Banff Packing List
Are you visiting Banff National Park (and others!) this summer? Excellent choice! You certainly have an eye for the prettiest destinations, haha. I speak from personal experience when I say the Canadian Rockies are absolutely stunning, and I promise you will have an incredible time exploring them!
Personally, I learned so many lessons in Western Canada that made me a better traveler for life. Being around nature empowered me. Made me stronger. I would love to return to these national parks sometime in the near future. A girl can dream, right? Right!
Without further ado, enjoy my Banff packing list. I hope you have a wonderful adventure. Take plenty of pictures. Like I said, the Canadian Rockies are truly the definition of natural beauty. You won’t believe the world around you isn’t photoshopped.
Let’s go camping!
Thermal Base Layer
This packing list will mostly focus on summer time (since that’s when I visited), but the weather in the Rockies can certainly vary. And if you’re visiting Banff, Jasper, or any of the Canadian Rockies in the fall or winter, you will need to have a nice warm layer on your skin. No one wants to deal with frost bite, am I right? I personally like Merino Wool for base layers. It’s warm, non-itchy, and breathable. Check out MERIWOOL’s thermal crewneck top for an easily packable base that will keep you toasty especially at night. MERIWOOL also has a nice thermal bottom to match.
As for the summer months, these layers can be great if you’re camping and sleeping in a tent! The temperatures can drop biiiiig time at night. You don’t want to lose rest because you’re shivering so much.
A Quality Rain Jacket
Unfortunately we can’t control the weather! I wish. You want to have a lightweight rain jacket in case rain decides to pour on your camping trip. My personal recommendation is the North Face Women’s Venture Jacket because it’s comfortable and can easily fit into a bag. My own rain jacket has lasted for years (since 2013, actually) and is still in great condition.
For hiking and outdoor shoes, Merrell is my favorite “go to” brand. They are a little more expensive, but you’re getting a quality product in return for your money. Merrell Women’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe has comfortable mesh panels that allow your feet to breathe while you climb those epic mountain paths. If you need something a little sturdier for more challenging hikes, then invest in a pair of Capra Bolt Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots instead. These boots have moisture-wicking technology built into them, as well as metal hooks for secure lacing. A solid choice!
Make sure to invest money into your socks! I’m not kidding around here! Do you want blisters? I didn’t think so. Use micro fabrics and merino wool socks like the Enerwear women’s socks. They will keep your feet feeling fresh, which is very important for a trip to the Canadian Rockies.
Proper Hiking Clothes
If you can swing it financially, you want to purchase clothes that are moisture wicking (cause ew, sweat) and have UPF sun protection. Some of my favorite brands are White Sierra, Columbia, North Face, and Merrell. For specific examples, White Sierra Women’s Convertible Pant is a great investment, because you have sun protection, and you can wear these pants as shorts or long “normal” length. Great for hiking.
As for shirts, Under Armour has great moisture wicking V-neck options that come in a variety of colors. Finally you always want to bring a hoodie with you like Columbia Sportswear Women’s Reel Beauty Henley Hoodie which is both omni-wick and has UPF protection.
Note: On my camping trip, G Adventures provided our tents, so I won’t lie and pretend I’m an expert on them. Do your due research for tents!
Let’s face it. A daypack is a must if you’re going to western Canada’s national parks. The North Face Women’s Jester Backpack is perfect for the conditions you’ll encounter in Banff. What’s great about this backpack is it is water repellent, as well as resistant to weather and wind. It comes in a lot of cool colors too! And like I said, North Face makes quality gear so your bag will last a few years.
Don’t be silly like me and forget to pack a headlamp! My first night I almost got completely lost on the camp site, haha. The Ultra Bright CREE LED Headlamp will definitely meet your needs if you need to pee in the middle of the night.
Western Mountaineering UltraLite 20 Degree Sleeping Bag wins as far as its ultralight quality is concerned. You won’t have any issues carrying this baby around the Canadian Rockies. However, I’ll be completely honest with you guys, the price point for this bag is a little high. If you go on a lot of camping trips, the investment is probably worth spending the money. Meanwhile TETON Sports Tracker is another quality sleeping bag which is more suitable for budget travelers or “casual” campers.
A water bottle is a must! You need to stay hydrated as you’re jumping into lakes and hiking mountains, right? Of course. Thermos Hydration Bottle comes in 24 ounces and a variety of clothes. You can even monitor your daily water consumption!
When it comes to camping utensils, make sure to buy items that aren’t heavy and won’t take up a ton of precious packing space. Also think about what you will actually use at the camping site. You don’t need an entire gourmet kitchen, I promise. Quality items include 4-In-1 Camping Utensil and Utensil Organizer Travel Set which should be plenty for meal times.
Other Odds and Ends
A Quality Guidebook
In the Canadian Rockies, you don’t want to miss a single thing! So pack a good guidebook, like Lonely Planet’s Banff, Jasper and Glacier National Parks Travel Guide for your journey. A guidebook is essential for your Banff packing list especially if you’re not taking a tour and driving around the parks on your own.
Always, always, always buy travel insurance for any trip. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to be on the hook for $50,000, because you had to be airlifted to the nearest hospital. I personally recommend Allianz Travel Insurance. I’ve used them many times and never had an issue.
Portable Phone Charger
The last thing you want is for all your electronics to run out of juice. Anker PowerCore 10000 is a perfectly sized charger to bring with you on your trip. But, seriously, don’t forget the charger when checking your Banff packing list. You may need your phone in case of an emergency.
Kindle Paperwhite E-reader
If you’re like me, then you want to have your books with you all the time. So invest in a Kindle Paperwhite for those sweet “down” moments next to the campfire. You may also want to buy a case to protect your Kindle from damage. No one wants to see books hurt, am I right?
An “Easy to Carry” Camera
This post isn’t geared toward professional photographers. I assume you guys already have your camera gear sorted (and if you have any recommendations for me, email them)! On my trip, I used Canon’s PowerShot SX530 HS Digital Camera which worked perfectly! Canon makes quality cameras. You can’t go wrong if you stick with this brand.
Did you like my Banff packing list? What do you always bring on your camping trips? Leave all thoughts in the comments!
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