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July 26, 2021
25 Random Things You Need For A Weekend In The Catskills
From hiking boots to farmer’s market ready totes, we’ve got you covered.
Written by

Located just a few hours north of New York City, the Catskills is a pretty popular weekend destination. While the region was once known for its luxurious mountain resorts (à la Dirty Dancing), it’s now a place for the outdoorsy types, with plenty of areas for hiking, biking, and world-class rock climbing cliffs and features. If those activities sound too extreme, a more relaxing itinerary can be found by hitting up the area’s restaurants, breweries, and bars.

No matter what your Catskills itinerary has in store, you’re going to need a few essentials. Before you load up your rental car or pack onto a Metro North train, check out our ultimate packing list to ensure you’re prepared for anything your vacation throws your way. Not sure what to do on your trip? We’ve even thrown in some tours and activities to help you explore the Catskills to the fullest.

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I’m An Outdoor Obsessive, Here’s My Camping Essentials Checklist


A Reliable Weekender

If you’re only going to be in the Catskills for a few days, Lo & Sons’ Catalina Deluxe Tote has enough capacity for all the clothes you need. Plus, you can tuck a spare pair of shoes into the zippered bottom compartment. Should you need to also bring a rolling suitcase, this bag also slides onto your suitcase’s handles.

Get Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote ($103)→

Stock Up At A Farmer’s Market

One of the best things to do in the Catskills is to explore the plethora of fresh produce you can pick up directly from the farms themselves or at a local farmer’s market. Whether you plan on enjoying perfectly-ripe heirloom tomatoes or crisp apples in the fall, these French market bags will make it easier to carry everything home.

Get Filt French Net Market Bag ($48–$74)→

Lounge In Style

ITA Leisure’s outdoor accessories are a welcome change of pace when it comes to gear that looks and feels good. Inclusion is also the foundation of the brand — ITA aims to make tools and gear that BIPOC recreationalists can use to take up their own space in the great outdoors. One of their first releases, a lounge chair and ottoman combo, can easily be packed away in a car trunk for the drive up to the Catskills, then popped up to lounge by a firepit or campsite.

Get ITA Leisure Kit Duo ($395)→

For Bringing Snacks Home

If you have the chance, you should also plan to stop at Harana Market, a Filipino deli and grocery store that will have you salivating before you even walk in the door. And to bring their assortment of sauces, ingredients, and prepared food, you’ll want an extra large market bag like this one.

Get The Organic Company Market Bag ($28)→

Do A Wine Tour, No Car Needed

This trip from Travel Rush allows you to enjoy a few of the Catskills’ many wineries and beautiful natural scenery, and it even provides round trip transportation to and from New York City.

Book Sip N’ Trip 2-Hour Wine Tour ($155 per adult)→

Or A More Adventurous Itinerary

If you’re the adrenaline-chasing traveler, this 3-day-long excursion is packed with plenty of activities that will get your heart racing. The trip includes a 2-night stay at a local hotel, access to a waterfall hike & viewing platform, and a ride on the highest, fastest and longest zipline in North America.

Book Zip Lining & Waterfall Hike in the Catskill Mountains, New York- 3-Day Trip ($657 per adult)→

Be Prepared for Pests

No matter what your itinerary in the Catskills has in store, you’re probably going to end up in the woods at some point, and that means you could run into ticks. Be prepared with this tick key that can easily pull out the worst kinds of critters, and can be stored on your keychain.

Get Tick Key ($10)→

A Nice Smelling Bug Spray

Bug bites are awful, and mosquitos and the like tend to enjoy the humid conditions throughout the Catskills. I like preparing with this lemon-scented, DEET-free bug spray.

Get Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent ($5) →

Slap On Some SPF

You’ll spend a ton of time outside during your trip to the Catskills, so don’t forget to slather on some sunscreen. This one from Supergoop applies as a lightweight mousse, and has coconut oil to keep your skin hydrated.

Get Supergoop Play Mousse ($34)→

A Small, But Mighty Grill

Grill up all your favorite camping meals with this ultra-portable grill. Plus, you can take advantage of any fresh produce or groceries you get in any of the Catskills’ quaint towns.

Get Everdure CUBE Portable Charcoal Grill ($200)→

Work The Grill Easily

You don’t want to risk any burns while working the grill or cooking over a fire, so these extra long tongs will allow you to look after your food from a safe distance.

