The Big Bend is located in West Texas where it borders Mexico. It protects various species of animals. It is a home for numerous plants kinds. Just like other national parks in the US, you can visit the Big Bend without incurring additional entrance fees if you have an annual national park pass. Thus, if you are a regular parks visitor, I would recommend you to get yourself this pass. Apart from entrance charges, people visiting the park also worry about what to pack for the Big Bend. I visited the Big Bend both in hot and cold weather, and the first thing to take into consideration is the fact that weather patterns are always rapidly changing. With this in mind, here are particular things you should pack for your trip to Big Bend Park depending on the weather conditions.
Big Bend Packing List in the Spring or Summer
The Big Bend Park weather is really unpredictable. Its climate may be classified as one of the extremes. During hot and dry summer and spring days, temperatures often exceed 100˚F; this mostly happens between May and October. Therefore, there are some things that you’d better include in your packing list for Big Bend when visiting during these hot seasons. There are some of the essentials you should not forget when visiting the park.
What to Wear to Big Bend in the Spring or Summer
One of these things is clothes. These are not just any clothes but the light ones. Whether you choose to hike or to backpack, you do not want to be in heavy clothing that makes you sweaty all the time. Remember that your body also needs water, and if you are over-sweating, you will be getting dehydrated quite often. Also, you do not need to carry a heavy backpack because you will get exhausted fast. I would recommend taking lightweight clothes such as long pants and sturdy shoes that cover your ankles.
A Big Bend Hiking Gear
Hiking is one of the activities in which the visitors of the Big Bend Park engage. Personally, what I bring as my hiking gear depends on how long the hike is going to be. However, there are some basic items I never forget to take with me, regardless of the distance I plan to hike.
One of these is food and water. Food is vital because a vast of the hiking ground in the Big Bend is dessert, where you are likely to get hungry quickly as you cover the distances. I would recommend carrying food in the form of healthy snacks like boiled eggs, protein bars, apples, and almonds.
Water must also be in your daypack, especially when hiking through the desert part of the Big Bend. During the hot weather, you might need at least 2 gallons for an 8-hour hike. The amount of water taken can be more or less, depending on how comfortable you are with dry weather. The good thing is that you can get your water bottles refilled at the visitor centers around the park. But still, carry as much as you can. Other important things that have to be part of Big Bend hiking gear in the summer or spring are:
- A first aid kit.
Make sure that your kit contains basic equipment like bandages, rubbing alcohol, and gauze pads.
- Electronic gadgets.
You will need gadgets like a GPS navigation device, a compass, a flashlight, and a loud whistle. All these could come in handy in the event where you get lost or stuck somewhere within the park.
- Tweezers or an army knife.
In the desert hike, the tweezers and knives could help in pulling and cutting off cactus thorns.
- Walking stick.
- Insect repellent.
You may not know what kind of insects or bugs you could face in the desert.
Big Bend Packing List in the Spring or Summer: Sun Protection Gear
Sun protection gear, especially in the summer or spring seasons, will guarantee that you leave the park without sunburns. Therefore, you should consider packing up a sunscreen, some moisturizer for your skin, sunglasses, and a hat as well.
Big Bend Packing List in the Spring or Summer: Toiletries
These are personal items without which you can not leave your house, regardless of the kind of trip you are taking. Your packing list for the Big Bend should include toiletries like hand sanitizers to disinfect your hands before eating food or snacks, wipes, and toilet paper.
If you plan to go to the Big Bend for more than a day, do not forget to pack other toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, undergarments, a hairbrush, and sanitary towels for ladies. In addition, put any medication that you may need in your toiletries bag, because over the counter drugs around the park are relatively expensive.
Money and your passport are very important when visiting Big Bend. This is because the park has its own border patrol crossing, and sometimes they could ask to see your identification. You could even cross over to Mexico for a day while on your trip to the Big Bend. This should not be a problem if you carry your passport.
Big Bend Backpacking List for the Warm Seasons
Backpacking is another activity in which some of the Big Bend’s visitors are interested. If you are one of them, then you need to know more about the most necessary items you should carry. Firstly, you need to pack a suitable backpack that can fit in all the items you need.
Secondly, you will need appropriate clothing and footwear for summer or spring weather conditions. These are the ones I have mentioned earlier. Moreover, you need proper food; this should not only be in the form of snacks but an actual meal that will sustain you.
Another item that should be in your backpack for this activity is a sleeping bag. You will also need your survival gear for backpacking. This kind of gear will include tools like lighters and an emergency blanket that provides you with shelter and warmth, and elements like signal mirrors, survival manuals, and glow sticks that facilitate signaling and navigation.
Big Bend Packing List in the Winter
Although winter at the Big Bend is mild, subfreezing temperatures occasionally occur. This period is between November and March when temperatures get much lower than average ones, and the wind from the dessert is stronger, leaving sandblasts on its path. If you are planning to visit the Big Bend in winter, you will generally need more specialized gear compared to other seasons. Here are some of those things.
Big Bend Backpacking List-Sleeping Bags
Your backpacking list for the Big Bend should include winter sleeping bags that are water repellent because it can rain at any time. In addition, you may want to pack snowshoes if you are required to traverse through an icy path.
More importantly, do not forget your food and water. Your body will need the extra energy to persevere the cold and push through the trip. Moreover, your backpack should contain all the essential toiletries, similar to the ones I have described for hot weather.
Big Bend Hiking Gear in Winter
Your hiking gear in winter should be specialized as well. Aside from the necessities like a first aid kit, electronic gadgets, and a knife, you should also pack additional items like a trekking pole when hiking the Big Bend in winter. During the cold season, the terrain could be rougher than usual; a trekking pole will provide you with stability.
You may also pack an emergency blanket to reduce your body’s heat loss in case it gets too cold. A fire starter could come in handy as well. Especially when you need to start a fire somewhere along your hike in cold weather.
What to Wear to Big Bend Winter Vacation
What to wear to Big Bend during winter is a concern for many people. I advise people to pack heavier clothing during this season. In addition, it is best to carry clothes made of wool or synthetic fabrics because unlike cotton, they retain less moisture. Other types of clothing you should pack are hats, raincoats, gloves, and socks. These will keep your body warmer during the cold season.
Outdoors Fun at the Big Bend
The Big Bend is a destination you definitely should include your bucket list. With my suggested list of items to pack both in the spring/summer and winter, all you may need now is to set a date for the journey. The most important thing to remember is to carry more specialized gear (whether hiking or backpacking) during winter. Also, do not forget your passport just in case you get an urge to cross over to Mexico.
Nonetheless, whatever season you decide to visit the Big Bend, make sure to enjoy yourself and create lifelong memories.
Have you been to the Big Bend? If so, what other things did you include in your packing list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!