Complete 14ers Packing List

Including What to wear

I’m thrilled you’re going to hike a 14er! It’s one of my favorite activities and I hope you love it too. 

I’ve hiked 37 (and counting!) of Colorado’s 14ers and in the process, I have perfected what to pack and I can’t wait to share the list with you! 

You can also check out tips for How to Hike a 14er here!

This complete 14ers packing list will get you out the door with everything you need to day hike a Colorado 14er.


Hiking a Colorado 14er means you’re going to be on your feet for anywhere from 4 to 24 miles. Footwear can really make or break your hike. You want to make sure your feet are comfortable, well supported, and protected from the elements.


  • Hiking boots
    • Hiking boots are the best option for most 14ers.
      • I have tried several brands of hiking boots and the Salomon Quest 4D have been my favorite. I highly recommend them, but ultimately what you should get comes down to what fits you best. 
      • REI is a great place to try on hiking boots and most locations have a “rock” you can walk around on to see how the shoes feel at different angles. After all, if you’re hiking a 14er, you won’t be on a flat surface!
    • Trail running shoes are okay for some class 1 and 2 peaks.
      • I don’t recommend trail running shoes for longer mileage hikes or if you’re doing multiple days of hiking because they aren’t as supportive.
    • Definitely don’t wear tennis shoes or sandals. You need good foot protection and tread!
  • Wool socks
    • Absolutely no cotton! Cotton does not handle moisture well.
    • Sock height is up to you. You may prefer socks that are at least as tall or taller than your hiking boots to prevent rubbing.
    • My go to are the  Smartwool PhD.


  • Sandals or water shoes
    • Read the route description for the peak you’re hiking. If it mentions any river crossings, bring a pair of sandals you can change into. This will keep your hiking shoes dry.
    • I don’t recommend crossing the rivers barefoot. The rocks on the bottom can be sharp and slippery. Sandals will help you grip and protect your feet.
    • Mt. Lindsey is an example of one you’ll want some sort of water shoe for.
  • Extra pair of wool socks
    • If you’re hiking in more than a few inches of snow, throw in an extra pair of socks. Even if your boots are waterproof, snow can still get in through the top and no one likes soggy socks!
  • Sock liners
    • If you’re prone to blisters, wearing a pair of sock liners underneath your wool socks will help reduce friction and prevent or at least slow blister formation.
  • Foot powder
    • For my sweaty feet friends, you can also add some foot powder into your sock (or liner) to keep your feet dry!
    • When you get to the trailhead, sprinkle the powder into your sock, hold the top shut and give it a good shake to spread the powder, and then put your socks and shoes on.
  • Car Shoes
    • It feels so good to take hiking boots off after a long day. If you’d like to change into some fresh shoes for the drive home, pack a pair to leave in your car (& socks if needed)!

Base Layer

A base layer is your next-to-skin layer, or what you wear underneath it all. Ooh-la-la 😉 

Base layers come in varying “weights” (think warmth levels) and are typically moisture-wicking, which means they move sweat away from your skin to help keep you dry.


  • Undergarments
    • Again ladies and gents, avoid cotton here.
  • Tank top
    • Athletic material, not cotton!
    • This is a great option for your top next-to-skin layer. It’s fitted and easy to wear under your other warmer layers and then if you get hot, sun’s out guns out!
    • If you prefer to cover your shoulders, a fitted t-shirt works as well.
Sun's out guns out on Uncompahgre Peak. So much haze from the 2020 wildfires! [PC: Whitney Irvine]
  • Long sleeve
    • Something with moisture wicking properties. Should be a comfortable fit over your tank or tee!
  • Leggings (or hiking pants)
    • Full length leggings are great for a bit of extra warmth and protection from the elements. You could get away with capri length as well but I don’t recommend shorts.
    • You can wear lighter weight workout leggings for most of the season. On colder days, pull out your ski or snowboard leggings or perhaps some fleece lined leggings.
    • You could also wear a pair of hiking pants but on some peaks, you may prefer fitted leggings, especially for class 3 or 4 peaks where you may need to climb over and around some big ‘ol rocks. Fitted means less chance of pockets or something getting caught.
    • Whatever you decide on, make sure you can move well!

