When it’s time to start packing for your trip, use our US National Park Packing List printables for spring, summer, fall and winter.
After searching for US National Park vacation ideas and picking a destination, you need to know what to pack!
When embarking on an adventure to explore the mesmerizing landscapes of US National Parks, it’s crucial to be well-equipped with a well-thought-out packing list.
The lists are fairly comprehensive and you may not need every item depending on your type of travel or the things you will do. Make modifications to the lists as needed.
We’ve been visiting National Parks in the US for years. This list is based on our many experiences traveling during all four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Grab your free download of the printable National Park packing lists below!
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US National Park Packing List
Weather, region and elevation are important to consider when packing for a US National Park trip. Weather can be unpredictable any time of year, so be sure to check the forecast and pack accordingly!
- US National Parks in the Spring
- US National Park in the Summer
- US National Parks in the Fall
- US National Parks in the Winter
Planning and preparation are key when when visiting the US National Parks. Research the weather, region and elevation of the parks you’ll visit to help you know what to pack.
National Park Packing Checklist
You may not need every item we list below, depending on your type of travel, the time of year, or the things you will do. Make modifications to the lists as needed.
The America the Beautiful Annual Pass
We highly recommend you get the US National Park Pass, especially if you’ll be visiting multiple parks. It’s valid for one year from the date of purchase.
Check the National Park Service website for the most current pricing information.
If you’re a US citizen these other passes are also available:
- Senior Pass if you’re over 62
- Military Pass
- 4th Grade Pass
One of the cool features of the national parks pass is it allows two signatures so the pass can be shared. The two people don’t have to be related either. You will need to show photo ID each time you use the pass.
You can also get the America the Beautiful Pass at any Federal Recreation Area.
CLICK HERE to buy the National Park pass through REI – they donate 10% of sale proceeds to the National Park Foundation which is cool!
Daypack Items for Outdoor Activities at National Parks
Knowing what to bring on a day hike can make all the difference between an unforgettable outdoor adventure and a day filled with unnecessary challenges.
For families, using the right hiking gear for kids is one of the most important first steps. When kids are thirsty, hungry and their feet hurt then the outing will not be fun for anyone!
- WATER – refillable water bottles or hydration backpack
- Healthy snacks
- National Park maps
- Lip protection with sunscreen
- Polarized sunglasses
- Insect repellent
- Hand lotion
- Toilet paper (carry out in a bag – do not bury)
- Disposable urination device & feminine hygiene products
- Toilet bags
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit
- Rechargeable hand warmers – awesome for winter!
- Bags to pack out trash
- Bear spray (you can rent at Yellowstone)
Hiking Gear for National Parks
Embarking on a hiking adventure is not just about lacing up your boots and hitting the trail. It’s about being prepared – and that starts with packing the right gear.
- Hiking shoes
- Waterproof hiking shoes
- Hiking sandals – summer
- Insulated boots – winter
- Darn Tough socks
- Trekking poles
- Traction cleats – winter
- Snowshoes and poles – winter
Clothing for Spring, Summer and Fall at National Parks
You’ll want to wear wicking clothing so it pulls moisture (sweat) away from you and moves it to the fabric’s outer surface, where it can dry quickly. Wicking clothing allows you to sweat without feeling clammy or chilled.
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing
- UV protection clothing
- Fleece jacket
- Rain jacket – you may need this at locations with summer monsoons
- Bandana or Buff headband
- Brimmed sunhat
Clothing For Winter at National Parks
Winter provides unique opportunities to see landscapes and scenes with glistening snow, festive lights, and rosy cheeks. But cold, snow, ice and wind also create challenges for hikers and photographers in the winter.
You’ll want to be prepared with winter clothing so you’ll actually want to get outdoors!
- Wicking and quick-drying base layers
- Fleece or insulated jacket
- Wool, down or heavy-weight insulated jacket
- Insulating hat
- Insulating winter gloves
- Photographer gloves
- Fleece neck gaiter or buff
Camera Equipment For National Parks
The right camera accessories can make all the difference to enhance the quality of your National Park photos!
Size and weight make all the difference for your photography gear for hiking.
Be prepared for rain or snow with a weatherproof cover for your camera backpack. Also carry a cleaning kit, microfiber cloths, and a rain sleeve for your camera!
- Best compact travel cameras
- Camera backpacks
- BEST travel tripods
- Camera cleaning kit
- Camera cleaning cloths
- Camera rain sleeve
- FREE Download: camera gear checklist!
CLICK TO SHOP FOR US NATIONAL PARK GUIDES & MAPS
Be sure to grab your copy of the National Park packing checklists for spring, summer, fall, and winter by clicking the graphic below. We like to laminate the lists so we can use them over and over.