One of the best ways to unwind and escape the heat of summer is to head to the mountains. Whether you’re attending a music festival, wedding weekend, or just a quick trip to unplug and get outside, a summer trip the mountains is always a good idea.
A trip to the mountains requires distinctively different packing than the beach or city. We compiled a genderless list of packing essentials for your summer trip that will ensure you avoid overpacking, fit in like a local, and are prepared for all the activities to do.
Make sure you make a list of activities you will be doing before you go. You want to make sure what you pack works for everything you are planning to do. This may seem obvious, but daily activities in the mountains can be very different from your usual activities.
- Avoid overpacking. Stick to items with compatible colors, practical performance and a style that works for every activity you will do.
- Check the weather. Although the days in the mountains can get quite warm, nights and mornings are often cold. Layering is key.
- Bring two pairs of shoes- activities in the mountains often involve a lot of walking make sure you pack appropriate shoes for the activities you will be doing whether they are hiking shoes, approach shoes, or water-resistant sandals.
- Roll your clothing instead of folding it. Rolled clothing takes up less space in your luggage and rolled clothing is less prone to wrinkling.
- Pack liquids, in a sealed plastic bag. Altitude changes can cause containers to leak. A plastic bag protects the other items in your bag if leakage does occur.
- Raincoat- Late June through early August is monsoon season in the Rockies. Clouds roll in almost every afternoon for a few hours so a rain jacket is essential.
- Packable jacket- Lows get down to the 50s even in the hottest months so make sure you bring a warm jacket. Shoot for something packable with insulation and water resistance.
- Sandals- Chacos are a mountain staple for their versatility for hiking and water resistance (no one ever claimed we were stylish). Trust us you will want these.
- Hiking shoes- If you are planning to hike you will likely want a pair of hiking shoes or approach shoes. They handle rocky terrain, brush, and mud better than your standard sneakers.
- Wool socks- Wool socks are mountain stable for their heat management, padding, and odor neutralizing abilities. Bring at least two pairs of socks no matter the season
- Wool T-shirt- Wool tees are great for base layers or stand-alone shirts for any casual or activities to biking and hiking. Plus their odor neutralizing properties allow more wears than a standard polyester or cotton T-shirt, meaning you can pack less. Try these.
- Long-sleeved shirt- The sun in the mountains is intense and it can get cold at night. A long sleeve shirt is essential for intense sun or bug protection on the trail or water and insulation once the sun goes down. Choose something light a breathable (without all the vents and mesh) in a style that can be worn around town as well.
- Hybrid shorts- To cut down on overpacking choose a pair of shorts that work for the trail, for swimming, and a concert in town. The AT Limitless Shorts are a perfect combination of performance and style.
- Multipurpose pants- Zip-off hiking pants may seem practical, but never look OK and most locals wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Skip these and bring an actual pair of pants that can be worn for outdoor activities and look ok in town. Stretch, stain-resistance, and water-resistance are preferable.
- Hat- Just bring one.
- Sunglasses- The sun is intense. Don’t forget some polarized sunglasses. Sunski makes some great affordable ones.
- Headlamp- Whether you’re staying in town or camping a headlamp is always useful. You can always use it as a bike light if needed.
- Daypack- Whether you're headed to the park or going on a long hike you will want a bag to keep layers and essentials in. Evergoods and Topo Designs both make some great daypacks that can be used outside of the mountains as well.
These vary depending on whether you are staying in a hotel, car camping or backpacking. The following are always useful:
- Sunscreen- 35+ SPF natural or mineral-based
- Bug spray- If you head out on a long hike or river trip consider deet.
- Lip balm- The dry climate of the mountains with dry out your skin. Choose one with SPF.
- Wet Wipes- These are useful for cleaning up on a trail, before bed or just a quick refresher. Ursa Major’s wipes are refreshing and smell like mountain pine. (We take them on every trip)
- Camp Towel- A light towel is great for sweat, to try off after a dip in a mountain lake, after a rainstorm, or just backup if you're cramming a bunch of people into and Airbnb. Bramble makes a great one.
- Bear Spray- if your planning on camping or hiking it’s better to be safe.
Good gear can help you do more and pack less for a weekend in the mountains, but never feel like you can't enjoy the mountains without it. Getting out and having fun with friends is always a good idea.