National Parks Tips

What to bring to Yosemite in Summer

person standing facing a mountain with blue skies
I have visited Yosemite a handful of times in past Summers, but there were things I definitely wish I brought on my trip to make it more enjoyable and be more prepared. If you’re planning for an upcoming trip to Yosemite you might be wondering what to bring to Yosemite in Summer. For the Summer you should bring a hat with a neck cover, insect repellent, a water bladder, and a vacuum insulated bottled. I bring all of these items with me when visiting any national park during the Summer time as they have many great benefits.

During the summer months in Yosemite temperatures average around 80 to 90 degrees. This hot weather mixed in with hiking can drain your energy. A lot of the hikes in Yosemite are also strenuous requiring a lot of elevation gain going up many switchbacks. Another thing to be mindful of in the summer is the abundance of mosquitoes. The mosquitoes love the humid weather, stagnant pools of water, and the beautiful lakes. The hot weather and mosquitoes are just a natural part of the Yosemite ecosystem, however there are specific items you can bring to protect you from the heat and the mosquitoes. While this is a list of items you should bring, at the end of the article there are some snacks you should definitely avoid bringing!

What hat works best during the summer in Yosemite?
person wearing a hat looking out into the distance

My first time visiting Yosemite National Park, I just wore a typical baseball cap from my college. When I returned from that trip I had the worst sunburn on my neck ever, even after using sunblock. Turns out you really need to protect your neck if you’re out hiking for hours and hours. The hat that works the best during the summer in Yosemite is one that covers your face and neck. Wearing a hat will also help keep you cooler in the warmer part of the day and help conserve your energy.

You should consider wearing mesh or moisture wicking material hats as you will feel much cooler during the day. If your hat does not have a neck cover then consider putting a moisture wicking shirt in your hat to help cover your neck. This will keep the sun off your neck and keep your head much cooler.

Yosemite hikes can be very strenuous with the rugged trails and continuous switchbacks. You want to help your body stay cool during your hikes and a hat with a neck cover is a great start, Another great item to consider bringing is a water bladder.

Why should I bring a water bladder to Yosemite?

When I first started hiking I would carry a bunch of water bottles in my backpack and I found myself not drinking as much water as I should. When its hot and you are out on the trails you want to stay properly hydrated. Carrying a bunch of bottles at first is economical, but can feel very bulky and heavy in your backpack.You should bring a water bladder to Yosemite to save space in your backpack, make it more convenient to drink water, and carry less weight.

A good rule of thumb for how much water you should bring is about one liter of water for every two hours of hiking. Of course this is just a rule of thumb and if your hike is more strenuous and the weather is hotter you may need even more water than that. A typical water bladder carries about two liters, but they sell them in three and even four liter water bladders. I always bring a three liter bladder and carry a minimum of two liters no matter how short or long the hike is. Switching from carrying bottles to having a water bladder has helped me drink more water as it is way more convenient. There’s one downside to bringing a water bladder, but that can be solved with a water canister.

Why should I bring a water canister to Yosemite?
two water bottles on the grass

An item I learned about a few years after my visit to Yosemite was a water canister. It was a complete game changer for me. You should bring a water canister to Yosemite to have ice cold drinks or a hot beverage anytime during your hikes. Although a water bladder is convenient and carries a ton of water, the downside is that the water follows the temperature throughout the day so you could be drinking warm water at the height of the heat.

Nowadays it is very common to see water canisters either at school or in the office, but a great place to have it is out on the hiking trails, especially during your visit to Yosemite. Many water canisters are vacuumed sealed and keep ice cold drinks for as long as 24 hours and hot drinks hot for nearly 12 hours! These drinks are a fantastic pick-me-up after working your way up the switchbacks or on a tough section of a trail. I always look forward to drink ice cold Gatorade or coconut water and just soaking in the views.

Bringing a water bladder and a water canister is a great first start, but during the summer mosquitoes are very active. The next thing you should definitely bring during the summer is insect repellent.

Which insect repellent works best against mosquitoes in Yosemite?

mosquito on a white background
One of the most important and often overlooked items to bring is a good insect repellent. This can be the difference of being bit multiple times with mosquitoes bugging you throughout the day and having an enjoyable hike where they don’t bother you. The insect repellent that works best against mosquitoes in Yosemite is ones that contain either DEET or Picaridin

DEET is an insect repellent that helps prevent bug bites. It works because mosquitoes are repelled by the smell and taste of DEET which keeps them from landing on you and biting you. Picaridin also works in a similar fashion and provides a protective barrier on your skin and clothes to keep mosquitoes away!

As you are applying your insect repellent keep in mind that you should reapply it every few hours, read the label to be sure how often you have to reapply it! Now that you know to bring a neck covering hat, a water bladder, a water canister, and insect spray, there’s one thing you should not bring during the summer.

Snacks you should definitely not bring in the Summer
girl sitting on a log by a river

Now that we have the general hiking items out of the way, there are some snacks you should definitely avoid bringing in the summer. Snacks you should not bring in the summer are anything that has chocolate! With average temperatures between the 80’s and 90’s, the chocolate will just melt and become a mess to eat. When you are picking trail mixes for your hikes, be sure to avoid buying trail mix that contains chocolate or yogurt covered items. These will make it very sticky and messy to eat while out on the trails!

Alternatives to chocolate or trail mix that contain either chocolate or yogurt are raw nuts, fresh fruits, jerky, or energy bars. These will help you with maintaining your calories and keep your energy high throughout your hike without the mess.


Yosemite National Park is a beautiful park filled with colossal granite peaks, massive waterfalls, turquoise glacial lakes, an abundance of wildlife, but its important to think about what to bring during your summer trip. Before you head out on your trip don’t forget to bring a neck covering hat, a water bladder, water canister, insect repellent, and non chocolate/yogurt snacks. Bringing these simple items will make your trip a little bit more enjoyable and keep the sun, mosquitoes, and sticky mess away! Enjoy your trip to Yosemite.