Looking for what to pack for a trip to Utah? Here’s the ultimate Utah packing list for every season.
Lucky for you, I learned how to pack for Utah and Utah’s National Parks the hard way, so now you don’t have to.
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Before we jump into the Utah packing list, though, note that I also have numerous other Utah travel guides including this epic 7-day Utah road trip itinerary, these unique places to see near Salt Lake City and my most popular Utah guide to the state’s Rainbow Mountains.
Feel free to ask me any questions about visiting Utah you may have. I’m here to help!
Utah Packing List
No matter what season you visit Utah, you’re going to want to wear layers. Because Utah is primarily desert, the temperatures from daytime to nighttime change drastically. While it could be 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, temperatures could drop below freezing at night.
Thus, layers are essential to staying comfortable throughout the day.
Furthermore, because you’ll likely be hiking or doing some sort of outdoor adventure, you may want to start delayering mid-hike.
Either way, layers are a must.
2. Hiking Boots
Again, if you’re visiting Utah, you will probably be doing some form of hiking — or at least nature walking.
Hiking boots offer the same arch support and comfort as tennis shoes, but, unlike regular tennis shoes, hiking boots also provide ankle support, which is a game-changer when hiking.
That’s why it is recommended to pack hiking boots in Utah instead of tennis shoes.
My favorite hiking boots are these women’s hiking boots from Timberland. Although they provide plenty of arch and ankle support, the boot itself is still slim — not too chunky like most hiking boots.
3. Waterproof Walking Sandals
Some hikes in Utah require walking through water, such as the Narrows hike in Zion National Park, so waterproof walking sandals may come in handy depending on your trip itinerary.
Plus, changing out of hiking boots into sandals every once in a while can greatly reduce foot fatigue and give your feet a break from tight hiking boots.
My favorite walking sandals are the Teva Verra sandals. You can walk in them for miles, and they are completely waterproof.
Also, unlike other waterproof walking shoe brands and styles, these sandals have a completely smooth, soft sole — no uncomfortable textures or bumps.
5. Lightweight Jacket
Although rain is rare in the Utah desert, you will regret not bringing, at minimum, a lightweight jacket.
As previously mentioned, you should wear layers in Utah because the desert nights are deceitfully cold.
For reference, we visited Utah in spring (April to be exact), and I wound up wearing my gray winter puffer jacket from Old Navy every night as well as and during several early morning hikes.
Even though the desert nights are dangerously cold, the desert days are dangerously hot and sunny.
Sunscreen is absolutely essential in Utah in every season, especially summer.
If you have sensitive skin like me, I highly recommend Neutrogena’s Clear Face oil free sunscreen. I have used this sunscreen for years, and it has never made me break out.
I also love using this SunBum face mist to reapply over my makeup throughout the day. That way, I can reapply without worrying about using my dirty hiking hands or applying sunscreen lotion over my makeup.
Similarly, sunglasses are vital to protecting your eyesight in the Utah sun.
The last thing you want is to hike five miles up a mountain only to be blinded by the sun at the top and unable to see the view.
If you wear prescription glasses, I always recommend these budget-friendly prescription sunglasses from Zenni Optical. This pair cost me less than $15 USD with the prescription and have lasted for years.
Zenni has tons of other styled frames too, so you’re sure to find a pair you love.
8. Sun-Blocking Wide Brim Hat
Lastly, in terms of sunshine, a sun-blocking wide brim hat would be wise to bring to Utah if you own one — or any hat for that matter.
Hats are practical for a few reasons. One, they block the sun, protecting your eyes and face from sun damage. Two, they add a lot of character to photos if you’re interested in travel photography. And, three, they hide sweat that accummulates on your hairline during a hot hike (gross but true).
I personally prefer wide brim hats because they are practical and still look amazing in travel photos, but that’s a personal preference. I’ve found the best deals on wide brim hats at Forever21.
9. Reusable Water Bottle Or Hydration Pack
Of course, this Utah packing list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the importance of having a water bottle or hydration pack.
When you’re hiking in Utah, you will not have easy access to drinking water — sometimes for hours. It is imperative that you pack enough water for your entire hike. Tourists have died on Utah’s hikes due to dehydration.
You will see signs throughout all of the Utah National Park trailheads stating how much water is suggested per hike. Follow these guidelines as best as you can, especially in backcountry.
I love my 40oz Hydro Flask for shorter hikes (2-3 hours max). It kept my water ice cold even in the hot Utah sunshine.
Otherwise, you will see a lot of hikers with hydration backpacks like this pack from Teton Sports on their backs, which can hold multiple liters of water for longer hikes.
10. Flashlight Or Headlamp
If you plan on taking any hiking in the early morning or the evening, it is advisable to bring a flashlight and/or headlamp for the trail.
11. Any Necessary Camping Gear (Utah Packing List)
Likewise, if you plan to camp while in Utah, you won’t want to forget your camping gear.
A couple camping gear items worth mentioning that are easy to forget include:
- Zero degree sleeping bags.
- Extra blankets for nighttime.
- LED lanterns.
- Bear spray (if you’ll be in bear country).
- Greywater safe toiletries.
I bought a 30 degree (Fahrenheit) sleeping bag for our Utah camping trip, and I was freezing every single night. Learn from my mistake and invest in a zero degree sleeping bag.
On the contrary, I brought these exact miniature lanterns for our campsite, and I’m so glad I did. They were so helpful when we were setting up camp at dusk/dark. They were easy to pack, and the batteries lasted our whole trip.
12. Snow Gear In Winter (Utah Packing List)
Obviously, if you’re visiting Utah in winter for a ski trip or other snowy adventure, you’ll want to bring warm snow gear.
As a Wisconsin native, I understand the importance of warm winter outerwear. However, I’m usually shopping on a budget, and winter outwear can be extremely expensive.
If you’re shopping on a budget, I recommend checking TJ Maxx, Ross, Burlington Coat Factory or another similar store to find high-quality name-brand outwear for a fraction of the retail price.
13. Travel-Friendly Camera Gear (Utah Packing List)
Finally, while in Utah, you will encounter some of the most beautiful, epic, jaw-dropping scenery you will ever see in your entire lifetime.
You will definitely want to take photos on your trip.
If you’re looking to invest in a new travel camera, check out my guide to the best budget-friendly travel camera gear on the market.
Utah Packing List FAQ
What kind of clothes should I wear to Utah?
Because of the extreme daytime and nighttime temperatures you’ll experience in Utah’s desert, I cannot stress enough how you should wear layers to Utah.
Like I said earlier, I learned this the hard way and ended up unable to sleep at night because I was so cold. Do as I say, not as I do! You’ll thank me later.
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