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20 Top Napa Valley Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

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Nestled in the heart of California’s wine region, Napa Valley is a countryside dream with a Mediterranean climate.

Now that you’ve narrowed down the perfect location, you’ll need to figure out how to pack for days filled with world-class wine, golden sunset hikes, farm-to-table cuisine, and a downtown that dates back to the 1800s.

Use this guide to pack thoughtfully and make the most of your time on the West Coast! You’ll also find tips for what to wear in Napa, what NOT to bring, and common FAQs.

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for Napa Valley – 20 Essentials

  • 1. Packing Cubes

    California is one of the only places that experience 5 major climates (cool, desert, alpine tundra, highland, and Mediterranean). Prepare for any condition with these game-changing packing cubes. You can easily categorize your suitcase for a stress-free traveling experience (use one cube for tops, one for bottoms, one for dresses, etc.) Gone are the days of digging through your suitcase to find that long-lost tee. We also love the bonus laundry bags that keep your clean and dirty clothes separate.

    Packing Cubes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Anti-Theft Neck Wallet

    While hopping from vineyard to vineyard, you won’t want to lug around a heavy purse or worry about misplacing your personal items. This high-quality neck wallet organizes your cash, credit cards, cell phone, and private belongings into convenient pockets. It’s also RFID blocking so thieves cannot scan important data through your wallet. This is a small investment that could hugely save you in future time, money, and stress!

    hero neck wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Cooling Towels (Premium-Grade)

    Since you will be strolling around the warm outdoors in direct sunlight, beat the heat with these microfiber cooling towels. They are brimming with scientific magic – simply dip it in water, wring it out, and the towel will instantly become 20-30 degrees cooler than the outside temperature for the next 30-60 minutes). Drape around your neck and enjoy the ice-cold relief.

    Cooling Towels (Premium-Grade)

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 4. Leak-Proof Wine Bags

    Affordable, reusable, travel-proof, and no more broken wine bottles – what’s not to love? These anti-impact bottle sleeves will protect your most precious pours, making it easy to drink on-the-go or lighten your luggage. They can be used for water, liquor, and everything in between. With a double zipper and thick bubble padding, this is the solution to traveling with fragile glass (and not to mention, insurance for your favorite wines.)

    Leak-Proof Wine Bags

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    You’ll inevitably find yourself with a low battery, so keep this super small portable charger with you for everyday use. Don’t waste precious time on your vacation being without access to the internet, navigation, and your camera. Highly rated for its rapid charging speed and lipstick size, this product is compatible with Micro USB, Type C, and lightning devices. If you were stranded in an emergency situation with a dead phone, this could literally save the day.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Hangover Prevention

    Alcohol and sulfites (wine preservatives) can lead to a vicious headache the next morning. Prevent the hangover and support your liver health with this concentrated herbal supplement. As a natural detoxifier, this botanical blend includes Reshi mushroom for brain power and milk thistle, which repairs liver cells. We love this brand that prioritizes purity and quality tests each batch. Settle for nothing less than waking up feeling refreshed every day of your trip.

    Hangover Prevention

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 7. Electrolyte Recovery (HydroMate)

    Prepare for the worst with these Electrolyte Recovery blends by HydroMate. This is a vacation essential because it offers 3xs more hydration than water alone. It will perk you right up after a long night of wining and dining, with 1000mg of Vitamin C and 465mg of electrolytes per serving. From effectiveness to deliciousness – this is the only hangover cure you need.

    Hangover prevention

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Flexible Tripod

    Whether this is a romantic getaway, a solo trip, or a friend reunion – You will want pictures. This flexible tripod is the perfect way to include the entire gang in all snapshots. This product is top-rated for its ball-jointed base that can attach to bars, railings, tree branches, chairs, and numerous other foundations. The aluminum support makes it sturdy enough to support any action camera or smartphone.

    Flexible Tripod

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Sun-Protective Hat

    The majority of your trip will be spent leisurely moving between vineyards, patios, sprawling hillsides, and expansive gardens. You will notice many tourists looking very chic in sun-protective hats. We recommend this elegant, foldable hat with a UPF of 50+. It is also adjustable in the crown size and includes an interior-woven sweatband.

    Sun hat beige straw

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Evening Knit Cardigan

    Similar to any desertscape, Napa Valley can offer warm days and very cold nights. You will regret being in potentially 40-50°F weather without a warm knit cardigan to snuggle up in. This fall staple is chic, classic, and offers the right amount of warmth for transitional weather. After a day of exploring wineries, cuddle up by the fireplace in this soft wrap with your favorite new wine, surrounded by loved ones.

    Cardigan beige

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. Comfortable Walking Shoes

    A trip to Napa will always involve a lot of walking. Make sure you have a comfortable pair like these Sketchers flats with memory foam soles; they are easily dressed up for dinner or dressed down for daytime excursions. I personally own and love these shoes – I wear them everywhere and I get a ton of compliments on them. They are the most comfortable flats I have ever owned.

