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Lost Valley wranglers walking by a lake

What Should I Pack for a Dude Ranch Vacation?

So you’ve selected a ranch for your next vacation, now it’s time to start planning what to pack for 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 great horseback riding adventures 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, a cowboy hat, and pearl snapped button-up shirts.

Two wranglers with their horses looking at the view
Woman in cowboy hat and jacket carrying a bale of hay

 

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, lawn games, nice meals, 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 Durango Boots and stsranchwear.com.

Dude Ranch Vacation Packing List

  • 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

  • T-Shirt or base layer
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Cowboy hat and/or ball cap

  • Lightweight rain shell or water repellant windbreaker jacket with a hood

  • Cowboy boots – if you need a pair of boots for your vacation, visit durangoboots.com! Durango offers styles for men, women, and children!
  • Tall socks
  • Hiking boots/shoes or tennis shoes
  • Water shoes
  • A pair of casual/dressy shoes for nicer dinner occasions, if you would like

  • 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
  • Binoculars
  • Insect repellant

When you arrive at the ranch, be sure to visit the ranch’s 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!

You might also have more questions about a dude ranch vacation, take a look at our FAQ’s page, or connect with the Dude Ranchers’ Association for a personal conversation about your trip.