Mid Layer

Your mid-layer serves to add extra warmth on colder days.


  • Extra Top
    • For colder days or if you just run cold, throw in an extra looser long sleeve shirt or a fleece sweatshirt.
  • Extra Pants
    • Same for the pants. Pack an extra pair of fleece pants for warmth, if needed.
    • I hiked Mt. Massive later in the season and didn’t pack extra pants. I had to wear my rain pants the entire day to block out the cold wind. You know that noise rain gear makes when it rubs against itself? That was my soundtrack for the whole hike. 

Outer Layer

Your outer layer will protect you from the elements—rain, wind, snow—and provide additional warmth.


  • Warm Jacket
    • This is one of the most important items you’ll bring. Pack something that is warm but also regulates your body temperature well.
    • I run hot so my go-to is the Patagonia Nano Puff and I love it! If you run cold, consider a slightly heavier down version instead.
  • Rain Jacket
    • Always pack a rain jacket, regardless of the forecast!
    • Even if it doesn’t rain, a rain jacket is great to throw on in a pinch to block out wind.
  • Rain Pants
    • These are another must for me. I call these my grandma pants. They are in no way fashionable but I absolutely love them!
    • When it does rain, it’s great to stay completely dry, top to bottom.
    • When it doesn’t rain, you can use these to block out harsh wind.
    • Also, when paired with a rain jacket, it makes a great glissading suit. Not sure what glissading is? Check out the video below!
Complete 14ers Packing List - Gear List - Rain Pants - Grandma Pants - Kilimanjaro - Hiking - Packing List - Bottoms - Pants - Rain Gear - Dani's Drive - Seek Adventure. Find Simplicity.
The Grandma Pants
The best way to get down a 14er.


A couple more important things you may need to wear!


  • Sunglasses
    • These are a must! Preferably polarized, especially if there’s still some snow on the ground.
    • I learned my lesson on Mt. Democrat when my eyeballs got sunburnt. Ouch.
  • Helmet
    • As you get into the class 3 and 4 peaks, there’s more potential for hikers above you to knock down loose rocks. Bring a helmet you can throw on to protect your beautiful noggin while you’re in those areas. 


  • Hat
    • A second way to keep sun out of your eyes, manage your hair, or, if you go the beanie route, add a bit of warmth.
  • Gloves
    • For chillier days or class 3 and 4 peaks where you may be touching cold rocks to get up and over them, bring a lightweight pair of gloves to keep your hands warm.


Things to keep you comfortable and covered.


  • Sunscreen
    • SPF 50 or higher.
    • Apply before you start hiking and keep handy so you can reapply every couple hours.
    • The sun is really powerful at higher elevations so even if you don’t feel hot or if there’s good cloud coverage, you may still be getting burnt and no one wants to look like rudolph.
  • Chapstick with SPF
    • SPF 15-20.
    • Keep this handy to reapply as needed.
  • Aleve (or similar) & Advil (or similar)
    • Aleve is my choice for altitude related symptoms like headache or nausea.
    • Advil is my choice for muscle or joint pain.
    • You can pack a tiny travel container that has a mixture of the two.


  • Tissues
  • TP or Wipes
    • For when duty calls.
    • Please practice leave no trace principles and pack out your trash.
    • Dani’s Drive tip: empty beef jerky bags make great trash receptacles.


Alright, so we’ve covered what you need to wear for hiking a 14er—but what about the gear?!


  • Headlamp
    • It’s important to start hiking 14ers in the wee hours of the morning so that you can summit and start your descent before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Hiking at 4 am means the first couple hours will be in the dark. A headlamp is the easiest way to light your path.
    • I use the Black Diamond Spot and I’m a big fan! 
  • Water Reservoir
    • Something that can hold at least 2L, preferably 3L of water.
    • Bladders are a great lightweight option that you can slide right into your backpack. The hose also makes drinking on the go easy-peasy!
  • Backpack
    • Because you need something to carry all this stuff in!
    • I use a 20L Osprey Tempest and I’m obsessed. I have two and I consider myself a minimalist.


