What to Pack for a Colorado Vacation

No one wants to travel across the country only to realize something was forgotten. At the same time, hauling everything but the kitchen sink through an airport is exhausting. The more people traveling together, the more luggage there is; pile kids’ toys, strollers, and sippy cups on top, and you might as well have brought the sink too. Needless to say, packing for a vacation can be a delicate art.

That’s where a vacation rental is great. We supply the necessities–blankets, pillows, towels, and best of all, a washer and dryer.

Save yourself the hassle and pack light. You can always wash your clothes at your rental and save the suitcase space for souvenirs!

That being said, what do you bring?

Dressing for Colorado weather is best summed up with one word: layers.

You’ll want layers you can easily take on and off. A nice, breathable t-shirt first, then long sleeves over that. On the top, think of wearing a wind- and water-proof jacket.

With the high altitude and low humidity, there’s greater temperature swings through the day than you would experience in the plains of the Midwest. Mornings and nights are quite cool, so you may want long sleeves and pants (even in the summertime), but by mid-day, you’ll want to ditch the long sleeves for something more breathable. Bring a backpack for hiking or cruising around town, and throw the jacket in the pack when you get too hot.

And remember the material of your clothes can make all the difference. Whether you’re coming for a winter or summer vacation, you’ll want your base layer to be something synthetic that wicks away sweat and breathes. Fleece makes a great warming layer over top. Finally, add that weatherproof jacket to keep out the elements.

And don’t forget about your little piggies! Particularly in the winter, you’ll want warm wool socks if you’re going to be outside.

Side note: It can be tempting to reach for cotton t-shirts, or a comfy sweatshirt, but cotton is only good when it’s dry. It doesn’t breathe in the summer, so when you sweat, it will cling to you. Then when you start to cool off, your clothes will be wet which will make you cold. In the wintertime, cotton keeps you warm by trapping air between you and the clothes. If you sweat from serious skiing, hiking or snowshoeing, that cotton will cling and the warm air pocket will be completely gone. You’ll be cold, and your day will be done. Think too, cotton socks in your boots bunch up, rub on your feet, and won’t keep you warm.

Other must-have items for a trip to Colorado:

  • Sunglasses. We have serious sun out here!
  • Water bottle. Less humidity + more altitude = dehydration. Every Coloradoan has a trusted water bottle that doesn’t leave their side. I even bring mine into restaurants!
  • Sunscreen. Same deal: altitude and sun can lead to serious sunburn. Even in the winter, sunscreen is a good idea. It also keeps the skin from drying out.
  • A hat.
  • Chapstick.
  • Your camera!
  • Shoes. If you’re going to hike, have a decent pair of shoes. I don’t care if you got your sandals in the hiking section of the sporting-goods store, you’ll want closed-toe shoes.
  • Backpack. I mentioned before that it’s handy to have a backpack, but I’ll say it again. It’s a great catch-all that’s easier than a purse and keeps Dad from loading up his pockets. Plus, a backpack makes it that much easier to pull over and go for a hike! Throw your water and snacks inside, and go for it!