National Park packing list

So many friends & colleagues I talk to are interested in road trippin’ through one of our countries’ best resources….our national parks! What are you waiting for? It can be overwhelming to get started but that is nothing in comparison to being on the open road with a tentative plan & pivoting mid-stream when some place impacts you to your core.

Don’t wait until the last minute.  Start your piles & then take out half.  Seriously, I’ll say it again.  Take only half of your original packing list.  Light is better.  Simplify.

Here is my final list for 2 months of domestic exploring in our great “fly over states”. We aren’t completely roughin’ it, as every 3-4 days we will be stopping at a cabin/glamping, but in between we are renting a SUV & sleeping on an air mattress in the back. More flexibility, raw & in the moment. Sound like fun???…….And everyone wonders why I search for travel groups or go solo sometimes because I am very aware that being “no maintenance” isn’t appealing to most.


  • 5 hiking/breathable pants
  • 5 short sleeve shirts & 3 shorts (I prefer to hike in shorts but it will be fall temps)
  • 5 long sleeve shirts
  • 5 fleece/vest (key is layering)
  • hiking boots
  • flip flops (I prefer slides)
  • water shoes or rugged sandals
  • sneakers
  • rainwear (I use frog togs)
  • swimsuit
  • beanie & ball caps
  • light gloves
  • 7 days of undergarments
  • travel quick drying small towel
  • 3 casual outfits (meeting friends)


  • passport/credit cards/cash
  • lightweight/foldable hammock
  • blanket or sleeping bag + liner
  • Small travel pillow (optional)
  • camelback water pouch & refillable/expandable water bottle
  • water purifier pen
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • zip ties, bungees, carabineers
  • toiletries + TP
  • first aid kit
  • bug spray
  • Car flat kit
  • lantern, headlamp, mini flashlight
  • wet wipes & hand sanitizer
  • Ziploc & trash bags
  • 2 sunglasses
  • sunscreen & lotion
  • laundry detergent pods
  • mini sling/day hiking bag
  • Leatherman, mace, siren keychain, whistle (I’m a safety girl)
  • workout bands, jump rope (optional to get a workout in anywhere)
  • printed maps/directions (cell reception can be spotty)
  • music speaker, IPOD, 2 headphones
  • magazines or kindle
  • earplugs, eye mask, 2 face masks 😦
  • 2 portable chargers (I take 1 solar powered)
  • firestick (optional for pm entertainment)
  • small battery alarm clock
  • notebook/pen/laptop (optional)
  • waterproof box/case for plugs, cords
  • cameras, tripod, extra batteries
  • mini hairdryer (optional)
  • waterproof phone pouch
  • air mattress
  • mini grill/charcoal/fluid/lighter
  • small pot
  • reusable utensils
  • hot/cold thermos
  • refillable big water jug (many parks have free fill-ups)
  • small bottle dish soap & sponge
  • 2 small Tupperware bowls
  • food/snacks – that will be another post 🙂

The real joy is in the journey, not just your final destination – soak it in, escape to the uncomplicatedness & healing power of nature!

T-minus 83 hours until this crazy dream begins…..

Published by elliottcm

Love adventure travel, work hard & play hard, happy in both extremes - relaxing on a remote beach or rappelling down cliffs, take joy in simple things, love being on & near the water, visited 55 countries & 47 states so far in this crazy beautiful life! Goals by my 50th birthday - 50 states. 75 countries. 50 national parks. Be in Antarctica on my big day.

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