What to Pack for Lake Tahoe in Summer?

If you want to see the most beautiful place in the world; it's time to add Lake Tahoe to your destination list. The expansive freshwater lake is tucked in the Sierra Nevada, straddling both Nevada and California mountains. It was formed over two million years ago, and it has breathtaking clear water and panoramic views of both water and mountains.

What to Pack for Lake Tahoe in Summer?Lake Tahoe is one of the best lake resort destinations in the world, and a summer trip there is a wonderful experience for outdoor enthusiasts. Spend the day swimming, boating, paddleboarding, hiking, and exploring. The nights are perfect for sky gazing, camping, and enjoying time with friends in the great outdoors.

This post will provide you with these helpful lists:

  • Must have items you need for a summer trip to Lake Tahoe
  • Items you should probably pack, depending on how adventurous you plan to be.
  • Items you definitely do not need to pack.

Must have items you need for a summer trip to Lake Tahoe

Here are the things that you will be expensive to replace, and I recommend that you pack them for your trip. Essential items will help travelers with having a wonderful experience in the outdoor elements.

1. Drivers License and Credit Card for Renting Gear

You won't be able to leave the airport without your license and credit card for proof of identification. You will also need both of these items in case you need to rent any water gear at the resort, as well as checking into your accommodations.

2. Hiking Boots

Lake Tahoe is an outdoor recreational haven for hiking. With hundreds of hikes to choose from; it is important that you take safety measures and wear hiking boots that will support your ankles and feet on sloping trails.

3. Swim Gear

After spending the day hiking through the mountain paths; a jump in the lake will be exactly what traveler's are craving. It is important to find active swim gear that holds up for both hiking and dries quickly after swimming. Also, many suits now have protection from UV Rays.

4. Sunscreen

Even if it is a cloudy day, travelers will be at a very high altitude at Lake Tahoe with exposure to harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen throughout the day to any exposed skin. Pick a sunscreen that is sweat and waterproof, and reapply as needed.

5. A Sun Hat

Regardless if it’s raining or pure sunshine, a hat is always a good bet in Lake Tahoe. Just like sunscreen, a hat can help protect travelers from sun rays, while also offering a stylish addition to your outfit. To fit in with the Lake Tahoe locals, pick a hiking trucker hat to wear.

6. Sunglasses

With the California sun shining down and reflecting off the lake, you are going to want some sun gear! A popular and affordable brand is Goodr, they are reasonably priced; have hilarious names, and they are built for an active lifestyle. That means they stay on your face when you are moving lots! They come with a carry case and box; so perfect for travel.

7. Smartphone and Accessories

Can you imagine leaving home without your smartphone?  It will have all your communication, information, and apps readily available for travel needs. While hiking or boating,  keep your valuables secure with a travel wallet.

8. Travel Battery/Portable charger

If you notice your phone drains the battery when you are out for the day, consider carrying a  travel charger battery in your travel wallet.

9. Reusable Water Bottle

High mountain elevation can leave travelers dehydrated rather quickly. It is important to constantly be drinking water to stay hydrated and avoid altitude sickness. A reusable water bottle is not only environmentally friendly; but it gives travelers the opportunity to drink Lake Tahoe's tap water; which is the purest in the country.

10. Toiletry Bag

Don't forget your toothbrush, chapstick, makeup (if you wear it), deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and soap! You can buy them in miniature size at your local drugstore, or just amazon prime it for simplicity's sake.

11. Great Walking Sandles

On extremely hot days where you want to end your hikes near the lake; a waterproof walking sandal is a great idea. It will give you traction on the hikes, while also keeping you blister free after a swim at the beach.

12. Water Proof Hiking Clothing

With the weather warming up as the day goes on, you'll want breathable, comfortable hiking clothes that protect you from the sun UV rays, and allow you to sweat and move easily.

13. Packable Hiking Jacket

If you start your day on an early hike or want to end your adventure with a night spent star-gazing over the lake; definitely consider packing a roll up hiking jacket for when the weather cools down.

Maybe pack these as well for Lake Tahoe in summer

Depending on how adventurous you plan to be, these items could really add some extra fun to your Lake Tahoe holiday.

1. Paddleboard

One of the most popular If you already have a paddleboard or a canoe gear, it might be worth it to bring along. It will be much cheaper than renting. However, if you don't already them, simply rent them there.

2. Snorkel Set

This isn't necessarily a must have, but if you want to snorkel or dive around in the lake; then bringing swim goggles are a must-have. It really just depends on how much you want to swim, and if you prefer to see underwater. Many people love to snorkel and check out the fish below them.

3. Inflatable Kayak

This is a nonessential item, but it can be loads of fun for travelers visiting the lake! Many options inflate very quickly; so traveling with them is a breeze, and setup is a no brainer. You can also keep it simple and rent one at the Lake.

Items you definitely do not need to pack for Lake Tahoe in summer

Formal Clothing

Unless you are attending a wedding,  you can leave the dressy clothing and high heels at home. Lake Tahoe is definitely an outdoor, casual environment. Travelers will fit right in wearing hiking or active camping clothing.


If you don't own expensive water equipment, it would be more affordable to simply rent them there. What's more, if you do decide to bring your boat along, it will need to be inspected. Watercraft inspections are mandatory in most large lakes in the US. They're there to prevent people from contaminating lakes with new invasive species.

Even brand new boats need to be inspected and you'll have proof of that inspection - in the form of a sticker - while in the water. Otherwise, the fines will be severe and probably more expensive than the cost of your entire Lake Tahoe vacation.

Hunting Gear

While Lake Tahoe is a beautiful hunting destination; it is strictly limited to the fall months only, so if you're coming over summer, this is a moot point. What's more, even if you happen to plan a fall trip to the area, you will, of course, need to get the right permits from the State of California.

Snow Gear

Even at the high altitude, you will not need to bring snow repellent gear in the summer. Simply layering a light hiking jacket or sweatshirt would be perfect as the day turns to night.

Enjoy your Lake Tahoe vacation!

Don't obsess too much about what to bring. Focus on your driver's license and credit card and you'll be just fine. You can buy anything else you might need in the Lake Tahoe area. Or you could even hop over to Nevada and visit the outlets near Reno. However, if you're only coming for a weekend, getting everything in advance might be a better choice - to save you time in the stores and let you enjoy the fantastic location for all it has to offer.

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