    Comfortable flats

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 12. Blister Balm

    Whether you’re meandering between vineyards or exploring the luscious nature, blister defense is a must! This product is toxin-free and will last for 6+ hours. It creates an invisible barrier that protects your feet and offers you peace of mind for an adventurous day ahead. Use them as you break in new shoes, hike, jog, walk, and dance, (maybe skip it on the day you’re stomping grapes).

    Blister balm

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Universal Travel Adapter

    If you’re traveling to California from outside of North America, then you will most likely need a travel adapter. This universal model is our favorite because you can use it almost anywhere worldwide. It offers built-in device protection against faulty sockets and comes backed by a lifetime replacement guarantee.

    Peru power adapter

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Cross-Body Bag

    One of Napa’s charms is the lack of responsibilities – you shouldn’t need to drive, cook, clean, make decisions, OR carry heavy bags. This lightweight cross-body bag is the ideal compromise of practicality and style. As an affordable everyday bag, it has just enough room for basic essentials (phone, lipstick, wallet, etc.) Walk freely and move with ease in this adjustable shoulder strap with a 23”-drop. It’s the perfect way to rosé all day!

    Cross-Body Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Traveling Curling Iron

    This two-in-one styling tool is a girl’s best friend! With a mini-flat iron and mini-curler, you can easily achieve a damage-free look for day or night. It is incredibly compact, weighing less than 1 pound when packed in it’s diamond-accented case. It is top-rated by world travelers and can also be kept in your purse for quick touch ups.

    Traveling Curling Iron

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. Sun-Protection Umbrella

    Napa rains about 75 days a year but can still experience light drizzles, particularly if you are visiting during the rainy season of Winter. While this can be very romantic and scenic, we recommend packing a lightweight umbrella that can double as sun protection in the Summertime. It’s water-resistant with an ergonomic design, weighs less than 1-pound, and comes with a very well-made carrying case.

    Sun-Protection Umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 17. Solid Shampoo

    When flying, reduce the amount of liquids you’re carrying and avoid cramming your expensive products in messy travel bottles. This solid shampoo by J.R. Liggett’s is vegan, vitamin-rich, and sulfate-free. Since the usage size is concentrated, one bar will last for a long time. This is the most nourishing, sudsy, moisturizing, and simultaneously portable shampoo option we’ve ever found.

    Solid Shampoo

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 18. Activated Charcoal

    Have you noticed that you have to ‘go’ less on vacation? There’s a science to back this (a foreign land, a new toilet, irregular schedules, unusual circumstances). Ensure your digestive system stays on track with activated charcoal, a natural detoxifier. It’s made to rebalance your body when adjusting to new or potentially harmful bacteria. You may feast on some hearty meals in Napa – Take this before bed to wake up feeling light as a feather!

    Activated Charcoal

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 19. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    In recent years, 70+ wineries in Northern California have been victims of a data breach. As you connect to public cafés, wineries, hotels, and airports – you put your credit card, passwords, and private information at risk. Protect yourself by securing all public WiFi connections with a VPN. A virtual private network is an easy and affordable way to encrypt your data and add an extra shield of defense around your device. We recommend NordVPN to compare the lowest rates side-by-side.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Compare options at NordVPN ➜

  • 20. Travel Insurance for California

    Medical insurance does not cover you overseas. When traveling away from home, a simple medivac (transportation to the hospital can cost $30K+ – and this is before you’ve even sought treatment). Play it safe on vacation and ensure your health with TravelInsurance.com. They offer a variety of plans that cover common emergencies like lost luggage, canceled flights, theft, and expensive medical costs. We never travel without it.

    Travel Insurance for California

    Compare policies at TravelInsurance.com ➜

What to Wear in Napa

The styles in California tend to air on the side of casual and laid-back. Since most of the region has a Mediterranean-like climate with days that are warm and humid, but nights that are cold and brisk, similar to any desert. You will want to pack plenty of short-sleeved tops, skirts, jean shorts, and sundresses for the warmer months, as well as a thick cardigan or fleece jacket for the evenings or winter.

Napa’s weather doesn’t deviate much from its typical range of warm and pleasant; Dressing in the winter will only be slightly bulkier than dressing for the Summer. Always peruse vineyards with sun-protective gear on, like a stylish wide-brimmed hat, polarized sunglasses, and organic sunscreen. Pack neutral and easy-to-pair outfits that can be mixed and matched with other pieces.

What NOT to Bring to Napa Valley

  • 1.DON'T PACK corkscrews / sharp objects

    While it may seem like an obvious thing to bring for your BYOB dinners, Napa is jam-packed with corkscrews and you’ll probably be forced by the TSA staff to throw away any sharp objects. Save yourself $10 and buy one once you arrive.

  • 2.DON'T PACK too much stuff

    You won’t want to be bogged down by heavy and overstuffed luggage during your trip to California. Bring easily paired items that look good with everything (think blues, neutrals, blacks). Maximize your luggage space by pulling a fashion crime and wearing the same outfit twice (gasp!) No one will notice in Napa.

