When it comes to packing for a week at Flathead Lake Lodge, it can be hard to know where to start. And while packing for a guest ranch in Montana may be daunting, especially because our summer weather includes hot days and cool nights, we want you to be as prepared as possible so your stay is comfortable and you can focus on creating memories on the shores of Flathead Lake. To help make prepping for your summer vacation as easy as possible, we’ve created a packing list for your week of adventure in the heart of Montana.
A Wide-Brimmed Hat
Here at the ranch, we spend a lot of time outside. During the week, while you’re out riding the trails, fishing, hiking or doing any of our countless activities in between, you’ll be under the Montana sun for a large portion of your day. While cowboy hats are a part of our daily attire, we also recommend them to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your face. Plus, with your wide-brimmed hat, you’ll fit in with the locals in cowboy country.
Many of the activities at the lodge will put you right in the middle of Montana’s wilderness. While exploring the trails, especially on horseback, long pants or jeans will protect your legs from the sun, sharp branches and bugs. Wearing long pants will also prevent chafing against the saddle and keep you comfortable.
Long-Sleeve Button Down
A light, long-sleeve cotton layer is a must pack for Flathead Lake Lodge, as it can be taken off when it warms up and put back on when it cools down. Light long-sleeves can be tied around your waist or tied to your saddle and easily go with you anywhere. Plus, they offer great protection from the sun.
When exploring the ranch, whether hiking, biking or riding, we recommend bringing a bandanna or neck scarf with you as it can be slipped over your nose and mouth for protection against dust, pollen and the sun.
Cowboy boots, Flathead Lake Lodge and Montana go hand in hand and boots are part of the regular attire in Big Sky Country. Around here, you’ll see a variety of styles, from well-worn boots broken in from working cattle and horses to dress boots that feature a wide array of colors, styles and patterns. Boots may be your most-used choice of footwear during your stay at the lodge, especially as they fit in everywhere from our weekly barn dance to horseback trail rides. The thick heel on your cowboy or Western boots will also keep your feet in place when they’re in the stirrups.
Swimwear and Lake-Friendly Clothes
Flathead Lake Lodge is the only dude ranch in the country that sits on the shores of Flathead Lake and we can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon than relaxing by the pool or kayaking on the lake’s crystal-clear waters. Be sure to bring a swimsuit, sunglasses and sunscreen to enjoy the lakefront. Chances are you’ll also set sail on one of sailboats, including two Q-Class Sloops, the Questa and the Nor’Easter V, with each providing a spectacular, one-of-a-kind lake experience. Be sure to grab a jacket when you set sail, as the lake welcomes big wind gusts in the afternoon. Baseball hats and sun hats are also great for sun protection. If you plan on fly-fishing or lake fishing, we also recommend bringing an SPF fishing shirt.
Dresses or Nice Button-Up Shirts
Flathead Lake Lodge – and Montana in general – tend to be pretty casual when it comes to the way we dress. We’re all about comfort and a casual lifestyle. But every once in a while, even Montanans like to have a reason to dress up. The barn dance and nightly family-style dinners are great occasions to break out your best jeans, button-up or dress.
Summer days in Montana are long and action packed and the weather often has a mind of its own. While you can confidently expect sunshine and 75 degrees, evenings can be cool and it’s best to be prepared for anything. Rain jackets, down coats or a heavier flannel button-up will keep you comfortable through any of our spring or summer weather, especially after the sun goes down in Montana’s mountains.
What NOT to bring: Your Nicest Necktie
When my grandfather, Les Averill, started the lodge, he only had one rule: no ties at dinner. Grandpa Les would roam the dining room with his trusty pair of scissors, just waiting to come across a guest that got a little too formal for his liking. That tradition hasn’t changed over the last 75 years and you’re well-advised to leave your neck ties at home.
You can learn more about a summer stay at our guest ranch here; if you’re ready to book your week at Flathead Lake Lodge, call us at 406-837-4391.