This hot springs packing list post is sponsored by Stanley, showcasing their long-lasting, sustainable drinkware and food storage solutions. All writing and opinions are our own.
Alright, you’ve carefully researched your next Pacific Northwest hot springs destination! You planned out your route, brushed up on proper hot springs etiquette, and checked all the weather conditions for safe travel.
Last item on the agenda…what do you pack for a hot springs adventure?
In this post, we’re breaking down exactly what you need to bring on you hot springs packing list to maximize relaxation, keep yourself fueled, and have the most fun!
10 Essential Things To Pack For Your Next Hot Springs Trip
Have you ever been soaking in a hot tub and felt lightheaded? Hot temperatures can lead to dehydration, so it’s essential to pack fresh, drinkable water for your hot springs adventure. This is probably the most important item to bring, but also the most overlooked because of its simplicity!
Pack a Stanley Classic Easy Clean bottle to keep your drinks cold for up to 11 hours. We like this one because it fits in car cupholders with ease, which is great for the long ride to the hot springs. It also has a hinged lid so you can’t lose it while drinking, and a hook for easy carabiner storage on a backpack.
Want to bring some hot coca or beer on your hot springs adventure? That brings us to our next point…
Durable Drink Storage
When packing for a hot springs trip, durable drink storage is absolutely essential. You should never bring glass or breakables to natural springs, as the debris and broken pieces are dangerous and difficult to pick up.
That’s why we love Stanley’s lineup of sustainable, long-lasting vacuum sealed and insulated drinkware, perfect for a hot springs adventure.
Use the Quadvac Thermal Bottle to store your drink of choice at your preferred temperate. This insulated thermos keeps hot things hot for 41 hours, and cold things cold for 43 hours! We personally love to come early to hot springs and fill up our mugs with coffee, but you could also bring beer, tea, or even more water!
Coffee Brewing Tip: Are you wanting to make coffee for a fresh brew on your trip? Consider brewing at the trailhead, so you can discard coffee grounds properly and store them in your car. This way, you don’t have to worry about cleanup on-site, and you’ll keep the pools free and clear of contaminants.
The Correct Forest Pass
Where are your hot springs located? Where should you park your car? Does your hot springs adventure require hiking on a trail?
It’s important to know this information, so you can be sure to display the proper Northwest forest pass on your trip. You can expect to see things like day fees on-site, displaying the correct pass on your car’s dashboard, or having a permit on-hand for rangers to see.
Read our post about the difference between Pacific Northwest forest passes to make sure you are purchasing and displaying the correct one.
Snacks For Refueling
If your hot springs adventure requires a long hike or you plan to stay for a long time, it’s essential to bring food to refuel. Food storage containers like the Classic Legendary Food Jar keeps your sustenance fresh for a long time – their vacuum seal technology can keep meals fresh and hot practically all day!
Store some long-lasting energy like oatmeal with raspberries, or bring some of mom’s homemade chili for an afternoon snack. No matter your snack choices, storing them in Stanley’s food-safe containers and tote-able lunchboxes to keep snacks just an arm’s reach away.
Need some food inspiration? Here are our favorite hiking snacks to keep you fueled all day long!
Some of our favorite Oregon hot springs are located in the middle of the desert, with little protection from the sun! If you are planning a mid-day soak or visiting on a sunny day, it’s crucial to pack sun protection. (And yes, you can still get sunburnt in the winter too!)
A hat with a wide brim is the easiest way to protect your face from the sun, and we suggest one with a wide brim to shade our neck and shoulders as well.
Using SPF lotion is a good idea as well, but be cautious with this one. Some sunscreens can include chemicals that can harm the pools and contaminate the water. If you do wish to use sunscreen, put it on your face or places on your body that won’t get underwater. (and you shouldn’t be dunking your head in anyways!)
A Garbage Bag
It may not be the most fun or beautiful task, but picking up trash is an important way to help keep hot springs pristine and beautiful. Trash bags should be an essential item on your hot springs packing list. It’s one of the most critical hot springs etiquette practices to follow!
You can go classic and bring one from under your kitchen sink, or grab a reusable one to dump out and wash later. Look for things like glass bottles, wrappers, and abandoned clothes. If you feel squeamish about picking up other people’s abandoned items, bring some sanitary gloves too!
If you are visiting natural hot springs, chances are you’ll be climbing over some rocks to get to the pools. A great example of rocky locations would be at Pine Flats Hot Springs, Sunbeam, Bonneville Hot Springs, and Rocky Canyon Hot Springs.
We often like to wear water shoes in the pools, to protect our feet from sharp and slippery rocks. Make sure to choose ones with grippy soles and velcro straps for ease of use.
One of the most challenging parts about soaking at hot springs is getting out of the pools! (Especially if it’s wintertime, like here at the Boiling River in Wyoming!) Keep a towel within arm’s reach of the pool, so you can hop out and wrap up as quickly as possible.
Towels from your bathroom are perfectly fine to put on your hot springs packing list, but make sure to wash them thoroughly when you get home. Personally, we like to have a dedicated set of towels for adventures – those towels are quick-dry, lightweight, and easy to tote around.
While clothing may be optional at your desired hot spring, it’s always smart to have one on hand! You never know who could be there when you arrive, and it might feel weird or uncomfortable to be nude if you see a family with small children soaking in the pool you want to use.
When choosing a bathing suit to add to your hot springs packing list, choose a suit with a dark color. Because of the diversity of minerals that can be present in the pools, you could run the risk of turning your white suit yellow or brown from the water!
A Reliable Light Source
Finally, if you plan to visit around sunrise or sunset, make sure to bring a light source! Headlamps are our favorite light source to add to our hot springs packing list because it allows us to be hands-free. You can also bring a flashlight, or a lantern to use at the pools.
A light source is especially important to pack if your hot springs require a long trail to reach it, like Goldbug Hot Springs in Idaho. Your phone light can work as a last-minute resort, but make sure you’ve got enough battery to keep in touch with contacts back home.