I’m counting the days until another stay at The Ranch Malibu, a California luxury health and wellness retreat. Before my first trip, I wondered what to wear at The Ranch Malibu. I followed the suggested packing list but wondered about a few things. Is it necessary to pack two pairs of hiking shoes? Do people really wear sweatpants at dinner? Should I pack tights or shorts or both?
The weather was unseasonably warm and dry during my first trip to The Ranch Malibu, perfect fall hiking weather on the California coast. I returned to The Ranch Malibu six months later, and the weather was completely different, with torrential rain, some hail, and much cooler weather. I don’t know what the weather will be like on my next trip, but after experiencing two extremes, I know what to pack. Here are some suggestions and links to my favourite items to help you decide what to wear at The Ranch Malibu.
Hiking Shoes and Socks
The Ranch recommends two pairs of hiking shoes, and I agree. If your feet get soaked, you can use the in-room shoe dryers, but having an alternate pair is less stressful. Plus, a different pair of shoes is an excellent option if you develop blisters.
I love the Salomon Speedcross 6 trail running shoe. I’ve run mountainous 1/2 marathons and hiked on several continents in this super comfortable trail shoe. It is available in male and female sizing.
Plan to hike and walk in your shoes before you pack them. The Ranch recommends one month of use; that is the minimum for me. I’ve been fortunate to avoid blisters at The Ranch, and it’s because I’ve already hiked in my shoes, and my socks fit well.
The Ranch Malibu recommends “3 pairs of not too thick hiking or running socks and 2 pairs of liners”. I haven’t tried liners, but I wear dual-layer Wright Socks, which are fantastic. I bring at least five pairs of socks and stuff them in my hiking shoes to save space in my suitcase.
Wide-brimmed sun hats are the most popular option amongst Ranch guests. You can purchase a wide-brim hat at The Ranch gift shop if you don’t have one. I travel with carry-on luggage, so always wear this packable baseball-style hat from Lululemon. It’s made with quick-dry fabric if it happens to rain, provides decent sun coverage, and packs completely flat, so it takes up minimal space. Regardless of your preference, a sun hat is an excellent addition to your Ranch wardrobe.
Water is essential on the four-hour hikes, and The Ranch recommends a comfortable hydration backpack that will carry 100 oz (convert) of water. I bring 3 litres of water in my Gregory MAYA 16 and often drink all of it on long, warm hikes.
I pack an assortment of jackets when I visit The Ranch Malibu. I’ll bring a Patagonia rainjacket and a windbreaker if the weather is warm because it can be cool in the morning, especially near the ocean, and mountain weather is unpredictable. If the forecast calls for cooler weather, I’ll add a lightweight down jacket like this one from Peak Performance. The Ranch Malibu provides guests with rain ponchos.
In addition, I’ll bring a few 1/4 zips for hiking. Hoodies are excellent for the early morning stretch class and when it cools in the evening.
Hiking and Working Out
Shorts and Tights
Short or tights work well for hiking, yoga and Ranch workouts. I prefer Lululemon tights with side pockets to keep sunscreen and my phone handy. I’m excited to try Lulu’s new Cargo Super-High-Rise Hiking Tights on my upcoming trip. I usually pack three pairs of tights/yoga pants. There is a daily laundry service for Ranch guests, so there is no need to pack too much workout wear. But there are three classes (morning stretch, strength, yoga) per day, plus a hike, and it’s nice to change clothes between workouts.
I like hiking shorts with deep pockets. These Mountain Hardwear shorts are my current favourite. I typically pack two or three pairs of shorts when I visit The Ranch Malibu.
Sun shirts are an excellent choice for daily hikes. I love these UV-protective shirts from Mountain Hardwear.
Tank tops, sports bras, athletic t-shirts, and hoodies are perfect for strength and yoga classes. I recommend three to five tank tops or T-shirts.
Weather permitting, there is often a mid-week water workout, so remember a swimsuit. Plus, the hot tub and cold plunge are popular post-hike recovery options. I packed a one-piece competitive swimsuit on my first trip to The Ranch, and while it was comfortable during the water workout, now I add a bikini for lounging poolside.
There is no need to dress up at The Ranch, and most guests wear comfortable clothes at the family-style dinners. I pack leggings, a cozy midi dress, assorted shirts, and a long cardigan or sweater. I pack enough evening wear that I don’t need these items laundered while staying at The Ranch Malibu.
Good to Know & Travel Tips — What to Wear at The Ranch Malibu
- Comfort is the priority when hiking, stretching, exercising, and dining at The Ranch Malibu. You do not need to dress up at all. It’s all about health, wellness and feeling great.
- If you fly into LAX, The Ranch team will reserve a private transfer (on request), or UBER is an option. When you depart, there is a van transfer to LAX, or you can book a private car if you have an afternoon flight and want to stop in Malibu for some shopping.
- If you are flying commercial, you might appreciate this post on how to breeze through airport security.
I participate in the Lululemon and Salomon affiliate programs. I may earn a small commission if you click a link and purchase an item. It doesn’t cost you any extra. As always, I won’t recommend a place or product if I don’t use and love it.