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I remember my first few trips to Colorado in the summertime and it was so hard to know exactly what to pack for the Colorado weather in the summer.
Before my first trip to Colorado, I heard it could be cold at night (yes, even in the summer!) and that it could even snow up high in the mountains.
So, when it came time to pack, I didn’t have a summer packing list for Colorado of what I would truly need!
Now, after living in Colorado for over 20 years, I can tell you exactly what needs to be on your summer Colorado packing list in order to be prepared, comfortable, and have the right mountain outfits in Colorado during the warmer months.
To make sure your trip is as fun and as carefree as possible, I’ve put together the BEST list of what you should pack for an amazing summer vacation in Colorado! My hope is that this summer packing list is extremely helpful for you.
Whether you’re packing for a family-friendly adventurous trip to Colorado or just some relaxing time away in the mountains with friends, this summer packing guide has everything you’ll need to bring to be well prepared for a trip to Colorado in the summer.
In This Article
- Packing List for Colorado in the Summer
- For the Evenings in Colorado
- For Outdoor Activities
- Essential Accessories
- Other Clothing to Pack
- Additional Items to Pack
- The Best Time To Visit Colorado In The Summer
- In Conclusion
For The Daytime in Colorado
The afternoons in Colorado in the summer can be extremely pleasant with lots of abundant sunshine. The days are often warm and then sometimes cool off as the sun goes down in the evening.
The climate is very dry, so you won’t experience too much humidity unless there has been some recent rain. And even then, the humidity doesn’t stick around for very long.
Temperatures will range depending on the altitude. The higher you go, the cooler the weather in Colorado will be, especially in the early mornings and evenings. Be sure to check the average temperatures for the town (and month) you’ll be visiting. Be sure to read about the weather in Colorado here.
For summer afternoons in Colorado, here’s what you’ll need. I’ve included what to bring for a light hike and also a more adventurous type of activity.
Packing List for Colorado in the Summer
T-shirts or Tank Tops
T-shirts or tank tops are the best way to be comfortable during most of your days if you’re outside during your visit to Colorado. T-shirts and casual shorts or pants are common summer mountain outfits in Colorado.
The sun is warm and the climate is dry so you’ll be really comfortable in short sleeve tops during the day. You may also consider a moisture-wicking t-shirt if you’re going to be doing some light hiking or a more active afternoon.
The weather in Colorado in June, July, and August is extremely warm and enjoyable. Nice warm sunny days!
Here are some of my top choices for shirts and tank tops to wear in Colorado.
Under Armour Women’s Tech Twist Tank Top
Under Armour Women’s Tech V-Neck Twist Short-Sleeve T-Shirt
Women’s Tech Stretch Short-Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirts
(pack of 2, Amazon Essentials)
Shorts or Capri Pants
The weather in Colorado should be perfect for either shorts or capri pants. If you plan on being active and going for hikes and walks, it’ll be great to have some shorts that are an active blend of materials. When you’re looking for what to wear in Colorado, these clothes have a great combination of cotton, spandex, and nylon. Just perfect for the weather in Colorado in June, July, or August.
This will allow for flexibility, comfort, and lightness which makes for the best hiking attire. If the weather is very hot (August) you may want to stick with activewear (instead of any heavy cotton) for breathability, durability, and comfort.
Two of my favorites:
The North Face Women’s Aphrodite 2.0 Capri Pant
RBX Active Women’s Fashion Lightweight Woven Drawstring Cargo Capri Pant with Pockets
In my opinion, a long-sleeve t-shirt is perfect Colorado clothing for the days that start off cool, turn to warm, and then finish off a little cloudy.
In Colorado in the summer, oftentimes when the sun goes behind the clouds it can get chilly!
Once this happens, all you may need are some long sleeves to make you perfectly comfortable. A long-sleeved shirt is the perfect hiking attire for wrapping around your waist until you need it. We’ll chat a lot more about layers in the Colorado Packing List for Winter. Layers are an essential way to pack for winter or summer in Colorado.
A few of my favorite long-sleeve t-shirts:
Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Life is Good Women’s Long Sleeve Crusher T-Shirt
ALEAF Women’s Long Sleeve Shirts UPF50+ Sun Protection Quick Dry Hiking & Fishing
If there’s wind in the forecast or a very cloudy day ahead you’ll want to have a light jacket with you.