  • Extra headlamp batteries
    • Especially if you’re unsure how much juice yours have left.
  • Whistle
    • Because you never know when you’ll need to get someone’s attention. Some backpacks have one built right in! The Osprey Tempest does.
  • Trekking Poles
    • Great for longer mileage class 1 and 2 trails to reduce the impact to your joints (I have the knees of a senior citizen). 
    • A toss up for class 3 and 4. For some mountains they’re helpful and for others they get in the way since there are often sections where you need your hands free.
    • If you’re on the fence, bring them, just make sure you have a good way to strap them to your pack if you get to a spot where you need both hands free.
  • Backpack rain cover
    • If you’re carrying expensive camera equipment in your day pack, a rain cover adds some extra protection if it starts to pour.


Technology to guide the way and to document your day!


  • Route Instructions & Pictures (on your phone)
    • The app is your best friend! You can download route instructions (directions here, section 3) for offline use so they are still accessible if you lose service.


  • Picture Taking Device
    • Camera, GoPro, Phone–whatever your preference is! 


You’ll need some fuel to replenish and nourish your body as you work hard.


  • Water
    • Top off your water reservoirs before you head out.
  • Breakfast
    • Hiking a 14er is hard work and you need some fuel to get your body going. Try to get some breakfast in that belly as soon as you can! 
    • If you’re driving up in the morning, this Collagen Latte recipe is great for a boost of protein and pep on the way!
    • I also enjoy Bobo’s Oat Bars. I find the Lemon Poppyseed flavor is particularly easy to stomach at 4 in the morning. The banana chocolate chip is great too!
  • Snacks
    • Cater your snacks to meet your dietary needs but make sure you have enough on hand. A mixture of sweet and salty is best to keep energy levels up and those electrolytes replenished. 
    • Don’t underestimate the power of a salty snack. My worst experience with altitude sickness was the day I forgot to bring jerky.
    • Here’s what I typically pack:
      • Bars (4-8)
      • Jerky
        • The more the better! Gotta eat that protein to get those gains.
      • Nuts
        • Cashews, almonds, or some trail mix with dried fruit if you’re feeling extra fancy!
      • Chocolate
        • Because sometimes you need a little something to look forward to after the next mile.
      • Energy chews
        • Clif Shot Bloks are great. Keep a pack of these easily accessible for when you feel your energy levels (or mood) dropping.
        • My favorite flavors are Strawberry and Mountain Berry.


  • More Water
    • It’s good to aim to finish your CamelBak on the mountain so bring an extra water bottle that you leave in the car for the drive home. 
  • More Snacks
    • Because you probably want snacks for the drive home too. Did someone say chocolate?



  • 14er summit sign (I really want to put this in the required section because it’s such a fun part of summit pictures!)
    • No summit picture is complete without a summit sign! I’ve created some beautiful FREE PDFs available for download here.
    • Or, you can make your own!
Download the Summit Signs!
  • Which Wich Sandwich Bag
    • Dani’s Drive tip: if you take a picture at the top of a 14er with a Which Wich bag, print it out, and bring it into the restaurant, they’ll give you a free sandwich! What a win!
  • Printed Which Wich picture from your last 14er
    • For a free sandwich on the way home!
Earning that free sandwich

Well there you have it! The complete 14ers packing list with everything you need to day hike a 14er. If you’d like to download the FREE checklist, enter your email below!

Looking for tips on how to hike a 14er? Check out this post!

Love Dani - Dani's Signature - Dani's Drive
Have you used this 14er Packing List? I'd love your feedback! Leave a comment below!

Pin this Post for Quick access to the complete 14ers packing list!



Don't miss out on the 14er resources---join the email list!
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments