Grand Canyon Trip Packing List
So…You’re going on the Grand Canyon! Congrats! All that’s left to do is gather your personal river gear. Here’s a list to help streamline the process. By the way…some of these companies are generous sponsors, like Smith Optics and Pistil Designs. Other companies give us nothing and have no idea we write lists like these. Either way nobody pays us to write these packing lists and we only recommend products we think are excellent, useful, high quality items.
Me and all my gear, April 2015. Amazingly it fits in two 50L drybags 🙂
Category 1: What to Wear on the Boat
1. Sunny Weather Outfit
- – Sun Shirt (long sleeved, collared, bonus points for pearl snaps)
- – Shorts (quick dry, long board shorts, a zippered pocket is nice)
- – Sun pants (works better than sunscreen!)
- – Sunhat (Pistil Designs sunhat with tether, Backcountry Babes Visor. Maybe bring 2 in case you or a friend needs a spare)
- – Lip Balm w/SPF
- – Sunscreen
- – River Shoes – old sneakers, Astral Water Shoes, or 5.10 5-tennies all work great. It’s nice to have your feet covered from sun and good traction for side hikes.
- – Bathing Suit top or quick dry sports bra
- – Sunglasses (don’t skimp, get a high quality pair like Smith Optics) w/ croakies. Maybe bring 2, in case you or a friend needs a spare.
- – PFD – Coast Guard Approved type III or V. Nice to have a little pocket for snacks, etc. Your outfitter will have one for you if you don’t want to buy one. An outfitter provided PFD likely be huge and orange with a neck pillow.
- – Whitewater Helmet – mostly for protecting you from an errant oar, rock, or gear accident during big rapids. Not necessary all the time.
2. COLD on the Water Outfit – windy, cloudy, splashy
- – Splash Shirt
- – Splash Pants
- – or, go for the full Drysuit (wear long underwear and socks underneath)
- – consider a She-Wee, Lady J, Sheenus, or some other brand of pee funnel to help you pee without taking off your drysuit
- – Neoprene Booties – go warm here, the water is 54 degrees! Look for good traction for short side hikes. Try these (go 1-2 sizes up) http://www.nrs.com/product/30040.01/nrs-womens-paddle-wetshoe-closeout
3. Staying Warm at Camp
- – Down Jacket
- – Patagonia R1 Hoodie or some kind of expedition weight base layer
- – Wool Buff – neck warmer or hat
- – Wool Long Underwear
- – Fleece Pants
- – Down Booties
- – Wool Socks
- – Warm Hat – Pistil Designs for style points
- – Raincoat – acts as a windbreaker, too
- – Rain Boots – big, tall rubber boots. nice for your feet while loading boats in the morning on a November – Feb Trip. Not needed in summer.
4. Staying Stylish at Camp
- – Thrift Store Skirt: for lounging, air drying, changing, looking fashionable
- – Sandals
- – Costumes, Fake Mustaches, Formal Wear, Hawaiian outfit, etc
- – Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss
- – Medication: an extra supply
- – Tampons, ibuprofen, menstrual cup, baby wipes (pack these out in a separate trash bag; not in the groover.)
- – 48oz yogurt container (personal pee bucket for night time use, rather than walking to the river. Okay, this is somewhat unique, but try it if you like!)
- – Soap (Dr. Bronners,) shampoo, moisturizer, lotion, salve, moisturizer, salve. The sand, river water, and desert are very, very drying. Socks and gloves for sleeping with moisturizer on are nice. Bag Balm, Super Salve, Olive oil…
- – Clean Undies, Clean Socks
- – First Aid Kit. Your outfitter will have one, but nice to have a few things you like handy.
- – Camp Chair
- – Mug – for coffee or drinks
5. Sleeping System
- – Paco Pad (or inflatable sleeping mat, thermarest, ridgerest)
- – Sleeping Bag (inside a waterproof stuff sack)
- – Sleep Sheet (for hot nights)
- – Tarp – to sleep on
- – Tarp – to put gear on (sand management)
- – Tent – MSR’s Mutha Hubba fits 2 paco pads nicely
- – Pillow Case (I then put my down jacket inside for a comfy pillow)
- – headlamp (w/extra batteries.)
5. Put it in Dry Bags
- – A drybag backpack is nice…think 100L, or 2 50L bags.
- – A small drybag is good for on-the-boat accoutrements, like sunscreen, coffee mug, 1 layer, etc. Think 15L
- – An ammunition box – to put books, head lamp, little accessible things into. Find at army navy surplus.
- – A wet bag- a big mesh bag that straps to the boat is nice, too.
6. Bonus Points
- – Bake chocolate chip cookies or brownies, store them in an airtight container and break them out later in the trip
- – Bring costumes for everyone.
- – Bring mixed drinks for everyone, pass a bag of wine around, pack extra beer
- – Bring a really nice camera in a Pelican Case and be a really good photographer
- – Make awesome tie-dye shirts for the whole crew.
- – Bring a ukulele or guitar and a song book
- – Bring Tom Martin’s Day Hikes from the River http://www.amazon.com/Day-Hikes-River-Third-Edition/dp/0967459591
- – I HIGHLY suggest Martin’s River Map (one per boat) http://www.nrs.com/product/66204.02/rivermaps-colorado-river-in-the-grand-canyon-5th-ed-guide-book
- – small backpack for day hikes
- – extra camera batteries
- – carabiners for clipping water bottles and other various items to the boat (label with your own electric tape)
- – Solar Shower
- – Solar Charging Panel for small electronics
- – Post-trip change of clothes to leave in the car
- – A little money to buy stamps and postcards at Phantom Ranch. They also sell stickers, snickers bars, chapstick, salve etc. They don’t sell ice cream.
- – Journal, books, backgammon, cribbage, cards, games
- – Hairties, hair brush
- – WetBag: accessible items on boat. This is kind of nice. An ammo can from an army surplus store can work well, too.
- – Extra CAM straps – always handy. A good idea to label these so they don’t get mixed in.
- -BEER. avoid beer stress by packing 1 beer per person per river mile. that’s usually an extremely excessive amount, which is good to avoid stress of running out!
- – If you’re on a Private Boater Trip, I highly recommend Ceiba Adventures for the job of food pack and gear pack ceibaadventures.com