Having been to Joshua Tree National Park several times, I know a good packing list can come in handy. Every visit I have done to Joshua Tree has been via road trip, so I’ve included lots of road trip packing list items below as well. And depending on whether your camping in the park or staying at a nearby Airbnb or hotel, there are different items that will need to be on your list. Browse my comprehensive list of thing to bring to Joshua Tree below, including what to pack for the car, what to bring on a hike through the park, and camp necessities for spending a night under the stars.

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Joshua Tree Sunrise at Cholla Cactus Garden
Joshua Tree Sunrise at Cholla Cactus Garden

Packing List for the Road Trip to Joshua Tree

The road trip to Joshua Tree is the first part of the vacation, so you want to make sure you’re off to a smooth start. Everyone is a bit different in terms of what they need to keep in the car, but here are some essential packing list items to get you started:

Comfort Items for your Car

Car Organization and Storage for Your Road Trip

A key factor to ensuring a smooth road trip is good organization. Your Joshua Tree packing list should include plenty of items to bring, but also plans on where to store them and how to organize them in the car. Here are some essentials for keep everything in place.

Car Safety and Other Misc Items to Pack

When creating a Joshua Tree packing list, it’s always important to remember the safety items. At times, you may be out in a remote desert area, so it’s always best to be prepared. And there are some other miscellaneous and fun car items for your packing list here as well.

Packing List for Inside Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is massive, so if you’re planning on driving through it or well into the middle of it, it’s best to make sure your packing list is ready and you have everything you need. Below I’ve listed some basic items to bring hiking, as well as some camping items for when you’re staying overnight at one of the park campgrounds.

Hiking at Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park with an insulated water cooler, a key item for a desert packing list
Hiking at Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park

If Taking a Hike in Joshua Tree National Park

There are a lot of great hikes in Joshua Tree National Park, ranging from easy-paced to strenuous. Depending on the type of hike you’re planning to do, you may need any or all of the following items.

  • Clothing made for desert hikes: Be sure to dress appropriately for the desert. Wear lightweight, breathable fabric and sturdy shoes. Hiking shoes are recommended, and preferably long pants to protect your legs from cacti, shrubs, and snakes.
  • First aid kit: A small first aid kit is always recommended for any Joshua Tree packing list, esecially if out for a hike. Scrapes, bites, or accidents are never expected, but it’s always best to be prepared.
  • Tech items: A back up power bank is a great idea in case your phone or other equipment needs a charge. A compass carabiner is a great tool to clip on your bag just in case. A chargeable pocket fan is fun for keeping cool while on the go, and a GoPro Camera is an exciting way to improve your Joshua Tree hiking photography.

Packing List for Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

There are several awesome campgrounds to choose from inside Joshua Tree National Park. Be sure to research the campground ahead of time to see which necessities you will need. Below are some camp sleeping and kitchen basics to get you started.

Desert camping with a cooler, insulated water bottle, beer, hat, and book
Relaxing on hammock in Joshua Tree

Campground Sleeping Items

Boulder scrambling in Joshua Tree with sun protection
The giant boulders are one of my favorite photo spots in Joshua Tree

Campground Kitchen Items 

  • Camp cookware set. These heavy duty pots and pans can go over the fire. It comes with camp utensils as well. I like these sets because they all pack together nicely into one compact bag.
  • Foldable camp kitchen. I think these are genius. This one contains a large, heat resistant surface, perfect for your pots and pans or camp stove. It has shelving for storage, a hook for a light, and a collapsible sink with drain. And they are easy to collapse for quick take down. 
  • A good cooler. I have this Coleman heavy duty cooler and keeps things cold for several days.
  • Campfire roasting sticks. These are extendible and perfect for roasting s’mores or hotdogs over the campfire. One of the most fun items that I would recommend for a Joshua Tree packing list. 
  • Camping stove. I use this Coleman model and I love it. It has two burners and folds closed for easy packing. Be sure bring propane for the camp stove.
  • Steel kettle with nesting cups. Nice for camping and hiking.

Relaxing in with a cooler and folding camp chair, essential items for a Joshua Tree camping list
Camping in Joshua Tree

Emergency and Survival Items

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