You know how when you go to Vegas it’s blazing hot all day and you think you might die, and then you roll out at 4am and you’re frozen? The same thing happens in Yellowstone. The elevation mixed with the crazy weather patterns of the Rocky Mountains makes for a hit and miss battle with the elements. I remember as a kid being woken up in the middle of the night because our tent was flooding and then a few hours later we were in 4 inches of snow…in July. Drastic.
Well, we didn’t have an experience quite like that this last time, but the nights and mornings sure were cold. Luckily, we’re not new and were prepared, but in case you are just now plunging into the world of high elevation vacations, here are our tips and tricks for Yellowstoning like a pro…in the summer.
Layers – duh. Everybody everywhere knows that you should always dress in layers no matter where you are or what you’re doing. We start here because it’s of paramount importance and so easy to forget. Our kids run warm, so it can be 40 degrees F outside and you see bare legs and a tank top. These same kids also run cold and I hear “I’m getting cooooooldd” when it’s 75 out. What this means in the wilderness: don’t let your kids overrule you about what clothes they want to wear or what spare clothes you bring. Bring options. While it’s true that you’re not in your kids’ bodies and can’t tell 100% how they feel, don’t listen to them when they say “I’m fine. I don’t want to bring a coat.” Sweating in the sun one moment, shivering in the shade the next. True story.
Tip 1: wearing layers also goes for sleeping; I don’t know about your kids, but our can’t stay IN a sleeping bag for anything, so wearing extra clothes at night is a must.
Bonus tip: if you wake up in the night, check if your kids are still snuggled into a warm blanket or sleeping bag. It’s better to move a sleeping child back into bed than have them freeze.
Fuzzy things – hats, gloves, scarves, jammie suits, blankets, extra sleeping bag… These things are necessities for family
camping. If you’re lodging it or have a cabin for the duration of your stay, congratulations, but you still need a few fuzzy things for when you’re out and about. Something that is a real life saver for kids puffy fleece. Puffy over sleek because it breathes well and also insulates well. If you’ve got the hot/cold kid, this is your ticket to happiness. You know, this is good for adults too. Gloves, hats and scarves might seem like overkill when you’re packing at home in 80 degree weather, but when you get up early to see if there are bears in the nearby meadow, you’ll be really glad you could keep away the chill, especially knowing that you can ditch these items later.
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