Grand Canyon Packing List
If you've been invited on a private Grand Canyon rafting trip-- congrats! This trip is on the bucket list for just about every paddler, and for good reason. World-class whitewater, incredible hiking, and 2-3 weeks of fun with friends and no cell phone service. Here's a packing list for folks going on a non-winter Grand Canyon trip with gear & food support from an outfitter.
On spring and fall trips, you'll want extra layers for cool nights and the possibility of rain. In the summer, you won't need layers unless they are for sun protection.
- Short sleeved quick-drying T-shirts or tank tops
- Long sleeved sun shirt
- Fleece jacket
- Rain shell (also great for windy days)
- Baselayers - warm shirts & pants for layering
- Warm hat
- Pants - comfy pants for camp / sleeping + technical pants or leggings for hiking
- Shorts - hiking shorts + longer board shorts for sun protection on the raft
- Swim suit
- Sarong - works as a towel, a swimsuit cover-up, or tie it around you for privacy while changing clothes underneath
- Wool socks
- Underwear / boxers / sports bras
- Cozy camp clothes - cotton T-shirts, pajama pants, soft dresses/skirts, shorts, sweatpants, etc.
- Clothesline - optional, but makes drying your river clothes out easier. Amazon sells some travel versions with built-in-clips.
- River sandals - I like Bedrocks or Chacos
- River shoes (closed-toe) for spontaneous hikes or romps up creek beds - I like the Astral Rassler
- Dry shoes for longer hikes. Any trail running shoe is great. La Sportiva makes super grippy shoes that are great for the scrambley/chossy trails on the Grand Canyon.
- Camp shoes - use your hiking shoe or bring another comfortable shoe. Crocs are a guide favorite.
- Neoprene socks (if your feet get cold)
- Buff - Tucked into your hat, it protects the back of your neck on sunny days rowing. Works well as a headband for long hair, and a light-weight hat on chilly evenings.
- Ball-cap / trucker hat - For sun protection while hiking
- Wide-brimmed hat - For sun protection while on the raft
- Rowing gloves - Protect your hands from both blisters and sunburn while rowing. NRS makes a few options.
- Reusable water bottles
- Reusable coffee mug - I like the Miir Camp Cup.
- Sunglasses - Bring at least 2 pairs because it's likely you'll break or lose a pair, plus a strap to make sure they stay on through rapids.
- Sharpie permanent marker - They always seem to come in handy.
- Plastic to-go containers - Great for packing a lunch to bring with you on a big hike, filling with leftovers, etc.
- Camera and waterproof case
- Dr. Bronner's soap - Great for a body wash and washing clothing.
- Shampoo & conditioner - optional, Dr. Bronner's works here too!
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss
- Lip Balm
- Sunscreen - Bring more than you think you'll need!
- Body lotion and hand salve - I like Boulder Balm.
- Hairbrush or comb, hair-ties for long hair
- Body wipes
- Solar Shower
- Nail clippers!
- Small absorbent towel
- Personal First Aid Kit - Antibiotic ointment, medical tape, bandaids or liquid bandage like New-Skin, pain reliever, antihistamine allergy meds, and any prescriptions you normally take.
- Ladies - tampons or menstrual cup. Keeping a small, sealable trash bag and TP in your dry box is nice to have during the day too.
- A razor for if you want to shave on the river.
- Headlamps and extra batteries. I always bring 2 headlamps just in case 1 ends up broken or in the river.
- Sleeping bag, sleeping pad or Paco pad, pillow
- Tent or camping tarp to sleep on top of. Large wing tarps can be great to sleep under in case of rain or for shade on layover days.
- Dry-suit or a dry-top and wetsuit
- PFD (that will pass the NP Ranger's inspection)
- River Knife
- Helmet - For big rapids and kayaking
- Spray skirt and paddle if kayaking
- 303 spray for gaskets. Don't forget to check your dry-suit/top gaskets before the trip and make sure they are in good shape. You don't want to have a busted gasket on day 3.
- Mesh duffle - These are awesome for throwing in things that can get a little bit wet and that you want to have handy, like sunscreen, your waterproof guidebook, a small dry bag with your hiking shoes, etc.
- Throw bag and Flip line
- Guidebook for rapids and a hiking book
- Extra carabiners to rig personal gear
- Gorilla Tape for unexpected repairs
- Day dry-bag or small ammo can
- Backpack for day hiking. Trekking poles if you use them.
- Camp chairs
- Beer / alcoholic beverages - like sunscreen, bring more than you think.
- Non-alcoholic drinks like flavored sparkling water, juice, sodas, or powdered drinks.
- Can Koozie to keep your drink cold.
- Your favorite snacks
- Journal and pen, book to read
- Stamps and address list for sending postcards. Pre-purchase your postcards in Flagstaff as they are much cheaper than buying them at Phantom Ranch.
- Field guides to identify flowers, animals, or constellations.
- Costumes, wigs, and hats for silly days on the river or camp parties.
- Battery-powered LED string lights to make camp feel festive.
- Portable speaker - This may a controversial one, but I personally like to have a little music playing at a reasonable volume on flat water days or while cooking dinner.
- Solar Charger to keep your camera, music, and phone charged up. I like the ones from Ryno Tuff.
- Games - like travel Scrabble, a deck of cards, or glow-in-the-dark bocce ball.
- Musical instrument, like a guitar or banjo + protective case
- Beach Umbrella
- Patterned duct tape - I pick out a colorful pattern and put a little piece on all of my personal gear (like carabiners or small dry bags) to easily identify my things.
- Climbing gear - There are some great climbing routes and fun slot canyon rappels. Check out this book.
- Small piece of tarp - Set it on the ground to put your things on top of while you look through your big dry bag, or stand on the tarp while you're changing clothes to keep sand off of your feet. NRS makes a nice sand-free version.
- Sleep/eye mask, if you have trouble sleeping unless it's really dark. Full moons can be incredibly bright in the Canyon.