The author McKenna Mobley posing in front of a setting sun in Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, New Mexico Packing List

New Mexico Packing List (17 Things to Not Forget in 2023)

👉 Jump to: Packing Checklist | Clothing to Pack | Packing Tips | FAQ

There’s nothing worse than a perfect trip going awry simply because you forgot an essential item on your New Mexico packing list. 

While you can still get by with what you have or improvise as you go, having everything you need to explore New Mexico’s attractions will make your trip hassle-free, headache-free, and downright convenient.

As a born and raised Southwesterner myself, I have first-hand experience bringing the right (and wrong) travel essentials on my road trips across state lines. Read ahead so you don’t leave anything behind on your next New Mexico trip.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

New Mexico Packing Checklist

Hiking Boots

Our Pick
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-tex Hiking Boots

Be unstoppable on the trail with these comfortable Gore-tex hiking boots. They’re my go-to boots in any terrain.

Hiking boots are the one packing list essentials you don’t want to forget on your trip to New Mexico. I never travel anywhere without the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-tex Hiking Boots, also available in a lightweight hiking shoe.

The Salomon Ultra 4 boots are the best shoe to bring to New Mexico thanks to their Gore-tex technology and durable traction, perfect for hitting the trails after a storm.

Professional Camera

Our Pick
Sony Alpha

Look no further for high definition, this pro-grade camera comes equipped with a power zoom lens for top-quality accuracy.

Remember your trip to New Mexico in high definition with the Sony Alpha professional camera. Relying on a blurry phone camera falls short when compared to the crystal clear images the Sony Alpha produces. 

This mirrorless digital camera is compatible with a variety of different lenses, from wide lenses for landscape photography to zoomed-in lenses for wildlife photography. Shoot in a wide lens at the Taos Pueblo, one of the top things to do in Taos, for the best resolution.

Filtration Water Bottle

Our Pick
Lifestraw Go 1L

Filter as you go with this convenient 1-liter bottle filter and never worry about running out of water on a hot day again.

Odds are you’ll likely spend a lot of time outdoors on your New Mexico trip, whether hiking through national forests, soaking in cool New Mexico hot springs, or exploring the national parks and monuments.

Spend a comfortable day outdoors with the Lifestraw Go 1L water bottle. Filter water straight from the source to your bottle on the go or in a pinch with this innovative filtration water bottle.


Our Pick
Porter Travel Pack 46

Ideal for weekend trips and compact adventures, this travel backpack is a Travel Lemming favorite. 

If you’re traveling to New Mexico for just a short trip, the Porter Travel Pack 46 is the perfect accompaniment for you. Small enough to be stowed overhead as a carry-on but big enough for all the travel essentials, this backpack is sure to quickly become a new favorite.

The Porter Travel Pack encourages travelers to pack light and not over-shop for souvenirs. The classy style is also conveniently unisex and its comfort rating is a 10/10 for me.

Looking for a backpacking backpack capable of handling longer hikes? Check out Abigail’s ranking of the top backpacking and hiking packs.

Day Pack

Our Pick
Osprey Daylite

Another Travel Lemming top pick, this comfortable day pack is just the right size to fit all the travel essentials for a day of exploring new terrain.

Suitable for exploring the adobe streets of Santa Fe, spending time outdoors, or utilizing it as a personal item on board, the Osprey Daylite is the perfect vacation day pack.

This comfortable Osprey pack can also be attached to larger Osprey packs, making it easy to transport and conveniently packable. Carry all your hiking essentials in this universal day pack and hit the New Mexico trails in style.

Fast-Drying Towel

Our Pick
PackTowl UltraLite Towel

No one wants to pack a wet towel on a travel day. Fast-drying towels like this one are essential for quick trips. 

Thinking about showering right before you hop on the plane home? That’s no problem with the PackTowl UltraLite Towel. This microfiber towel is a traveler’s best friend when packing light; every ounce counts.

