A Rocky Mountains Road Trip Checklist: 25 Essential Items to Bring

If you’re headed off on a road trip through the Rocky Mountains, you’re guaranteed to experience unforgettable natural scenery, wildlife sightings, mountain town hospitality, and plenty of outdoor activities, no matter the season.

While you’ll certainly find places to shop for forgotten items (albeit usually at a marked up price), much of a road trip through the Rockies consists of being a self-sufficient traveler (even if only for a day at a time) who can adapt to the likes of sudden weather changes, spur of the moment alpine hikes, and animal encounters. To help you feel more prepared so you can truly enjoy your trip, here are 25 essential items you shouldn’t leave home without!

Driving the highway in the Canadian Rockies

+ A weatherproof parka (with hood) - for men or women.

+ A toque, scarf, and mittens (or gloves for warmer days).

+ A spacious daypack.

+ Ankle-high sturdy hiking shoes - for men or women.

+ Walking poles or a unique hiking stick.

+ Sunglasses.

+ Cozy sweaters (men’s and women’s) for layering.

+ A buff for keeping sweat off your face or the sun off your neck.

+ Swimming shorts or a bathing suit for a dip in hot springs.

+ Comfy merino wool socks.

Frozen lake in the Rockies

+ A collapsible cooler.

+ Reusable ice packs to keep sandwiches and other goodies fresh.

+ An insulated water bottle for both hot and cold drinks.

+ DEET-free bug spray.

+ Natural lip balm with SPF.

+ Sunscreen.

+ A bear bell and/or bear horn.

Peyto Lake

+ A small emergency first aid kit.

+ Tissue pocket packs for runny noses.

+ Organic hand sanitizer spray (useful for park rest stops).

+ Granola bars.

+ A guidebook.

+ Binoculars for spotting wildlife.

+ A waterproof tablecloth.

+ Last but certainly not least, a camera.


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If you’re headed off on a road trip through the Rocky Mountains, you’re guaranteed to experience unforgettable natural scenery, wildlife sightings, mountain town hospitality, and plenty of outdoor activities, no matter the season. To help you feel more prepared so you can truly enjoy your trip, here are 25 essential items you shouldn’t leave home without!