Tag Archives: grand canyon gear

Grand Canyon Rafting: What to Pack

I just had the pleasure of spending 8 days on a Grand Canyon rafting trip. Why only 8 days you ask? Well, I was invited on a private raft trip, but didn’t have enough time to do the entire 16 days, so I joined the trip already in progress.

Grand Canyon Rafting
Grand Canyon Rafting

My boys and I hiked into Phantom ranch and met the trip on their 8th day. The logistics were somewhat hectic, but it all worked out perfectly…with one exception: I packed way too much gear...way too much.

To  be clear, the trip was in late June early July, things will obviously be different at different times of the year, but if you’re planning a grand canyon river trip during this time frame, here’s a tip: you don’t need much.


It was embarrassing how much stuff I brought, my dry bag was one of the biggest of the trip. That’s hugely embarrassing for an ex-river guide.

So, here’s a list of everything I used on the trip, and just for fun a list of everything I didn’t use, but first, day to day items I used:

  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag (once, briefly)
  • Pillow
  • Tarp
  • 2 bed sheets
  • 2 pair surf style river shorts
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 1 pair of Sandals
  • Wide brimmed sun hat
  • 1 Sarong (wetted down constantly) Since i’m a dude, we called it a schalong.
  • Toiletries (tooth brush, paste, lotion, floss)
  • Sunscreen (lots of it)
  • 1 tent (will only bring rain fly next time, the tent was an oven)

Things for Kayaking:

  • 2 polypropylene tops (one heavy, one light)
  • Dry top paddle jacket
  • Kayak helmet
  • Nose plugs
  • Booties
  • Life jacket (must be in top condition, the rangers check them at the put-in)
  • Rescue throw bag
  • Paddle (we had one extra on the trip)
  • Spray skirt
  • Baseball hat (worn under helmet)

Things I brought and never touched:

  • Multiple t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of long pants
  • 1 pair of sweat pants
  • 1 sweat shirt
  • 1 rain gear top (have a hard time not bringing)
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • Hiking shoes (not a bad idea, but never used them)
  • Flannel pajama bottoms (honestly have no idea what I was thinking)
  • 1 warm hat (WTF?)
  • Deodorant (what’s the point?)

Lots of stuff I never used yet hauled 225 miles down the Colorado river!  All the extra stuff was bulky, making my dry bag ridiculous. Ah well live and learn.