Post Summary: The Complete Arches National Park Packing List
So, you’ve decided to plan a day trip to Arches National Park. Great choice!
It’s such a unique destination, with incredible red rocks, vast landscape, and arches (of course) to discover.
Berty and I are no stranger to the desert. Despite living in the Pacific Northwest, we find ourselves returning to the sunny southwest USA often, whenever we need a healthy dose of sunshine. That’s usually in the winter season when the Washington skies are perpetually gray!
Because we come back often, we know a thing or two about planning a Utah national parks road trip, and packing according to the area.
Keep scrolling for our all-season Arches National park packing list, and scroll down even further for seasonal additions along the way.
The Complete Arches National Park Packing List For All Seasons
- The Complete Arches National Park Packing List For All Seasons
- What To Wear in Arches National Park
- Accessories To Bring To Arches National Park
- Tech For Your Arches National Park Packing List
- Outdoor Gear To Bring To Arches National Park
- Arches National Park Packing List (By The Seasons)
- What To Pack For Winter in Arches National Park (Dec, Jan, Feb)
- What To Pack For Spring in Arches (March, April May)
- What To Pack For Summer in Arches National Park (June, July, August, September)
- What To Pack For Fall in Arches National Park (October, November)
- Do NOT add these items to your Arches National Park Packing List
- Let's Wrap Up Your Arches National Park Packing List
- MORE UTAH ADVENTURES
Let’s start with an all-season packing list for Arches National Park. We’ll dive into specifics for each season below, but this first section is dedicated to things you’ll need any time of year.
What To Wear in Arches National Park
1. Lots of Layers
The days are often hot, but the mornings and evenings can be quite chilly! It’s essential to be prepared for any type of weather in Arches National Park.
Here are the layers you should be packing:
- Base Layer: Merino wool or quick-dry synthetic fabric. NO cotton. (Cotton can hold on to water and make you feel colder.)
- Fleece Jacket: This layer retains heat and keeps you warmer.
- Rain shell or wind breaker. Depending on the weather, the outer layer should keep you away from the elements, but especially the wind.
2. Hiking Pants
No matter what time of year you visit, long hiking pants are always a good addition to your Arches National Park packing list.
Not only do they keep you warmer, but they also act as protection against harsh wind and weather. Additionally, they prevent you from getting scratched by underbrush and keep mud off your body!
The Swiftland Running Pants from REI are lightweight and perfect for short trail hikes. These pants are wind resistant to wick sweat from the body.
The Sahara Guide Convertible Pants are another great choice that easily converts from shorts to pants!
3. Sun Shirts
What’s a sun shirt? It’s a long sleeve, lightweight layer with a hood! Oftentimes, sun shirts have SPF protection, called UPF. They are breathable and protect your skin from harsh weather.
We highly recommend the Sahara Shade Hoodie by REI if you are visiting Arches during the summertime! It’s inexpensive and comes in quite a few colors.
Another option is the Ibex Men’s Indie Hoodie. It’s quite a bit pricier, but it’s made of wool so it doesn’t stink, and will regulate your temperature. This is a great choice if you need to pack light, or are going on a long road trip between laundry days.
4. Wool Socks
Our favorites are these thin ones from Darn Tough and Smartwool. (plus they come in lots of fun colors)
5. Breathable Shoes or Boots
During your trip, you may find yourself hopping over rocks, or following cairns on smooth, sandstone surfaces. Despite popular belief, choose shoes with less traction, for more grip on those slippery sandstone surfaces!
6. Fleece Jacket
A fleece jacket is an excellent layer to add to your Arches National Park packing list. The desert can get quite windy but a fleece is lightweight and paired with other layers, it keeps you warm during those cool mornings and evenings.
7. Windbreaker Jacket or a Down Jacket
If you plan to be hanging out during all hours, you need to add a windbreaker to your packing list. Windbreakers will keep you warm even when the wind is whipping, which is quite often in the high deserts of Utah!
If you find rain in the forecast (unlikely but not impossible), you can double up on a windbreaker/rain jacket combo too, so you don’t have to pack two separate coats.
Accessories To Bring To Arches National Park
9. Sun Hat
While you may opt for a beanie in the colder months, the weather in Arches National Park has quite a bit of sunshine year-round!
Protect your skin in style with a cute hat! Basically, every brand under the sun has its own version, style, and patterns of baseball caps. Scope out your favorite outdoor brand for their styles!
Along with a hat, sunglasses will protect your eyes from the harsh rays.
We really like these ones from Goodr. They stay on your head even on strenuous hikes, even when trail running! They are inexpensive too, so you don’t have to get super upset if they get broken.
