What to Pack for a Mountain Vacation

Here at Gateway, we get asked all sorts of questions but some of the most common are: “What’s the weather like?” and “What should I pack?” Living in the mountains comes with its own fair share of the changing weather. A common adage here in Colorado is, “Wait five minutes and the weather will change.” Some days we’ll have rain and it’ll be in the low 50s and then, mere minutes later, it’s warm and 75 degrees. You never know what the weather will be like in Colorado so we’ve compiled a list of some of the things you should bring with you when you’re packing your suitcase for your vacation to Durango.

  • Layers!

Bringing layers will work wonders. Anything from a simple fleece to sweaters or rain jackets can make such a huge difference – especially if you’re adventuring in the backcountry in the fall. Being able to throw on a fleece when you get chilly and top it off with a rain jacket will keep you toasty and prepared for anything the weather can bring. If you’re coming in the winter, bring a nice winter jacket that will keep you warm while the wind blows. Rain jackets, or a waterproof shell, are always a good idea if you’re going to be up in the high country.

  • Good footwear…

Bringing several different pairs of shoes is always a good idea when you travel, but more so when you travel to Colorado. Do you want to ride horses? Do you want to hike? Do you want to walk around downtown Durango? Make sure you take into account the things you’re going to be doing around here (as well as the activities you’ll want to do once you talk to some locals!). We usually recommend a good pair of comfortable walking shoes (sneakers or comfy sandals), a good pair of hiking boots (especially ones you don’t mind if they get a little muddy fall-spring), and if you’re coming during the winter – SNOW BOOTS! Of course, if you forget a pair of shoes or something doesn’t work out, you can always buy a nice pair at one of our local downtown shoe shops like Brown’s.

  • Accessories:

Swimwear: We have a ton of great swimming areas in town (not to mention a river that runs right through Durango!). From Trimble Hot Springs to Pagosa Hot Springs and Ouray Hot Springs – we’ve got you covered during the winter. During the summer, you’ll definitely want to hop on a raft and ride down the river or take the kids to the local Recreation Center where there are water slides and outdoor splash pads.

Hats, Scarves, etc: Hats to keep the sun off (since you’ll be up at a higher elevation) are a great idea during the summer for Durango travelers. Hats to keep your ears warm and the snow off are also necessary during the winter months when we could get snow and rain and wind. It sounds cold, but don’t be discouraged! Like we said, wait five minutes and the weather will change. It’s a good idea to keep your hats handy in case the weather changes from cold to sunny in a heartbeat. Scarves are a great addition even in the summer as sometimes the temperatures can get a little chilly during the monsoon season (typically July-August).

Tech, etc: Make sure you bring a camera (or your smartphone will do, too!), binoculars (especially if you’re wanting to scope out wildlife), sunscreen (as you’ll probably be spending a fair amount of time outdoors), sunglasses, moisturizing lotion for the drier climate, and bug spray. Of course, if you don’t want to pack so many liquids, make sure it is on your list to pick up while you’re on vacation.

No matter what the season, if you have the right stuff to protect you from the sun, the drier air, the varying temperatures, and weather, etc., you will enjoy your mountain vacation no matter what mother nature has in store.