What to Pack for Yellowstone: The Essential List

On 1st March 1872, Yellowstone became the world’s first national park. Famous for its unique hydrothermal and geologic features, within Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres, you’ll find vast canyons, rushing rivers, flourishing forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. The park also offers visitors unparalleled opportunities to observe wildlife in an intact ecosystem, including one of the largest elk herds in North America and the largest free-roaming, wild herd of bison in the United States. You can also observe one of just a few grizzly populations in the contiguous United States. If you are planning a vacation to this national park, you are in for a wild time. However, if you need a little help with preparing for your trip, we have you covered, as we’ve put together a handy guide covering what to pack for Yellowstone: the essential list.

What to Pack for Yellowstone: The Essential List


If you want to admire the claws of a grizzly bear or sneak a peak at a well-camouflaged wolf, invest in a proper pair of binoculars. They are essential for watching wildlife from a safe distance.


This is one occasion where your phone camera just won’t cut it. It is time to bring out the ‘big’ camera. If you have a DSLR, make sure you have a long lens to go with it for capturing your wonderful wildlife encounters.

Day Pack

For hikes and strolls, a lightweight daypack makes life easier for yourself. In your day bag, you can place your extra layers, extra snacks, flashlight, binoculars and first-aid kit. Not to mention your towel and bathing suit so you can take a quick refreshing dip after your hike. A small 18-30-litre size bag should do the trick.

Hiking Boots

Lightweight hiking boots are perfect for stomping around Yellowstone in the summer. Look for a waterproof pair and make sure you break them in for a long time before you first wear them on the trail. Hiking boots will also provide stability to your ankles and will keep your feet dry on hikes.


Wool or wool-blend socks wick away moisture, can regulate temperature and are breathable. They are perfect socks for hiking in all kinds of weather. They are more expensive than regular cotton socks, but they are worth it. Your feet will be comfortable all day and you will reduce the risk of getting blisters.

Mosquito Repellent

Early summer can be a particularly bad time of year for getting mosquito bites in Yellowstone. And summer rain showers and the mountain lakes can also bring out the bugs. So, be prepared and bring mosquito repellent. A spray or cream with at least 30 per cent DEET should be strong enough.

First Aid Kit

Packing a small first aid kit for Yellowstone is a good idea. You don’t need anything fancy, just some adhesive fabric and plastic bandages, antibiotic ointments, antiseptic towelettes, gauze roll and pads, wound closures, and maybe some painkillers. Hand sanitiser is also a good idea.

Fleece Jacket

When dressing for Yellowstone, it’s all about layering. A fleece jacket or zip-up jumper is a good idea to pack as it will keep you warm on cool and windy evenings. Even in the middle of summer, Yellowstone can be chilly since it’s over 6000 feet (1800 meters) above sea level.

Rain Jacket

Yellowstone gets rain all year round, including in the summertime. It’s very common for thunderstorms in the afternoon, which lead to short but intense rain showers. Therefore, packing a lightweight rain jacket is a good idea.

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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