What I Packed for a Summer Colorado Trip

I asked you all a few weeks ago before my trip to Denver if you’d like to see what I packed, and everyone said yes. By the way, if you’re not following me on Instagram head on over!

I know I’m nosy when it comes to seeing what people pack for trips so I wanted to share with you all what I packed for our four-day trip. I knew we would primarily be hiking during the day and spending evenings going to casual dinners or sightseeing around the city, so I went heavy on the workout tops and socks.

Colorado has a much different climate than Louisville, so I made sure to ask around from others who have been there what the weather is like in the summer. Specifically, what it’s like in the city vs. hiking to higher elevations in the mountains.

The consensus: bring layers for hiking and summer clothes for the city.

So with that in mind, I packed a few pairs of workout leggings, shorts, and tanks, as well as a zip up jacket and pullover to throw on and off throughout hikes. I definitely saw hikers with much more official hiking gear on, but since this was my first experience and only a quick trip, I didn’t want to invest in $100 jackets and pants.

For exploring Denver, I packed a pair of denim shorts and a few t-shirts, as well as two pairs of jeans and a nicer top for dinner and three pairs of shoes.

Since we were only there for four days, I didn’t want to overpack (which I usually always do). Packing a neutral wardrobe for the trip helped me not overpack and gave me the ability to mix and match outfits throughout the week.

HIKING OUTFITS

what to pack for hiking in colorado
Black Shorts: Similar // Blue Shorts: Similar // Black Moto Leggings: Similar // REI Hat // Grey Tank: Old Navy // IU Tank // Black Tank: Similar // Pullover: Similar // Tennis Shoes: Similar 

WHERE I WORE THEM:

I wore the Nike shorts and grey tank to Garden of the Gods the first day. Garden of the Gods is about an hour south of Denver and the 90+ degree temps were definitely felt. Shorts and a tank were a great option for the temperature that day, however, I wish I would have had lightweight pants to protect me from the sun more.

I also wore the same shorts and the black tank for hiking in Golden, CO the next day. The temps were about the same once we reached 6,500 feet, however, there was more of a slight breeze than at Garden of the Gods and much more shade. I’d recommend a similar outfit for Golden in late July or lightweight hiking pants.

The last day I wore black leggings, the IU tank, and a hat for hiking to higher elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park. But I made a huge mistake. I didn’t bring my Nike pullover. The cooler temps in higher elevation were apparent and I was feeling it. Despite hiking and getting your blood flowing, the cooler air still kicks in. Don’t forget a jacket if you do a similar hike.

CITY OUTFITS

what to pack for colorado
Olive Jacket: Similar // Striped Tee: Similar // White Tee: Similar // Blue Jeans: Similar // Black Jeans: Madewell // Denim Shorts: Everlane // Brown Sandals: Steve Madden // Black Sandals: Target // Black Slip Ons: Ralph Lauren // Rattan Purse: Francesca’s // Black Purse: Marc Jacobs

WHERE I WORE THEM

The olive jacket, cropped blue jeans, striped tshirt, and black sandals was my travel outfit. I like to be comfortable on a plane and always, always pack a jacket. You never know how cold it’s going to be in airports.

The day we spent exploring Denver I wore the same striped t-shirt, but paired it with the denim shorts and black slip ons. I knew we would be gone most of the day so I needed something that would keep me cool and shoes that were comfortable enough to walk around in all day. My step count hit an all time high!

For the concert at Red Rocks it was a toss up between shorts and a t-shirt, or jeans and a t-shirt. I had read that it gets cool quickly at night, so I opted for the jeans. At first I was regretting it because it was still in the high 80s while we waited in line and melted, but once the sun set the jeans came through. The red scarf was the perfect pop of color, too.

I wore the lemon top, denim shorts, and straw bag to the Denver Botanical Gardens to match my surroundings.

HIKING BACKPACK

Okay so I was weirdly excited to pack our hiking backpack each day. Don’t ask me why, but here’s an idea of what we brought on the trails.

IMG_8610
Backpack: Jansport // Disposable Tooth Brushes // Bug Spray // Hair Tie // Dry Shampoo // Underarm Deodorant Wipes // Trail Mix // Water Bottle // NutriGrain Bar // Protein Bar // Sunscreen // Hand Sanitizer // Deodorant // Chapstick // Sunglasses

Don’t make the mistake of packing food with chocolate in it. It will melt pretty quickly. We munched on granola bars and trail mix for both hikes, but water is the key player.

I underestimated how much water I needed to drink in the elevation. You don’t necessarily realize it during the hike, but I felt it after the second day. So drink up!

We only took one phone with us, as well as maps, to take photos and get us around if we were to get lost. I also packed my 35mm film camera to get non-iPhone photos at each lookout point.

If you plan on doing anything after your hike, I recommend packing some essentials to help you spruce up a bit. These Pacifica underarm deodorant wipes were a lifesaver to wipe off the SPF and bug spray combo at the end of each day. Wipe on some deodorant after and run some dry shampoo through your sweaty hair and you’re ready to dine anywhere.

OVERALL DENVER PACKING TIPS

Unless you’re spending the majority of your time doing city things, don’t pack a ton of nice evening wear. Most of our days were spent hiking and going to a casual lunch or dinner nearby after, so packing comfortable clothes to change into (or not at all) was just fine.

Pack plenty of layers if you’re hiking north of Denver and at higher elevations, even in the summer. And whatever you do, don’t forget SPF and a hat. Higher elevations means thinner air and closer proximity to the sun, so you’re more apt to get a sunburn faster.

Overall, the vibe of the city itself was pretty laid-back. No one was going out dressed to the nines. Between the trips to Voodoo Doughnuts down the street, I wouldn’t have been able to fathom wearing anything remotely tight or nice anyway.