it is comfortable enough to wear until you make it to your campsite (especially if you have to walk for some of the way).
The most important features are it needs to be water-resistant and adjusted well to fit your frame. This Osprey backpack also has a zip-off day pack, so you get double the value. The large bag is for your main gear and the smaller pack for your everyday use.
To be a star packer, you can also use Compass Rose packing cubes to help you pack your backpack for your trip. They are great for keeping your different layers in, and the numbered pouches will keep you extra organized.
If you are visiting Yellowstone as a day tripper to see Old Faithful spurt, or just for a hike to Fairy Falls, you can fit essentials in a day pack. Choose one that is lightweight and for ultimate comfort, look for a pack that has padded mesh back support and a waist strap.
Take a look at the top recommended ultralight backpacks!
On a sunny day, you may not realize how needed a sun hat is until it is too late. Choose a wide brimmed hat, one that covers your entire face to keep you cool as you hike.
A water bottle is as essential as it gets. You need to stay hydrated on the trail, and being prepared is a necessity. Choose a vacuum style bottle and they can keep your water icy cold for hours into your hike. Some even have a hook to allow you to clip it to your backpack for easy access.
For more choices, check out the water bottles that TFG readers love!
Bear Proof Accessories
There are a ton of grizzlies in Yellowstone, and the rangers generally advise that you stay out of their way. Bear spray is available in camping shops close to the parks (you can’t fly with it), but also consider a smell-proof bag for your sit-down, outdoor meal.
Additional Gear Checklist for Yellowstone National Park
- Bug Spray
- Picnic /snacks
- Hiking poles
- Empty bag for trash
- First Aid Kit
- Map and compass
- Female urination device and toilet paper (put these in a plastic bag to take back with you – leave no trace)
- Extra layer of clothing (in case you get cold)
What are your tips on what to wear in Yellowstone National Park? Share your packing list below!
For more National Park packing tips, please read:
- What to Wear to the Grand Canyon: Clothing Tips for Fall
- Packing for Canadian National Parks in Summer: What You Need to Know
- What to Wear in Utah: National Parks in Summer
- What to Wear in California: National Parks
For more camping and hiking tips, please read:
- What to Bring on a Camping Trip
- Need the Best Hiking Gear List for Female Trekkers? Here it is!
- Summer Camping Essentials Checklist for Overnight Trips
- Hiking and Camping Supplies List for Overnight Trips
Suggested travel resources:
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