Clouds and wind could make the Colorado temperature pretty cool. Go ahead and pack that light jacket, you could certainly need it and you’ll be glad you did! Summer hiking outfits in Colorado surely include having a light jacket with you.
Columbia Women’s Benton Springs Full Zip
This post is all about the best Colorado packing list.
For those occasions when you want to dip into the river or soak in hot springs or a hot tub, you must bring your swimsuit!
Many Colorado hotels and resorts have hot tubs that you can use year-round so a swimsuit is always a good idea. Even in the middle of winter!
American Trends Women’s One Piece Bathing Suite Atletic Modest Swimwear
In the category of sandals, I usually pack a cute pair of sandals to wear to lunch or dinner out with friends when preparing for a trip to Colorado in summer.
In addition, I bring a pair of very casual outdoor-style sandals such as Birkenstocks, Chacos, or Keens. These are styles that will be comfortable to wear on a less flat surface and that have supportive tread to them. Even if it’s only for dirt or sand, it’s nice to be prepared with a pair of sandals that are slightly rustic. Especially if you’re making a trip up to the mountains and higher elevations.
The rustic sandals will also come in handy if you’re planning on spending time near a Colorado river or on a lake.
Hiking Shoes or Trail Running Sneakers
If you’re planning on doing some hiking you’ll definitely want to bring the right footwear. I lean towards trail running sneakers for this because I find them to be on the lighter side, very comfortable, and they take up less room in my luggage than hiking boots. Plus, they’re more flexible than a hiking boot and I enjoy that too.
But, if you’re planning on doing some moderate to difficult hiking or long all-day hikes, you’ll want a hiking boot that offers a lot more support than a trail running sneaker. Make sure one of these is on your Colorado packing list.
Interestingly, many people wear trail running sneakers or low hiking shoes around as their day-to-day shoes in Colorado. It’s the style of the outdoor lifestyle. Thus, when you’re planning your Colorado summer outfits, consider wearing a low lightweight trail running sneaker as fashionable, comfortable footwear.
In this case, I recommend packing a more traditional hiking boot for support, protection, and comfort.
Here are some of my personal choices:
Saucony Women’s Excursion Tr11 Running Shoe
Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Light Activewear Socks
Socks might not seem very important but they certainly are!
If you’re going to be active on your trip to Colorado in the summer you should wear socks that provide cushioning to the front and the heel of the foot.
Socks that are specifically designed for hiking also hold up really well, making them worth the higher price point than typical socks. Wool is the most popular hiking sock material as it’s great for regulating temperature and durability. A couple of my favorite brands are Smartwool and Darn Tough. Be sure to add some of these to your packing list for Colorado!
Hats: baseball cap, Sun Hat, or Visor
The abundant sunshine in Colorado makes it extremely important to keep your head covered. When you’re planning on being outside for a long time you would benefit from any type of hat that protects your scalp.
Whether that’s with a light baseball cap on hot days or a wool hat on cooler days, it’s a great idea to be prepared with a hat! An adventure hat that has a brim and chin strap is a perfect option if you’ll be on a raft or boat. These are lightweight and typically have sun protection.
Plus, hats are great for shading light from your face. Protecting your eyes and skin from the sun is super important, especially in a sunny destination like Colorado.
The weather in Colorado in June, July, and August certainly includes abundant sunshine so these accessories are essential. A cute summer hat is a perfect addition to your Colorado summer outfit.
Sunglasses are another essential item that goes on the list to pack for your trip to Colorado. With Colorado boasting over 300 days of sunshine, you’ll be very happy you brought your sunglasses.
Choose a pair that has polarized lenses since they’re designed to reduce glare and filter out reflected light. Even if you’re in Colorado in the winter, you’ll want sunglasses with you. The reflection and glare that comes from snow can be harsh if you don’t have sun protection.
Oakley Oo9013 Frogskins Square Sunglasses
This post is all about the best Colorado packing list.
Bags That Are Perfect For Colorado
It’s important to consider the bags that you’ll need to pack for a Colorado vacation. You’ll want different bags for different activities and situations. And not having the right one can be frustrating.
