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The Ultimate Packing List for a Mountain Getaway

Updated: May 17, 2023

The mountains are calling and you should definitely answer! Regardless of the time of year, a mountain getaway brings something special. From the fresh air and blue skies in the summer, to the snowy peaks and cozy cabins in the winter, it’s always a good time to enjoy a trip to the mountains.

Visiting Big Bear is no exception. While the seasons will change the weather quite a bit, there’s always so much to do anytime of the year. Given the changes you can expect to see, we’ll divide this packing list up by season. You’ll certainly need to pack different things in July compared to January and we want to be sure you’re prepared and ready to enjoy an epic mountain trip.

Base Packing Checklist

dark pajama

Photo Credit:

Below, I’ll dive into the details of packing based on season, but there are a few things that you should add to your suitcase regardless of the time of year you chose to visit.

We always recommend that you pack:

  • Cozy Loungewear (for lazy days at your cabin rental!)

  • Hiking Boots

  • An Extra Pair of Shoes

  • Bra/Undies

  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip Balm

  • Phone Charger

  • Laptop + Charger (if this is a workcation)

  • Refillable Water Bottle

Winter Packing Checklist

winter cloths hanging

Photo Credit: New Africa

Winter in Big Bear is an incredible time to visit, especially if you’re searching for a winter wonderland in Southern California! While your mind might instead take you to the Smoky Mountains or Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll have your share of winter weather here, too.

In December, January, and February, the highs stay in the low 40s and the lows are in the 20s. January tends to see the most snow, but from November to April, it’s expected in the mountains. Most people visit Big Bear this time of the year for a ski trip. If you have ski appropriate clothing (like water-proof pants and jacket with a lining), be sure to pack those items. If you don’t, you can rent what you need at the ski resorts.

To ensure you stay warm and have an incredible mountain vacation, here’s what we recommend you pack:

  • Winter Jacket

  • Pants

  • Sweaters

  • Long-sleeve shirts

  • Leggingssp

  • Wool Socks

Summer Packing Checklist

one piece swimwear in the sand

Photo Credit: svitlini

While you might automatically assume the summer months will be incredibly hot in the mountains, you’re in for a treat! Summer in Big Bear is the epitome of fantastic mountain weather. While it’ll certainly be warm enough to enjoy some time on Big Bear Lake, you won’t be dripping sweat the moment you step outside like you might have thought.

In June, July, and August, the highs stay in the low 80s and the lows dip quite low to the high 40s. Because of this big jump in temperatures from day to night, you’ll want to be sure to pack layers. That way, you’ll stay comfortable once the sun drops behind the trees in the San Bernardino National Forest.

So you can take advantage of all the great things to do on land and in the water in Big Bear during the summer, we recommend you pack:

  • T-Shirts

  • Shorts

  • Pants

  • Long Sleeve Shirt

  • Light Jacket

  • Swimsuit

  • Quick Drying Towel (for a quick dip in the lake)

  • Bug Spray

  • First Aid Kit (if you plan on any day hikes)

Spring/Fall Packing Checklist

grey towel

Photo Credit: Pix Factory

While spring and fall will bring different experiences, like the beautiful fall foliage vs. fresh spring flowers, in general, your packing list will be similar. Most people who visit Big Bear in the spring or in the fall are hikers, bikers, or those looking for a little bit of R&R in the mountain air.

If you’re in town for hiking, depending on how difficult of hikes you choose, you might want to add hiking poles to your list. If you’re most excited about mountain biking, be sure to pack sweat-wicking clothing and bike shorts to stay comfortable and safe on the trails. But, if you’re like me and would prefer to spend your day relaxing, throw in some extra lounge wear to your suitcase.

In March, April, and May, the highs range from the high 50s to the high 60s and the lows range from the mid 20s to the mid 30s. In September, October, and November, the highs jump a bit more from the mid 70s to the mid 50s and the lows range from the 40s to the 20s.

Given the big range of temperatures, be sure to pack clothes that can easily be layered. In a single week, you might see a wide range of weather, so you’ll want to be prepared on a day-to-day basis.

To have an incredible spring or fall vacation to Big Bear, you should pack:

  • T-Shirts

  • Long Sleeve Shirts

  • A Jacket

  • Pants

  • Shorts

  • Bathing Suit (if visiting in May or September)

  • A Rain Jacket (if visiting in the Spring)

  • Quick Drying Towel (for a quick dip in the lake)

  • Bug Spray

  • First Aid Kit (if you plan on any day hikes)

With these seasonal packing lists, you’ll be ready for mountain getaway anytime of the year! Big Bear is one of the best mountain towns you can visit, and to fully enjoy your trip, you want to make sure you’re prepared. But hey, anything you forget with your mountain vacation packing might just be the perfect excuse to head to The Village for some local shopping. Your secret is safe with me if you want to take that travel tip to heart!


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