Montana Road Trip Essentials

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Pile your best friends in your beat-up car and cruise down the wide open roads of Montana. There are plenty of beautiful places and winding, off-the-beaten-path roads to explore in our beautiful state, but you really want to make sure you’re prepared for the journey. Montana can get wild, so here’s our recommendation for the top five things you need for your best Montana road trip.

All-Weather Gear

Montana Road Trip Coat
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Look, to say that Montana weather can change in an instant is a real understatement. On the first day of summer of this year, two popular mountain drives, Going-to-the-Sun Road and Beartooth Pass, were partially shut down due to snow. Obviously, this type of unique weather depends on the elevation, but it did snow enough to accumulate for a few hours even at Bozeman’s elevation. So, be mindful of the forecast for where you’re traveling and how high you’ll be traveling upward. We recommend always keeping a warm coat, hat, gloves, blanket, and boots in your car year-round. Yes, even in August. 

Snacks and Water

Montana snacks
Image Courtesy of Kracklin' Kamut


While this is another great way to stay prepared for wild weather, snacks are essential to a good road trip. My friends and I generally begin any road trip with a quick pit stop to a gas station where each of us buys something sweet and something salty. Then, we share our delicacies amongst the car, rating the best and worst snacks. A couple of bottles of fresh water are nice to have in the car, too, in case of emergency. Don’t leave them in there if your car will be sitting in the sun for a long period of time. For snacks, we love a good Montana made snack stick or something crunchy, like Kracklin Kamut! Made in Big Sandy, Montana, kamut is a large grain wheat that is roasted in small batches and lightly seasoned with salt, kind of like corn nuts. We totally dig this crunchy, Montana goodness!

Music Other Than the Radio

Montana Road Trip music
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Montana radio stations can do a pretty awesome job of blasting out great tunes, but depending on where you’re traveling, the radio signals just might not make it up that mountain. Because no road trip is ever complete without the perfect playlist, we recommend going seriously old school. Burned CDs are still my favorite, especially when I dig into old ones and wonder what I was thinking when I put all that music together! But, if BlueTooth or an aux cord are more your style, just make sure you have some good driving tunes ready to roll for your big Montana adventure. Passenger picks the music, right? Rules of the road!

A Good Camera

Montana road trip essentials camera
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Almost everything about Montana seems to be photogenic. On a road trip, you never know what might happen so you want to make sure you have every opportunity to capture those memories. From goofy car selfies to gorgeous mountain landscapes, you’ll want a good camera always at the ready. I suggest giving picture duties to the passenger or the crew in the backseat and asking them to be at the ready at a moment’s notice. If you’re somewhere like Yellowstone or Glacier, you definitely want to keep an eagle eye out for an elusive bear or moose. A cell phone camera will probably work just fine, but it can’t hurt to pack along a nice point-and-shoot, either. And of course, remember to live in the moment, too. While you want to document your Montana road trip, be sure to put the camera down and just enjoy it as well. Balance in all things, friends.

A Good Attitude and An Open Mind

Montana Road Trip essentials good attitude
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This last one is probably the most important part of a fantastic Montana road trip. No matter your plan or whatever detailed map you make, things will never go exactly according to plan. You should do your best to just sit back and enjoy the ride. If you’re going through Yellowstone, you are definitely going to get stuck behind a herd of bison or elk. If you are up near Glacier, there might be a rock slide that needs clearing before you can get through the road. If you’re going somewhere new, chances are you’re going to get lost somewhere along the way. Other drivers might not be going as fast as you and might not be comfortable with Montana’s twisty mountain roads. Relax. Take in the view. Enjoy the fact that you’re with your favorite people in one of the most beautiful states in the country!


Written by: Cassi Miller 

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