11. Warm Hat
Coming to Arches National Park in the late fall, winter, or early spring? The mornings are quite cold, even colder than you probably expect the desert to be!
12. Packing Cubes
If you like to stay organized on trips (like me!), we highly recommend using packing cubes!
Using them, you can sort clothing items by type (shirts, pants, underwear, etc) or by outfit. We also like to put shoes in their own bag to keep them separate from our clean clothes.
We also pack an empty packing cube on purpose, to use for dirty laundry. This way, they stay separate in your bag!
13. Hair Ties
Utah can get windy, especially on Arches National Park hikes that have cliffside views of the desert!
Pack a few extra hair ties in your bag to tame those flyaways. My favorites are these coiled ones by Anthropologie.
14. Small Wallet / Waist Pack
Generally speaking, US National Parks are safe places. However, we don’t recommend leaving valuables in your car anywhere you park.
For comfort, pack a small waist pack to keep cash, cards, and keys on hand. If you don’t want your items visible, you can also opt to get a small neck wallet, and tuck it away under your jacket or in your shirt.
15. Cash & Debit/Credit Card
Most places around Moab and Arches National Park take credit cards. However, in small towns outside of Moab, you may encounter cash-only transactions!
16. Travel Insurance (Optional)
As stated above, Utah National Parks are generally safe places to travel. However, in today’s world, travel circumstances change so quickly! If you are concerned about your trip being interrupted, it’s a safe bet to purchase travel insurance. Our recommended travel insurance is through VisitorsCoverage.
Travel insurance can cover things like a health emergency, travel changes, and even more specifics if you want. This one is up to you and your comfort level.
Tech For Your Arches National Park Packing List
Some of the American Southwest iconic landmarks are located in Arches National Park! Don’t forget to capture those moments and bring a camera! It doesn’t have to be a fancy one either – smartphones now take just as high-quality images. We wrote a blog post about the best smartphone photography tips here!
Want To See Our Setup? Read Our Complete Travel Photography Gear List
18. Drop-Proof Phone Case
If you are planning to spend an extended amount of time around cliffs, rocks, or sandstone trails, it’s essential to keep your gear protected!
We can’t even count how many times our phone has dropped out of our pocket in the dirt or rolled away on the trail. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Right now, we’re using the Scooch Case and screen protector, and it’s been one of my very favorite cases I’ve owned.
19. Power Bank
Have you ever been stuck in an unfamiliar place with a dead phone? Trust us, it’s not fun! Especially in a place like Arches, where cell service is few and far between.
Pack a pocket-sized power bank and an extra phone charging cable. This way, you have power on hand when you need it.
20. Extra Cords or Chargers
Because Berty and I travel a lot, we’ve learned that outlets in hotels or Airbnbs aren’t always in the most convenient places!
This is why we bought 6ft phone charging cords on Amazon. When the only outlet is clear across the room, it’s a lifesaver!
Outdoor Gear To Bring To Arches National Park
21. The Dyrt Pro App
The Free Camping Collection from Dyrt PRO is our favorite way to find free camping, especially with all the BLM land around Arches!
The Dyrt has a Free Camping Collection of 5000 drive-in accessible locations that include free campgrounds and free dispersed sites.
Plus, the Free Camping Collection shows you boundaries of free dispersed camping areas on a map and tells you when a camping permit is required (and if so how to get one).
Try the PRO Free Camping Collection for free, no strings attached — use our code “mandagies” to get 30 days free.
22. National Park Map
One of the most essential items you need to explore the park is a national park map!
These maps can be easily acquired at the park entrance for free, or at the visitors center information booth. These mark out the major roads in the park, and popular hiking trials, campgrounds, and other interesting features.
23. Utah Plant Book
I’m a HUGE fan of identifying plants, and I’m constantly taking pictures of plants and looking them up in books later.
24. Retractable Hiking Poles
Hiking poles are a great idea for hikes in Arches National Park that require a little more elevation or distance.
We especially love these REI Co-Op Flash Carbon Trekking Poles. They can easily fit in a suitcase and are made of super durable carbon fiber!
25. Paracord Bracelet
For peak preparedness, grab a piece of emergency gear that’s also doubles a fashion statement!
A Para cord bracelet is made of an emergency rope and is great to have on slightly more challenging hiking trails. We never recommend getting too close to an edge, but if you do, you’ll be glad you had some rope!
26. Day Pack
Pack up all your hiking gear and snacks in a daypack. We like to choose one with comfortable shoulder straps and made of a water-resistant material.
