The stakes are high when packing for a hiking trip: Temperatures wildly fluctuate in national parks, and it can be hard to buy supplies if you forget to bring essentials like a fleece, bear spray, or thermal hiking socks. I learned this lesson the hard way during a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. The hot daytime forecast was misleading, full-day hikes called for lots of pre-packed food and drink supplies, and bug spray was a must.
Back from my five-day hiking trip, I've re-edited my packing list to include the items I repeatedly used and the products I wish I'd remembered to pack. Given the diverse landscape—Yellowstone and Grand Teton activities span boiling hot geysers, high-altitude hikes, and white water rafting—you'll be tempted to overpack, but it's possible to travel with just a weekender bag. Here's the 18-piece capsule wardrobe to follow for a stress-free summer hiking trip.
Very few of the main attractions in Yellowstone National Park are undercover, so a cap is essential to keep your face shielded from the strong sun.
Pack two refillable waterbottles—you'll need both if you plan to go on a full-day hike. S'Well is ideal because it keeps water ice-cold, even when the temperature soars.
This is my go-to travel backpack—It's lightweight, made from water-resistant fabric, and rolls up flat in my luggage when not in use.
Paravel's duffel is the perfect size for a two- to five-day trip. I use packing cubes to organize clothing inside.
These lightweight sunglasses fit under a cap.
Most of the attractions in Yellowstone have boardwalks and require little walking, so you can get away with a pair of sneakers.
Hiking boots are a must if you plan to tackle one of Grand Teton National Park's scenic trails. Many have steep climbs and loose, rocky terrain.
Pack hiking socks that let your feet breath and wick sweat away. It's also worth bringing a few bandages if you're wearing new hiking boots or sneakers.
This Under Armour bomber came in handy for early morning walks and nighttime activities, when the midsummer temperature dropped to 45 degrees.
This Alala crop offers light support and pairs well with high-waisted leggings.
Bring a loose T-shirt that can be worn after hiking and to the airport.
It was too hot to wear full-length leggings during the day, so I opted for Nike capris.
Opt for breathable shorts when exploring the Yellowstone geysers, which emit boiling steam.
Both national parks have rapids and lakes. Pack a swimsuit to go whitewater rafting or stand up paddleboarding.
Leave your spray deodorant at home and pack these wipes instead. They're ideal for long flights and hiking.
This clear face sunscreen feels like a primer.
Decant sunscreen into a refillable travel-size container.
Whatever you do, don't forget the bug spray. Avoid having your aerosol can get confiscated at the airport and opt for these mosquito wipes instead.