Bags to consider when you’re planning on some short hikes or excursions are a crossbody, a fanny pack, or a small day hike bag. If you’ll be bike riding or something similar, a crossbody is a perfect choice! There’s no need to hold onto the bag because it comfortably fits around you. And, they’re made small enough to not be in the way of arm movement. This bag is sized for just the essentials and it’s the perfect item to add to your packing list for Colorado.
A fanny pack is another super simple way to carry just the things you need on a long walk around town or down a paved trail. It will perfectly hold your phone, some extra sunscreen, lip protection, and a small wallet. And the fanny pack “style” is IN!
A small day hike bag is the largest option in the small bag category.
A day hike bag is a great choice for an all-day excursion as you can add some lunch, a water bottle, a long-sleeved shirt, and a larger camera or other goodies. They usually have pockets for a map, too.
This Osprey Daylight Daypack is one of the best daypacks I have found! I’m a big fan of Osprey and have a few different bags that I’ve been using for years!
Osprey Daylight Daypack, Dream Purple, One Size
For the Evenings in Colorado
Once the sun goes down, the weather in Colorado typically gets cooler, even in the summer. It’s very different from a humid destination where you can have regular warm summer nights. Thus, bringing a light jacket to dinner or an outdoor event is usually a good idea.
Style in Colorado is casual. Jeans that are “dressed up” with a fancy blouse can be sufficient for a nice dinner out with friends or family. Of course, there are always opportunities to dress up as elegantly as you’d like! When you’re figuring out your Colorado outfits in summer, just know that comfort comes first, and that mountain style is very casual.
But, as a western destination, it’s generally acceptable to be casual and comfortable. You’ll see a lot of denim in Colorado!
Cowboy boots are always in style in Colorado. Western wear is a fun way to embrace western culture and fit right in. Cowboy hats included! When you’re packing for your Colorado trip, add your cowboy boots to the list!
For Outdoor Activities
Flexible, Versatile Clothing Layers
The weather can change fast in Colorado, during any season. This is why it can be hard to know what to pack for Colorado.
Dressing in layers will help you stay comfortable prepared and flexible. As I mentioned above, I usually wear either a tank top or an activewear t-shirt (not 100% cotton) as a first layer if the forecast is for sun and warmth. This is true for a day hike too!
Over the t-shirt or tank top, I’ll wear a light, thin long-sleeved shirt that will help keep me warm if there’s a breeze or it’s early morning.
This is especially true if you’re spending time at a higher elevation as the mornings can be very chilly!
A vest is a great idea to pack for your Colorado summer trip. A vest will be especially useful for days that will be mixed with sun and clouds.
The vest will keep your core body warm and your arms free to move around. Comfortable movement is important if you’re hiking, walking, or running.
If you’re planning on doing some hiking in Colorado you’ll definitely want a supportive hiking boot, trail running sneaker or outdoor-style sandal. (as mentioned above)
Many of the mountain towns in Colorado have rivers where you can enjoy a ride on a tube or just hang out by the water and watch the kayakers. Outdoor sandals are supportive, versatile, and even stylish!
A perfect footwear choice for these activities is a brand such as Chacos or Keens. They offer solid tread on the bottom, they’re easy to put on your feet and they can be worn in the water.
Rain isn’t nearly as common as sunshine in Colorado but it’s still really nice to be prepared! Having a rain jacket on hand that you can fold up small and add to your day pack or backpack is a great idea.
You’ll certainly be happy that you have it if you run into some rain showers! Chances are, the rain won’t stick around for a long time, and you’ll dry quickly – but it’s still a good idea to have one with you. Add this to your packing list for Colorado.
I recommend the North Face Women’s Resolve 2 Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket:
Trekking poles are an awesome idea to pack for your trip to Colorado in the summer.
They help you be more efficient when hiking, especially if you aren’t accustomed to the altitude.
You can cover more ground, get more exercise in your shoulders and arms and increase your speed with trekking poles.
There are some great options that will fold down small enough to fit into your luggage! This pair of trekking poles from TrailBuddy is a great choice that collapses down and is easy to pack!
Water Bottle & Carrier
You must stay hydrated in Colorado! It’s a very dry climate making it easy to become dehydrated.
