17 Top Moab Packing List Items for 2020 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

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Updated on October 8, 2020 by Asher Fergusson

Known mainly for its proximity to the jaw-dropping scenery of Arches National Park, that’s just one of the many draws of Moab. Also nearby are a second national park (Canyonlands) and one of Utah’s best state parks (Dead Horse Point), both offering an abundance of outdoor adventures and some seriously other-worldly landscapes.

There’s a good chance you’re wondering what to bring so we’ve created this helpful checklist. We also include a helpful what to wear at Moab section, what NOT pack and other important FAQs about making the most of your trip to Moab.

What to Pack for Moab – 17 Essentials


1. Paracord bracelet

Paracord braceletSince you’ll probably be spending some time on rugged terrain in one of the parks near Moab, you should come prepared with a tool like this emergency bracelet. It’s made from 12 feet of paracord, and it has a compass, knife, fire starter, and whistle. If you get into any kind of trouble, having this will probably help you get out of it.

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2. Daypack

DaypackWhether you’re taking a day trip, going on a hike or bike ride, or just wandering around town, a daypack is one of the essentials for Moab. Use it to carry your camera, phone, CamelBak reservoir, snacks, and whatever else you need for a day out.

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3. Packing cubes

Packing cubes Using packing cubes is the number one way to stay more organized on the road. When you pack with these, you’ll know where everything is, and you won’t have to rummage through your whole bag to find one small item. This set include cubes in three different sizes, and it comes with two laundry bags to store your dirty clothes until you get home.

Use the coupon code “HERO” to get an exclusive 10% discount.

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4. Solar charger

Solar chargerWhether you’re bringing a smart phone, camera, tablet, or some other type of device on your trip, you’ll need a way to keep it charged. A portable solar panel will let you charge it easily, no matter where you’re at. And if it’s overcast, you can always plug the charger into the wall when you’re in town.

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5. Neck wallet

Neck walletThere’s a risk of pickpocketing whenever you’re in a touristy place, so it’s important to keep your valuables close. A neck wallet will hold your cash, credit cards, phone, and other important items, keeping them much more secure than if they were in your pocket or bag. Plus, you’ll keep your hands free and avoid carrying a bulky pack if you don’t need it.

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6. Chilly pad

Chilly pad You might not have heard of a chilly pad before, but it should be considered one of the essentials to take to Moab, or any other hot destination. A chilly pad is a small towel made from a special hyper-evaporative material, and when you get it wet, it feels cool and dry. Place the wet towel around your neck and shoulders, and it will cool you down for hours.

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7. Travel insurance for Moab

	Travel insurance If you’re coming to Moab from outside the U.S. or your health insurance doesn’t provide coverage outside your network or region, travel insurance is crucial. World Nomads is especially useful in places like Moab because it covers nearly every outdoor and adventure activity that many companies exclude. Hopefully you won’t need to make any claims, but travel insurance is one of the few just-in-case purchases you really shouldn’t skip.

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8. LifeStraw water bottle

LifeStraw water bottle Depending on where you go around Moab, including parts of Canyonlands, you may have to collect your own drinking water. Any water collected will need to be treated before you drink it, and filtering is usually the most convenient option. A LifeStraw bottle makes things even easier, because the straw automatically filters the water as you drink.

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9. CamelBak

CamelBakHydration is absolutely critical in a hot climate like Moab, especially in the summer. While you can certainly drink out of a water bottle, most people stay more hydrated when using a CamelBak. Especially if you’re doing something active, it’s much easier to drink from a reservoir than to have to constantly fiddle with a water bottle. A CamelBak should be one of your Moab packing essentials if you’re planning any significant hiking or biking during your trip.

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10. Travel towel

Travel towelSince this area is full of spots to camp, raft, and swim, a towel should definitely be on your Moab packing list. But instead of bringing your regular terrycloth towel from home, it’s worth it to pick up a travel or camp towel. Unlike a bath towel, they’re super lightweight, pack down small, and dry out quickly.

