What to Pack for Yosemite in the Spring

View of Washington Column from North Pines Campground

Though Yosemite is located in central California, its weather varies greatly from the nearby warmer, dryer central valley. In the spring, temperatures can swing from 20 degrees F to 80 degrees F in the span of days – which can make packing a challenge. Like dressing for San Francisco, the key is to bring layers that can be easily added or removed. Read on for what I packed recently for a three-day two-night car camping trip!

For a sense of how the weather in Yosemite Valley can vary daily in April and May, here’s a sample of a weeklong forecast:
Yosemite Valley May 2017 Sample Weather

Quite the variance – while the week leading up to my trip saw sunny days in the 70s and 80s, the days I went ranged from 30 degrees F to 60 degrees F with some clouds and rain. I also wasn’t sure if I’d be staying for one night or two. It was my first time solo camping (more on that later!), so I was leaning towards fairweather camping and concerned about the second day/night with steady rain in the forecast. But because I was car camping, I had the luxury of bringing a few extra items in case I stayed an extra night.

Yosemite Packing List for Spring

Outerwear

I brought water repellent layers not only because of the rain, but also as I planned to hike the Mist Trail, a notoriously wet (as the name implies!) hike in the spring.

Base Layers

Sleep / Underwear Clothing

Accessories & Shoes

Topo Designs Rover Pack
Above: Though not completely waterproof, this pack stayed pretty dry through misty and drizzly conditions while hiking.

Packs

Shelter & Sleep

My cozy tent view!
Campsite #515 at North Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley.

Cooking

In addition to the items detailed above, I also packed the usual toiletries and tools – such as matches, headlamp, mylar blankets, swiss army knife, etc. I purchased firewood locally at the Yosemite General Store, which is conveniently located near the campsites (about a 3 minute drive) and stocks not only souvenirs, but also groceries (including vegetables!) and other camping supplies.

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