  • 3.DON'T PACK non-essential electronics

    Wine country is the perfect place to unwind and unplug. Take this detour from your routine as an excuse to log-off of social media for a while and be present with your group. You can post the pictures when you’re back home!

  • 4.DON'T PACK too many valuables

    Even if you are attached to your prized possessions, it is not worth the risk of losing them while traveling. Leave your valuables at home (like expensive jewelry and family heirlooms) and only bring what’s needed for an inebriated, good time.

  • 5.DON'T PACK heavy liquids

    If you’re not visiting Napa for long, it’s not necessary to pack along full-sized liquids (that you may have to throw away anyways). Opt for TSA-approved travel-sized bottles and consolidate the liquids you’re taking with you. This will also reduce the weight and bulk of your luggage, making it easier for you to get around.

  • 6.DON'T PACK uncomfortable shoes

    Although you may want to look lavish in high heels, they’re not practical or necessary for Napa. Everyone is chilling and relaxing, so feel free to wear your comfiest flats or a wedge heel that will be more supportive for strolls through the vineyards.

FAQs About Traveling in Napa Valley

  • 1. What’s the best time of year to go to Napa Valley?

    There is no wrong time to visit Napa, only the timeframe that aligns with your budget and goals for this getaway. Napa is moderate year-round and always abuzz with festivals, events, concerts, galleries, and crowds of wine connoisseurs.

    Fall is Napa’s peak season, corresponding with Harvest Season from August to October. The leaves begin to change colors and you’ll find the countryside even more idyllic in the Autumn.

    Winter is the best time to visit for fewer crowds and lower prices. It will be crisp and chilly, so don’t forget a thick jacket or two.

    Spring is also a wonderful time to visit Napa for blooming flower fields, cooler weather, lower rates, and a more intimate experience.

    Summer will be the busiest, hottest, and most expensive season (coinciding with the American holidays and school break). Book far in advance if you wish to visit from May to August, and still anticipate rates to skyrocket.

  • 2. How long should I stay in Napa?

    3-4 nights is the ideal time frame for a Napa holiday. A long weekend can be spent with:

    • 1-2 days on wineries (2-5 wineries per day)
    • 1 day on hiking or outdoor activities
    • 1 day for spa and relaxation

    Divvy up your time wisely and this short duration can feel like a very long and restful break. At the most, I would recommend visiting Napa for one week, but consider yourself warned – your feet may be dragging by that 30th vineyard!

  • 3. What are the best wineries in Napa?

    Some of the most highly-rated wineries in Napa Valley include:

    1. Castello di Amorosa (a 13th-century style castle)
    2. Atesa (Spain’s oldest wine-making family)
    3. St. Helena (120-year history with iconic wines)
    4. Jarvis Estate (tour the underground cave)
    5. O’Brien Estate Winery (an adorable boutique winery)
    6. Sequoia Grove Winery (a rustic and charming experience)
    7. Domaine Carneros (champagne, caviar, and luxury)
    8. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (winner of countless blind taste tests)
    9. Stony Hill Winery (immaculate vineyards with a rich history)
    10. Ehler’s Estate (the epitome of picturesque)

  • 4. Can you bring food to a winery?

    Yes, wineries will typically allow you to bring your own picnic basket and savor your own meal at no charge – But! They will generally ask you to purchase a bottle of wine or a tasting in exchange for the ambiance and stunning views.

    Pro tip: Laird Family Estates actually offers a special called “Bottle & Blanket Tasting” (just bring your own snacks, and they will provide the picnic blanket, wine, and stellar location!)

  • 5. How much do you tip in Napa?

    In general:

    • 15-25% at restaurants (more if you are satisfied with the service)
    • 10-15% in wineries ($5-10 a person is a typical tip for tastings)
    • 5-10% at cafés/counter service (no tip is acceptable in many cases)
  • 6. How do I get around Napa?

    There are many ways to get around Napa – Some visitors simplify their approach by staying along the main road – Highway 29. Walking will be the most economical option but not the safest if you are inebriated.

    The VINE is a fixed-route bus system that runs down the length of Napa Valley (59-miles from Calistoga to El Cerrito Del Norte). You can purchase passes by phone, online, or in-person at local transit centers.

    You can book an Uber or ride-share beforehand, but ensure you do this before you leave for the day. WiFi can be spotty in Napa and it will be harder to get a ride once you’re already at a winery.

    When drinking, you do not want to make decisions or put your well-being at risk. Our recommendation would be to play it safe and ensure you have a reliable ride with a private ride or tour bus. Sit back and relax with a professional tour guide who chauffeurs you whereever you want to go for the next 6-8 hours. You can customize your route or select a popular itinerary with complimentary stops.

    Other local modes of transportation include electric bikes, tricycle tours, wine trolleys, and limos.