A question we receive almost on a daily basis is what to put in your backpack when hiking into a Grand Canyon rafting trip. While there are some things you’ll want to add that are simply common sense, there are a few other items we like to recommend for people to bring when hiking the Grand Canyon.
You Bring It, You Carry It
Before we get into what you should bring, we’d like to remind you that there are a lot of things you may want to pack, but probably shouldn’t bring with you. Your outfitter will likely provide your tent, sleeping kit, and possibly even a raincoat. They will have first-aid supplies, so you don’t have to worry about packing for the “what if.” Band-Aids, wound cream, and pain relievers, are all staples your guide will likely be carrying with them. Of course, if there are special shoe inserts you like, a knee brace you might need, or anything else more specific to your needs, please bring it along. You may also want to check out our packing guide for women!
Understandably, you don’t want to be carrying a bag that is too heavy. Many people bring way too much, resulting in a mini yard sale once they’ve reached the bottom. Hiking down the canyon may seem easier than hiking out, but getting to the bottom can prove difficult. The pressure on your joints, especially when carrying a heavy bag, can become quite painful as you make your descent and leave lingering pain for the first few days of your course. Keep in mind that if you are flying in, your airline will likely have weight restrictions of their own. Just one more reason why you don’t want to overpack.
What To Pack When Hiking The Canyon
There are a number of things you’ll want to bring with you when rafting and hiking the canyon. You’ll want something to keep you warm if you get cold. Sunblock, sunglasses and a hat to guard against the sun. And maybe some snacks you like, however, your guide will usually provide meals and snacks for the journey.
Here are a few other things you may want to include in your bag when hiking the canyon:
Hiking into the canyon can be very jarring on your hips and ankles. It isn’t something you can train for, so your muscles are working extra hard to help keep your balance. When you have a great pair of trekking poles with you, you can focus on walking without having to worry about your balance with each and every step. The poles also reduce the load on your lower body.
A Way to Charge Your Phone
While most people come to the Canyon to disconnect, it’s still nice to be able to capture some pictures of the beautiful scenery you will inevitably encounter. A portable charger will come in handy, especially for those longer trips. We recommend that you keep your phone in airplane mode to conserve the battery for when you need it.
Waterproof Case for Your Phone
Aside from dropping your phone into the river, your phone can get splashed pretty easily on your adventure. Keeping it and other important items in a waterproof bag will let you enjoy the journey without having to worry about your expensive belongings being ruined.
Shorts That Cover Your Knees
Protecting yourself from the heat and the sun is important. While many people prefer shorts, we prefer ones that cover the knees. This will keep your knees out of the sun when paddling, adding that extra bit of protection. Pants work too, however, the bottoms can easily become wet and uncomfortable. Capris or longer shorts tend to be the most comfortable options.
Pack it in, pack it out. There is always a use for that extra plastic bag you bring with you. Separate your wet clothes from your other belongings, store dirty shoes or use as a place to keep your trash. A couple of extra plastic bags will come in handy when rafting and hiking the canyon.
Having a buff when hiking can be a game changer. It can be dunked in the water and worn to cool down. It works best protecting your neck (UPF 50) when the sun is shining at a weird angle or if you like wearing baseball caps. It doubles as a headband!
Final Thoughts when Packing for your Hike
When packing your bag to hike the Canyon, keep in mind that less is more. Having a well-packed bag can make a huge difference in how much you enjoy the trip. A heavy backpack can be laborious and exhausting. Most people find that don’t use half of the stuff they bring in the first place. When packing your bag to raft and hike the canyon, keep it concise as you will be the one carrying it. Finally think about the shoes you will be using for the hike.