When you think of a trip to Colorado, you usually think of winter skiing and snowboarding in the valleys or beautiful Christmas holidays spent in cute little village towns like Aspen and Vail. That’s right! Colorado has its special charm in the winter season and it’s not surprising why the Centennial state is one of the most sought after destinations in the USA during the winter months. However, a lot of people choose to head to the alpine mountains in Colorado during summer. And it’s understandable why – the temperatures are perfect with daytime temperatures in the 80s and nighttime temperatures swinging in the 40s or 50s. Think, warm, sunny days with cool, starry nights! So if you love the great outdoors like I do, summer would be the ideal time to hike or camp in Colorado and enjoy the breathtaking wilderness of the mountains.

Related Post: 10 Amazing Colorado Experiences

I’m headed to Colorado during the coming long weekend and I’m super excited! Apart from exploring the mile-high city of Denver, I plan to do some hiking, camping, and basically spend my days doing what I love most – being one with nature.

Had this been a usual city-break, I wouldn’t have bothered so much about what I pack (just throwing in a couple of summer dresses and sandals would have been enough). But since I’m going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, it’s important that I pack well, keeping in mind the ever-changing weather conditions in the mountains, and the kind of activities I’ll be doing.

So here are some packing ideas I’ve pulled together for my summer mountain trip to Colorado.

I’ve mainly divided my packing list into four main parts and this is how it goes.

Clothing & Accessories

Based on my past experiences traveling to mountainous regions, I know one needs to be prepared for unpredictable weather changes especially if you’re out hiking or trekking in the mountains. Afternoon thunderstorms are quite common as you go on higher altitudes. I’ve been into situations where it was all nice and sunny when I started the hike but found myself drenched from torrential downpour halfway up the trail. Trust me it’s no fun! So you need to take this into account while packing. The keyword here is – layers.

As far as hiking goes, I’m packing hiking shorts (there is no place for tiny shorts in the great outdoors), as well as long pants/leggings, short sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts, a waterproof jacket that will also keep me warm, a pair of broken-in waterproof hiking shoes and thick hiking socks. I’m also packing another pair of comfortable walking shoes to wear while exploring the picturesque towns around Rocky Mountain National Park and for my day in Denver. I love my Adidas Superstar Originals! Needless to say, sunglasses and a hat are a must for any summer getaway. Although nighttime temperatures will be mild, I’m taking long PJs. For that one day I’ll be spending exploring Denver, I’m taking two casual summer dresses and my denim jacket for the evening (in case I need it).

Toiletries & Medication

With high elevation comes the risk of exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and sunburn is quite common. I’m planning to stock up on high SPF sunscreen and lip balm. When spending time outdoors, I always make sure I carry an insect repellent that also works for mosquitoes (always keeping it organic). Other basic toiletries in my kit would be toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and a deodorant. Since I might be camping outside during a couple of nights, I’m making sure all my toiletries are non-scented. Obviously I don’t want a bear coming and saying hello to me!

I always carry a basic first-aid kit too!

Camping & Outdoor Gear

Summertime in Colorado means hiking, camping, rafting, mountain biking, or fishing. I plan to do as many hikes as possible and I’d love the opportunity to camp too. One can always rent equipment locally, but I feel it’s always more convenient to have your own. That ways you’re ensured that you have everything you need. I’ll be carrying my all-season tent and summer sleeping bags. Of course, a first-aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, waterproof matches and other such basic survival gear. I’m also taking a topographic map of the Rockies where I’ll be hiking and camping in as well as some guidebooks to the local flora and fauna.

Of course, I’ll be carrying a day hiking backpack, a water bottle, and my hiking poles that I’ve ordered especially for this trip.

Also see my complete camping checklist: Camping 101 and Backpacking Essentials


If I have to leave everything and just take one thing with me while traveling, it’ll be my camera! Documenting my travels is an absolute must! How else will I ever be able to share my experiences with you guys? You know the Instagram mantra right – pictures or it didn’t happen! Jokes apart, with all that gorgeous mountain scenery, you can’t forget a camera!

I believe packing all the above things will ensure I have a great time during my summer mountain trip to Colorado. I might come back from my trip and update this list in case I feel I missed out on something important.

What do you think? Let me know if I’m missing on something or if there’s something you would definitely pack for a summer mountain trip.

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Colorado Summer Packing List #colorado #summer #travel #packinglist