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11. Solid shampoo bar

Solid shampoo barShampoo is always a packing essential, but a bottle of the normal kind is liable to leak and will cut into the limited liquids allowed by TSA. Consider trying a solid shampoo bar instead, and you’ll save yourself some hassle – plus it avoids the plastic waste of a regular bottle.

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12. Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizerHand sanitizer is crucial for staying hygienic and preventing illness when you’re spending time in nature and away from running water. Make sure to stick a small bottle in your purse or daypack so you always have it with you.

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13. Sunscreen

SunscreenSummer in Moab doesn’t only mean extreme heat, it also means lots of sunshine – and there’s not a lot of shade in most places. Sunscreen is truly one of the most essential things to take to Moab, and it’s best to choose a sweat- and water-resistant formula to keep you protected during all kinds of activities.

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14. Insect repellent

Insect repellentThe dry climate around Moab helps to keep bugs at bay, but you’re susceptible to bites whenever you spend a lot of time outside. Bring along some bug spray, especially if you’re planning to go camping.

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15. Electrolytes

ElectrolytesDehydration can happen easily in a place as hot as Moab. While it’s important to try to drink sufficient water, you should also be prepared in case you do end up getting dehydrated. If that happens, you can pop these electrolyte tablets in your water to help your body start the process of rehydrating.

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16. First-Aid kit

First-Aid kit When you’re hiking, rafting, or doing other outdoor activities, it’s important to be prepared for things to go wrong. Pack a First-Aid kit like this one so you’ll be able to take care of scrapes, blisters, and other minor injuries.

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17. Lipstick-sized portable charger

Lipstick-sized portable chargerWhen you’re spending the whole day out in nature, and especially when you’re camping, you might need a way to keep your phone charged. This tiny charger will do the trick, and you can easily carry it in your purse or daypack. It’s so small and lightweight, you won’t even notice you have it with you.

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Other Moab packing list items not to forget



 

What to Wear at Moab


Like many small towns in the Western U.S., Moab is a pretty laid-back place, so casual clothes are the norm. If you’re out hiking, rafting, exploring a national park, or doing other outdoor activities, you’ll want to dress for the elements. For those days, things like activewear, breathable fabrics, and items that dry out quickly will be the best clothes to wear in Moab. You can wear the same types of clothes to explore the town itself or go for casual outfits like jeans and T-shirts. In either case, dressing in layers is a good idea, especially outside of the hot summer months.

Your choice of footwear for Moab is also very important. Anything that’s comfortable will be fine for walking around in town, but you’ll want sturdy shoes or boots when you head into the outdoors.

What WOMEN should wear in Moab – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).













What MEN should wear in Moab – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).













 

SPRING in Moab – March, April, May:

Spring in Moab means warm-but-not-hot days and cool nights, so you’ll want to bring some layers. T-shirts, shorts, and other lightweight clothes should be suitable during the day (especially later in the season), but long pants and a sweatshirt or jacket will be more comfortable in the evenings.

SUMMER in Moab – June, July, August:

This area is known for its scorching summer days, with temperatures frequently climbing above 100 degrees. Your clothes for Moab during these months need to keep you cool, let your skin breathe, and protect you from the sun. Lightweight fabrics are a must, and sandals or other open shoes will be the most comfortable unless you’re out on the trail. Even in the summer, though, overnight temperatures drop into the 60s, so don’t forget to bring a light jacket or sweater as well.

FALL in Moab – September, October, November:

September in Moab can still be sizzling hot, but temperatures drop way off later in the season, with November lows around freezing. Lightweight clothes and sandals should mostly be comfortable during the day, but make sure to bring some warmer layers for the evening.

WINTER in Moab – December, January, February:

Winter in Moab is a totally different experience, with occasional snowfall and lows below freezing. If you visit during this time of year, make sure you come prepared. A winter-appropriate Moab wardrobe needs to include long pants, warm tops, a coat, a hat, and insulated shoes or boots.

How to dress for activities in Moab – (Click to expand)

Hiking – Hiking is one of the top things to do around Moab, so you’ll most likely want some clothes that are comfortable for hitting the trail. Hiking pants, a top made from breathable fabric, and sturdy shoes or boots are the essentials.

