What to pack for New Mexico

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Most Viewed What to Pack in New Mexico

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
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    Pack for all temperatures

    by toonsarah Written Oct 16, 2011

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    Luggage and bags: In New Mexico, it isn’t just time of year that affects what weather you will encounter, it is altitude. It is also a desert climate, so overnight temperatures can drop considerably, and day time ones climb pretty high. As an example, on one morning quite early in our trip (and therefore in late September) we drove away from the cabin where we had spent the night at about 8.30, the thermometer in the car saying 42 degrees Fahrenheit. By 10.30 it read 82 degrees, a climb of 40 degrees in just two hours, driven by not only the sun climbing higher in the sky but also by our own descent to slightly lower elevations.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: So when packing, think layers. Start the day with a warm fleece over your cotton shirt, peel it off and replace it as the day goes on and you travel between different climate zones. You won’t need anything too fancy unless you plan to eat in the top-end restaurants of Santa Fe perhaps, so there should be room in your bag instead for more casual clothing in a range of thicknesses. Include a waterproof jacket of some sort too – we had a couple of spells of drizzle and one short burst of heavy rain, and if you travel in July or August you’re very likely to encounter afternoon storms in particular.

    Unless you plan to spend all your time in the towns or in a car you will want to take good walking shoes or boots. For any of the walks I describe here or on my other pages, decent trainers will suffice, but if you enjoy longer hikes you will know best what footwear to take.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Shops in all but the tiniest of towns will sell any toiletries or over-the-counter medicines you might need, but you won’t want to spend your holiday shopping so do take anything that you know you’ll be using. And don’t forget the sun-screen, as the New Mexico sun can be intense.

    Photo Equipment: The variety in the state makes it very easy to take a lot of photos, so you’ll need all the memory (or film) that you can manage. A zoom is useful for wildlife and perhaps for lofty cliff dwellings, as well as details on buildings. I also enjoyed experimenting with the panorama facility on my new camera – perfect for New Mexico’s wide open spaces and expansive vistas.

    Miscellaneous: You'll need a good map if touring - we used the "Topographical recreational map of New Mexico" published by GTR, which never led us astray. And I also took the Moon Handbook to New Mexico. I've used that series of guidebooks before and liked them , and this one was geberally very useful, especially for its detailed town maps, but having been published back in 2007 it did sometimes point us towards establishments, eg restaurants, that are no longer in business. Worth taking, nevertheless!

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  • HispanicYob's Profile Photo

    Just Because It's a Desert.......

    by HispanicYob Written May 1, 2010

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    Luggage and bags: If you plan on mostly backpacking or hiking during your stay here, I suggest just having a big travellers' backpack or a really big duffle bag.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you plan your trip anywhere from October to April, you're gonna need to think warm and bring some sturdy clothing. A lot of people underestimate the weather. Bring a warm jacket, gloves, hoodies, close-toed shoes, jeans, a thermal shirt or long thermo underwear (this rings true if you're gonna be in the higher elevated areas like Santa Fe in winter or the mountains). If you plan on visiting during summer, bring sunscreen!

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sometimes our food is extreme for a lot of out-of-towners. We thrive on chile here in our state. It's one of the things we're known for and what we're best at!!!! Our staple revovles around the combo plates that contain Spanish rice, frijoles (beans), enchiladas, tamales, rellenos (a type of pepper rolled up in a crust or pastry) and lots of chile! You could get gassy pretty easily. Start off before the meal with some Beano. And if you can't digest properly, bring some Pepto-Bismol.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you plan on camping or visiting a national park here in New Mexico from October to April, pack a good sturdy sleeping bag, a propane heater, canteen of water, sturdy hiking boots, a winter parka (especially from December to February), a pair of good wool socks and long thermo underwear.

    Miscellaneous: Just because we're a desert doesn't mean we don't get cold. In fact, it gets really cold. Naturally in late fall, winter and early spring. Listen to a local and pack the above mentioned items, especially if you plan on going on any adventure in the national parks or camping out.

