The Right Stuff: Ten Colorado-Living Must Haves


Y’all, a move from the Midwest to Colorado Springs took some adjustment. There were so many things I didn’t know I needed. From the kitchen to the river, here’s a list of this momma’s top ten Colorado-living must-haves.

The right flour

My first 17 batches of made-in-Colorado cookies were trash. I substituted and added flour and researched and everything. It was one train wreck after another. Then my Aunt Addie who’s lived here 30 years told me her secret — Hungarian High Altitude flour. There’s no need for substitutions, just use your regular recipe and devour the after-magic. Find it at King Soopers and other grocers.

The right shoes

“Oh mine are fine.” And you’re right, they are if you’re ok with having a fine bruise on your fine behind. Invest in a good pair of trail running shoes or hiking boots and you’ll have much better luck staying upright. I have this pair, and they’re comfy, cute enough, and have an insane tread.

The right snow boots

Waterproof boots with thinsulate are a must-have in winter months. I have this pair from Bass Pro. Comfy, cute and super warm.

The right water bottle and stickers

I didn’t understand the people being married to their sticker-laden water bottle trend until living in Colorado. It’s crazy dry here, so you need to stay hydrated. Apparently, so does everyone else. Buy an insulated one to keep water cold on the hottest days, and cover it with stickers so you always know which one is yours.

The right conditioner and dry shampoo

Like I mentioned, it’s dry. If you want soft, healthy locks, you need a good conditioner. This one is my absolute fave. Need to save cash? Try this drugstore option. Also, stop washing your hair every day. Use this Batiste dry shampoo to keep the oil at bay.  They even have an option for dark hair.

The right sunscreen

Skin isn’t replaceable. UV exposure increases with altitude, so it’s imperative to lather in sunscreen before going out. Neutrogena makes my favorite sunscreen: Ultra Sheer Dry Touch. I hate the greasy feel of typical sunscreen, but this is light and wonderful. Protect your eyeballs with a good set of sunnies, too.

The right wardrobe

All four seasons reveal themselves beautifully in Colorado, so it’s important to have a wide variety of layer-able gear. Flannels and vests are useful for fall and winter, while dry-fit and linen material feels good during the summer. I spend my life fleece-lined in the cold, and I’m not sorry about it. My favorite store in this area is Sierra Trading Post. They carry apparel and shoes for men, women and children, a few housewares and a nice selection of sporting goods.

The right outdoor equipment

This may be the most important section in this post. Unless you legitimately have a dollar-bill plant growing cash as quickly as DJ Khalid is spitting out “another one,” please don’t purchase the first set of skis and boots your feet slip into. Same with a fishing pole. Also with climbing gear. And the list goes on. Ask a trusted friend what type of equipment they own for the hobbies you’re interested in. Then discuss it with a sales rep at your favorite sporting goods store. Observe and research. This will save you loads of cash.

The right ice scraper

Frost is frequent in Colorado, and so is snow. I keep three things in my car at all times—two blankets, a pair of gloves, and a good ice scraper. Scrapers with a brush for removing snow and a good set of jaws for breaking ice are amazing. Check out this scraper, or this one if you’re on a budget.

The right four-wheel-drive vehicle

I’m not sayin’ you have to scurry out and order yourself a Subaru upon obtaining residency, but four-wheel drive, or at the very least, front wheel drive, is helpful. Thankfully the magic sand trucks and snow plows, who my children have dubbed “The Enemy” because these guys lower the chances of school cancellations, are typically out before weather hits. Every once in a while, though, snow arrives unexpectedly on the morning the alarm fails to sound, and the 4WD will come in extra handy. My family has the ultimate kid-hauler, the GMC Yukon XL, as well as the ultra-outdoorsy  Toyota Tundra, but your needs are yours, so find what best suits your fam. Consider a luggage rack if you plan to do a lot of skiing, and a lift if you plan to off road.

While I’m not suggesting a transplant to Colorado go broke stocking up on these must-haves, eventually the list will come in handy. Colorado natives or recent transplants, what are some things you can’t live here without?