Pro Tip: Gear For Rafting the Grand Canyon
Before rafting through the Grand Canyon I was provided many gear suggestions from fellow boaters. Since I flew to Flagstaff for the trip, what I could bring was somewhat limited causing me to agonize over what to bring for our 18 day trip. This article includes some advice based on my experience.
Sand Stake and Hammer
I’ve only used a sand stake to tie up my boat a few times before the Grand Canyon. I used it pretty much every time I needed to tie my boat up on this trip making it a mandatory piece of gear. Additionally, a dead-blow hammer with ball bearings inside the head provides the extra hammering force crucial for quickly pounding in the stake.
Moisturizers, Salves, and Balms
Extremely dry skin and cracks are common on the Colorado River due to the dry air, water, and sand that gets everywhere. During the course of a long trip, skin problems can evolve from being simply uncomfortable to utterly debilitating. You’ll want to have enough products with you that proactively take care of your hands and feet each day. Bag Balm and Super Salve are most guides' favorites but I prefer ClimbOn Moisture Creme.
Filtering clean drinking water on a long trip can be a lot of work with clear water and almost impossible with silty water. The Colorado River can be one of the siltiest rivers in the world so removing silt before filtering water is an important task. Flocculant is a chemical added to silty water that will drastically speed up the separation of silt from silty water.
Satellite Texting Device
Some form of satellite communication device is required for all trips down the Grand Canyon. Additionally, it’s nice to have a way to be in touch with home for some people. I really like the InReach Mini because it’s small, reliable, and easy to use.
Everyone told me to bring muck boots for the mud around the rafts when the water drops. I bought a pair, carried them with me, and didn’t wear them once. We had just one day of rain on our trip and other trip members wore their boots but I was happy without them. If it rained a lot I think I would have worn them more, but I’m not putting these on my "must have" list.
Solar Panel and Battery
Most people have cameras, phones, sat testers, Kindles, and more electronic devices that need to be charged during the trip. A large battery might provide enough power but a solar panel is a nice addition to keep your battery and devices charged. Both solar panels and batteries can be finicky so you want to get good ones and test them out before your trip.
These fancy mats allow sand to pass through them so you can stand, sit, or lay on sandy beaches without actually touching sand. This will help protect your hands and feet from cracking. Additionally, these should go on the floor of your kitchen area to collect small scraps of food that fall on the ground while cooking. I really like the sand mat made by CGear.
Cots are a great way to sleep outside without having to worry about scorpions crawling in your sleeping bag at night. My favorite is the Roll-A-Cot from Camp Time.