What to Bring on a Trip to Utah’s National Parks


You’re most likely planning a trip in Utah for the outdoors. Utah is well-known for its unique terrain, which includes high peaks, deep valleys, mountains, and desert. It can be difficult to choose the right items to pack when there are so many landscapes.

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For some helpful tips before you set off to explore Utah’s natural beauty, be sure to check out our packing list.

Water Shoes

Although water shoes may seem outdated, Tevas and Chacos are now popular. While your current outdoor sandals might be suitable for some activities, I recommend that you bring along a pair of waterproof, long-lasting water shoes. You’ll need appropriate, quick-drying footwear for rafting the Green and Colorado rivers.

Water shoes don’t have to be confusing. I also love the incognito water shoe that can be worn as a walking shoe or these adorable pair of ballet flats. Vibrams are my go-to, but any pair of standard shoes will work!

Sun Protection

Utah is a great place to use sunscreen. Cetaphil’s 30-SPF face moisturizer, which isn’t likely to clog pores, is my favorite in hot climates. It’s also super lightweight in comparison with other sunscreens.

You’ll need at least 60 SPF protection for your skin. It resists 98% UV rays which you will be exposed to in the desert. It’s easy to apply the tried-and-true Banana Boat 100 Sunscreen every day.

A UV-protected hat and sunglasses are also necessary. I recommend inexpensive ones that can be easily carried in your bag, but still provide 100% UV protection.


You won’t be able to carry your standard canteen or 22-ounce CamelBak in Utah.

The CamelBak 85 oz is an excellent alternative to carrying around a bulky, heavy water jug. However, it will still do the job as well. You can also find affordable versions that will hold the same amount of water and have extra storage. It is important to stay hydrated when you are exploring the great outdoors. Utah’s rugged national park is a prime example of this.

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Layers are a good idea, but long-sleeved clothes are also important. Layering is important because of the different elevations in the parks. It can get cold at night so layers are necessary. It is a good idea to have a fleece jacket and long-sleeve, quick-drying shirts.

Consider a rainshell, even during summer. For those unexpected showers, you’ll need something that repels the water.

Plastic grocery bags

Although plastic bags may seem odd to pack, they are very useful and practical for camping. Plastic bags are great for protecting food, clothing, and shoes from red dirt and dust in national parks. They are also useful for separating dirty clothes from clean, as well as their obvious function of being a trash bag.

Eco-Friendly Hygiene Products

You must be careful about what toiletries and hygiene products you bring to camping in national parks.

Both men and women should use soap/shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste and body wipes (your new best friend if showers are inadequate or nonexistent) that are environmentally-friendly and compostable. Not “biodegradable” as these products can be harmful to the soil and water they come in contact with.

If that month falls on the week you are traveling, ladies, consider using a Diva Cup or compostable pads. They won’t harm the earth and won’t cause any harm to the environment.

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Additional Items to Pack

Make sure you have a swimming suit, microfiber camping towel, dry bags, and other essentials for your journeys around Utah’s parks.

Blisters can be treated with a mini-first-aid kit and additional SmartWool socks if yours gets wet. They should be kept in your backpack

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To offset the high amount of water that you will consume, small snacks should be consumed throughout the day. Easy to digest foods such as protein bars (these Larabars, made with 100% real ingredients, are my favorite bars for hiking trips), dried fruits, nuts, crackers and breads will help you maintain your blood sugar levels.