Another epic hike to try: Conquer Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park
Utah is no stranger to the sunshine!
Make sure to put some sunscreen on your Arches National Park packing list, especially if you are visiting in the summer months.
28. Bug Repellent
Mosquitoes are a nuisance in the summertime! This is especially true on nearby lakes, as still water is a breeding ground for these pesky insects.
Pack some bug spray for use in the mornings and evening (which is peak time for mosquitos).
29. Water Bottle
Being properly hydrated can be the difference between a bad trip and a great one! Pack a wide-mouth bottle for easy cleaning and filling on the go. Additionally, you could pack a water bladder, so you can have easy access to water on the hiking trails.
Snacking is such a customizable thing – you can get as fancy or as cheap as you want!
Personally, we like to visit a local grocery store and pick up some seasonal fruit, nuts, or dried meats. It’s really easy to stop by a grocery store in Moab to stock up!
Other times, we bring our own coffee and make Aeropress brew mid-hike if we’re going on a sunrise excursion. The choice is yours!
Read More: 15 Easy Hiking Snacks To Bring On The Trail
If you are planning any kind of early or late adventure, it’s important to add a headlamp to your Arches National Park packing list. This is especially true if you are planning a sunrise hike to Delicate Arch!
Arches National Park Packing List (By The Seasons)
In addition to all of the above items, here’s what to specifically pack for Arches National Park based on the seasons.
What To Pack For Winter in Arches National Park (Dec, Jan, Feb)
The desert can get quite cold…actually REALLY cold in the winter moths. Arches National Park weather in winter average between the low 20s and high 40s, which means bundling up is essential.
You’ll want to pack plenty of extra layers during this season and add these extras to your Arches packing list:
- Waterproof Hiking Boots (for snowy hikes)
- Scarf or balaclava
- Waterproof Coat / Parka
- Rain pants
- Long Underwear
- Extra Trash Bags
What To Pack For Spring in Arches (March, April May)
Spring in Arches National Park is one of the most popular times to visit the park.
You’ll find that there will be a mix of sunny and cloudy days. You can almost always expect the mornings and evenings to be cold and the afternoons to be warm.
Here’s what we suggest adding to your packing list for Arches National Park in spring:
- Camp blanket
- Lightweight Rain Jacket
- Reusable mug for hot coffee in the morning
What To Pack For Summer in Arches National Park (June, July, August, September)
Most of the main list here outlines what to bring to Arches National Park in summer, seeing as it’s the most popular time to visit the park.
However, if you are extending your time to do things outside of the park (like camping, rafting, etc) Here’s what to add to your packing list for the summer:
- Flip flops or water sandals
- LOTS more sunscreen
- Big sun hat
- Quick-dry Shorts
- Swimsuit / Wetsuit
- Beach Games / Volleyball
- Beach Blanket
- Camping Chairs
- pop-up shade cover
What To Pack For Fall in Arches National Park (October, November)
Arches National Park in the fall is a unique and peaceful time of year. It’s also the season with less rain, which means the skies are clearer for more vivid sunsets. Expect to pack a few extra layers for some late evenings out. Think warm and cozy!
Add these to your packing list if you’re visiting Arches National Park in the fall:
- Camp slippers
- Extra warm socks
- Jean Jacket / Light Jackets
Do NOT add these items to your Arches National Park Packing List
So what should you NOT bring to Arches? Here are some things we suggest leaving at home and why:
Arches National Park is a laid-back, outdoorsy, casual place. With notable exceptions for fancy dinner reservations in Moab, nice clothes are not necessary. In fact, you’d probably stick out quite a bit!
Most people around Moab wear outdoor casual gear (think Patagonia fleece, Blundstones, and a Carhartt beanie). Chacos and outdoor gear for daily wear is completely fine!
Impractical or uncomfortable shoes
A lot of activities in Arches National Park require moving around quite a bit. If your shoes are uncomfortable, that’s going to affect nearly everything you do!
This isn’t the time to try out new shoes, so add a pair of tried and true kicks to your packing list.
Why white? Well the orange-tinted dust and sanstone rock can easily stain white clothes! After a long hike on a dusty trail, your clothes won’t be white anymore.
Don’t bring any item of white clothing that is precious to you!
Let’s Wrap Up Your Arches National Park Packing List
We hope you enjoyed our take on what to pack for an Arches national Park trip! The desert is a fun and adventurous place. If you stick to the guidelines of low-key, active, and functional, you’ll be just fine!
Did we miss anything on our Arches National Park packing list? Have any additions to make? Leave them in the comments below!