When you come to Colorado, you might notice that we love our activewear. And there’s a reason for that — there are so many great outdoor experiences across the state, Coloradans always want to be prepared for taking a quick hike or dip in a hot spring.
Likewise, it’s important to be prepared for any temperature. Thanks to Colorado’s great ranges in elevation, you can ski at Breckenridge during the day and then indulge in a craft beer on a Denver patio in 80-degree weather at night — all with style, of course. A versatile packing list is crucial to a perfect activity-based Colorado vacation.
1. Layers, Layers and More Layers
Ask a Coloradan how to dress and they’re likely to answer, “In layers!” That diversity of elevation we mentioned means temperatures can shift on dime. Don’t underestimate the importance of layering up and packing clothes for all seasons year-round if you’re going to be exploring our great outdoors — no one wants to be the guy in the thick wool sweater who says “I had no idea it could get up into the 70s in February!"
Here are some basics to bring that will help you stay comfortable in every season:
- Winter: Fleece jacket, long-underwear, water-resistant coat, jeans and snow pants
- Spring/Fall: T-shirts, rain jacket, light fleece, jeans and shorts
- Summer: Light jacket, T-shirt or tank top, shorts, jeans, hiking pants, swimsuit and warm clothing for camping
2. Western Wear
We're proud of our Western roots, which means cowboy hats, boots and other Western garb are always in style. Pick up some stylish cowgirl and cowboy fashions at these favorite Colorado stores:
- F.M. Light & Sons, Steamboat Springs
- Appaloosa Trading Company, Estes Park
- High Country Western Wear, Arvada
- Goodman's, Pagosa Springs
- Rockmount Ranch Wear, Denver
3. Homegrown Style
Search for these Colorado-made products as you travel the state — they're the perfect, practical souvenir, and nobody knows Colorado swagger better.
- Apparel, performance clothing and outerwear: SmartWool (Steamboat Springs), Shredly (Carbondale), Melanzana (Leadville), Voormi (Pagosa Springs), Pearl Izumi (Louisville), Spyder Active Sports (Boulder), Mountain Standard (Boulder), Pactimo (Greenwood Village), Loki (Grand Junction), Janska (Colorado Springs), CG Habitats (Denver), Dynafit (Boulder), Flylow Gear (Denver), Obermeyer Ski Clothing (Aspen), Point6 (Steamboat Springs), Strafe (Aspen), Freeride Systems (Leadville)
- Backpacks and travel gear: Osprey (Cortez), Kelty (Boulder), TOPO Designs (Denver), Mountainsmith (Golden)
- Footwear by La Sportiva (Boulder), Crocs (Niwot), Newton Running Company (Boulder), Pakems (Highlands Ranch)
4. Comfy Footwear
Choose comfort over fashion. Wear shoes that can cover mileage — whether it’s hiking, rafting, biking or perusing art galleries.
- Winter: Waterproof boots and cozy après-ski slippers
- Spring/Fall/Summer: Hiking boots (or sturdy shoes), athletic shoes, comfortable sandals and shoes that can get wet
5. Shielding Eyewear
Coloradans love to brag about more than 300 days of sunshine a year and peaks reaching higher than 14,000 feet or fourteeners (we’ve got 58 of them!), but bragging rights warrant serious eye protection. Hats, goggles (for winter recreation) and sunscreen also shield against strong rays.
6. Night Out On the Town
After recreating during the day, Coloradans occasionally dress up for a live concert or dinner at the newest critically acclaimed restaurant at night. Don’t get us wrong though — jeans are nearly always welcome.
If You Still Have Room…
These items are sure to enhance a Colorado vacation. Now the challenge is fitting them in your suitcase.
- Camera to capture our wealth of photo-worthy landscapes.
- Binoculars to spy on Colorado wildlife.
- Portable water bottle to stay hydrated in higher altitudes.
- Snowshoes/skis to conquer one of our 28 ski areas and resorts.
- Small backpack for hiking our many beautiful trails.
For More Colorado Basics, Check Out:
- Translating Colorado: 14ers, Continental Divide, Four Corners & More
- Camping in Colorado
- How to Snowshoe & Cross-Country Ski
Photos courtesy of: Jon Mullen; Colorado State Parks; Visit Denver, The Convention & Visitors Bureau/Steve Crecelius