With more than 30 visits to Yosemite in the books, I would like to share my expertise to help you pack with ease. Wondering what to pack for Yosemite? This Yosemite packing list includes essentials and gear for any time of year. Whether it’s hiking, rafting, camping, or biking, top items and tips are listed below. If you are staying at Housekeeping Camp, I’ve created a separate post for the additional items you will need to set up your camp: Packing List for Housekeeping Camp.
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Health and Safety Items:
- Reusable water bottle. Hydroflasks are my go to. There are several fill stations in Yosemite with clean drinking water.
- First aid kit, along with any medications you use or may need in an emergency. Also be sure to pack a small personal emergency kit with clip, perfect hiking trips. Both are must-have items in any Yosemite packing list.
- Anything you need for motion sickness for those curvy roads on the way in. I always pack a bag of ginger chew candies.
- Flashlight and back up batteries
- Lighter for starting fires in your fire ring
Emergency and Survival Items
- Hand crank device for radio, flashlight, and charging. Great for every day use, or to keep on hand for an emergency.
- Plasma lighter. These are only needed for certain situations. They are flameless, rechargable, waterproof, windproof. Perfect for back up or survival situations.
- Lifestraw personal water filter. These are small, easy to add to your packing list, and always good to have on hand in Yosemite just in case.
- Multipurpose rope
- Solar generator. Acts as an emergency power station with a bright light, and AC outlet, and 4 USB outlets.
- Multi-use compact hatchet tool. Can also be used as a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, wire cutter, and pliers.
- Pack of rain ponchos for adults and kids
- Emergency thermal blankets
- Biodegradable body wipes for keeping clean
- Compact microfiber cooling towels
Camp 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.
- 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 Yosemite packing list.
- Camping stove. I use this Coleman model and I love it. It has two burners and folds closed for easy packing. If you want to get super luxe, get the griddle too (pancakes, anyone?).
- Propane for the camp stove
- Steel kettle with nesting cups. Nice for camping and hiking.
- Cooking utensils and equipment. I recommend buying one of these cookware packs with carrying case. It includes so many things like spatulas, serving spoons, knives, tongs, a cutting board, bottle opener, gloves, and spice shakers. It helps take the guessing out of what kitchen accessory items to pack for Yosemite.
- Paper plates if you want to limit the amount of dishes to wash.
- Eating utensils. If you’re doing to do disposable, go compostable.
- Coffee percolator that can be put over the fire. Don’t forget a pack of fun camping mugs.
- Collapsible camping sink. Also doubles as a picnic basket.
- Biodegradable Campsuds. Can be used on dishes, but is also multi-purpose and can be used on clothing, hands, or face.
Convenience and Lounge Items
- Waterproof hiking back pack
- Lightweight, packable day backpack for day trips
- Cooler. I recommend one of these heavy duty coolers with great insulation. I recently got one for a camping trip and it kept my food cold and my ice from melting for 3 full days. Be sure to pick up some reusable cooler packs as well.
- Hammock for lounging under the trees, or an inflatable hammock for extra comfort.
- If you want to up your game and bring some celebration beers on your hike, I recommend a beer bottle insulator. A nice touch to add to any Yosemite packing list.
- Folding chairs for picnicking or lounging. I love these chairs with the built in insulated pocket for your drinks and cold snacks!
- Bikes! Doubles as a fun activity and a sensible way around (bikes can be rented in the park Jun-Nov if needed). A no-brainer item to include when wondering what to pack for Yosemite.
- Bike lights
- Bike lock
- Pump for bike tires
- Umbrella and rain ponchos depending on the time of year you’re visiting. I recommend the rain ponchos if you’re planning to do the Mist Trail Hike to Vernal Falls in the spring or summer.
- Inflatable raft with oars if you’re planning on some summer rafting! Rafts are available for renting in the park as well.
Tech Equipment for Your Packing List:
- Extra power bank for recharging your phone on-the-go. If you’re planning to be without electricity, I recommend one of these solar power banks.
- USB port for using and charging multiple electronics at once.
- Portable bluetooth speaker. I have this portable speaker and it travels with me everywhere. I recommend going for a waterproof speaker if you’re planning on swimming and rafting.
- A good camera. Essential to any packing list! Phone pics are the way to go when traveling light, but if you’re looking for an upgrade, my go to camera is the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless SLR Digital Camera. I love the amazing quality photos and the fact that it only weighs one pound. For more photography recommendations, check out my post about what’s in my camera bag.
- Back up batteries, memory cards, and USB cords.
Clothing and Protection for your Packing List:
- Comfortable walking shoes and hiking shoes if needed.
- Snow boots if visiting in winter.
- Active wear and layered clothing.
- Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Protect yourself from those rays.
- Mosquito spray and/or citronella candles. Especially important if traveling April- July.
Photo above was taken at Tunnel View. Hat is from Idyllwind (use my referral link and get $10 off), boots are from Ariat, and backpack is from Urban Expressions.
Planning Your Yosemite Trip:
- Check out my post on 10 Things to Do in Yosemite Valley.
- Get great recommendations from my 2 Day Itinerary and my 4 Day Itinerary for Yosemite.
- The more detailed Ultimate Yosemite Valley Travel Guide gives you the tips you need to experience the valley like an expert. Learn when to go, where to stay, and what to do.
- Be sure to make your reservations ahead of time through Travel Yosemite.