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Ultimate Moab Packing List (Arches and Canyonlands)

Ultimate Moab Packing List (Arches and Canyonlands)

Are you looking for the ULTIMATE Moab Packing List? In this guide we will tell you what to wear to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and other Moab attractions as well as tell you how to dress for the seasons in Moab UT. 

Note: this Moab Packing List is designed for those staying in Moab near Arches National Park rather than those camping inside one of the state or national Parks. If you are looking for a Moab Camping Packing List please check out this post. 

Ultimate Moab Packing List Considerations

moab packing list - what to wear in arches national Park & Canyonlands

moab packing list – what to wear in arches national Park & Canyonlands

When you are looking at what to pack for Moab there are a few things that you will want to consider.


As Moab is in the desert you will want to pack for the extreme temperatures, the heat, and also need to protect yourself from the sun in locations that have very little shade. 


Another thing that will affect what you will need to pack for your Moab vacation is the type of activities that you plan on doing. 

For instance if are you planning on doing lots of walking in national parks then you will need to have shoes that can cope with this rough desert terrain, as well as plenty of water.

However if you are planning on spending time in or on the Colorado River you will need to have clothes that can potentially cope with getting wet. 


Although most people usually think about a desert being warm. However if you are traveling to Moab in WInter you will discover that is can in fact be cold even in the desert. 

Therefore we will split up the below packing list up by seasons. 

This packing list will consider all of these things. 

What to Pack for Moab

Moab signs - Moab with Kids

The things we list in this section we will be items that we fell should be on your packing list no matter the season. 


A backpack is necessary no matter the time of year you are visiting Moab. The reason for this is that at Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse State Park there is very little in terms of amenities. 

Therefore if you want to spend a long day in the park you will need to take everything with you including food, plenty of water and sunscreen at a minimum. 

Therefore having a good quality backpack that you are happy to hike in is definitely a necessity. 

If you plan on doing some day hikes you may want to consider a backpack with a built in hydration system. 

Our go to back pack brands are: 

  • Osprey
  • JanSport and 
  • Berghaus. 


This is especially important if you are visiting the Moab area in summer or the shoulder seasons, but we would never go out hiking in a national park, whatever the season, without sunscreen. 

We recommend picking a sunscreen for Moab that has a very high SPF factor to keep you most protected.

Water Bottle

It is really important to travel around the Moab region, or any desert area for that matter, with an ample supply of water. 

It is also important however to have a reusable water bottle with you to fill up at trailheads with fountains to get fresh cold water. 


Also for a day touring the national parks near MOab we recommend having a cooler in your car with ice. The interior temperature temperature of your car will skyrocket as the day goes on, so recommend having a cooler for water and any other items that need keeping cool. 

Coffee Thermos and Mugs 

Getting in the park very early means that places in town will not be open before you leave for a full breakfast. I always fill up a coffee thermos before we go into a national park to help with the early start!


Arches and Canyonlands have some of the most beautiful landscapes we have ever seen. As such you will be taking lots of photographs especially if you are there at sunset and sunrise. 

Power Pack

There is very little in terms of signal and wifi but it is important that you still want to travel in the area with a fully charged phone. For this reason we recommend having batteries and power packs with you. 


If you like spotting wildlife in National Parks then you should take a pair of binoculars with you and aim to get into the park first thing in the morning when the wildlife is at its most active! 

Insect Repellant

If you are traveling to Moab in Winter you can probably leave this off your packing list. However if you are traveling in Spring, Fall and especially summer you will find that there is a bit of a issue with mosquitos and insects. For this reason we recommend you traveling with some insect repellant. 

Travel Towel

For if you are planning on doing activities on the Colorado river, which we definitely recommend if you are visiting in the summer months especially. 

What to Pack for Arches and Canyonlands National Park in Summer (June, July and August)

Summer in the Moab is June, July and August and these are the warmest months to hike in this area. 

moab packing list - What to wear in Arches national Park

moab packing list – What to wear in Arches national Park

If you are traveling to Moab, Arches or Canyonlands in Summer then we recommend packing and wearing the below. 

Lightweight fleece

I know it seems strange to be talking at the heat of Utah and then advise buying a fleece however just because it is hot during the day doesn’t mean that the desert doesn’t get cold during the night.

A lightweight fleece jacket is an essential for those visiting Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

The Park gets so busy during the day and one of my top tips for visiting the park is to go very early in the morning (before sun up) and for sunset to beat the crowds and get the trails to yourself.

You therefore will definitely need a lightweight fleece at these time. It is amazing how the temperature drops in the desert when the sun is down so don’t get caught out.

We recommend brining a lightweight microfibre fleece as this pack up very small and will fit in your backpack when you don’t need it 

T Shirts 

T Shirts are the perfect base layer for what to wear in Arches and Canyonlands.  Short sleeve t shirts are great for coping in the heat but long sleeve t shirts offer more sun protection. 

we recommend packing light colored over black t shirts in summer so you don’t absorb the heat. 

Zip Off walking trousers  

The best type of trousers for Moab in Summer in my opinion are zip off walking trousers. This is because they work as both trousers and shorts.

When I set out in the morning I use them as trousers but by the mid morning I will take the bottom half off and continue my day with them as shorts. 


It is a good idea to book a hotel with in Moab with a pool in summer as you might want to spend time in the afternoon cooling off in by having a swim. This is what we did in our Moab summer itinerary.  And my little ones really appreciated the afternoon dip. 

This is also required if you are going to be speeding any time on the Colorado River and doing any of the fun activities such as white water rafting. 

Hiking Socks 

I don’t know about you but I hate blisters and also hate having wet feet so I recommend packing more socks than you actually required for Moab to account for sand of the desert and getting wet at the Colorado river. 

