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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

If you are reading this article, then you and I are in the same boat when it comes to what to bring and what to leave for college. So, I am writing this from the perspective of a freshman who wishes she brought, or regrets bringing, certain items. 



Luckily, I have lived in Colorado for almost 7 years now, so I am accustomed to the crazy weather. However, if you are coming from out of state I recommend bringing tons of layers. Boulder is so unpredictable, one minute it can be warm and sunny, then snow the next. I suggest bringing at least 1 waterproof jacket (try North Face or Patagonia). I would also suggest bringing more versatile jackets like hoodies, sweatshirts, denim, etc. These are for when it’s chilly but not worth a heavy-duty winter coat. Other accessories including hats, beanies, scarves, or gloves are super handy for snow days when you want to go sledding or build snowmen with your friends throughout the winter season. 


If you have a shoe addiction like me, this topic is going to be a bit of a struggle. Unfortunately, the dorm room closets do not have unlimited space so it’s important to pack and plan logically. For the fall/winter seasons you probably won’t be needing all of your cute summer sandals and flip flops. I would say bring your favorite pair and that will be enough. You also don’t need to bring all of your winter boots or snowshoes.I would say bring 2-3 pairs of your favorite shoes that you can’t live without. My favorite shoes to wear around Boulder are my Doc Martens, some easy slip-on slides, my UGGs, and my running shoes. If you are planning on hiking the beautiful Flat Irons, I would suggest bringing hiking boots or even tennis shoes.

Sunscreen and Moisturizer

I can’t stress enough how important sunscreen and moisturizer are in Boulder. Colorado is elevated and has lots of altitudes depending on where you are. Since Boulder is surrounded by Flat Irons, we are pretty elevated. Meaning, we are 1 mile closer to the sun than most states. Boulder is also known for its 360 days of sunshine and warm weather. It’s so easy to forget to wear sunscreen, especially in the winter because you don’t really think much of getting sunburnt, but trust me it’s possible. Since Boulder isn’t humid, it’s easier for your skin to get dry so bringing moisturizer and chapstick is going to save your skin. 


This is something I regretted not bringing my first semester. Boulder is such a gorgeous part of Colorado and there are so many different things to experience here. Going on a hike, walking around campus, and hanging out with your friends are all great photo opportunities. Yes, I know cell phones have a camera but there is something so nostalgic and special about having printable photos. At the end of each semester, you can make a photo album with your best memories at CU Boulder. 

School Supplies

In high school, I was one of those kids with a color-coded notebook for each of my classes, and I color-coded every set of my notes. I also had a binder for each of my class notes and homework. I’m surprised how my back is not broken from the weight of my backpack. So for college, I started by doing the same. However, that lasted for about 1 month until I decided that it was unnecessary. I switched to an iPad with an apple pencil and my laptop. I’m not saying you need to go buy all new devices, however, having everything on my computer is so much easier and accessible. Especially during lectures where the desk space is very limited. My computer allows me to have electronic “binders” and folders for each of my classes.

High School Gear

Throughout the years of high school, I was able to form a giant t-shirt collection filled with shirts from different clubs, sports, and events. However, these are a perfect example of things to keep at home. Like I mentioned about the shoes, the dorms have very limited space and you don’t want to fill them up with things that are unnecessary. Realistically, you will be able to start a whole new collection of CU Boulder t-shirts that you will wear more than your high school shirts. If you have a hard time letting go of your high school gear, you can bring 1-2 as sleep or loungewear shirts. However, realistically, you won’t be wearing them as much as you think you will. 

I hope this packing list has helped ease the stress of college packing and I hope you were able to narrow down your decisions. College is a fresh start, and you want to make room for your new life without too much clutter from the past. Get ready to make some of the best memories and have the best experiences of your lives and Sko Buffs! 

Laine Egan

CU Boulder '24

Laine is a sophomore at CU Boulder majoring in Psychology. In her free time she loves shopping, working out, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.
Sko Buffs!