So you've selected a ranch for your next vacation, now it's time to start planning what to pack on a dude ranch vacation and make sure the whole family is prepared. If this is your first dude ranch vacation, you might be wondering what is most important to pack. When it comes to dressing properly, think layers and versatility. While it is possible to experience four seasons in one day, most dude ranches have moderate temperatures and guests can enjoy a great horseback riding adventure in the sun.
Dude ranch vacations are known for their unique Western hospitality and welcome travelers the "cowboy way". As you pull out your suitcase, don’t be afraid to pack classic western attire, as it will be normal for the ranch. You’ll fit right in with denim, cowboy boots, and pearl snapped button-up shirts.
You’ll obviously want to pack a cowboy hat and cowboy boots as your main outfit, as a dude ranch vacation is all about the western lifestyle experience. Keep in mind that it’s important that cowboy boots are worn several times to break them in before going to the ranch. Cowboy boots are required for horseback riding and you’ll want to be comfortable spending several hours a day in them. English riding boots are also acceptable if that’s what you are most comfortable in. If need be, some ranches may be able to loan you a pair of boots for the week.
While horseback riding is the central theme at the ranch, you’ll also want to be prepared for a variety of activities in the outdoors: fishing, swimming, whitewater rafting, zip-lining, barbeques, frisbee, volleyball, dinners, and more. Of course, participation is optional for these activities, but you’ll want to be fully prepared to experience all the ranch has to offer.
To help you decide exactly what you’ll want to bring on your dude ranch vacation, we’ve created a packing list in conjunction with stsranchwear.com.
Dude Ranch Vacation Packing List
Cool mornings & evenings:
- A moisture-wicking base layer (long or short sleeve)
- A beanie (Especially when visiting a Rocky Mountain ranch during the shoulder seasons!)
- Comfortable western or denim shirt
- Hoodie or pullover
- Long pants or Western jeans
- Light to mid-weight vest
- Light to mid-weight jacket
Warm/Hot Days...time to shed layers:
- T-Shirt or base layer
- Cowboy hat and/or ball cap
Unexpected, afternoon rain showers:
- Lightweight rain shell or water repellant windbreaker jacket with a hood
- Cowboy boots
- Tall socks
- Hiking boots/shoes or tennis shoes
- Water shoes
- A pair of casual/dressy shoes for nicer dinner occasions, if you would like
Additional items to consider:
- Reusable plastic or stainless-steel water bottle
- Lightweight backpack - allows you to carry your essentials during the day while keeping your hands free.
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Insect repellant
When you arrive at the ranch, be sure to visit the gift shop. Most ranches will have a nice variety of outerwear, clothing, and essentials to choose from. Plus, bringing home a t-shirt or jacket with the ranch logo on it, is a practical souvenir to remember your experience and enjoy for years!