A trip to Grand Teton National Park is sure to be an adventure of a lifetime. Once you’ve got your hotel booked and your itinerary loosely planned, the next step is figuring out what to pack for the Grand Tetons.
Here’s our complete experienced-based guide on making your own Grand Teton packing list. The list has twenty-five items that will cover what to wear, the best gear, and items you might not have thought to bring but are absolute essentials in a packing list for the Grand Tetons.
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WEATHER IN GRAND TETON
Before jumping headfirst into what to pack for Teton, let’s talk about visiting Grand Teton in the different seasons. In general, this Grand Teton packing list is best for June to October. Grand Teton is at a higher elevation, so the weather can change swiftly. When we visited on Labor Day weekend, it was hot and in the high 80s. A week later, there was a snowstorm!
Even in the summer, the mornings and evenings will be chilly, and you’ll need to be prepared with layers so you can peel them off as the day warms up. It’s also a normal occurrence for it to change from beautiful and sunny to windy and rainy in a matter of moments.
It’s best to be prepared for everything.
Here’s an overview of the average monthly temperature in Grand Teton National Park, according to the official site.
READ NEXT: Traveling to Grand Teton with children? Check out our complete guide to visiting Grand Teton National Park with kids.
GRAND TETON PACKING LIST
We’ll start with what to wear to Grand Teton and continue with safety gear, practical things, and useful items that will help you enjoy your time there. This packing list for Grand Tetons is most suitable for front country exploration of the park.
1. HIKING BOOTS
Do you need hiking boots for Grand Teton? Yes. Yes, you do. Hiking boots are the best shoes for Grand Teton since the main activity will be hiking. We suggest waterproof boots that provide excellent ankle support. Most trails in Grand Teton NP are dirt paths with roots and rocks that can sometimes cause a small trip or stumble. A good boot will protect your ankles and keep you safe. We love the Jag Hiking Boots from Danner because they’re durable, waterproof, comfortable, and stylish.
2. RAIN JACKET
A rain jacket is highly recommended if you’re traveling in the spring or fall. A lightweight rain jacket that can crush down into your backpack is best. While rain is most likely in Spring and Fall, an afternoon rain can blow through the park at any time, including summer. It happened to us!
We live in a rainy climate, so we prefer durable, well-made rain jackets from North Face and REI. You can check out men’s rain jackets here and women’s North Face rain jackets here. If you want something at a lower price point and you won’t be using it a lot, check out these men’s and women’s rain shells.
3. WATER SHOES
In the summer, water shoes in Grand Teton are an absolute must. With so many alpine lakes, you’re bound to at least wade through the water. Protect your feet from the sharp rocks with a good pair of water shoes. We are obsessed with our Jefferson Native Shoes and have been wearing them since 2012. They are most famous as toddler shoes, but my husband and I rock them out whenever we are within 10 feet of water. We like their cute designs and that you don’t need to change into a water shoe when you get to the water, since they can pass as an everyday shoe. While I wouldn’t wear them for a long day hiking, they can suffice for a short hike or to change into when you want to go into the water. You can browse through the adult Jefferson collection here and the kids Jefferson collection here. You can also opt for sandals that go from trail to water, like these hiking sandals from Merrell.
4. HIKING SOCKS
Since hiking is the main activity, a pair of synthetic or wool socks to keep your feet from blistering can go a long way. We are huge fans of the company United By Blue and love their line of bison trail socks. If you’re camping in the park, they have amazing ultra-thick bison socks that will make all the difference in the world at night. Every year, the socks sell out because they are that popular.
5. WARM CLOTHES
Warm clothes are necessary for the shoulder seasons and early morning/ late evening hikes in the summertime. A fleece jacket and/or a jacket that can crush down to fit in your backpack is convenient for when you want to peel layers off for fluctuating temperatures. You’ll also want to throw in a beanie and gloves to keep you comfortable.
6. BATHING SUIT
If you’re visiting in the summer months, a bathing suit is handy for when the ice-cold water calls your name after a 10-mile hike. I’ve gotten really into buying bathing suits from Amazon and am in love with this one and this one. I like that I can try it on in the comfort of my own home and then return it if it isn’t right for me.
7. SUNHAT AND SUNGLASSES
The higher altitude makes the sun even more powerful. Bring a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your skin.
Sunblock is a must when visiting Grand Teton National Park. It’s reported that for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain, the sun’s UV rays intensify by 8-10 percent. It may not feel like you’re getting burned, but by the end of the day, your skin will regret not having some sort of sun protection. We love the mineral sunblock from Blue Lizard.
9. MOISTURIZER + LIP BALM
The high elevation seriously dried out my skin while I was there. If you have sensitive skin, bring moisturizer and lip balm to help with parched skin. I think I reapplied lip balm every hour. I’m obsessed with all of the products from Evan Healy and use her chapstick daily.
10. BEAR SPRAY
Bear spray is an insurance policy you don’t want to scrimp on. Make sure you have bear spray with you at all times, whether you’re in the backcountry or front country, and that you know how to use it. We use this bear spray and wish we had bought the optional holster. We clipped it onto our pants with a carabiner but found it kind of annoying to hold it that way. If you’ve never used bear spray before, you can buy this bear spray that comes with a practice spray can so you can feel confident you know how to use the bear spray.
