Deserts are arid, dry places that receive minimal precipitation and can create harsh landscapes. Although deserts may look like wastelands, abundant plant and animal life thrive in these environments. Fall is the perfect time to travel to the southwest, whether it be in Utah to Zion or Moab, or in Arizona to Sedona or the Grand Canyon. As the days grow shorter, the skies are filled with beautiful, deep-red sunsets. The heat begins to wane, making for enjoyable daytime temperatures while the evenings grow cold. With such varying temperatures it can be difficult to know what to pack, so we have a few suggestions! 

Fall Desert Packing List:

Sun Protection: 

  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, SPF Chapstick, and a hat! Although the days are cooler, there is minimal  trail coverage out in the desert, so doing your best to protect yourself is key! 

Water, Water, Water: 

  • We’d recommend a few reusable water bottles or a bladder to hold at least two liters of water. Being in a dryer climate increases your chances of dehydration.  


  • The best kind of layer for hiking is anything that is going to be moisture wicking! Consider packing a long-sleeved sun shirt for added protection. Pants that zip away into shorts are a great way to manage layers when you need it. For those cooler evenings (especially while camping) you may want to consider fleece, merino wool and a puffy jacket or vest! Temperatures can plummet during the Fall & Winter months. 

Proper footwear:

  • Having the right shoes will help keep you on the trailer longer! Consider a closed-toed hiking boot or trail runner. This will also protect your toes from any unwanted critters like snakes, spiders, or scorpions. Proper footwear also means appropriate socks, consider merino wool! 

Neck & Headwear:

  • A buff, scarf, neck gaiter, or bandana is an added piece of gear that can transform a trip. Feeling hot? Add some water to it and tie it around your neck to cool you off. Feeling cold? Place it around your neck to trap in body heat. Feeling windy? A great face protection to keep out sand particles. Consider a fleece hat for those chilly evenings. 

These are just a few items we’d recommend. Always be sure to check the weather and any necessary local regulations before packing the suitcase or hitting the trail.


views on a mesa overlooking buttes. image is taken at sunset.
people walking along a trail in the desert. There are various rocky hills in the distance

Now that you’re a pro at desert packing, time to test it out. Join us for our upcoming adventures to Joshua Tree or Arches National Parks.