The PackTowl dries 80% faster than cotton towels, allowing you to comfortably go hot spring hopping in the Santa Fe National Forest.

Down Jacket

Our Pick
Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket - Women's

Stay warm in the most unexpected turns of weather with this 800-fill down jacket. The added hood and water-repellent treatment features keep travelers dry and happy. 

It’s a good idea to bring a down jacket to New Mexico no matter the season. Even summer nights can be chilly in the Southwestern state, especially if camping in New Mexico.

The Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket is one of my favorite down jackets on the market. The hood feature keeps the head and neck warm and the 800 fill keeps the core nice and toasty. The Cotopaxi Fuego jacket also comes in fun, vibrant colors in both men’s and women’s styles.

Zinc Sunscreen

Our Pick
Thinksport Clear Zinc SPF 50 Sunscreen

You don’t want to forget strong sunscreen while traveling around America’s Southwest. This sunscreen is high in zinc and is my go-to sun protectant.

The Southwestern U.S. is one of the hottest places in America. Be sure to stay protected when playing all day under the sun with a heavy-duty sunscreen like the Thinksport Clear Zinc SPF 50 Sunscreen.

The high SPF and zinc content in this sunscreen ensures skin protection and doesn’t cake on. I use this sunscreen on every outdoor adventure and when regularly applied, have never gotten a sunburn.

Bathing Suit

Our Pick

Don’t miss out on New Mexico’s hugely underrated hot springs by forgetting a bathing suit. This brand offers versatile patterns and styles to suit all shapes and sizes.

Bathing suits aren’t one of the most memorable items to pack for a trip to New Mexico. Without one, however, your experience of exploring top natural hot springs is ruled out (unless you opt to visit the clothing-optional ones).

Bikinx bathing suits are affordable, stylish, and come in various styles to best suit different body types.

Ski Goggles

Our Pick
Smith Snow Goggles

Tear down northern New Mexico ski slopes with the power of vision, thanks to these highly durable, polarized ski goggles.

Skiing is one of the best New Mexico activities, so be sure to bring your equipment if visiting in the winter months. Smith Snow Goggles are one of the highest-selling ski goggles for a good reason.

Ski with 20/20 non-glare vision with a pair of the epic Smith goggles, and be indestructible at the NM ski resorts. 

Ski Jumpsuit 

Our Pick
Patagonia Powder Town Bib Pants

Hit the powder slopes with full force in this stylish, waterproof snowsuit. 

New Mexico offers travelers an abundance of ski resorts in the north. Don’t forget to pack the Gore-tex layers for skiing or snowboarding at a top NM resort like the Patagonia Powder Town Bib Pants

Great for mobility, these Patagonia bib pants are constructed with two layers of waterproof protection, ensuring a dry day hitting the slopes.

Toiletry Bag

Our Pick
REI Co-Op Shower Roll

This toiletry bag is a personal favorite. The removable mirror and hook & hang features make it easy to get ready whether car camping, tent camping in the backcountry, or staying in a hotel in town.

I take the REI Co-Op Shower Roll with me on every trip, national and international. Three separate compartments make it easy for organizing toiletries, with one removable compartment to compress the load.

The detachable mirror and hanging hook system of the shower roll are my favorite features. I can hang up my bag in my hostel room, on my car handle, in a tent, or in an RV to apply makeup, sunscreen, and the like.

Rain Jacket

Our Pick
Outdoor Research Aspire II Gore-tex Jacket

“Water resistant” doesn’t hold up in heavy downpours like Gore-tex technologies do. This Gore-tex rain jacket is guaranteed to keep you dry for hours in a violent storm.

New Mexico experiences regular four seasons, including a dry hot summer and a snowy wet winter. The Outdoor Research Aspire II Gore-tex Jacket is an essential clothing item to pack if visiting in the non-summer months.

The Aspire jacket guarantees dryness even in the most intense NM snowstorm. I highly recommend sporting this jacket and braving the weather to visit a New Mexico hot spring, guaranteed to be empty during a storm. 

