If you’ve never visited the mountains in the summer, I can’t recommend it enough. The weather, the views, the endless amount of opportunities to be active outdoors. It’s a breath of fresh air and breathtaking all at once. We visit the Colorado Rockies every summer and I’m often asked what to pack, so I thought I’d share our essentials packing list if you’re planning a trip, too. This is obviously not an exhaustive list as every family’s needs/wants/preferences are different, but I personally think it’s a great starting point.
Layers are essential when visiting the mountains any time of the year…yes, even in the summer. The daytime temps can hover anywhere between 60-80 degrees and down into the 50’s-40’s at night. Short sleeve tees, pullovers, lightweight hoodies & jackets, shorts, jeans, and leggings. Most days my kids are in shorts and a lightweight pullover. My husband is typically in a long sleeve tee and shorts, and I’m usually running around in either jeans or leggings and a comfy tee with a long sleeve pullover close by.
Summer is Monsoon season in the mountains so plan on regular afternoon summer showers. They never last long, but definitely have the potential to mess up your plans if you’re not prepared. Sometimes the showers pop up sporadically so we always have ours on hand. We’ve used ours for those unexpected showers more times than I can count.
There are different rain jackets available and it really depends on your wants/needs when purchasing one. We personally love ours (THIS is mine; THIS is my husband’s; and my boys wear THIS one and THIS one) and they’re exactly what we need. Easy to carry in our backpacks and provide protection from sporadic & unexpected showers.
We like to pack a variety of footwear without overdoing it and we typically pack two-three pairs a piece. Tennis shoes, waterproof hiking boots/shoes, and comfy sandals or slides. Most mountain towns we visit have a very laid back, chill vibe so we don’t pack anything “fancy”. Because we’re active most of the time…hiking, walking, etc….hiking boots/shoes and tennis shoes are worn most often. Just be sure to pack a few pairs of comfy hiking socks, too.
Backpacks are an essential accessory for us when we travel to the mountains. Easy to carry and gives us the flexibility to carry our layers & rainjackets as well as other essentials (band-aids, water, snacks, ibuprofen, etc.). We carry them with us hiking AND walking around town (I very rarely ever carry a purse).
THIS is the one that I wear and have used for several years. It’s held up incredibly well and the size is perfect for what I need.
BUG SPRAY & SUNSCREEN
Being in the mountains puts you just a bit closer to the sun so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got sunscreen on hand. If you plan on hiking, some trails can be pretty buggy, so we recommend packing bug spray just in case. It’s saved us on multiple hiking trips and nights on the patio.
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES
We like to carry ours around with us in our backpacks so that we always have something to drink on hand. It’s important to stay hydrated in high elevation to prevent altitude sickness, so we don’t like being without our H20. I prefer carrying a reusable water like THIS ONE or THIS ONE as opposed to one that’s a lot bigger, but again, it’s all about preference.
Again, not an exhaustive list, but I do hope this helps you to start!
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