Get GIR Silicone Grill Tool Set ($32)→

Keep Your Phone Charged On The Road

After a long day of exploring and documenting your vacation, you’ll need to charge your phone. If your car or rental doesn’t have a USB port, this converter will ensure at least two of your devices stay juiced up as you drive through the picturesque scenery.

Get Anker Mini 24W 4.8A Metal Dual USB Car Charger ($11)→

A Fun Cooler For Local Beer

You’ll probably stop by a few craft breweries as you eat and drink your way through the Catskills, and it’ll be tempting to bring back a few growlers or bottles. Whether you’re looking to enjoy your brews at your campsite or want to make sure they stay fresh for the trek home, keep everything cool with a dedicated cooler.

Get Retro Picnic Basket 25 Qt Cooler ($50)→

Keep Your Own Beer Cold

If you go to the Catskills anytime from now until late September, chances are that it’ll be pretty steamy and warm. To keep your drinks cold while you’re tending to a campfire or walking an evening stroll, I suggest bringing an insulated can cooler to keep your favorite IPA perfectly crisp.

Get Yeti Rambler 12 oz Can Cooler ($25)→

Capture Analog Memories

For those looking to take an analog approach for a fully unplugged weekend in the wilderness, these disposable cameras are super-lightweight and would fit into a fanny pack for mid-hike photo-shoots.

Get Fujifilm QuickSnap Flash 400 Disposable 35mm Camera, 2-pack ($36→

Enjoy Some Camp Coffee

The best way to enjoy barista-quality camp coffee is with an Aeropress. Grab one before your trip, regardless of whether you plan on staying at a hotel with a questionable coffee maker or roughing it at a campsite.

Get Aeropress Coffee Maker ($30)→

Chill Out In A Camp Chair

You can’t go wrong with a versatile camping chair for lounging around a campfire or for enjoying a cold beer while your friend works on a challenging rock climb in the mountains.

Get StoicFireside Five O’Clock Chair ($67)→

A Big Hat

You’ll want plenty of sun protection as you recreate in the Catskills, so it’s the perfect time for this big goofy Baggu hat to shine. I’m obsessed with mine, since it easily can be tossed into a tote bag and be hastily tied on when the moment strikes.

Get Baggu Packable Sun Hat ($34)→

Bright, Waterproof Sandals

I also like packing a pair of waterproof sandals that are easy to slip on for walking to a campground bathroom or for casual tours of a local farmer’s market. They’re easy to hose down if they get dirty, and the bright colors are sure to earn you some compliments.

Get Birkenstock Arizona EVA Sandals ($45)→

More Rugged Sandals That’ll Stand Up To A Light Hike

Should you want to let your toes breathe while hiking or wading through a swimming hole, these sandals will do the job.

Get Teva Mid Universal Sandal - Men’s ($60)→

Cozy Up

Despite the consistently hot summer temps in the Catskills, it tends to get pretty chilly at night. This warm blanket will keep you warm inside your tent, or can be draped over your shoulders as you enjoy an evening nightcap.

Get Recycled Original Puffy Blanket ($99)→

A Perfect Casual Hiking Boot

Unless you’re going up loose and steep terrain, you don’t need a super involved hiking boot. The support of these Blundstone boots will keep your feet equally happy through a morning hike or exploring a pick-you-own orchard.

Get Blundstone Unisex 550 Rugged Lux Boot ($119 - $364)→

Better Wool Socks

Another way to keep your toes happy is by keeping them dry and cozy. Grab some merino wool socks to wick away moisture and keep your feet warm through colder night temperatures.

Get Darn ToughLight Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion Sock ($22)→

Stay Hydrated And Cool

You’ll also want to stay hydrated during your Catskill adventures, so be sure to bring a water bottle. I’m a fan of this bottle from Hydroflask because it’s insulating to keep your water cool, but not so heavy that it’s a burden to carry on longer hikes.

Get Hydro Flask32oz Wide Mouth Trail Lightweight Water Bottle with Flex Cap ($50)→

If Low Energy Is More Your Speed

If you’re more interested in enjoying the slower pace of life that can be experienced in the Catskills, a sightseeing cruise is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. See all the natural beauty that the Hudson river has to offer just a few hours north of New York City, plus you can grab drinks and snacks from the boat’s fully stocked bar.

Book Hudson River Sightseeing Cruise from Kingston ($38 per adult)→

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