What to Pack for a Long Weekend in the Grand Tetons & Yellowstone

I am an obsessive packer and planner. I make a list, review it, try on all the clothes in advance, lay it all out in our spare bedroom, rearrange, etc. It is quite the process! I also try to pack as light as possible for two reasons. First, it is just simply easier to keep track of one small bag than a larger one or multiple bags/suitcases. Second, I am short. Like, real short: 5’1”. So, hefting a heavy suitcase in and out of cars, buses, and the overhead bin on a plane can be pretty difficult. In fact, I really do not like doing carry-on only because I can’t reach the overhead bin and it always makes me feel like a child. I’d say I check a bag half the time I fly, particularly when it is a nonstop flight and is free (i.e. Southwest forever or Delta now because I finally have status).

Striking a balance between being prepared and not overpacking isn’t easy and I can’t tell you how many times I have searched “packing list for [insert any destination here],” so here is my comprehensive guide to what to pack for a long weekend camping in Wyoming in early September. Click here to read the full itinerary and my color commentary on the wildfire and snowstorm that threatened our good time! 

Keep in mind that for this trip comfort was key – we had two heavy travel days (two flights + 250 miles in the car each way) and spent a lot of time driving around the parks when we weren’t out hiking and exploring. Including travel days, we were gone for 6 days. Everything I packed was interchangeable and most things were able to be layered. Although, where I seriously overpacked was shoes…

Most of the links below are to the actual item I have and use, however if I couldn’t find it I linked something similar and noted that. 

Disclosure: there are some affiliate links below and I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post, but these are all products I recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.

Clothing & Shoes

  • Two pairs durable yoga pants (I brought one black pair from Amazon and one green pair from Fabletics)
  • Black waterproof pants (I didn’t actually wear them because it was never wet, but better safe than sorry)
  • One pair of soft leggings/base layer for sleeping 
  • Two long-sleeve moisture wicking tops (not the same, but very close – I’ve had mine for years so I don’t think Nike or Cuddlduds sells the same styles anymore)
  • Two short-sleeve moisture wicking tops (One was Nike and the other one was Kirkland brand from Costco) 
  • Two just regular cotton t-shirts (one was specifically for sleeping the other for lounging) 
  • One sweatshirt  (this is one of my favorite sweatshirts! It is super cozy, warm, and also looks a little nicer than just a regular hoodie/sweatshirt – highly recommend!) 
  • Waterproof jacket  
  • Fleece vest 
  • Socks – 2 pairs wool socks and 2 pairs just regular cotton socks for tennis shoes 
  • 2 sports bras 
  • 8 pairs of underwear 
  • Swimsuit (unused but just in case!) 
  • Hiking boots (My hiking boots are over 10 years old and I love them. These obviously aren’t the exact same, but they’re Garmont – highly recommend!)
  • Black leather riding boots (I probably didn’t need to bring these, but they looked nice while traveling and were applicable to horseback riding.)
  • Tennis shoes 
  • Hiking sandals (I probably could have left these at home…) 


  • Scarf
  • Gloves 
  • Sunglasses & case 
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair clips and a few extra hair ties
  • Contacts & glasses 
  • Moisturizer – my face gets so dry in the mountains, so I actually just took my CeraVe cream that I can use all over (face and body) and also Tarte Maracuja Oil for dry patches on my face
  • Deodorant 
  • Chapstick (well, like four chapsticks…) 
  • Shampoo, soap, face wash – I use bar versions of all these things so I just shaved off little pieces to take in a container. 
  • Dry shampoo 
  • Allergy medicine – not applicable for everyone but if you know you know 
  • Phone charging cord
  • Apple Watch charging cord 
  • Charging packs (I have this one and this one) & a cord to recharge them
  • Headphones (high maintenance here…I took wireless and also regular to use on the plane. Also, side note I LOVE the Heyday wireless headphones from Target – they’re great for the price.) 
  • Kindle & charger 
  • Small Bluetooth speaker 
  • Mask + a few extras (welcome to traveling during a pandemic!) 
  • Disinfecting wipes (I just threw some from home in a ziplock bags) 
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • First aid: ibuprofen, benadryl, anti-itch cream, moleskin for blisters, bandaids, anti-diarrheal, tums, and neosporin 

Hiking & Camping Gear

  • Headlight 
  • Flashlight
  • Sleeping pad (I was pleasantly surprised by this one from Amazon – so much so that we bought another!)  
  • Day pack with water bladder (this backpack is really only good for day trips. It doesn’t hold a whole lot, particularly when you add water! However, it held all the snacks I needed for a day hike and has a “helmet” holder that was great for a rolled up jacket on the outside of the bag) 
  • Small microfiber towel (I have the XS and it is fine for toweling off one person and compacts up so tiny that it is hard to beat)
  • Bear bells (I bought a can of bear spray when we got there, but you can’t fly with it – we hooked these bells to our backpacks with carabiners. Do they work? Idk,  but we never saw a bear on the trail so….)
  • National parks pass
  • Pocket knife and/or multitool  
  • Hand warmers (These are great for throwing in the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep warm!) 
  • Carabiners
  • Wet wipes 
  • Trash bags
  • Ziplock bags (multiple sizes)

Rented Items from Arrive Outdoors

As I mentioned in my last post, I rented the big camping essentials from Arrive Outdoors and am now obsessed. It was so affordable, the gear I received was high quality and clean, plus the customer service was incredible. I can’t wait to rent from them again! 

If you’re ready to go all in and don’t want to rent, below are links to purchase the items that I rented: 

  1. Tent 
  2. Sleeping bag (This bag is similar, I rented the Viola 35) 
  3. Lantern (This thing is SO cool!) 
  4. Cook stove 
  5. Cooking set
  6. Hammock

There were just a few things I did not take that I wish I did: 

  • Binoculars. I mentioned this previously, but it feels like such an amateur move to me now. I think mom and I missed out on a lot of good views and wildlife watching by not bringing binoculars. 
  •  Trekking poles. This isn’t as big of a deal, but my mom brought some and we actually ended up splitting them on a few hikes. It made me think that perhaps I should invest in a good set of telescoping poles because they really do help with balance and navigating uneven trails. 
  • A blanket. Again, my mom brought just a fluffy fleece blanket and was the envy of the campsite (which, was just me and her…). Space was limited in my suitcase but I think in the future I would probably try to bring one in addition to a sleeping bag. 

(coffee is a necessary part of my daily life – take a peek at my camping coffee maker set-up!) 

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