I recommend bringing your favorite refillable water bottle on your trip and refilling it as often as you can. If you’re going hiking, there are some great options for water carriers that are more conducive to outdoor activities.
A Camelbak hydration pack is my first choice as they are lightweight and comfortable! There are plenty of other options that will wrap around you so your hands and arms are free. These are the best for short hikes and walks! If you’re bringing a day pack or larger backpack on your excursion then you can fit a water bottle in one of the side pockets.
CamelBak Classic Hydration Pack, 85 oz
Worth mentioning again is how strong the sun is in Colorado! Do not leave the house without sunscreen on your face and body.
With over 300 days of sunshine in the state, you’ll benefit from protecting your skin and lips from the harsh sun. Grab a “sport” sunscreen for those hiking or biking days where you’ll be sweating and could use the added protection.
Of course, you can always buy some once you arrive in Colorado but if you want to be truly prepared, pick some up before you go.
Your lips also need protection from the powerful sun in Colorado. It’s smart to bring with you a lip balm that has sunscreen in it to keep your lips moist and protected.
The amount of protection you’ll need from insects is dependent on where in Colorado you’ll be spending your time. There are plenty of areas where you won’t see any bugs. But if you’re planning to be on or near a river, or in a forest you’ll definitely want to have some repellent to protect you from mosquitos and bugs. If camping is on your schedule, it’s a must!
A good hat will keep your face protected and shade the top of your head from the harsh sun. There are quite a few stylish options to choose from that offer a comfortable fit, breathability, and durability.
You probably don’t need to pack snacks before you arrive in Colorado because there are so many places to buy them! But, if you have some favorites that you like to have with you, get them ready and take them along when you’re packing for Colorado. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for when you need a little energy boost.
Colorado has a dry climate and some people feel it in their eyes. Eye drops can come in really handy to keep your eyes moist, especially if you feel some allergies or have itchy eyes while you’re visiting.
It’s a good idea to bring some nasal spray with you to keep your nose hydrated. A saline spray may prevent an extremely dry nose during your stay in Colorado.
Other Clothing to Pack
Bring comfy clothes to sleep in and maybe something warmer than you’d expect, just in case you have some cool evenings wherever you’re staying and sleeping!
Summer dresses are a perfect Colorado outfit for the beautiful weather and the casual dress code in Colorado.
Bring a sweater or light scarf to put over your shoulders in case of a breeze or cold evening. Active-style dresses are perfect for Colorado, as you can move around and be active in them. You could go from a light hike or walk straight to happy hour and look cute!
You’ll see many mountain Colorado outfits that include cute dresses as you travel through the state.
Additional Items to Pack
Camera: Bring an additional camera if you love photography, as the scenery is magnificent!
Extra Battery Chargers: This is always a great idea, just in case of an emergency.
Binoculars: These are handy if you’re interested in spotting wildlife.
Waterproof dry bag: If you’re planning to be on a boat or a raft, a dry bag is very helpful. Your warm clothes and camera or phone will thank you.
Go Pro Camera: For those active days surrounded by scenic views that you want to remember forever!
Quick Dry Towel: This is a great addition if you’re on a raft or boat to dry off quickly.
Headphones: You might want headphones on the airplane or to listen to some tunes during a short hike.
This post is all about the best Colorado packing list.
The Best Time To Visit Colorado In The Summer
Summer is a spectacular time to visit Colorado as the weather is ideal. During the transitional months of May and October, there will be a mix of unpredictable weather. This is because the seasons are changing and there’s a big shift in temperatures.
Early June is a perfect time to visit the mountains of Colorado, as the prices are lower due to summer just getting started. You could find some great rates and the weather is typically warm and sunny!
September is another special time to visit as the leaves are changing and creating a colorful backdrop. The temperates will be dropping towards the end of September and the weather turns very cozy. It’s my favorite time of year and I recommend it as one of the best times to visit Colorado!
Having all of the right equipment and being prepared is the best way to make sure your Colorado vacation is epic!
My hope is that this list will help you pack for Colorado with ease by providing some very useful tips!
If you’re planning a trip to winter ski trip to Colorado, check out our Winter Ski Trip Packing List.
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