How to Backpack The Grand Tetons’ Crest Trail + Packing List

Updated August 2019: Even in 2016 with a decent camera and a smartphone, photos just didn’t look as good. I also have just improved my photography skills over the past couple of years. I’m disappointed I don’t have even more photos to show you, but there are still quite a few to look at below! SERIOUSLY, Wyoming and The Grand Tetons are amazing. If you have yet to have a chance to visit and hike, I highly recommend you start planning.

Backpacking The Grand Tetons, Crest Trail

First off, I hiked with my brother, his girlfriend at the time, my sister, and my boyfriend. My boyfriend and I drove from Flagstaff, Arizona to Salt Lake City, Utah, picked up my sister from the airport there and continued up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Jackson Hole is the cutest, prettiest town ever. I am a huge fan of Park City…and I still think Jackson Hole is better. 

Jackson Hole-Backpacking The Grand Tetons

In August of 2016 we hiked The Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park. It is a 25.7 mile hike and is rated as hard on All Trails. Check out more information about this hike and even favorite it in your All Trails app for later!

We hiked and camped for three days. We saw all types of animals, including marmots, moose and bears. Bring your bear spray and bear canisters! Then we spent a day eating, shopping and taking photos in Jackson Hole after getting back into town.

Jackson Hole Wyoming

Teton National Park has some amazing views and I do want to backpack the Crest Trail again at some point.

What to bring, tips and disclaimers:

In all honesty, this is not a beginner backpacking trip. 

It is over 25 miles and can be done in 3 or 4 days, but it really all just depends on your groups pace. I recommend being somewhat conditioned or training a little, like going on a few longer hikes beforehand. 

There are ways to stick to budget and save money on tents, backpacks, etc. but quality is also pretty important. I always check second hand stores, Sierra Trading Post and Amazon for gear and apparel.

The Crest Trail Teton National Park

Make sure you have good proper gear and apparel. Don’t be the person who forgets their rain shell (my sister). If it rains, you’ll get soaked and could get hypothermia. Luckily it didn’t rain. Layering is a good idea since the weather during the day is hot but at night it gets really cold, baselayers and or athletic tops are great for keeping you warm and keeps you dry when you sweat. Cotton should be avoided at least as a bottom layer. I wore a few athletic leggings and had sweat pants to go on top to sleep in, some people wore hiking pants. I brought a few athletic tanks tops and long sleeve shirts that were moisture wicking. To layer I brought a flannel shirt, a fleece sweater, and a puffy jacket. I also had a beanie and a baseball cap.

Jackson Hole Wyoming, hiking the crest trail

Make sure your hiking boots are fully broken in and that you have good hiking socks (a couple of people suffered from some pretty bad blisters). I love my Merrell hiking shoes, I’m on my second pair! I didn’t get blisters and they are really comfortable.

It gets pretty cold up in the mountains at night, so a good warm sleeping bag and jacket are essential. I had a sleeping bag rated for 30 degrees…it wasn’t enough. I exchanged it for a better one by Kelty once I got home. Don’t forget a sleeping bag pad so you aren’t laying on the cold hard ground which would make you pretty cold throughout the night.I borrowed one from a friend, but I currently use a Kymit one, which is pretty affordable, easy to pack and easy to inflate.

There are a lot of natural water sources, so bring a water purifier and your Camelbak. I think we all had 3 liter Camelbak bladders which was perfect We never ran out of water before getting to a new stream or lake. A small/packable first aid kit is also a solid idea. 

Jackson Hole Wyoming

Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap is the best for showering, dishes, or whatever-it’s extremely multiuse. Ditch the deoderant (it’s fine you are in the wild), or pick an unscented one, it could attract bears.

Again, bear spray just in case. One person should be designated with it. Bear canisters to tightly seal your food, and while we are at it, put the canisters a little ways from your campsite before going to sleep. All just in case.

For my backpack I used the Osprey Fairview 70. I like it because it opens like a duffel bag or suitcase versus opening at the top. It also has a small detachable day backpack on the front. It’s multifunctional and I have used it for all kinds of travel. There are a lot of good ones out there though, go into a store to try them on and see what works for you.  Lastly, remember to keep things small and light, you have to fit it all in your backpack and then carry it for miles each day.

If you (or people in your group that are going) know all about hiking, backpacking, safety and wilderness survival then off you go. If you want to get into backpacking, hiking and camping, try out smaller trips first. Also do some research to make sure you have everything you need, being safe and prepared is pretty important.

The Crest Trail Teton National Park

I don’t want to make it seem like not just anyone could do the Crest Trail because I and a few others really did not train or hike a lot before this trip. We did have some guidance though, my brother lived and still lives in Jackson hole, so he prepared us before going. 

I hope I have inspired you to check out Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole. I can’t recommend visiting them enough! If you have any questions or need advice on planning your trip, leave them down in the comments!



P.S. Nothing in this post is sponsored. I linked stuff to make it easier for you to find and check out.


I wrote a travel piece for a travel writing class I took a couple of semester ago about hiking through the Tetons if you wanna check it out!

If you want to know more about Jackson Hole, take a look at a road trip I did with my sister through Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.


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