Essentials for Every Colorado Road Trip

colorado maps

Colorado’s diverse landscapes, from the snow-capped Rocky Mountains to its expansive plateaus, offer travelers an ever-changing backdrop that is nothing short of breathtaking. When preparing for a road trip across this scenic state, it’s important to carefully consider your packing list. We’ve crafted the ultimate packing guide for your trip, keeping in mind Colorado’s unique terrain and climate.

Transit Van Rental in Colorado

With plenty of storage space, elevated ceilings, and extended legroom, a MileMarker Van Rental will easily hold everything essential (and nonessential!), so you don’t have to worry you left something important at home. 

Navigation Tools

While most will rely on smartphone apps like Google Maps, remember that some parts of Colorado, especially in the mountains, might have weak cell service. Always have a physical map or a dedicated GPS device as a backup. Additionally, be sure to invest in a car charger adapter and a reliable power bank for when you’re off the grid. 

map on dashboard

Emergency Supplies

High altitudes and rugged terrains can present unique challenges. Ensure you have a first-aid kit with pain relievers, bandages, any personal medications, and even altitude sickness remedies.

Given the varying terrain, pack a flashlight with extra batteries, a multi-tool, jumper cables, and extra vehicle fluids. These can be invaluable if you find yourself in remote areas. 

band aid on kid's knee

Versatile Clothing & Footwear

Colorado’s weather can be unpredictable. Layers are crucial, as is a waterproof jacket. If you’re hiking, don’t forget your hiking boots.

For driving and city exploring, comfortable shoes are a must. Gloves and a beanie can be invaluable during chilly mornings or unexpected temperature drops.

woman hiking carrying backpack

Colorado’s high elevation also means the sun’s rays are more direct and potent. Besides sunscreen, pack a wide-brimmed hat, UV-protective sunglasses, and lip balm with sunblock. These will protect you from both sunburn and the potentially harmful effects of UV exposure, especially in snowy terrains where the sun reflects off the white snow.


Create a playlist with some of Colorado’s home-grown artists or prepare a list of local radio stations. For those breaks in the journey, consider card games or a good book on Colorado’s history and attractions. From the Garden of the Gods to Maroon Bells, there’s a photo op at nearly every turn.

Bring along a good camera or smartphone to capture these scenic spots. In addition to your credit cards and wallet, make sure you bring some cash along. While major cities will have plenty of ATMs, some of Colorado’s smaller towns or park entrance fees might require cash. 

woman taking pictures with camera through flowers

 Cooler & Food Supplies

Due to Colorado’s dry climate, staying hydrated is essential. Stock up on water, and bring along non-perishable snacks like trail mix and energy bars, especially if you’re hiking or doing other physical activities. Colorado also offers numerous scenic picnic spots.

A cooler filled with snacks or produce from a local farmer’s market can be perfect for a mid-journey break. Don’t forget portable stoves or grills if you’re thinking about cooking amidst nature, just make sure to have dedicated bags to store your trash, ensuring you leave no trace behind. 

yeti cooler

While Colorado boasts many pristine rivers and lakes, it’s essential to ensure the water you consume is safe. Portable water filters or purification tablets are lightweight and can be a lifesaver, especially if you’re venturing on multi-day hikes away from established campgrounds or are high up in the mountains where water sources are prevalent but not necessarily potable.

Camping & Hiking Essentials

tent in field in Colorado

If your journey includes camping under Colorado’s starry skies, you’ll need more than just a tent. A sturdy set of tent stakes (for those windy nights), a tarp (to set under your tent for moisture protection), and insect repellent are crucial.

To keep you safe and protect our beautiful Colorado wilderness, it’s essential to remain knowledgeable on local wildlife and best practices for camping or hiking in the wilderness.

black bear in field

Familiarize yourself with guidelines on how to wildlife proof your campsite, safely store food, and what to do if you encounter wildlife (especially bears) up close. Packing a bear canister or bag is especially important when camping or backpacking.

All packed and ready to hit the road? Whether your road trip takes you into Colorado’s wilderness or Denver’s urban streets, being well-prepared ensures your trip is comfortable and hassle-free.

Discover our fleet of Ford Transit Vans and Mercedes Sprinter Vans and choose your next road trip destination! With travel throughout Colorado or its surrounding states, a MileMarker Van Rental offers limitless potential for adventure and exploration.

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