Insider Packing Tips for Grand Canyon Rafting

Insider Packing Tips for Grand Canyon Rafting

Packing for a Grand Canyon rafting trip is nothing to take lightly. Depending on the season you go, the temperature, weather and gear can be completely different. Once you’ve packed the essentials (swimsuit, sunscreen, hat, and of course your pillow) we have a few suggestions for oft-overlooked items that will come in handy again and again.

  • Your dad’s old cotton dress shirt may be the best piece of river gear out there. Lightweight, cooling, long-sleeved, cheap and super-stylish, cotton dress shirts will keep the sun off your back and arms while also holding moisture to keep you cool during those hot, desert days.
  • A super-rich lotion and hand salve applied each night will make a world of difference on tired skin and allow you to focus on the scenery and the next rapid rather than cracked hands and feet.
  • Think “Monsoon-season” only happens in the tropics? Think again. July through August is considered monsoon season in the Grand Canyon and you’re going to want good, quality rain gear. No dollar-store ponchos, we’re talking head-to-toe waterproofing. Even if it doesn’t rain, it’s great to have during big rapid days too.
  • Sarongs are the best-kept secret to river-comfort. After a few days wearing your sarong you’ll forget why you ever wore anything else. It has endless versatility as a skirt, scarf, towel, headdress or blanket and no, it’s not just for ladies.

Insider Packing Tips for Grand Canyon Rafting

  • After running Crystal, Granite and Hermit rapids, hiking through creeks or jumping off of cliffs, you’ll be soaked. A simple clothesline is a great way to dry out bathing suits, shirts and shorts once you get into camp so you don’t have to suffer through putting on wet clothes in the morning.
  • Sand in your hair and in your sleeping bag are common if you’re sleeping sans tent, but if you’re opting for the tent there’s no need for sand in your stuff. A small whisk broom is great for keeping sand out of your home and on the beaches where it belongs!
  • Cleansing bathing wipes are a great alternative to frigid river water for your evening scrub-down.
  • Channel your inner Ed Abbey and bring along your journal. Pictures are great, but capturing the way you felt and what you were thinking about along your journey is just as valuable as what you saw.
  • Bring a headlamp for late-night groover runs or reading after the fire has gone out.
  • What’s more comfortable than slipping into your favorite cotton hoodie after a long day rafting through the Roaring Twenties? Yeah, we couldn’t think of anything either.

What are some of your Grand Canyon packing secrets?

  • Jerry Baird

    I second the sarong thing…so much freer, more air dry for your junk; going commando is perfect for the Canyon…but guys better be concerned about a bit of modesty when sittin’ around the campfire in a low rider beach chair ; my sarongs were made from Guatemalan fabric, cotton to help with the evaporative cooling factor….also, on the chapped hands and feet; I have at least a couple pairs of leather gloves and wear all the time, hiking, rowing, too….if one pair gets soaked, then that’s where the second pair comes in…I load up my hands with a rich lanolin hand cream–really goo my hands up, then put on the gloves…after a bit each glove has a super rich and soft feel and really healing for the hands…good for hiking, wood gathering, dutch ovening, everything…on the feet I have a light weight sock to smother the feet in same lanolin hand cream, then put the sock on the feet to keep the sleeping bag somewhat clean…

    • Cari_Morgan

      Great advice! Thanks for sharing!

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