Packing for an Active Vacation

Last Updated on October 18, 2014 by Jody Halsted

In just a few days my family leaves on our biggest adventure yet- an active family vacation that includes stops at some of America’s most iconic National Parks.  We’ll be hiking, cycling, horseback riding and rafting with Austin Lehman Adventures and RVing, camping and exploring on our own. You could say we’ll be busy.

Packing for an Active Vacation

Apart from this being our first really active vacation, it is also our first guide-led vacation.  We’re taking the Austin Lehman Montana Family Adventure, which will take us through parts of Yellowstone, Big Sky and Paradise Valley.  With as much as we will be doing, I was a bit worried about what to pack.  I was really thankful when I looked through the kit Austin Lehman sent and found this list of packing suggestions:

Austin Lehman Adventure Vacation Packing List
Adventure Vacation Packing List (click to see large version)

The only thing I would add to that list is baby wipes.  Truly- they are indispensable. 

Thankfully we had many of the necessary items already.  We also found that our girls were much more prepared.  And, as we researched, we found a few items that would do dual duty or that we thought were well worth the cost.  Here are our recommended items for active vacations:

Packing for an Active Adventure Vacation
Recommended Products for Active and Adventure Vacations

Recommended Products for Active and Adventure Vacations

  1. Good Hiking Shorts  Both Doug and I were lacking in good quality shorts.  A quick trip to the Eddie Bauer Outlet fixed our problem (and on sale it didn’t hurt our budget).
  2. Sport Sunscreen  Sunscreen is a must for everyone.  When you’re going to be active be sure to buy a sport performance formula lotion sunscreen with a minimum SPF 50. Use a shotglass amount for an adult- and don’t forget ears, shoulders and the tops of your feet!
  3. Hiking Boots  Doug and I already own good hiking boots.  We both like Timberland Hiking Boots for their fit, durability and price.
  4. Convertible Pants  To add functional versatility, Doug really likes Convertible Pants.
  5. H2O Shoes  To cut down on the shoes we need, we wanted something that could go from rafting to cycling and even light hiking.  We found Bass H2O water shoes at the Bass Outlet Store.  They are very comfortable, have a firm sole and are great for outdoor activities. (I can’t find them online, so you may want to search out an outlet asap- they were on sale!)
  6. Keen Shoes  Because the girls both have sturdy tennis shoes and we wanted to get them something that would be worn after the vacation ended, we purchased Keen sandals. The Kid’s Newport H2 Sandal is cute, so the girls will wear them all summer, has a sturdy sole for hiking, is made to get wet and has a covered toe.  The perfect all-around shoe for active kids!
  7. Day Pack  For Doug we bought the Eddie Bauer Ultralight backpack.  The nice thing about Eddie Bauer backpacks is their lifetime warranty.  (And if you can find them on sale at an outlet, it’s even better!)
  8. Photographer Day Pack  I’ve been using my Lowepro Photo Sport Sling for a while now and absolutely love it.  It’s perfect for toting your camera safely and with the single strap you don’t have to take the pack off to access your camera.  The rain cover is another big plus.

Do you have any “must have” items when packing for an active vacation?  I would love to know about them!

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