Shower Sandals

Our Pick
Shower Shoez

These shower sandals get the job done, don’t break the bank, and take up virtually no space in a carry-on. Sometimes, simpler really is better.

Shower sandals are one of the most forgotten travel items on the packing list. You don’t want to forget your Shower Shoez if staying in a hotel or hostel in New Mexico for sanitary purposes. The Shower Shoez are affordable and sport slip-resistant soles.

Hiking Pants

Our Pick
Kuhl Freeflex Roll-Up Pants

Forgot to check the weather before your hike? These versatile hiking pants got you covered. Keep them long or roll them up according to the forecast, these pants are essentially a two-for-one deal.

When packing things for your upcoming trip to sunny New Mexico, don’t forget to bring your hiking pants. With hundreds upon hundreds of trails to choose from, including top trails in New Mexico national parks and around Santa Fe, versatile pants like the Kuhl Freeflex Roll-Up Pants are a must-pack. 


Our Pick
Oakley Clifden Sunglasses

Protect your eyes from harsh UV rays and sunburn with ultimate polarized sunglasses, useful during both sunny days and during a winter storm.

The harsh desert sun is prevalent throughout the whole state, even in the forests of Santa Fe in the north. Polarized sunglasses like the Oakley Clifden Sunglasses are essential for exploring New Mexico, whether you’re exploring the adobe towns by foot or mountain biking throughout the Jemez Mountains.

Tote Bag

Our Pick
Aluwu Corduroy Tote Bag

Tote bags are the perfect way to fit all the day's essentials, or to use as a reusable shopping bag for souvenirs.

Sometimes, a small but stylish bag just doesn’t cut it while out exploring a new town. Tote bags like the Aluwu Corduroy Tote Bag are big enough to carry day trip essentials.

Other New Mexico Essentials to Pack

  • T-shirts
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Thermal layers
  • Lip balm
  • Water bottles
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Earplugs
  • Sleeping mask
  • Travel-size hand sanitizer
  • Cellphone and laptop chargers
  • Binoculars
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Valid ID
  • Flushable wipes

Clothing to Pack for New Mexico

New Mexico is as versatile a Southwestern state as they come. From high-altitude trekking to exploring trendy cities like Santa Fe, soaking in hot springs, and going on desert expeditions, be sure to pack for anything when visiting New Mexico.

You will most likely need a light jacket year-round, and heavy winter clothes in the non-summer months. Gloves, beanies, a down jacket, and jeans are useful during these times.

Sundresses, comfortable walking sandals, bathing suits, sun hats, and light jackets will come in handy if visiting New Mexico during the summer. Hiking clothes should be a part of your packing list no matter what season you visit, as hiking trails dot the state from the southern desert to the northern Santa Fe and Taos national forests.

So what clothing should you pack for New Mexico? Here is a quick clothing checklist for New Mexico: 

  • 2-3 pants
  • 3-4 long sleeve shirts
  • 3 short sleeve shirts
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 2 sundresses
  • 1 ball cap or sun hat
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 walking shoe
  • 1 hiking shoe
  • 5-7 pairs of underwear
  • 1 Down jacket
  • 1 Rain jacket

These are my top clothing essentials to pack for a trip to New Mexico. I’ll dive a little deeper into my favorite products below:


Our Pick
Patagonia Barely Baggies Shorts

Soak up the sun or submerge yourself in the sea with the Patagonia Barely Baggies shorts.

Shorts are a great option for exploring New Mexico hiking trails like Pueblo Bonito Overlook in Chaco Canyon National Historical Park. The Patagonia Barely Baggies Shorts come in a variety of styles and can even be found in a men’s style, the Mens Patagonia Baggies Shorts.


Our Pick
Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Socks

These socks provide miles of comfort and durability.

I never hike anywhere without my trustee Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Socks. I’ve never gotten blisters hiking in these comfortably durable socks and even wear them when exploring a new town. Darn Tough Men Socks are also available.


