TRAVEL | headphones | scarf | suitcase
DAY TRIP | shirt | vest | jeans | bag | hat | sunglasses | rings | boots
CAMPFIRE | skewers | hat | gloves | blanket | rings | boots
WHITE WATER RAFTING | rash guard | bikini bottom | water shoes | hat | croakie | towel
HIKING | backpack | vest | tank | water bottle | sunglasses | pants | hat | sneakers
Last summer we spent some time in Colorado and Minnesota, and I packed like a total rookie. I didn't realize that the temperature can swings 40 degrees from day to night out west. So last week, when we went to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, I was slightly much more prepared.
Since the best time to reflect on packing is when you return from a trip, let's do that. The weather, activities and favorite items are fresh in your mind and you know exactly what shirt you wore four times (I won't tell) and what shorts stayed rolled up at the bottom of your bag.
Since we just got back, I'll share a few of my insights to save you from overpacking (and I admit...to remind myself what to pack next time too).
Mornings and evenings are cool. Layers are key. If you're out for the day, throw a tank (not pictured) on underneath a button-down and vest. Boots are great for walking around town and horseback riding. You don't have to break the bank if they're not your normal style, these are from Target and under $40. I forgot a hat this trip. No bueno. It was around 30 degrees in the mornings and a warm knit hat would have been a welcome accessory.
This year I threw in my Uggs at the last minute, and I've never been happier about a packing decision. At the end of a long day of hiking, nothing feels better than sliding your feet into the shoe equivalent of comfort food.
WHITE WATER RAFTING
We rafted last year in Colorado and it wasn't nearly as cold as it was in Wyoming this year. I wore a wetsuit as well as their splash guard, but I was still pretty frozen. So, if you can, I would pack an extra rash guard (this one is under $10) and water shoes (these almost pass as regular sneakers). And laugh if you will, but the ubiquitous croakie of the Southern frat scene will keep your sunglasses safe while you scale the rapids (or ride safely in the middle..like me).
If there was a Buzzfeed quiz for favorite outdoor activity, I would probably match up with hiking based purely on my affinity for backpacks. I was in Heaven in Yellowstone where every other person was sporting a backpack. Keep your camera, phone, water bottle, snacks and extra layers safe while you hike.
And while it's not pictured here, there are a few other things I recommend taking if you're headed out west...
- Bear spray (yikes!) but seriously, you need it. However, you don't have to buy it before you go (since you can't ship it to places like New York, and I doubt you can fly with it). We learned you can rent it in Yellowstone so I recommend doing that. As long as you don't use it, you can return it at the end of your trip and save yourself around $40.
- Kind Bars. The perfect snack for hiking.
- A Lightweight Jacket. As you probably guessed, I run cold.There were a few mornings that I would have liked to have something warmer than a vest.
- Sunscreen. Totally forgot mine! A friend turned me onto Supergoop! recently. I still use La Roche Posay for my face (because I'm so acne prone) but Supergoop! is awesome too.