A dude ranch vacation is such a fun experience for the entire family. Memories will be made under the stars, around campfires, and while engaging in various outdoor activities. Connect with nature on a whole new level. Plan to go horseback riding at sunset, or enjoy fly fishing for an afternoon. There are so many ways in which a ranch vacation can bring families together and give everyone a much-needed break.
As you plan this trip you might find yourself with a list of questions. One of those might be about packing. Cowboy boots and hats are part of the dude ranch experience; however, there are other things you should remember to bring. Depending on the various activities you want to try, we have recommendations on what you should be packing in your suitcase.
Whether you're flying or driving, pack all of the essentials for your dude ranch adventure! Photo Credit: Sherry Boswell / SherryBoswell.com
It's Time to Unwind and Relax
The beauty of traveling to a dude ranch is that it's the perfect place to disconnect and leave your chaotic schedules at home. The objective on this vacation is to relax and enjoy as much or as little outdoor activities as you want. Always wanted to try horseback riding? Now is the time! How about fly fishing or hiking to unwind? Knowing what activities you want to take part in will help you know what items you need to bring along.
Plan to pack casual comfortable clothes, as these suit most all activities. However, certain ranches do have a dress code for their dining room. Call ahead to confirm if this is true for the ranch you are visiting. Light weight jeans and shirts are ideal for outdoor activities and fit easily in a suitcase. The temperature can vary from day to night so come prepared with layers.
Items To Pack In Your Suitcase
This unique experience is certainly something to eagerly anticipate. As you pull out the suitcase and dust off your cowboy boots, you might wonder what all you should be bringing on this vacation. Don't worry we have a comprehensive list of everything you should consider packing.
- Cowboy/Cowgirl Boots
- Cowboy/Cowgirl Hat
- Lightweight/Breathable Jeans
- Lightweight/Breathable Shirts
- Rain Jacket
- Long pajamas
- Windproof jacket/Fleece jacket (during cooler months and for mountain dude ranch destinations as night temperatures can drop any time of the year)
Hat & Gloves (during cooler months)
- Phone/Camera Chargers
- Insect Repellent
- Lip Balm with sunscreen
- Lotion (for dryer weather)
- Riding boots (preferably with a 1" heel and smooth sole)
- Long socks for horseback riding (preferably wool or wool blend)
- Lightweight shirts (Avoid cotton)
- Synthetic base layer for under wader (Patagonia® or Smartwool)
- Hiking boots
- Flashlight or a headlamp
- Sleeping bag (if you are interested in an overnight backpacking trip)
- Reusable water bottle
(A dude ranch vacation is the perfect time to disconnect, put your electronics away, and enjoy some quality time together.)
Looking for a new outdoor activity? Try fly fishing!
Dude Ranch Packing Tips
If you are traveling by plane to your dude ranch adventure, wear your heaviest items while traveling. Step on the plane looking like a true Cowboy/cowgirl with your jeans, boots, and hat!
You can contact the ranch you are visiting ahead of time if you would rather ship items there in advance. Sometimes the cost to ship items can be less expensive than checking a bag on a flight.
Some ranches have guest laundry facilities, this will allow you to pack less.
Did you know that you can borrow a lot of the items you might not already own? Pick up the phone to check on what is available to borrow so that you won't have to purchase things that you likely won't use again. Some of the typical items you can borrow are: riding boots, riding helmets, and sleeping bags.
If you are visiting a Dude Ranch for the first time, check out this post.
Author: Breeze Leonard, LittleFeetBigAdventures.com
Dude Ranch Packing List