Even in Summer I would pack some hiking socks to protect your feet. 


There is very little in terms of shade at Moab, especially if you are in the national parks. For this reason we recommend having sunglasses with you at all times. 


As with sunscreen I personally think a hat is necessary in Moab no matter the time of year but this is especially important for those traveling to Moab in Summer. 

A wide brimmed hat is absolutely essential as there is very little shade in any of the Moab area national parks, but a hat can go along way to protecting your face. 

What to Pack for Arches and Canyonlands National Park in Winter (December, January and February)

Winter in ARches - Best Time to Visit Arches National Park

Winter in ARches – Best Time to Visit Arches National Park

Winter in Moab is considered to be December, January and February. However the temperatures can get pretty low in November too. 

It always surprises me how cold it can get in the Moab area in Winter, particularly in Arches and Canyonlands. 

The temperature in this area in Winter can drop to the 30sF and it can even snow in the Moab area in Winter. 

What to wear to Arches in Winter

What to wear to Arches in Winter

The key to what to wear in Arches in Winter, (and by extension Canyonlands and Moab) is layers and lots of them!

Again I recommend wearing hiking pants but on a very cold day you may want some long Johns  and thermals as well.

For the top half we recommend having a thermal base layer such as a merino long sleeve top, with a sweater or hoodie as well as a down jacket / coat. 

This combination works whether you are a man, woman or child visiting Moab.

What to Pack for Arches and Canyonlands National Park in Spring and Fall (March, April and May and September, October and November)

Spring in Mob is classified as March, April and May while Fall is September, October and November. 

Depending on which month you are traveling in, will depend on the weather but you are safe to assume that May and September will be the warmest of the shoulder seasons and November will be the coldest.

However you should always check the forecast before you travel as Moab does get some weather variations and surprises so don’t be caught out! 

There are huge fluctuations in temperatures in these months with highs going from 70’s to low 90’s and the nights can get very low, sometimes in the low 40s. 

Therefore the key to your packing lists in these months is layers again. 

We recommend keeping the packing list the same as in the winter but for May and September in particular packing the zippable walking pants which can cope with hot weather better!

You also are unlikely to need a down jacket in these months so we would opt for a fleece instead. 

Best Shoes for Moab

Hiking Boots

We recommend hiking boots as the number one shoe for Moab. 

Proper hiking shoes are an absolute essential for the longer hikes in particular. Due to the sand we always recommend wearing some hiking socks with them to  help reduce blisters. 

Hiking Sandals

These aren’t suitable on the longer more primitive trails but are fine for shorter trails. 


If you plan on sticking to the very short trailheads and easy hikes of little distance in Arches and Canyonlands you may be able to get away with sneakers during the summer. However in Winter we recommend hiking boots for all trails as they have better grip in bad weather. 

Water Shoes (optional)

Now water shoes are not required for Arches National Park however if you are heading to Moab, you should really consider adding spending time on the Colorado River to your Moab itinerary! If you decide to go kayaking, rafting  or something else adventurous on the river then water shoes are a good idea!

FAQs About Moab Packing Lists

What to wear hiking in Moab?

Wondering what to wear hiking in Moab? The hiking in Moab is absolutely amazing and is one of the main reasons to go to the area.

The above packing lists work for hiking in Arches and Canyonlands no matter the season you are traveling. However if you plan on going on longer hikes or camping you will need extra gear. 

Do I need to wear hiking boots at Arches National Park

Not all National Parks and trails require hiking boots in my opinion however Arches is not one of these Parks! In my opinion Hiking Boots are the best shoes for Arches National Park especially if you want to get away from the crowds and take a walk on way of the primitive trails.

We definitely recommend trying at least one of these as some of the arches at Arches National Park can get really busy but we only saw two other people on the primitive trail we took! 

What Kids Should Wear in Arches, Canyonlands and Moab

Clothing wise I don’t recommend really packing anything different for children to adults in general.

When travelling with small children, again check their shoes have a good sole and they can’t be kicked off if you are carrying them.

what to wear in moab and arches national park with kids

what to wear in moab and arches national park with kids

On top of that if you are travelling with kids and particularly if you are traveling to Arches with toddlers we recommend considering some of the below as an addition to the above packing list

backpack reins

I know that these can be divisive amongst parents and not everyone likes to use them but if you want to do some more serious hikes with kids, and see some arches with their sheer drops, they are a great added safety precaution.

baby carrier or Hiking Toddler Back Pack

If you do decide to go for the traditional baby carrier over a hiking backpack carrier then check out the best carriers for hot weather! 

what to pack for moab for visiting Arches National Park with kids

what to pack for moab for visiting Arches National Park with kids

What to wear in Moab at Night?

Even if you are planning to spend most of your time in the National and State Parks chances are you will be spending some time in the town of Moab, and you might be thinking about spending time in Moab at night. So what should you be wearing Moab? 

We found that Moab is quite a casual town. We ate several of the restaurants in town both for lunch and at dinner and found that we were were fine with what we were wearing in the park and didn’t feel under dressed. 

However having lived in a desert I can attest that the temperatures in the desert drop quickly at night. So whether you are spending time in Moab at Night or are in the park we strongly recommend packing lots of layers for when the temperature drops. 

Have you been to Moab and the surrounding area? What was on your Moab Packing List and what did you wear to Arches National Park ? Let us know in the comments if you think we have left something off our list

Further Moab Reading 


Saturday 25th of May 2019

We love Moab & Utah! Your photos are amazing. The lightweight fleece is something we didn't think about. We assumed it would be much warmer than it was when we went in late March one year, but it was SO cold in the mornings and evenings.

Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays

Saturday 25th of May 2019

I have loved reading about this trip and these packing tips are fab, especially the shoes that cannot be kicked off when carrying a child