If you’re coming to the mountains; a vacation here is unlike any other. If you are from the south where it’s warmer, you’ll appreciate the milder summer in Western North Carolina. If you are coming from a northern location, you may enjoy the heat. We are right in the middle of the eastern region of the United States, so we are that perfect middle ground for weather.
Whether you have been coming here to the mountains for decades, or you’ve never set eyes on them, we can help you make a packing list for a mountain vacation that will ensure you have everything you need to make your trip a great one.
A little known fact about the forests of Western North Carolina is that they qualify as a rain forest. We average enough rain each year to qualify as one, and those who live here know that to be true. Winter is definitely the wetter season, as we get much more rain than snow. However, summers can bring sudden storms, too. If you are traveling to Western North Carolina, you should definitely add a rain jacket to your packing list for a mountain vacation.
If you are making the trip to the mountains, you are probably planning on doing some sort of hiking. Maybe you’re an avid hiker or you just want an easy stroll through our lush green forests. Regardless of how you spend your time outdoors, you’ll want to bring or buy a pair of shoes that are:
With that being said, some people do like to hike in Chacos or other outdoor sandals. We love our outdoor sandals and if that’s what you’re comfortable with, we say go for it! For an inexperienced hiker who isn’t used to the terrain, we recommend close-toed shoes to avoid an injury on the unfamiliar terrain. We imagine how inconvenient it would be to hobble back to the car if you’ve accidentally tripped over a tree root or stubbed your toe! so make sure you pack a sturdy pair of shoes when you are planning outfits for a mountain vacation.
This can also be a useful item if you are doing anything outdoorsy on your trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains. With all of the things you might be carrying with you, the extra space a backpack provides can be useful. You may want to bring some extra water for your day trips, or maybe you want to pack some of the smaller items below in your backpack. You don’t necessarily need a large hiking pack, unless you plan on doing an overnight hike. A backpack that allows you to store plenty of the necessities and keeps you hands-free while you’re on your adventures is perfect.
This item is typically associated more with the beach, but you still need to protect your skin in the mountains! While the temperatures are cooler and shaded areas are more abundant, you’ll still want to make sure you have sunscreen on hand. Not feeling the intense heat that you would at the beach can make you forget that the sun can still do damage. Don’t neglect to add this one to the list!
This is one of those objects you may not have a need for, but if you do get yourself into a situation where you come face to face with a bear, you may wish you had it! Bear spray is essentially pepper spray for bears. This is an item you should only seriously consider if you are going to a location that is not particularly populated. For example, Whiteside Mountain is a favorite local hike, and is so well-traveled that the odds of you seeing a bear are very low. But if you are walking a trail that’s near your secluded mountain cabin, you could potentially see a bear.
There are other ways to discourage a black bear from coming near you if you do’t have bear spray. If you see a single adult bear, you are supposed to make a lot of noise and make yourself look very large. If you do this they should go away. But if you can avoid a bear altogether, by turning around or walking in the opposite direction of wherever the bear is going, that is always ideal. Black bears are not aggressive and like to be left alone. If you do choose to pack bear spray, you should ONLY use it if a bear is acting aggressively towards you and never use it if the bear seems uninterested in you and is minding its own business.
If you are unsure about bears and it would give you peace of mind to have the bear spray, go ahead and add it to your packing list for a mountain vacation.
Insect repellent is definitely something you’ll want to keep with you in the mountains. It can get very humid, and if you are sitting around the campfire or the creek in front of your mountain cabin in the evening, you’ll be glad you brought it. If you forget your insect repellent once, you won’t forget it again!
Whenever you go on vacation, you should bring a first aid kit. But if you are planning on hiking, camping, fishing, or doing any activity that’s away from town, you should definitely remember to add a first aid kit to your packing list for a mountain vacation. Cell service here can be spotty, especially when you are out in nature. Making sure you have the means to temporarily mend wounds is important.
Another item that is often associated with the beach, a cooler can be really helpful to add to your packing list for a mountain vacation. If you are spending the day on a pontoon boat on Lake Glenville, or if you are going on a picnic to Gorges State Park, a cooler is going to add to the list of activities you’ll be able to do while you’re here. You can even chill some champagne in it and spend the evening watching the sunset from one of the area’s many overlooks. Your cooler is going to be a huge help.
We are experts in vacationing in the North Carolina mountains. We have guided hundreds of people in planning their vacation here, so we know what you need. If you have any questions about what activities you should do and how you should pack and plan for those activities, you can always ask us. We can help you figure out how to adjust your packing list for a mountain vacation to make sure you have a memorable trip here.