17 Top Texas Packing List Items for 2021 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

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Updated on by Asher Fergusson

Texas is unlike anywhere else in the United States. It has a little bit of everything – national parks, natural beauty, history, culture, and modern activities. It’s a good destination during any time of the year since the weather stays semi-moderate (except for the summer!).

There is always plenty to do and tons to see in Texas, so make sure you’re prepared for the trip and can enjoy yourself while you’re away! To help, we have created a helpful packing list. Also included, you will find a section on what to wear in Texas, what NOT to pack and other important answers to FAQs.

What to Pack for Texas – 17 Essentials

1. Denim Jeans

Denim JeansIf you truly want to “do what the locals do,” then don’t forget to pack your best fitting Levi’s. Texas is a pretty casual state, and most folks will be sporting denim jeans, boots and a tucked-in tee and belt for their day-to-day errands.

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2. Lifestraw Water Bottle

Lifestraw Water BottleThere’s lots of nature trails, hiking and biking activities to be done while in Texas, so make sure you have a way to stay hydrated while out and about! Lifestraw water bottles have a two-stage filter to ensure the water you’re drinking is free of parasites, chemicals and bacteria.

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3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPNIf you want to save yourself at least one headache while travelling, splurge for a personal VPN. Scores of people get ripped off and hacked through shared WiFi data sharing and sometimes those hackers can really ruin a trip! VPN’s keep your personal information safe and untouchable.

View NordVPN.com Plans ➜

4. Solid Shampoo

Solid ShampooSince I am always known to buy trinkets and gifts while travelling, I try to take as many things as I can that I won’t have to bring back. Solid shampoo, conditioner and body wash is plastic-less and doesn’t leave anything behind when it’s gone!

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5. Packing Cubes

Packing cubesOrganization is crucial for any trip, especially if you’re travelling with family and young children! These packing cubes were made specifically to help ease the burdens of packing for big trips or lots of people. Each cube can be filled to the brim, zipped and labeled appropriately, then packed into the suitcase. This method helps keep everything organized for the journey and makes living out of a suitcase so much more bearable!

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6. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

Lipstick-Sized Portable ChargerStop worrying about finding an outlet and invest in a tiny charger that you can throw in your bag or keep in your car for when you’re on the road. I’ve used mine while eating dinner, catching a train and so many more times! You hardly notice it while it’s in use but then you’re so thankful you had it once you’re all charged up.

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7. Ballcap

BallcapThe sun in Texas is just different than anywhere else. You’ll want to keep your face shielded from those UV rays with either a Longhorns cap or cowboy hat – you’ll fit in effortlessly with the locals if you’re wearing either one!

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8. Daypack

DaypackIt’s a good rule of thumb to always bring a daypack with you wherever you travel. I find myself using them to store water and snacks and towels for hikes, museum walks, or really any other adventure. Because there’s so many pockets and storage space, they’re also a great baby bag if you’re in a pinch!

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9. Cooling Towel

Cooling TowelThe heat in Texas is no joke. You’ll want to spend time outdoors since there’s so many outdoor activities to enjoy, but make sure you prepare for the heat with plenty of water, sunscreen, and a cooling towel to keep you from getting overheated. These microfiber towels are super absorbent, cooling, and hypoallergenic. Plus they’re small enough to throw in your purse or bag anytime.

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10. Swimsuit Coverup

Swimsuit CoverupI love to opt for a swimsuit coverup that can also function as a dress or shirt in a pinch. This Yincro chiffon coverup is lightweight but a solid material, so it’s comfortable all the time. Stuff it in your bag for a pool day or a fun trip to the lake!

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11. Boots: Men and Women

BootsIt goes back to that “do what the locals do” thing — just bring a pair of boots if you have them, or consider treating yourself to a new pair if you don’t! Where else will you be able to wear them and go to a cool square dancing bar?

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12. Windproof Travel Umbrella

Windproof Travel UmbrellaIt never hurts to have a travel umbrella with you when you are in unfamiliar territory! Texas’ weather can be a little temperamental and has a tendency to include short, seemingly out of nowhere storms, especially on summer afternoons.

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13. Adventure Medical Kit

Adventure Medical KitIf you’re planning on wondering around the Alamo, the Dallas Arboretum, Big Bend National Park or anywhere else that you’ll be somewhat far from civilization, do yourself a favor and pack a medical kit in your daypack. You probably won’t need it, but in the case that you do, it’ll be worth carrying around all those other times!

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14. Travel Insurance for Texas

Travel Insurance for TexasSimilar to a VPN, travel insurance can really save your butt if you opt to sign up before something bad happens. Some insurance plans go so far as to cover lost baggage, issues with hotel bookings and more.

View their plans at WorldNomads.com ➜

15. Travel Towel

Travel TowelIf you haven’t made solid hotel plans yet (with a hotel brand you know and trust!), then it’s probably worth throwing in an extra towel, just in case. Fortunately, travel towels like these hardly take any room at all and they’re super absorbent. They dry quickly and can be easily reused during the trip.

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16. Light Jacket: Men and Women

Light JacketEven if you’re going in the dead of summer, it never hurts to bring a light jacket! Some of the hikes lead you to high elevations that might be a bit chillier than you expect.

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17. Bolo Tie

bolo tieIt’s the same as the cowboy boots – when else are you going to do it? Bolo ties are a cool accessory that you can work into just about any wardrobe, so get creative and go for it!

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Other Texas packing lists not to forget


What to Wear in Texas

The Texas heat can be brutal if you’re not used to it. If you’re planning on visiting in the summer, make sure to stay hydrated and plan for plenty of water or indoor activities!

