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FAQ: How Do I Pack for a Summer Trip to Yellowstone Teton Territory?

Once you have your travel plans and your departure date approaches, it’s time to start preparing for your summer trip to the Yellowstone Teton Territory. Keep in mind that the Yellowstone Teton Territory covers a wide area in Eastern Idaho—near Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole—so what you’ll need largely depends on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. The weather can vary widely throughout the region, and conditions will be quite different strolling around downtown Idaho Falls versus ascending a 10,000-foot peak.

 

What kind of weather should I expect?

 

Yellowstone Teton Territory’s weather can vary widely, from record-setting heat waves that top 100°F to bitterly cold winter temperatures that plunge far below zero. The best way to prepare is to check the forecast in the areas where you’ll be going.

 

Keep in mind that the local weather can change rapidly—especially in the mountains. A frigid morning could blossom into a T-shirt afternoon, or a hot summer day could turn into a cold storm with sleet. It’s best to be prepared for any kind of weather conditions when visiting the Yellowstone Teton Territory in the summer, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.

 

What should I bring? How do I pack for a trip to Yellowstone Teton Territory?

 

To pack for an active summer trip where you’ll be spending time outdoors—whether you’ll be hiking big peaks or simply spending time with your spotting scope looking for animals—you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable. Here are a few items to make sure you include, but keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list, just a starting point:

 

  • Layers of clothing for hot and cold weather. Bring a warm hat, gloves, and a jacket.
  • Rain gear, including a rain jacket and rain pants
  • Backpack for day hikes and essentials. Consider a waterproof pack cover if you’ll be spending extended time outdoors.
  • Sun protection: Sunscreen, sun hat, and sunglasses. The sun can be very strong at altitude, so you may also want to consider clothing with a UPF rating.
  • Good hiking boots that are already broken in
  • Water. Whether you prefer water bottles or a hydration pack, make sure you have plenty of water to drink.
  • Lunch and Snacks: You can stock up on food in the Yellowstone Teton Territory, but be sure to bring lunch and plenty of snacks when heading out for an adventure.
  • Binoculars or spotting scopes for wildlife viewing
  • Bug spray
  • Headlamp or flashlight (with fresh batteries or bring spare batteries along)
  • Trekking or hiking poles
  • Paper maps: Don’t count solely on GPS. Sometimes GPS devices can lead people astray, so be sure to have a paper map with you as well.
  • Bear spray: Be sure you know how to use it and always keep it accessible (such as clipped to your belt) when you’re hiking in bear country. It won’t do you any good buried in your backpack. You can’t bring bear spray on a plane, but you’ll find plenty of local places to purchase it once you arrive.
  • Other hiking essentials: Make sure you have the 10 Essentials, including a first aid kit, when setting out for an outdoor adventure.

 

Do I need an umbrella? Or is a rain coat better?

 

If you’re hiking, you’ll likely find sturdy rain gear (including a rain jacket, rain pants, and potentially a backpack cover) will keep you much drier than an umbrella. Make sure you have waterproof hiking boots and consider adding gaiters if it’s really pouring. While an umbrella will work fine for strolling around town if it’s not too windy out, true outdoor adventure is best enjoyed when outfitted with proper rain gear.

 

What if I forget something?

 

If you forget something, have no fear. There are plenty of shopping options within the region. Idaho Falls is full of stores to meet just about any need, and most other local hubs have all the basics and beyond.

 

Do I need bear spray?

 

It’s always a good idea to bring bear spray with you when you’re in bear country. You can’t bring bear spray on a plane, so be sure to pick some up at one of the local outdoor shops. Many grocery stores and even convenience stores sell bear spray, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find, especially when you’re near Island Park or Teton Valley.