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17 Top Reno Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

what to pack for reno
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The Biggest Little City in the World”, Reno, Nevada is often considered the little sister to the much bigger Las Vegas. However, Reno is a great travel destination, both for those looking for some fun gambling and going out, and for those looking to get outside and explore nature. Reno is one of the sunniest cities in the U.S. and offers beautiful weather that isn’t nearly as hot as that in Vegas.

Lake Tahoe is less than an hour away from Reno and offers all different kinds of natural beauty. The highest alpine lake in North America, at over 6,000 feet above sea level, it features deep blue water for boating, windsurfing, and enjoying from the beach, but is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains which offer great winter sports and skiing. Definitely try to include a trip to Tahoe if you visit Reno! It may be difficult to know what to pack for a location with this climate and different kinds of activities, so we put together a list of the most essential items for a trip to Reno, what to wear, some FAQs, plus some items you should not pack!

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for Reno – 17 Essentials

  • 1. Cooling Towel

    I don’t know if these towels existed on my first desert trip, or maybe I didn’t know about them yet, but I would definitely recommend everyone traveling to the desert pack these amazing cooling towels! They take up almost no room, and when you get them wet, they instantly cool you down, which can be a lifesaver in the desert heat. Even better, they come with a carrying case and come with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

    cooling towel

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  • 2. High-SPF Sunscreen

    Wearing sunscreen every day is important, but especially important when visiting desert areas such as Reno, where there isn’t a lot of shade. We like this sunscreen because it’s safe to use on sensitive skin, contains no active chemical ingredients, but offers great UVA/UVB protection.

    High-SPF Sunscreen

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Today, many people still need to connect to work while traveling, even on vacation. If you plan to work, connect to your bank, or just want added peace of mind and security, we recommend using a VPN to get secure and private internet access while traveling. It will help keep your passwords and accounts safe and protect you from malware, trackers, and other threats.


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  • 4. Beach Bag

    Being a desert town, Reno itself doesn’t have many beaches, but its resorts do have beautiful pools you’ll want to enjoy, and if you get a chance to travel to Lake Tahoe, you’ll find some incredible beaches. I love packing this beach bag for either the pool or lakeside because it holds all my essentials for the day but still looks cute. This bag also includes a cooler section to keep drinks cold and is both water and sand-resistant.

    Beach Bag

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  • 5. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    If you’ve ever packed a full-size towel in your daypack, you probably regretted it once you tried to fit everything else in. This packable, lightweight towel dries you more quickly than a regular towel and folds up super small to fit in a daypack or beach bag.

    travel towel

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Reno

    Even though the world is opening back up, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around travel. We always recommend getting travel insurance for a trip, which can protect you against flight cancellations, weather events, illness, and other unexpected and unwelcome surprises. We like to compare policies from top companies and find the best option for us.

    Travel Insurance for Reno

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  • 7. Neck Wallet

    These neck wallets have become another travel essential for us. They can hold your basics: cards, phone, keys, etc., but are lightweight and can allow you to travel hands-free. I like taking them on short trips from the hotel when I don’t want to carry a whole daypack but want to make sure I have all my small essentials on hand. Made from high-quality zippers and ripstop nylon, they also feature RFID protection for an added layer of safety.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 8. Pretty, Versatile Dress

    Often, when I’m packing I try to fit as many “functional” articles in as I can, but that sometimes means not many “pretty” things to wear. When traveling to Reno, you will hopefully be checking out some of the amazing restaurants available and will want to look fabulous when you do so. This dress is easy to pack and wear, but looks great on all body types and easily dresses up with accessories. It comes in sizes 4-22 and a ton of colors, although you can never go wrong with black!

    Pretty, Versatile Dress

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  • 9. Wide-Brimmed Sun Hat

    The desert sun can be intense, even in the evening and non-summer months. This hat provides great shade coverage, as well as UPF 50 protection, and goes with both casual and dressy outfits. I love it because it packs up really easily and doesn’t wrinkle when you take it out of your bag.

    Wide-Brimmed Sun Hat

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  • 10. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    This convenient bag holds everything you’ll need for your Reno vacation – from sunscreen and cosmetics to medication and toothpaste. We love the design because it saves space both in your bag and in your hotel room, and hanging it from a hook keeps everything organized and within reach.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 11. Packing Cubes

    These packing cubes are the #1 item I use with every single trip, whether it’s a tropical vacation or a business trip. They keep all my clothing organized (I like to put shirts in one, undergarments in another, etc.), and when I open my suitcase I only have 4 cubes instead of many different articles of clothing spilling out. Made of ripstop nylon and tough zippers, these come with a lifetime replacement guarantee but you likely won’t ever need to use them.

    Packing Cubes

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  • 12. Portable Charger

    When you plan to be out and about all day, throwing a small charger like this in your purse or daypack can be a lifesaver. It’s about the size of a lipstick, but can fully charge up your phone in very little time, no matter where you are.