If you’re visiting during another part of the year, the weather is usually temperate and goes with the seasons. Here’s some ideas of what you could wear while you’re out exploring the Lone Star state!

what WOMEN should wear in Texas – (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 Texas – (Click to expand)

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

Spring – March, May

Spring is a beautiful time to visit Texas with its newly-blooming flowers and warmth in the air after a cold winter. It’s a perfect time to go on hikes, take a trip to the Rio Grande or go window shopping in Dallas or Austin.

Temperatures stay right around the mid-sixties throughout most of the spring. You may want a light jacket at night, but short sleeves and jeans or leggings will be more than enough for the day! Don’t forget your hiking gear if you head to the mountains and bring along your travel towel if you head to the water.

Summer – June, August

Summer in Texas can get quite toasty, especially toward the end. In fact, some schools even have to delay their openings because the buses would be too hot to ride on during the early weeks of August! Make sure you are prepared with plenty of sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and bathing suits for some water activities.

Low summer temperatures will be in the eighties, but it’s not uncommon that the thermostat reads 100 degrees outside on a summer afternoon.

Fall – September, November

The fall is another beautiful time to visit the Lone Star state. You get to see the changing colors in the trees and taste delicious pumpkin-flavored treats.

The days will stay around the mid-sixties but nighttime temperatures tend to hover around the forties. Make sure you have a comfortable flannel or jacket with you during the evening hikes in the fall and opt for denim jeans and cozy colors for your day-to-day wardrobe.

Winter – December, February

Winter in Texas can vary drastically, depending on where you opt to stay. Most everywhere, you can expect to be chilly with temperatures easily around the thirties most days. Some places may see snow, but others will certainly see ice and hazardous conditions.

I like to break out my fleece jacket and mittens every winter, as well as some sturdy boots and scarves to go with any outfit.

What NOT to Bring to Texas

1) 🚫 DON’T PACK Super-heavy jackets: Even the coldest winters in Texas don’t get that cold, so keep your ski jackets at home! You’ll save a ton of space in your suitcase. Plus, if you are cold, it’s better to layer up than put on one giant jacket. You’ll stay warmer and be able to get comfortable easier in changing environments.

2) 🚫 DON’T TAKE Jam-packed suitcases: Save room for souvenirs! You’re bound to find something you like at a historical museum or cool shop in the city. Plan to bring back at least a few items by leaving space in your suitcase for a few extra outfits!

3) 🚫 DON’T BRING Too much cash: It’s just bad practice to travel with cash on hand. If something happens and the cash is lost, your entire vacation might suffer. Instead, tuck away a bit of cash in a few separate places and make sure to alert your bank that you’ll be traveling. This way, you don’t have to worry about a hold on your account for suspicious activity!

4) 🚫 DON’T TAKE Lots of valuables: Similar to the cash, it’s never wise to bring your prized possessions with you if you don’t absolutely have to. The safest place for your favorite things will be back at home!

5) 🚫 DON’T PACK Uncomfortable shoes: You’re bound to do quite a bit of walking while you’re visiting museums or national parks, so don’t bother bringing a pair of heels that you might wear once. Pack comfortable, walkable shoes that won’t leave your feet sore the next morning.

What NOT to Wear in Texas – (Click to expand)

Unless you are specifically headed to a formal event, I’d opt to leave your high-class professional ware at home. Between the heat and the dust in the air from the desert, it’ll be difficult to stay clean and feel good about a pantsuit or anything with shoulder pads or lots of layers.

FAQs about Texas travel

1. What are the best places to visit in Texas?

Texas is known for its history with places like The Alamo, the Space Center Museum, the San Fernando Cathedral and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. But if exploring outside is more your style, there are plenty of options for that, too! The Hamilton Pool Preserve, Natural Bridge Caverns, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park are all examples of places to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a while.

The Schlitterbahn Waterpark, SeaWorld San Antonio and huge Dallas Zoo are also common stopping points for travelling families!

2. When is the best time to visit Texas?

Spring, sometime between March and May, is the best time to visit anywhere in Texas! The chill from the winter has thawed out and the summer heat hasn’t quite started its torment.

3. What national parks should I visit in Texas?

Of the 16 national parks found in the Lone Star state, Big Bend National Park is the largest and probably most popular. The park preserves Chihuahuan Desert topography and can reach brutally high temperatures in the hottest months. Make sure to bring sunglasses, a sun hat and a water bottle if you plan to visit.

The Amistad National Recreation Area is also a great choice – it surrounds a dam on the Rio Grande and is a perfect option for boating, fishing and swimming. A float trip down the Rio Grande along the Mexico border is also an option at the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River.

4. Where is the best place to stay in Texas?

Texas’ many cities are spread out throughout the giant state, so pick carefully based on what you hope to do while visiting the Lone Star state.

You could stop in Waco, home to the Dr. Pepper museum and Waco Mammoth National Monument, and find plenty of natural beauty at Cameron Park. Or, if you’re a big city person, Dallas offers a nighttime view that is unlike anywhere else. Those especially involved with the music scene will also love Austin, which feels like a college town on steroids with its energy and creativity.

5. What are the best hiking spots in Texas?

Some of the most renowned hiking spots include Palo Duro Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Enchanted Rock and Boquillas Hot Springs.

6. How long should I stay in Texas?

As you know, Texas is a lot of ground to cover, and it can’t all happen with just one trip. I would think a week is a good enough amount of time to become acclimated to the new environment and explore the cities and local shops surrounding where you stay. There is a national park within a day’s drive in any direction from practically any city, so there’s no excuse to not see something beautiful while you’re there!

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