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Every year in September we make a trip during Labor Day weekend. it just happens to also be Crystal’s birthday this time of year so she has extra time off from work. Last year we went to Banff National Park and the previous year we visited Zion National Park. It’s never intentional to plan our visits to national parks around this time, but we’re starting to see a trend.
We looked into the weather for September and it was definitely going to be a challenging packing situation as the temperatures from day to night fluctuated drastically (at least according to the average annual forecast). During the day we were expecting temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s and by night it was going to be in the low 50s (Fahrenheit). We were also going to hike Mist Trail and heard that the mist from the waterfall made the grounds slippery, so wearing shoes with a good grip was highly recommended.
Basically, we were going to have to dress in layers, wear shoes with good traction, and possibly bring a raincoat if we weren’t keen on getting our clothes wet from the waterfall’s mist. Here are the essentials we packed for our trip:
We know hiking shoes are the best option when it comes to hiking but they tend to be bulky, heavy, and lack stylish options. Why are the color choices always brown, black, or dark tones?
We weren’t going to do any serious hiking, but we were planning to hike some light trails that required a good grip and tennis shoes aren’t constructed to grip surfaces like dirt, rocks, and tree bark. After scouring the web for a couple of hours, we finally found hiking shoes that were functional and paired great with our hiking attire. We both purchased a pair of sneakers from Adidas’ line of outdoor shoes called the Terrex. They had an array of styles and it was just what we were looking for. We needed something that was a cross between a hiking boot and sneakers and the Adidas Terrex Collection was perfect!
The early mornings and evenings were a little chilly, so we needed to layer our clothing. We would start off our morning hikes with a light jacket or sweatshirt and then as the temperatures rose to the high eighties during the day, we stuffed our outer layer into our backpacks. We already carry a ton of camera gear in our backpacks, so we needed garments that were light yet warm. We recommend Margaret O’Leary’s cashmere hoodie as it’s warmer than wool, super soft, and very lightweight. We also like to pack light jackets from Anatomie. They specialize in luxury travel clothing and their garments are wrinkle free.
The weather was quite pleasant in the early mornings during our hikes, but that didn’t mean we weren’t sweating. Wearing garments that pull sweat away from the body so that it can evaporate faster was key to staying comfortable throughout our hikes.
Having breathable material helped our sweat travel through the fabric so that it could evaporate on the surface and not within. All of the leggings we wore were moisture-wicking and so were a handful of our tops. Athleta has some of the best leggings for women that include wicking, mesh ventilation, and pockets like the Vitality Stash Pocket 7/8 Tight in Powervita.
For the majority of our hikes, we prefer to wear hats rather than sunglasses. Sunglasses don’t shade your entire face and they have a tendency to start sliding down your nose. Wearing a hat solves these two problems, but we also like wearing a hat to avoid possible ticks landing in our hair. Ticks are more prevalent during the spring, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry and wearing a hat can reduce the chances of ticks burrowing in your hair.
When you are hiking all day, staying fresh can be a challenge if you aren’t wearing the proper attire to help combat discomfort and odor. Luckily, with advancements in technology, odor-free fabric exists without the loss of comfort and style.
I wore my Organic Basics activewear SilverTech white t-shirt for three out of the six days on our trip and was amazed that it truly stayed fresh wear after wear without washing. I had my doubts at first, but when I did the dreaded quick sniff-of-the-pit test, there was absolutely no odor! I like to pack minimally, so having a shirt I can wear multiple times without washing was perfect. Also, a white t-shirt can easily be paired with a variety of outfits and not just sporty ones. If you want to be odor-free too, you can use our code POCKOBC to receive 10% off your order (code expires December 30, 2019).
For this trip I wanted to wear undergarments that would keep me comfortable throughout the day and not just on my hikes. I didn’t want to wear a sports bra because the compression tends to make my shoulders ache after a few hours of wear.
I knew that I would be out hiking along with various other activities so I needed to wear something that was between a sports bra and a regular bra. The TENCEL™ Lite Bralette from Organic Basics was the perfect fit and I also paired the bra with the TENCEL™ Lite Briefs. They performed well and are both now a part of my everyday essentials as well. The fabric is soft on the skin and also gave the support that I was looking for. If you’re in need of comfy undergarments, you can use our code POCKOBC to receive 10% off your order (code expires December 30, 2019).
We did a lot of walking and hiking so having a bag that could fit all of our essentials was necessary. We needed a backpack big enough to carry our snacks, bottled water, cameras, and our extra layers of clothes.
We both brought our anti-theft Pacsafe backpacks with us. Not only is it equipped with awesome anti-theft features, but it also has a feminine design. We love that our Pacsafe backpacks are designed for women which make it a lot easier to match our outfits.
To see how much this bag can fit, check out our Things to Pack in a Carry-On post.
You will never have to worry about dropping your phone with this must-have accessory. We can’t live without our Bandoliers and are so grateful that they even exist. It has made our travels so much better and stress-free. We no longer worry about dropping or losing our phones and love that it also holds credit cards. We get asked ALL THE TIME where we got our nifty cross-body phone case and we are always excited to reply, “Bandolier!”. We also use this on a daily basis and not just on our travels.
We wear the Bandolier everywhere!
Items We Should Have Packed
While we were on our trip, there were several items that we wish we would have brought with us.
One of our favorite hikes in Yosemite was Taft Point. If there is one hike you must do, definitely do this hike at sunset. However, do keep in mind that once the sun goes down, you’ll need to be prepared to hike back in the dark. We were able to use the flashlight from our cellphones to guide us back but the light isn’t that great and having to hold it up the entire walk back was tiresome. Having a head lamp would have been way more convenient in this situation.
We were prepared for our hike at Mist Trail to be a bit challenging, but we underestimated just how tough it was going to be. It was basically a hike that was at a 45 degree angle the entire way up to the water fall. For an avid hiker, this trail probably isn’t so difficult, but since we are amateur hikers, we had to take a ton of breaks along the way. We saw several hikers equipped with trekking poles and we wish we had brought one ourselves. We tried to use a wooden stick that we picked up along the way (other hikers must have left it behind for others to use), but they were heavy and actually ended up being a nuisance.
Typically when we pack for our travels, we coordinate our outfits so that our bottoms are worn more than once as this helps save space in our luggage. Unfortunately, on this trip, wearing our bottoms more than once really wasn’t a wise choice. All of the trails we hiked were dusty and our leggings were covered in dust which made it uncomfortable to wear again. We washed our leggings in the shower so we could wear them again but we had to plan accordingly since we needed time to air dry them as well.
Items We Didn’t Need To Pack
There were a few items we packed that we ended up not wearing at all and wished we would have left at home.
We were prepared to be drenched from the mist of the waterfalls at Mist Trail or Bridalveil Fall as we read a handful of reviews that the waterfalls were very powerful. Since our visit was in September, the waterfalls weren’t as powerful, so we didn’t experience the same situation as others (springtime is peak season for the waterfalls). In fact, by August, the waterfalls are usually completely dry but due to storms, we were able to witness the grand waterfalls in early September.
We were keeping a close eye on the weather forecast and checked the average annual temperature and was prepared for the mornings and evenings to hit the low 50s. Lucky for us, we got to enjoy mild temperatures and didn’t need to wear our heavy jackets at all. The lowest it got was 60°F. We were completely fine with just a sweatshirt or light jacket.
We hope our experience and tips help you prepare for your adventures in Yosemite!