Are you planning your unforgettable camping trip in Montana?
This lovely state is known for its great stretches of wilderness, breathtaking mountain ranges, and expressive skies.
It’s called Big Sky Country for a reason, and backpackers and adventurers alike have plenty to choose from when it comes to outdoor excursions.
If you’re planning a trip sometime soon, it’s important to have the right mountain camping gear–especially because Montana can be rugged with unpredictable weather patterns.
Read on to learn more about the camping gear you should make sure you have for your upcoming Montana sojourn.
1. Sturdy and Comfortable Shoes
One of the best things you can invest in for a Montana camping trip is a pair of solid hiking shoes or boots. Even if you are just planning a leisurely camp near the entrance to Glacier National Park, you’ll want shoes you can count on.
This is because Montana has a variety of different terrain, and if you are backpacking in the wilderness you’ll need to prepare for steep mountainsides, seasonal mud or snow, and rock faces.
For mountain campers, you’ll want to bring a pair of over the ankle hiking boots and hiking socks to match. This is because alpine climates can be cold and windy, even in summer months.
Break your shoes in well before your camping adventure to avoid blisters and other injuries.
2. Dry-Wick Clothing
Montana is known for its hot and dry summers, so plan for the sweat before you go. Bring along light clothing that dries quickly and can be easily layered.
If you are planning a summer adventure, still bring long-sleeved pants, shirts, and pullovers. Even though afternoons can be hot, evenings are cold.
Additionally, make sure you prepare for these cooler climates. Bring along a hat and gloves, lightweight long johns, and a micro-puff coat. You don’t want to be in the alpine unprepared for snowstorms in June–yes, these do happen.
3. Lightweight & Transportable Tent
This is essential when it comes to mountain camping gear. You’ve got to have the right shelter, and it needs to be transportable. Invest in a lightweight and easily transportable tent–in fact, search for tents ideal for rugged backpackers.
The best tent will be small, easy to set up, and waterproof. It may also have a wind flap so that you can prepare for windy mountain tops.
4. Montana Maps
This may not qualify as a typical camping gear, but it is definitely a must when it comes to things you should bring along to Montana. This state is massive, made up of ranch land like Venture West Ranches, wilderness, national parks, and wild plains.
You’ve got to know where you’re going at all times. Hikers and backpackers get lost in the Montana wilderness consistently.
Make sure you purchase an extensive topographical map for the area you’re headed to–and the areas surrounding it. If you aren’t comfortable reading a map, practice! Or make sure your companions are well-versed.
Figure out where trailheads and parking options are, and make sure you understand the scale.
5. The Right Fuel
You’ll need to keep warm and fed during your Montana camping adventure. When it comes to camping gear, make sure you consider the right fuel or invest in a portable camping stove.
We especially like this one designed for backpackers–it enables you to charge electronic devices and also provides a lighting system. The stove is fueled by gathered wood.
If you are traveling during hotter months, check for fire advisories. 2017 was a particularly bad year for wildfires in Montana and camping fires were banned for months.
6. Bear Spray
This is essential for any camping adventure in Montana.
Montana is home to a dwindling grizzly and black bear population, but a present one nonetheless. Read up on bear populations before you go if you like, but make sure you purchase bear spray when you arrive.
Bear spray contains concentrated amounts of pepper that can temporarily blind a bear that is attacking, threatening, or approaching you aggressively. Make sure you understand how and when to use it before your camping trip.
Most likely you won’t need to deploy your spray, but it’s a necessary safety precaution.
7. Appropriate Lighting
Darkness can set in early, depending on the time of year you are camping in Montana. Make sure you have headlamps when you write your camping checklist, and an extra set of batteries in case one dies.
You may also want to bring along backpackers’ lanterns or flashlights.
8. Knowledge of Wildlife
Once again, this does not qualify as camping gear necessarily but it’s up there in importance.
Montana is rich with wildlife, and you’re in for a veritable treat in this regard. But wildlife should also not be fed, petted, or engaged with in an otherwise dangerous manner.
Grizzly bears regularly maim and/or kill campers and tourists, and bull moose are even more unpredictable. Bison ranging across Yellowstone Park may look “cute” but they are also known for goring people. Mountain lions stalk many regions of Montana’s mountainous terrain.
Research and learn about the wildlife found in Montana and the specific region you are visiting. Camping knowledge is power.
9. Water Filter
The streams and rivers run clear in Montana, but this doesn’t mean you should drink freely from them. Even Montana’s unpolluted waters can cause giardia and other sicknesses.
Bring along a portable and highly effective water filtration system so that you won’t run out of your water supply.
10. Zero Degree Sleeping Bag
Did we mention that alpine camping can get really cold?
Prepare for any temperature by bringing along the right sleeping bag. Look for lightweight, transportable, and warm bags. We’re talking bags designed for zero degree weather.
Camping Gear for Your Montana Adventure
As you’re preparing for your upcoming Montana camping trip, it’s essential to gather the appropriate mountain camping gear. Make sure you do your research wisely so that you understand what’s to come in terms of weather, terrain, and wildlife.
Must-have camping gear include a water filter and fuel so that you can be sustained throughout. Make sure you bring appropriate shoes, warm clothing, and a mountain-specific tent. And don’t forget that bear spray!
At Go Camping, we’re your go-to resource for any upcoming adventure. Browse our other articles providing camping tips so that you can feel confident trekking anywhere in nature.