What to pack when staying in Colter Bay

Colter Bay

Since I was about 13 we have been taking an annual family vacation to Jackson Hole.  Jon’s family has the same tradition, so it was really fun when we married that we can continue this tradition. Now that we have two children we enjoy reliving our childhood memories through the eyes of our children.


We stay in Colter Bay in the Tent Cabins.


Packing for a trip to the Tetons is a little tricky because you want to prepare for rain, sun, water skiing, camping and hiking. The nights get below 45 and highs around 85.


Usaually when we go on vaction, we pack for eachday. But I would recommend to pack by activity. For example, if you know you will be hiking two days and biking two days you will want to pack four pairs of “active wear” clothes. I only brought one pair of active underwear under clothing this trip and they smell so bad I am ready to burn them.


For a 5 day trip in Jackson Hole this is what you need:



Pack and Play

Fleece sleeper

Snow pants

Warm fleece jacket

Fellece pajamas

Thermal underwear (or in our case tight fiting pajamas)

3 t-shirts (can also be used as undershirts)

3 long sleeved shirts that can be used as layers

2 pairs pants (including one pair jeans)



2 swim suits


Hat Gloves

Fleece booties

Down comforter

Sleeping Bag

Hiking/dirt shoes

Sandle/ water shoes

Sun hat

Fleece hat



Rain Jacket

Church outfit



Dirt shoes

Water shoes


Socks – lots of socks


Fleece Jacket

Rain jacket

2 Long sleeved shirts

5 t-shirts



Fleece pants

4 pairs shorts

Church shirt

Baseball hat/ sun hat

2 pair Warm socks for sleeping (ski socks)



2 pairs capri

1 pair yoga pants

1 pair shorts (for biking or as a swim cover up)

1 pair jeans

5 t-shirts

2 long sleeved shirts


Long johns

2 swim suits

1 biking outfit

3 pairs underwear + sports bras

3 pairs bras



Fleece jacket

Rain Jacket

Light weight jacket or sweater {loved my Lole jacket}


In addition, we packed:

Roll up mats for beds

Extra floor tile for concrete floors

Blow up mattress

Sleeping bags

Pillows for each child and adult

Personal itmes and toiletries

2 hiking backpacks – as much as we thought that our 4 ½ year old son would be find hiking a few miles, we were every glad that we had both backpacks. After he was bit by his mosquito bite it hurt him so badly that he could not hike.

Bankets for each individual


Snacks and food

– we packed way too many snacks. One bag of chips, even to share is more than plenty.

Bagles are good because they don’t get squished in the backpack. We’d tried out some bagle thins {LINK} this trip and really liked how they don’t take up as much room.

Carrots were perfect for crunching

We packed too much candy ( you really only need one bag of gummy worms)

We did not do any dutch oven cooking, though we had brought itmes to make cobbler.


Having a “snack pack” for the car would have been nice. The drive to each of the hikes is about 30-45 minutes and it would have been nice to have a few more healthy choices to fuel up before and after the hikes & rides. Again, organizing things by activity not by category. (having a bag for just snacks versus a bag for snacks, change of clothes).

A “dry” set of clothes would have also would have been nice. We were able to make due, but a dry set of underwear for the smaller children would have come in handy.


We packed a sunshade umbrella and a pop up tent that we didn’t use, but if we do string lake again these would come in handy
Sting lake – cathing minnows and swimming. This would be an excellent place to have paddle boards or inter tubes and spend the day hanging out together.


Mosquitoes are terrible up there and our son is extreeemly allergic and is young enough that he scratches them. He had a really bad reasponse to a mosquito bite that caused his entire leg to heat up, swell and later bruise.


Mosquito repelant

Mosiquito bands (we found these yellow bands that you wear at Wal-mart that last for 200 hours). I used them and found them to work, but had a hard time getting the kids to keep them on.

Mosquito cooling spray to ease pain after bites


Children’s benedril (costs $7 at the grocery store at Colter Bay)


Check REI for stronger Insect repellent

Sport Legs (this is the most incredible invention)


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