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Luggage and bags: If you are going to backpack, please bring one. We saw one couple trying to lug suitcases out there and that couldn't have been much fun.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Nothing protects better from the elements than clothing and long sleeves and pants are recommended for any kind of extended time here. If walking in the dunes for an appreciable distance, you should wear proper hiking boots as ankles are easily twisted in the sand on steep inclines. If you don't have sunglasses, you'll wonder why immediately. A brimmed hat is another must. White is the word. Wear it. For early mornings and evenings you will be surprised at how cold it can be. For that you'll need some warm clothes. It's best to dress in layers as you'll be shedding them once the sun gets a bit higher in the sky. Don't forget a warm hat as well as one for the sun.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: A high factor sun block is essential.
Photo Equipment: A polarizer will help cut down on that washed out look to your photos. Tripod for low light situations and for taking group photos so you can be in them too.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I'm sure the couple with suitcases didn't have a tent either and though you probably don't have to worry about rain, it does get cold in the desert at night and there are lots of creepy crawlies that might want to snuggle up in your sleeping back with you too! No use lugging even a small camping stove as with there is no water and you'd have to lug not only what you absolutely need to drink, you'd have to bring water to cook and clean with too.It should go without saying but anything you bring in, you should carry out. Please, leave no trace.
Miscellaneous: Fees to enter White Sands National Park are $3 per person and allows seven consecutive days entrance. We had an America The Beautiful Pass which costs $80 and is good for one year from first use. It allows an entire car of people to enter all US National Parks, Monuments, Historical Sites, and Federally Administered Lands. With us being on a six month trip around the US, it was well worth getting!
Updated May 21, 2009
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Layers are important in the desert, not only to protect your skin from the sun, but also for proper warmth after dark.
Sensible shoes that are already broken in are also important to wear that day. I don't recommend sandals as all that hot, fine sand will end up all over your feet and increase the friction they receive w/ walking.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen is always important, but since the sun feels so much more intense in this environment - bring at least SPF 15!!
Photo Equipment: I found my digital camera perfect! With all this white, I needed to review the pics right away to verify that I had indeed gotten the intended subject.
Miscellaneous: Oh, WATER, WATER, WATER :)
Updated Jun 14, 2005
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A good pair of hiking shoes is a must if you plan to walk back into the dunes. Sunhats and sunglasses will be necessary as the reflected sun off the sparkling white sand is very bright.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: An easy to carry water bottle is a necessary item when hiking within the dunes. If you use a hiking stick, use one that has a basket on it to prevent it from sinking into the sand.
Written Jul 16, 2003
Photo Equipment: Any picture you take here ends up looking like cover art for an acoustic album. Even the most amateur photographer can't fail to get at least one or two good snapshots!
Written Sep 22, 2006