Once you have selected a ranch for your next vacation, you are sure to have the family adventure you won’t soon forget. Now it is time to start planning what to pack on a dude ranch vacation and make sure the packing list for 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 think 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.
Photo by Lost Valley Ranch
Dude ranch vacations are known for their unique Western hospitality and are welcoming to travelers in a relaxing environment. Most ranches have been in operation for decades, if not a century, and so the ambiance is definitely one of 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. But if you are buying these items for the first time, 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 will 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 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.
What should I pack on a Dude Ranch Vacation?
- A moisture-wicking base layer (long or short sleeve)
- A beanie, to keep your head and ears warm, just in case...
- Light to mid-weight vest
- Light to mid-weight jacket
- Western jeans
Warm / Hot Days... be ready to shed layers:
- T-Shirt or base layer (long or short sleeve)
- Ball Cap
Unexpected, afternoon rain showers
- Lightweight rain shell or water repellant windbreaker jacket w/ a hood
Cooler nights...be ready to add back those layers:
- Comfortable western or denim shirt
- Lightweight lined or mid-weight jacket
- Lightweight lined or mid-weight vest
- Hoodie or pullover
- Long pants or jeans
- 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
- A camera or cellphone, because you will be taking A LOT of pictures
- Lightweight backpack - allows you to carry your essentials during the day while keeping your hands free.
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Insect repellant
Photo by Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
When you arrive at the ranch, be sure to visit their 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!
What to Pack on a Dude Ranch Vacation
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Photo by Hawley Mountain Ranch