    Portable Charger

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  • 13. Daypack

    Whether you are walking the strip, hiking the desert, or taking a day trip in the car, a functional daypack like this can hold all your needs for the day and keep everything organized. I love this one because it’s lightweight but can still fit my water bottle, an extra layer of clothing, my cords and charger, sunscreen, and a snack.


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  • 14. Buff

    You can wear it as a neck warmer, a headband, a face mask, and just about anything else. We love this model, because it provides UPF 50+ protection, but packs up to almost nothing in your daypack or suitcase and feels totally breathable while wearing. I have appreciated having it in both cold and hot climates!


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  • 15. Hiking Shoes

    If you’re headed to Reno, there’s a good chance you’ll be exploring some of the surrounding area, which can be extremely rugged terrain. These hiking shoes are lightweight and comfortable, but still plenty durable for all different kinds of activities. We like them because they aren’t as heavy and bulky as full hiking boots but still provide protection.

    Hiking Shoes

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  • 16. First Aid Kit

    If you are out adventuring in the Reno or Tahoe area, you may find yourself a long distance from populated areas. Carrying a small first aid kit such as this is always a good idea, particularly when you are in such remote locations. This kit doesn’t take up much room at all, but has all the basics you might need in an emergency situation.

    First Aid Kit

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  • 17. Life Straw Water Bottle

    This bottle looks like most other reusable bottles but comes with a great feature: it has a filter that makes most water safe to drink, removing parasites, bacteria, and even microplastics. When traveling around Reno, we recommend packing plenty of water with you, but carrying a Life Straw bottle means that if you run out, you can filter water to make it safe.

    Life Straw Water Bottle

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What to Wear in Reno

When you think of Reno, you think of the desert, but Reno itself has “high desert” weather – hot in the day but cool at night. Pack layers so that you can add and remove them as needed throughout the day. Reno is pretty casual: if you’re visiting the casinos and resorts in the city, you can get away with comfortable clothes and jeans. If you plan to visit an upscale restaurant or club, you’ll want to dress up a bit.

In Tahoe and the area surrounding Reno, you will want to pack more outdoor gear for hiking, boating, camping, horseback riding, and exploring. This will include hiking shoes and a daypack, and an assortment of items to keep you safe, including sunscreen, water bottle, and a first-aid kit.

What Should WOMEN Wear in Reno? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Reno has a surprising number of museums, not just casinos and clubs. If you plan to spend the day checking out the cultural attractions, wear comfortable walking shoes and layers that are easy to remove and add as the temperature changes. When you plan to go out at night, feel free to dress up and add some glam – you will fit right in.

If you plan to check out Lake Tahoe for hiking, skiing, or other outdoor activities, you’ll need proper outdoor gear like hiking pants, quick-drying fabrics, and hiking shoes.

What Should MEN Wear in Reno? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Reno is famous for its casinos, of course, and you can dress up or dress down, depending on which you want to visit. There will be many tourists in casual clothes at some casinos, but you’ll want to bring some nice pants and a collared shirt for others. If your Reno plans include going out at night, we recommend a lightweight dinner jacket that will instantly dress up almost any outfit.

Lake Tahoe is just a short drive from Reno and features incredible skiing, hiking, boating, and other adventures. This means if you want to visit Tahoe, you’ll need to pack some outdoor gear for your activities. We recommend including quick-drying fabrics and tactical clothing for hiking, and a daypack to carry all your gear.

Dressing for the Seasons

Winter – December, January, February

Winter can be pretty chilly in winter, so you’ll want to pack a coat and hat for sure. Think about how each item can be layered or added to others to keep you warm, but not too hot. Highs are around 50°F (10°C) and lows are around 24°F (-4°C) during the winter months.

Spring – March, April, May

Spring is a great time to visit Reno, as it’s nice and warm, but not yet desert-hot. You can wear jeans or lightweight pants, and pretty much any dress and tops, but bring a jacket as well for the chilly evenings. In the spring, temperatures range from lows of 30F (-1°C) to highs of 76°F (24°C).

Summer – June, July, August

Summer is when things get pretty hot in the desert around Reno, so we recommend lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. It can still get chilly in the evening, so throw a light cardigan or button-down shirt in your bag for the day and you will thank yourself at nighttime. Highs during summer are up to 90°F (32°C), and lows average 50F (10°C).

Fall – September, October, November

Fall daytime temps can still be quite warm, so you’ll want to wear natural, breathable fabrics that layer well. The evenings can cool off quite a bit, so be sure to bring extra jackets and light sweaters if you’re the type of person who gets chilly easily. Temperatures range from lows of 30F (-1°C) to highs of 85°F (29°C) in the Fall months in Reno.

Dressing Appropriately for the Activity
Downtown: Reno can be both casual and classy. Some casino rooms are full of people in shorts, while others are upscale resorts that you’ll want to class it up for. We recommend bringing some casual clothing for day trips and exploring the city, and a nice dress and dinner jacket for nights out on the town.