Our Pick
The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat

This hat is perfect for memorable outings on long and sunny days.

The unisex The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat is the perfect item for the packing list when traveling to a desert state. The wide brim protects both the neck and shoulders and the unisex style means it goes with every outfit.


Our Pick
Teva Tirra Sandals

Go anywhere with the multisport and comfortable Teva Tirra sandals.

I’ve worn my Teva Tirra Sandals in just about every state and country I’ve visited. These sandals are extremely comfortable and are the ideal walking shoe. They even come in a men’s style, the Teva Terra Fi 5 Mens Sandals.

Long Sleeve Shirt

Our Pick
Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie

Stay covered and cool through high exertion in the heat.

Long sleeve shirts are essential for a New Mexico trip in any season. They keep you warm in the winter and protect you from harmful UV rays in the summer. The Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie and Echo Hoodie Mens are my go-to long sleeve for spending long durations outside.

New Mexico Packing List Tips

Pack for a Variety of Activities

A closeup look at the “Indian Fry Bread” topped with vegetables
The “Indian Fry Bread” I devoured while exploring Gallup
Scenic view of the light snow covered mountains and hiking trail in Jemez Mountains
Hiking during a storm in the Jemez Mountains

If you aren’t too pressed for time, I encourage you to explore the best of the state. New Mexico offers travelers a variety of activities from hot springs near Santa Fe to exploring national parks and winter skiing. Pack for a variety of outdoor activities when visiting NM so you experience the top places to visit in New Mexico.

Don’t Forget the Shower Essentials

The shower essentials are easy to forget on the travel packing list. When packing things for your upcoming trip, be sure to remember travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, razor, shower sandals, and a towel.

Try Packing Cubes

If you’re like me and struggle to organize your travel suitcase, then you may want to consider trying out packing cubes. Simplify packing and unpacking with a compartmentalized suitcase or travel pack thanks to lightweight packing cubes. 

Pack Light

Panoramic view of the lone motorhome in the middle of the campground in Chaco Canyon
Camping with my motorhome in Chaco Canyon

A good rule of thumb is packing what you think you need for your upcoming trip, then cutting that down by a third. Packing light leaves room for buying souvenirs or locally-made goods in New Mexico, a state with beautiful handicrafts and jewelry.

Don’t Skimp on Layers

Although New Mexico typically experiences a full four seasons, it’s still a good idea to pack plenty of layers. This includes thermal layers, t-shirts, light jackets, leggings, jeans, a heavy jacket, and a rain jacket. 

Be prepared for anything including an unexpected storm or a 65-degree day in the winter with plenty of layers.

FAQs About Packing for New Mexico

How do I pack for New Mexico?

Northern New Mexico (Taos and Santa Fe) is far colder than southern New Mexico. Pack according to the geographic location when you visit New Mexico and when in doubt, pack layers.

What should I pack for Albuquerque?

You will want to pack both casual and nice city clothes for Albuquerque. You should also bring a good pair of hiking boots for hitting the trails and a heavy jacket in the non-summer months.

What should I pack for a road trip to New Mexico?

Depending on the duration of your New Mexico road trip, you should pack enough warm and cold weather clothes, plenty of road snacks, sunscreen for driving, a few gallons of water, and hiking essentials.

How do people dress in New Mexico?

The non-summer months in New Mexico almost always bring a chill. Most people wear pants and a coat in New Mexico with comfortable walking shoes but Santa Fe dwellers tend to dress more artistically. Layers are the most important when visiting New Mexico.


Thanks for reading my complete New Mexico packing list! Have a blast as you cruise around the historical Southwestern state and be sure to give our best things to do in Santa Fe guide a read to be well-versed before you embark on your epic journey.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate (you can leave feedback after clicking submit)

Help us help you travel better!

Your feedback really helps ...

What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?

Leave a Reply

All comments are moderated for compliance with our community guidelines. Most importantly be kind & be helpful!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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