    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Backpacking
    • Family Travel

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  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    A hint to fitting in while here ...

    by kymbanm Written Jun 20, 2005

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    Luggage and bags: 1. A day bag that will hold your ever-present water bottle and your camera :)

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 2. Jeans - don't need to be pressed and starched, but can be if you choose ...
    3. Boots - from rock star trendy to on the farm cowboy boots ... doesn't matter! Wear w/ your jeans, a dress/skirt or whatever ... okay just don't wear w/ your shorts!
    4. Layered clothing. Our weather is mostly sunny, but being desert, our temperatures can very 30 degrees F in a 24 hours period. Plan for both hot and cool climates while here, so layering is 'a good thing'.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: 5. SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN!!!! SPF15 at a minimum - regardless of the time of year. We are about a mile up, and even though you normally won't burn in the winter - your skin will be affected by the altitude :)
    6. Moisturizer is imperative. New Mexico is quite arid. Your body will shrivel like a raisin in the sun if you don't drink lots of water and use moisturizer!

    Photo Equipment: 7. Camera of your choice. The sky, architecture, and natural beauty is awe-inspiring. You don't want to go outside without your camera!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: 8. Walking shoes. You will wander the city, do day trips into the surrounding region and your feet will always appreciate good walking shoes.

    Miscellaneous: 9. Altitude sickness is a problem for many who travel here from sea level. It can be a simple as a headache, or more serious. Rest, WATER (an ounce per pound of body wieght please), and respecting your body's own messaging system are imperative :)
    10. If you are prone to allergies, bring your usual stash of anti-allergy meds and remedies. Being in a dry environment can exacerbate your allergies.
    11. Glasses. We have contact lens warnings on one of our local a.m. newscasts - those come up on our windy days. Also being dry, some find their contacts uncomfortable here - so bring your glasses to give your eyes a rest :) And of course, being the deset, don't forget your sunglasses!

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Don't forget your feather boa!

    by jayhawk2000 Updated Feb 18, 2003

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: To be honest, I don't travel around with a red feather boa...mine is black.

    Down one of the shady back streets of Albuquerque's Old Town was a shop that had this feathery thing hung outside with a sign inviting you to use it for a Kodak moment. They don't call it Albuqueerque for nothing!

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  • Packing List

    by lorinay Written Aug 26, 2002

    Luggage and bags: If you are not from New Mexico, and live in a warm area- Take a jacket! It gets chilly at night. Also make sure to take lip balm! The air is DRY!

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hiking boots for rock climbing!

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Lip Balm and a really good hand cream or lotion!

    Photo Equipment: You will regret not photographing their sunsets!

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  • erikajj's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by erikajj Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Luggage and bags: Bring a backpack and plenty of water.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Make sure to wear great walking shoes, as you can do a great deal of exploring on foot.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen is very important.

    Photo Equipment: Again, ask about photography permits if you are in Taos.

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  • Packing List

    by gonzo458 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Luggage and bags: backpack to pack the neccesities for a hike

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Great walking shoes. Some of the most prettiest places involves alot of walking. Bring a good hat as well. There are not that many shade trees in the National Park areas.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: SUNSCREEN and a strong one at that. That sun can be pretty potent.

    Photo Equipment: Polarizing lens...The landscape is beautiful. Especially in the northeast area there is alot of dwellings with that pretty red rock. It can be kind of tough to get without a polarizing lens.

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  • StirCrazy's Profile Photo

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    by StirCrazy Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A lot of New Mexico's treasures lie off the beaten path, and so if you plan to leave the cities or the highway then strong footwear with decent support and a good grip is useful.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Be sure to carry adequate supplies of drinking water while you're out and about in this state.

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  • Chris_Dahlia's Profile Photo

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    by Chris_Dahlia Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Because of the state's high elevations and tures ranging greatly from night to day. We advise that visitors unfamiliar with the daily fluctuations dress in layers that can be easily removed or added to adapt to the changing temperatures. Communities at higher elevations tend to be cooler thoughout the year.

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  • Packing List

    by suzyqNM Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In southern New Mexico...

    Summers here are hot! 'Summer' lasts from about April to October. Bring sunscreen and wear light cottons when possible. Also drink a lot of water!

    Winters are cool and dry. Nights get cold (below freezing) so bring jackets and sweaters.

    If you're going to be in the mountains, dress for winter (there's usually snow).

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Drink lots of water in the desert at all times of the year to avoid dehydration.

    Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and maybe a hat.

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  • tylerdurden's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by tylerdurden Written Sep 7, 2002

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    Luggage and bags: Leder und ketten.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Alles, das kernstrahlung widerstehen.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Lancome, Boss und Este Lauder.

    Photo Equipment: Digital.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: keine Obacht, Brunnen möglicherweise gehen die Mormonen blank.

    Miscellaneous: Sie möchten marihuana legalisieren, so...

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