Packing for the Family: Beyond Socks

You’re ready to go on that trip, you’ve been planning it for your family for months. You’ve made lists of what clothes you and everyone else needs, and even had your family members try on last year’s snowpants or hiking boots, just to make sure they’re still a good fit. You think you’re packed, but then you remember: what about all the other stuff that is necessary for excursions at high altitude? Remember The Sunburn from last year? This list goes beyond the socks and base layers, and focuses on the products that will help you prevent discomfort and increase your time outside doing the fun things. 

Travel General

▢ Shampoo

▢ Body wash

▢ Deodorant

▢ Body Wash

▢ Toothpaste

High Altitude Must-Haves:

▢ Chapstick / lip balm

▢ Sunscreen

▢ Sunglasses

▢ Bug spray

▢ Lotion

▢ Electrolytes

▢ Water


▢ Hand sanitizer

▢ Anti-bacterial wipes

▢ Bandages/first aid kit

▢ Aloe

For the roadtripper

▢ Air freshener

▢ Paper towels

▢ Basic cleaning supplies

Travel General

Not much to elaborate on here--hygiene is important! One note: if you are taking a plane or will be backpacking, you might consider solid options instead of liquid options. 

High Altitude Must-Haves 

These items are all about preventing injury and discomfort. Especially in Colorado, you are closer to the sun, so you can get strong sun exposure from all kinds of surfaces including the ground. It’s important to plan ahead and pack lip balms, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect yourself, even if you are traveling in the winter for a ski trip. The air is dry at altitude, so cracked lips and dehydration are possibilities if you do not come prepared and take proactive approach to prevention. Be sure to hydrate aggressively, both by drinking water and applying lip balm and lotions. 

There is evidence that suggests that bugs in drier climates feed more aggressively, so you should plan to pack bug repellent as well. This will reduce discomfort and help you to stay outdoors for longer. Beyond the momentary uncomfortable effects, bugs can also carry various diseases, so it’s especially important to consider bug repellent during summer activities. 

Of course, be on the lookout for altitude sickness, especially if you do not live near the mountains normally. If you or someone in your group starts to experience altitude sickness, you can use oxygen tanks for a quick fix and rest momentarily where you are, but ultimately you should monitor your symptoms and plan to go to lower ground as soon as you can. Electrolytes can also help reduce symptoms and keep you feeling healthy, so be sure to plan ahead and bring some along.


Even the best-laid plans sometimes fail, so it’s important to prepare for mild injury while you are traveling. Sunburns, blisters, scrapes, or even just general soreness can all be issues while you are traveling. Bring a first aid kit, and be sure not to skimp on hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes so you can cleanse any scrapes. 

Unfortunately, blisters are fairly common during hikes or ski trips, so be sure to check out these recommendations for treating blisters. As mentioned above, sunburns are also common at high altitudes, so be prepared to treat sunburns as well, noting that the guidelines also encourage aggressive hydration (in addition to the hydration you were already planning for being closer to the sun). Plan ahead for soreness from vigorous activity, and know what to consider when preventing and treating it

For the roadtripper (or, if you are staying at a cabin)

Anyone who has roadtripped knows how valuable a little air freshener (among other things) can be for the car. Families that travel with kids also know how important having disinfectant wipes and other things that reduce odors can be, so don’t forget these crucial products. Paper towels can also be valuable on roadtrips, to help clean up spills and contain messes. Even if you’re not traveling with kids, if you are staying in a cabin or camping outside you might consider bringing paper towels and basic cleaning supplies to keep everyone happy. 

Joules Snopek


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