Biking – Biking is another popular activity in the Moab area. If you’re planning on doing any biking, you’ll be most comfortable in close-toed shoes, an activewear top, and long shorts or fitted pants.

Rafting – If you go rafting in Moab, you’re guaranteed to get wet, so you’ll want clothes that will dry out quickly. Swim trunks or board shorts, an activewear top, and snug water sandals will be the best bet.

Stargazing – The area around Moab has some of the darkest night skies in the country, so it’s a perfect destination for stargazing. Even during the summer, most nights are cool enough to warrant long pants and a light jacket or sweater. At other times of the year, you’ll need a coat if you want to go out at night to stargaze.

Snowshoeing & XC skiing – If you visit Moab in the winter, you’ll have the opportunity to do some beautiful snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. But make sure to dress in layers, starting with a sweat-wicking base layer, like wool leggings and a fitted top. You’ll also want snow pants, a winter coat, a hat, and gloves.

 

What NOT to Bring to Moab


1) 🚫 DON’T PACK physical books: There aren’t many things that will fill up your bag faster than books, plus the weight will add up. Instead of physical books, bring a Kindle on your trip

3) 🚫 DON’T TAKE excessive electronics: A camera is definitely one of the top things to bring to Moab, but you won’t have much use for a lot of other electronics. It’s smarter to leave them at home so you won’t have to worry about them getting damaged or stolen.

5) 🚫 DON’T TAKE too much stuff: Most people have a tendency to over pack, which leads to heavy bags that are difficult to lug around. Pare down your Moab packing list as much as possible, especially when it comes to clothes.

2) 🚫 DON’T BRING a bath towel: Bath towels are bulky and take a long time to dry, even in Moab’s arid climate. Pack a lightweight travel towel instead, to save time and space.

4) 🚫 DON’T BRING other valuables: The same goes for any other valuables and sentimental items. Things that you won’t need to use during your trip should stay behind.

6) 🚫 DON’T PACK heavy gear: Outdoor gear that’s heavy will also be difficult to carry around. If you have any heavy items, see if you can swap them out for a lightweight version.

What clothing should I NOT wear in Moab – (Click to expand)


Moab is a small and relaxed town, and most trips there are primarily about enjoying the outdoors. That means there’s really no occasion for formal attire or fancy jewelry, especially when you’re out at the parks. Since you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking, you won’t want to wear high heels or other shoes that are uncomfortable either. Outside of the winter months, you also won’t need any kind of heavy clothes for Moab.
 

FAQs about Moab travel


    1. What is the weather like in Moab?

    Moab weather is beautiful for the most part, with almost 250 days of sunshine per year. It’s very hot in the summer, surprisingly cold in the winter, and quite dry year-round. The desert climate also means big fluctuations between daytime and nighttime temperatures, especially in the summer, when highs can be around 100 while lows are in the 60s. The biggest things to watch out for that time of year are sun exposure and dehydration; you’ll want to spend time in the shade when possible and drink plenty of water. In the winter, Moab typically gets several inches of snow, but it rarely accumulates in town.

    2. When is the best time of year to visit Moab?

    Flying is the easiest way to reach Moab, with Canyonlands Field Airport just 20 miles outside of town. It’s a very small airport though, and only has flights to Denver, which are pretty pricey. Otherwise, you can fly into Grand Junction, which is just under two hours away, or the nearest major airport is Salt Lake City, almost four hours from Moab. Fortunately, in either case, there’s some beautiful scenery along the way.

    3. How can I get to and from Moab?

    Flying is the easiest way to reach Moab, with Canyonlands Field Airport just 20 miles outside of town. It’s a very small airport though, and only has flights to Denver, which are pretty pricey. Otherwise, you can fly into Grand Junction, which is just under two hours away, or the nearest major airport is Salt Lake City, almost four hours from Moab. Fortunately, in either case, there’s some beautiful scenery along the way.

