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What to pack for a trip to America's great national parks

Recently updated on August 14th, 2023 at 03:41 pm

Hiking through one of America’s 62 Great National Parks is an adventure like no other and should be on everyone’s bucket lists! From Yellowstone National Park spanning Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, there are so many incredible sights to be seen and experiences to be had. But, before you go on your grand exploration, check out the top 10 items that you should pack for a hiking adventure through one of America’s Great National Parks.

woman with backpack on back

1. Backpack

A backpack is an essential item to carry all the necessary supplies you will read about below. Make sure to select a size that fits all your goodies easily. A waterproof backpack is always a good idea to keep items stored inside dry and organized! 

different size reusable water bottles

2. Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle is a perfect item to keep hydrated on your hiking adventure. Purchasing a travel-friendly water bottle is an excellent way to eliminate single-use plastics and protect the planet as well as earn you some savings too. Be on the lookout for water fill-up stations throughout the entrance and exits of America’s Great National Parks. 

GET INSPIRED BY:Five Epic National Parks

Hand holding compass

3. Compass and Map 

Don’t get lost! To help keep you on track (literally), a compass and a map of the Great National Park you are exploring are both great tools to bring along for your hiking adventure.

first aid kit

4. First Aid Kit

To help plan and prepare in case of any emergency, an ultralight mini first aid kit should always be on your hiking adventures if any medical situations arise. Safety first! 

granola bar

5. Snacks

Healthy snacks are always a great idea to help curb the inevitable hunger pangs. To keep energy levels at an all-time high, be sure to pack foods that will keep you moving including nuts and trail mix, fruits and veggies! Always remember to keep your garbage with you and recycle upon exiting one of America’s Great National Parks post your adventure. 

RELATED CONTENT: 17 national parks you can take virtual tours to

warm socks

6. Extra Clothing

As the weather in America’s Great National Parks can change in the blink of an eye, it’s best to pack a lot of layers as back up. Packing an extra pair of socks, t-shirt and long pants or shorts and undergarments will go a long way. We know you’ll thank us for this recommendation some day! 

man with binoculars

7. Binoculars

To help take in the magnificent views, binoculars are an essential item that any hiker (no matter the skill level) should bring along on the journey. There are many different specifications to take into account when purchasing a pair of binoculars, but experts suggested for average users, be on the hunt for a pair that is lightweight, waterproof and has a magnification between 7x and 12x. 

man looking out at view of mountains

8. Protective Hat 

To help keep the sun off your face, a hat with a wide brim is an absolute essential. Not only will it protect you from harmful UV rays, it will also keep a clear view in site to take in the outstanding views. 


9. Sunscreen and Insect Repellant

Along with packing a hat, bringing a bottle of sunscreen will protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Also, to keep away any pesky bugs throughout your hiking adventure, insect repellant is another essential that should be on your packing list. 

hiking boots

10. Comfortable Footwear

Having the right hiking footwear will make your journey that much more enjoyable. If purchasing a new pair for an upcoming hike, be sure to wear them around the home to help break them in to ensure you are comfortable when the big hiking day comes. Also, packing comfortable shoes to wear while hiking as well as a comfy pair to change into post-hike will have your feet thanking you. 

Have we left out of any your favourite hiking necessities? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.

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