What should I pack for rafting the Grand Canyon?
There are a number of rafting trips I have been on where there are always a couple things I just wish I had brought with me. I always make a pack list when going on a typical four to seven day trip or else it is overwhelming. But, making a pack list for the Grand Canyon, a 14-21 day trip, oh boy! Anything forgotten, you have to live weeks without. I have been down in the big ditch a few times so, hopefully, I can give you some advice for what to pack for rafting the Grand Canyon.
What I wish I brought on my Grand Canyon rafting trip
- Lotion - You are in a very dry desert! Bring lots of little bottles packed in different places. A big bottle might spill all over the inside of your dry bag.
- Many socks - Socks are very critical to healthy feet and are a good relief from the constant sand.
- Slip on shoes - Make sure they are okay to get wet. Avoid Birkenstock sandals as they are not supposed to get wet.
- Extra hair ties - I keep at least one in my pfd.
- Portable Charger - Test before you go so you know how many charges you will have.
- Cotton T-Shirts - If you have an extra, they also make great pillow cases!
- Fitted sheet for sleeping pad - Sleeping with something between you and your sticky sleeping pad is wonderful.
- Dirty clothes bag - Ziplocs or reusable bags are great for separating your clean and stinky clothes.
- Sarong - It can be used to change modestly or to cool down on the raft.
Sarongs are the most versatile item! They can be used as a skirt, towel, bed sheet, and for sun protection.
- Rigging gloves - Rigging and unrigging your boat will do a number on your hands.
- Games - Cards, cribbage boards, board games, frisbees, twister, the list is endless.
- Tupperware - Having a to-go container for lunch, leftovers, or snacks avoids excess Ziploc use.
My go to are Crocs. They dry fast, you can wear socks with them, and they are easy to fumble on to your feet in the middle of the night when you have to make a quick dash to the river.
Grand Canyon Raft Trip Clothes
- Sun Hoody - I recommend the ones from Patagonia or Free Fly.
- Dress or skirt for camp - Even on the river, I like to feel feminine. I also love not having fabric between my legs all day.
- Pajamas - T-shirt, boxers, long johns or your matching set, depending on the weather.
- Flannel shirt - A great layer for when it is not too cold or two hot.
- Warm fleeces, sweatshirts, or a puffy coat - It can be very cold in the night and morning, even in the summer.
- Hats - One for shade, one for hiking, and a warm hat.
- Hiking Pants - You might want more sun protection rafting or while exploring the side hikes.
- Dareware aka party clothes - Most private boaters will never go on a trip with out at least one fun piece of clothing, usually more.
You can attempt to feel cleaner by changing your clothes before bed and the cotton will feel like a dream.
Grand Canyon Rafting in Winter Gear Suggestions
- Drysuit - Stay warm and dry during your day on the river.
- Lots of warm fleecy clothes and puffy coats - It is always good to have extra in case some get wet, or your buddy did not bring enough.
- Warm gloves - You will love these if you have to get up to make coffee and everything is frozen.
- Hot water thermos - Bring extra tea and coffee, the outfitters will not provide enough.
- Insulated, waterproof boots - I like Muck Boots. You will be much happier with dry feet while filling dishwater and rigging your boat.
- Four season tent - The wind will pick up and blow sand into your tent if it has too much mesh.
- River sauna - I have some friends that made one with a pop up ice fishing tent and a small wood stove.
Invest the time and money in sending your drysuit back to its manufacturer to have it pressure tested and the gaskets replaced (if you do not want to do this yourself).
Find a good thermos that can hold hot water all day long. Great for midday coffee, tea, hot toddies or mate!
Hopefully this gives you some tips on what to pack for rafting the Grand Canyon. Comment below what you would bring.