    4. What are the accommodation options in Moab?

    Whether you want a rustic camping experience, a quaint B&B, or a luxurious hotel, you’ll find it in the Moab area. Right in downtown Moab, options range from budget-friendly motels to extravagant B&Bs. For other cheaper options, look for cabin rentals along Highway 191 outside of town. Moab’s climate also attracts a fair number of campers, who crowd into the many Bureau of Land Management campgrounds just outside of town. These are the most budget-friendly accommodations in Moab, at just $20 per night. There are also campgrounds in Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point State Park, but they tend to book up far in advance during high season.

    5. How can I save money when visiting Moab?

    Some of the easiest ways to save money in Moab are by camping instead of staying at a hotel and picking up some groceries instead of eating out for every meal. Hiking or biking independently, rather than through a tour company, will also save you quite a bit. Moab has some excellent free attractions too, like the Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage, which features memorabilia from the many movies shot in the area. You can also take in some beautiful scenery for free by driving the Dead Horse Point Mesa or Upper Colorado River Scenic Byways.

    The entrance fee at both Arches and Canyonlands is $30, but if you’re planning to visit any additional national parks during the year, you’ll save by purchasing the America the Beautiful Pass. It costs $80 and gets you into all national parks, monuments, and other federal recreation areas for one year.

    6. What are the top things to do in Moab?

    While Moab is mostly known as a gateway to the nearby national parks, there’s plenty to enjoy in the town itself too. The Moab Museum is a good first stop as it covers the town’s history, from the prehistoric up through the mining boom in the early 20th century. If you’re traveling with kids, Moab Giants is a must; it’s a walking path through the desert populated with over 100 life-sized dinosaur sculptures. Another great attraction for the little ones is the Moab Backyard Theater, which has a magic show. Don’t miss the Moab Food Truck Park, where you can find everything from burritos to Mongolian beef to mini donuts.

    7. What day trips can I take from Moab?

    Visitors to Moab tend to spend much of their time taking day trips, especially to the famous parks in the area. Arches National Park is the most popular day trip from Moab, and it’s just a few minutes from town. It can be toured in one day, and the 18-mile-long scenic drive through the park passes all the park’s top attractions. Canyonlands is quite a bit larger, and it’s split into three distinct sections. Island in the Sky is the closest to Moab and the most popular, as the trails are relatively short and services aren’t far away. The Needles draws fewer crowds and feels more isolated, while the Maze should only be attempted by expert hikers with sufficient backcountry knowledge. Dead Horse Point State Park is another great day trip from Moab, with its hiking and biking trails and incredible vistas. There’s also the town of Monticello, about an hour to the south, where you’ll find Newspaper Rock, one of the best-preserved Native American petroglyphs.

    8. What are the best hikes near Moab?

    Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is the quintessential Moab hike, though the 1.5-mile trail can get crowded. In Canyonlands, the Mesa Arch Trail and the Druid Arch Trail are among the most impressive hikes. Dead Horse Point State Park has seven miles of trails, but the Bighorn Overlook Trail offers some of the most stunning scenery. For great hiking options outside the parks, Corona Arch Trail offers more quintessential Moab landscape and is only about five miles out of town. There’s also Fisher Towers Trail, about 25 miles from town. This 2.5-mile trail weaves through a wave of sandstone towers, offering scenery that’s bizarre even by eastern Utah standards.

    9. Are there things to do in Moab in the winter?

    Moab doesn’t get a lot of visitors in the winter, but those who venture there in the cold months are richly rewarded. Seeing the stunning landscape at Arches dusted with snow is reason enough to visit Moab in winter. For something more active, the nearby La Sal Mountains offer snowshoeing and both backcountry and cross-country skiing. Slickrock Bike Trail is still accessible in the winter as well. Of course, winter is also a great time to check out Moab’s museums and art galleries.

    10. What is there to do in Moab at night?

    Moab might be known mostly for its daytime outdoor activities, but there’s plenty to do after sunset as well. The stargazing program jointly offered by Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point should be at the top of your list or do your stargazing with Red Rock Astronomy in town. Another fun thing to do at night is the Sound and Light Tour put on by Canyonlands by Night, which includes a cowboy-style Dutch oven dinner and a boat ride on the Colorado River. You can also catch a show at the Moab Backyard Theater or see live music at any of several bars in the downtown area.