Lake Tahoe: Lake Tahoe has amazing opportunities for some outdoor adventures while you are in Reno. It’s just a short drive away but has incredible boating and watersports in the summer weather, and plenty of amazing skiing in the winter months. If you plan to add a Tahoe trip to your Reno trip, be sure to pack the right gear for your activities, and clothing that is easy to layer for both hot and cold weather, because Tahoe has it all!

Desert Trip: One of the most unique things you can do around Reno visits the desert, whether a quick day trip in the car or a full-on camping trip. If you plan to include exploring the desert on your trip, be sure to pack appropriate clothing (for both hot and cold!), plenty of water and a filtered water bottle, and comfortable hiking shoes.

What NOT to Bring

  • 1.DON’T Bring Expensive Jewelry

    Reno is a safe city, but you still don’t want to pack your valuable jewelry. You will fit right in wearing sparkly costume jewelry, and won’t have to worry about losing anything too expensive.

  • 2.DON’T Bring Heavy Books

    Hopefully, you’ll get some relaxation time while in Reno, and while that may mean some good reading, we recommend you leave the books at home. Instead, pack a lightweight Kindle, or pick something up to read while you’re there.

  • 3.DON’T Bring Bulky Clothing

    Even though it can be cold in Reno at night and in the winter months, you won’t want to pack bulky clothing. Thin base layers can keep you plenty warm without taking up too much space in your luggage.

  • 4.DON’T Bring Too Much Outdoor Gear

    Reno and Tahoe offer tons of opportunities for outdoor adventure, but packing ALL of your outdoor gear is a mistake. Try to think about what is the most used and the most practical, and leave the rest of the fancy gear at home.

  • 5.DON’T Bring A Lot of Cash

    We don’t recommend carrying a lot of cash for safety reasons, but in Reno, you could end up losing your money in the casinos if you bring too much and have too much fun!

  • 6.DON’T Bring Impractical Shoes

    Even though you might want to dress up in your highest stilettos for a night out in Reno, you’ll probably regret it in the morning and will take up valuable luggage space. Instead, opt for some cute, stylish shoes that are also comfortable, and you won’t regret it.

What NOT to Wear – (Click to expand)
Because the temperature in the Reno/Tahoe area can vary greatly, don’t choose clothing that won’t layer well. Ideally, you want to wear lightweight things that can be added and removed, and won’t be a pain to carry with you if you are out for a while. Heavy items such as a wool coat or puffer will keep you warm, but you’ll have to carry them with you once the temps warm up. Instead, pack an extra button-down layer made of lightweight fabric and accessories that will help regulate your temperature like a buff.

FAQs about Traveling to Reno

  • 1. What is there to do in Reno?

    Reno is famous for its casinos, which range from classics from the 1950s to new upscale resorts. While it’s not Las Vegas, it’s a great alternative for those looking for a more intimate and laid-back vacation.

  • 2. What if I don’t like gambling?

    What if I don’t like gambling?

    No problem! Reno actually has a lot of great museums and cultural attractions, most of which are located right within the city. There are also a ton of outdoor activities nearby like horseback riding, hiking, and even skiing in the winter. Every September, Reno hosts the Great Reno Balloon Race – one of the largest free hot air balloon events in the world.

  • 3. Is Reno expensive?

    While you can find upscale restaurants and spas in Reno, it is generally considered an inexpensive option for vacations. Hotels and transportation are competitively priced, and there are plenty of affordable things to do while you’re there. However, if you want to rent a ski-side villa at a resort in Tahoe, that option is available as well!

  • 4. What is the weather like in Reno?

    What is the weather like in Reno

    Even though Reno is in the desert, it isn’t nearly as hot as Las Vegas, because it’s much higher in elevation. This means it experiences both hot summers and cold winters, making it an ideal place to travel no matter what kind of weather you’re looking for. Since it is in the desert, the climate is pretty dry and rainfall isn’t too common.

  • 5. How do you get around Reno?

    The Reno-Tahoe airport is just a few minutes from downtown, and you can Uber or drive from there. While a car isn’t necessary in downtown Reno, it is if you want to visit Tahoe or the surrounding area. If you plan to just stick to the casinos, restaurants, and clubs in the city, you won’t need a car at all.

  • 6. Is Lake Tahoe worth visiting while I’m in Reno?

    Is Lake Tahoe worth visiting while I’m in Reno?

    Absolutely! Lake Tahoe is beautiful no matter the season and offers incredible activities. In the summer you can go boating, golfing, hiking, and windsurfing. In the winter, it offers excellent skiing and winter views. Lake Tahoe is easily accessible from Reno, but during the winter, snowstorms can make it more difficult to access.

  • 7. Is Reno safe for someone to travel solo?

    Yes! Reno is considered a rather safe destination, even for solo travelers. However, always use common sense, especially if you go out for the night, or travel outside the city to the surrounding desert areas.