We did see many people on the trails wearing bear bells. Bear bells are worn on your body to potentially warn a bear that you’re around. Opinions on the effectiveness of bear bells vary, so it’s best not to have bear bells be your sole source of protection.
Also, you can’t bring bear spray onto a plane, so pack it in your checked luggage if you’re flying.
11. BUG SPRAY
While not lethal like a bear, the bugs can be a real nuisance while visiting Grand Teton National Park. Certain times of the year bring more mosquitoes, so bring a bug spray if you’re a mosquito magnet. I visited in September and did get several bites. Bring a natural bite soother as well if your body is highly reactive to the bites.
If you don’t like using bug spray, I’ve heard of people using repellant bracelets. I’ve never tried it, but it’s worth a try if you’re looking for an alternative to bug spray.
12. FLASHLIGHT / HEADLAMP
Having a flashlight or headlamp is an all-around safety tool you should always have when hiking. It’s a national park, so there will be little to no light sources in the park once the sun sets. Make sure the batteries are working, and pack some extras just in case.
13. FIRST AID SUPPLIES
Having standard first-aid supplies in your backpack and/or car are another safety standard for hiking. You can make your own basic first-aid kit with bandaids, Tylenol, Aspirin, gauze pads, antibacterial ointment, instant cold packs, gloves, and medical tape. You can also opt to buy a first aid kit that’s put together for you.
14. HAND SANITIZER
While the bathrooms in the National Parks are supposed to have hand soap, I wouldn’t put my money down that it’s a sure thing. We always bring our own natural hand sanitizer for times when soap isn’t available. It’s come in handy so many times,
15. KNIFE / MULTI-TOOL
A knife or multi-tool is always good to have around when going on an outdoor adventure. We brought our Smith & Wesson pocket knife and our Leatherman Multi-Tool. It might be overkill if you’re not doing back country exploration or camping, but a knife is a great tool and safety device whenever you’re exploring the outdoors.
The potential for wildlife sightings in Grand Teton is extraordinary. While it is possible to see wildlife right on the side of the road or trailside, often you’ll be viewing them from a distance.
Having an excellent pair of binoculars could help you to see birds, bears, moose, and wolves that are just out of your view. Here are a few choices to help you see wildlife:
Best Quality: Nikon 8252 Aculon
Budget Choice: 12 x 42 Binoculars
Kids: Binoculars for Kids
Toddlers: GeoSafari Kidnoculars
17. DAY PACK
A daypack is a must-have essential for a Grand Teton packing list. You’ll need one for carrying water, snacks, sunblock, and all the layers for the changing weather! If I don’t plan to bring a lot, the Raven backpack from Fjallraven is my first choice. It’s comfortable, compact, and I love all the variety of color options. If we need more space because we’ll be carrying camera gear or 500 different types of snacks for our kid, we use the Borealis backpack from North Face.
18. INFLATABLE WATER TOYS
If you want to enjoy the water but don’t want to rent equipment at the park, bring your own inflatable kayak, inflatable stand-up paddleboard, or inflatable tubes for a day out on the water. Don’t forget to bring a pump! We brought our own tubes and loved the freedom of being able to go in the water wherever we wanted.
19. TREKKING POLES
If you are doing long days of hiking or want the extra support, hiking poles can significantly help alleviate stress on your knees and ankles. It’s also great if you’ll be going to Teton in May or October when the park could be snowy and icy.
20. REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
A reusable water bottle is a must-do when visiting Grand Teton. The high elevation will dehydrate you, so having plenty of water is essential. Not only is it a more environmentally sustainable choice, you’ll save money and time by having a bottle you can fill up every day. We use the reusable bottles from Hydro Flask. We love that they keep our water ice-cold for 24 hours. There are water refilling stations scattered throughout the park.
A small cooler to pack a lunch can be a big money saver in the park. You can get a small economical cooler like the Coleman FlipLid or you can go a little more expensive with the Arctic Zone Titan Deepfreeze Cooler.
22. POWER BANK / SOLAR CHARGER
Having a fully charged power bank to always have a working phone is a wise choice. Because there is little to no cell service in the park, your phone might drain its battery faster, trying to look for a connection. The power bank we use can charge up to seven times, so one good charge can last the entire trip. We also have a power bank that uses solar energy to charge. A solar charger can be an excellent additional choice if you are camping or backpacking through the park. We like this solar charger for its durable and waterproof shell built for travel.
23. QUICK DRY TOWELS
Quick-dry towels can come in handy for swimming, having something to sit on, or for covering up a picnic table. I’m in love with Turkish towels and use them for everything. They don’t have a plush towel feel, but they are light, dry quickly, and fold down to a small size. I like these Turkish towels from Demmex for the range of vivid colors they offer.
24: GRAND TETON MAP
While maps are available at every Visitor Center, if you want an in-depth paper map, you’ll want to get the National Geographic Trails Map for the park. It’s the best map and covers the entire park.
25. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL PASS
If you’ll be visiting more than one national park (like the nearby and glorious Yellowstone National Park) within 365 days you’ll want to buy an America The Beautiful Pass. The national park pass allows you entrance into over 2000 federal land parks for a one-time fee. Typically, if you visit three parks that require payment within one year, you’ll come out ahead. You can learn more and buy the national park pass here.
Happy adventures!! I hope our Grand Teton packing list helps you with your travels. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Planning a family trip to Grand Teton? Check out our thorough guide to visiting Grand Teton with kids.
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