Packing for a dude ranch vacation can be tricky, especially when you’re heading to a ranch like Vista Verde that offers multi-sport opportunities. In preparation for the upcoming summer season, we put together some insider packing tips to complement the packing list we share with our guests.
1) If you’re planning on hiking it is handy to have hiking boots. They aren’t a must, as many of us hike in our running shoes. You just have to be prepared to get them wet (so wear your Darn Tough Socks or Smartwool socks). However, if you haven’t been out hiking in your boots ahead of time, make sure to get half a dozen hikes in them before you get out to the ranch. Nobody wants blisters on their vacation! Even if you can’t go for a hike on the dirt, just walk around your neighborhood for an hour once or twice a week for a few weeks. Go up and down stairs, climb whatever hill you can find. Your feet will thank you.
2) Don’t forget your bathing suit! Because although no one will know if you’re skinny dipping in the dark, those post-ride afternoon soaks in the hot tub might be a little awkward, even if the horses are trying to avoid eye contact.
3) Bring your social security number if you want to fish. Any US resident over the age of 15 will need an SSN in order to get a fishing license, which you’ll need if you want to go out on the river or to a high alpine lake.
4) Pack your longest jeans. Yes, the ones that kind of drag on the ground when you are wearing normal shoes. Jeans hike up when you get in the saddle, and if yours aren’t long, they’ll ride up over your boots, and that’s just annoying! Don’t have jeans you’re willing to get dirty? You can find jeans such as Wranglers at Rod’s Western Palace or Sheplers.
5) Add to your suitcase some hiking sandals or shoes that you’re ok getting wet so you can use them to cross streams. There are some amazing hikes as well as the option for hiking to fishing spots–but you will be crossing creeks along the way to get views like this. Our favorites are sandals like Teva or Chacos.
6) This one might be more for the ladies, but guys you can still take note. You don’t need to dress up for any of the evenings at the ranch. But, having said that, wouldn’t it be fun to pair a cute dress with your cowgirl boots for the barn dance? When at a ranch, why not cowgirl up and have a little fun?
7) Padded shorts! You might already know that this just makes the world a happier place when you go mountain biking, but did you also know it might help with horseback riding? Just think about it. And, know that we have some available in the Adventure center if you don’t have a chance to buy them ahead of time. Just slip them on under your jeans and you’re smile will be a bit brighter after several days of riding.
We know those suitcases can get a bit full with all these suggestions, so feel free to ship a box out to the ranch prior to your vacation. We’ll store it for you until you arrive, and then can help get it shipped back home after your week at the ranch. Or, we’ll even store it for you until your return for your next visit!