Grand Canyon Gear List

Gearheads rejoice! Here's a list long enough to sink even the sturdiest of river runners. You can pare this down a lot, but just keep in mind, once on the water, all you have is what you have with you...

(Crib Notes: **NPS** means that you will be inspected and expected to have this gear at the start of your trip by NPS rangers. The term "coordinate" means you should coordinate with other trip participants to not duplicate gear on the trip.)


  • Polypro underwear or equivalent top and bottom (3 pair in winter)
  • Booties (winter)
  • Jacket (wind/rain long cut)
  • Pile/Fleece jacket or wool sweater (2 for winter)
  • Gloves (woolen in winter)
  • Warm pants (wool, fleece, or pile. 1 pair summer, 3 pair winter)
  • Warm shirt (1 summer, 3 winter)
  • Bib overall bottoms and spray top
  • Cool shirt (3 in summer, 1-2 in winter)
  • Sun Hats (2, wide brim to protect head, face, and neck, preferably
    crushable, with some sort of tie strap)
  • Balaclava or sock hat (2, winter only)
  • Swimsuit (1 or 2)
  • Medium size bath towel
  • Shorts (quick dry, not cotton) for river (2)
  • Shorts, Cotton or other comfy (1 or 2)
  • Tee shirts (4 in summer, 2 in winter)
  • Tee shirts (long sleeve for sun protection) (2-3 summer and winter)
  • Underwear (2-3 pair summer, 6-8 winter)
  • Socks (2 cotton, 1 wool summer, 5 wool winter)
  • Light sun pants (loose, quick-dry 1 pair summer/winter)
  • Sarong: This is a lightweight cotton wraparound for wearing in camp, on the
    boat, or hiking. Very comfy & versatile, just get 45-50" of fabric in your
    favorite pattern, wrap around your waist, enjoy.)
  • Post-trip change of clothes to leave in car
  • Needle and thread
  • Baby pins (half dozen, misc. sizes)
  • River Sandals (Teva & such)
  • Light weight Hiking Boots
  • Concrete boots (winter only, 1 size too big, to accommodate thick socks)
  • Stamps, Envelopes, Address, Money, calling card #, for Phantom Ranch
  • Camera
  • More film than you expect to need
  • Extra camera battery
  • Journal
  • Paper, Pen
  • Books to read (more in winter)
  • Binoculars
  • all in one shampoo (small bottle, safe top)
  • dental floss
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hair brush
  • Hair ties
  • Signal Mirror (for toilet kit and emergency use in a pinch)**NPS**
  • Tampons
  • Hand lotion, Aloe gel, sun screen, chapstick: (lots!)
  • Wash cloth
  • mole skin (limited use)
  • Handkerchief
  • Pocket Knife
  • Flashlight (4-D cell cap lamp for winter)
  • Extra Batteries
  • Head lamp, extra batteries & bulb
  • Shades (with straps!) (2 pair)
  • Spare prescription eyewear (eye glass repair kit-coordinate)
  • Backgammon, cards (coordinate)
  • Rock climbing gear (coordinate)
  • Musical instruments (coordinate)
  • Solar shower (Summer, heat water with stove in the winter. coordinate)
  • Library (bird book, geology book, star book-coordinate)
  • Life jacket Type I, II, III, or V **NPS**
  • Whistle (non ball-type)
  • River knife (optional)
  • Rubber bands, safety pins, needle and thread
  • Large dry bag 4400-5500 cu. in. (if shaky looking, turn it inside-out &
    partial fill to check for leaks... 2 for winter trip)
  • Small dry bag (use for day bag in winter)
  • Tent (Bomber proof for winter)
  • Water Bottles (2 x l.)
  • Blanket and Sheet, or Light Sleeping Bag (summer)
  • Blanket and 2 sleeping bags (winter)
  • Ground Pad (Thermarest or Paco pad, Thermarest repair kit-coordinate)
  • Ground tarp
  • Folding Chair (cheap ones are just that. Your chair must be comfortable for
  • Day Pack or fanny pack (w/water bottle holders )
  • Personal Hot/cold Cup
  • Butane lighter (for candles, emergencies, frayed cam strap ends)
  • Plastic bags: Trash bags (1-3), Ziplock baggies, qt & gallon sizes
  • Carabineers (5-10), (personalize them with your own colored tape pattern )
    Ammo Can(s) for quick-draw day stuff (painted as you like)
  • Stash of personal munchies
  • Personal Meds (If drug dependent, meds split into 2 supplies and stashed on
    2 different boats.)
  • If you are tobacco dependent, bring enough so you don't have to deal with
    involuntarily going cold turkey and ruining everyone else's trip.


  • Personal Drinks (no glass) (Lots! Do the math per day). Juice (V-8 has
    lots of salt) & pop really are more in demand than beer in the summer.
    Consider group tea & lemonade in the summertime, and hot chocolate & herb
    teas in the winter.)
  • Liquor in plastic bottles (may have to transfer to get the good stuff),
    lemons and or limes.


  • Tie ropes (misc. Lengths 2', 6', 20')
  • Cargo Net (This is optional depending on your rigging style
  • Water cannon (summer only)
  • Sling shot
  • Bailing buckets with tie in (yes, even for self-bailers, for summer water
    fights, winter produce shopping)
  • Water Jugs (2 x 6 gal.)
  • Tool Kit (contents?) (coordinate necessary tools for each boat plus group gear)
  • Repair Kit Major (one required, every boat must have a major or minor)
  • Repair Kit Minor (w/ glue, patch material, pen, razor blade, toluene,
    roller, medium sandpaper, spare oarlock/pin-clip, Allen wrench.) **NPS**
    Oars (2 runners, 2 spares) **NPS**
  • Bow line (30 to 40 feet)
  • Spare Life Jacket (1 per boat (raft or dory) or 1 per 10 people, which ever
    is greater) **NPS**
  • At least one air pump must be on the trip **NPS**
  • A throwable cushion is required for each craft 16 feet and over **NPS**
  • Rope/Cord (25-50')
  • Nylon Runners/Slings (2-4, various sizes) (just cause they come in
  • First-Aid kit -Advanced (1. See NPS NCOR's for suggested supplies) **NPS**
  • First-Aid kit -Basic (every boat) **NPS**
  • Rocket Boxes (for food & foot well personal gear) painted white to
    decrease summer heat buildup)
  • Spare break-down kayak paddles (at least 1 per 4 kayaks)
  • Beaver Board (rear drop deck)
  • Foot well floor deck
  • Cam Straps (lots of 2', 4', and 6' lengths)
  • Drag bags
  • Coolers
  • Drop Bags
  • Throw bag (at least 1 per boat)
  • Collapsible bow saw for cutting fire drift wood (winter trip only)
  • Duct tape and electrical (vinyl) tape


  • Essentials: Throw/climbing rope, helmet, life jacket, sprayskirt,
    paddle, boat, water bottle
  • Personal gear:
    1 complete change of polypro/fleece and hat
    1 heat/rain shell, or drysuit
    1 bivvy sac &/or sleeping bag
    1 "advanced" dual first aid/patch kit (45-feet duct-tape, tampons for
    clotting, codeine, antibiotics, superglue for sutures, ibuprofen,
    lighter, knife, aquaseal & vinyl glue, 3-6 carabineers)
    1 toothbrush
    1 spare pair of glasses in someone else' boat
    As much food as possible, all food should be cooked and eaten directly
    from freeze-dry bags.
    1 pair all-purpose shoes (old Sambas or Chucks work well)
  • Group gear: Break-down paddle (**NPS** requires one extra paddle for every
    4 kayaks or less), 1 qt. pot, water filter
  • Optional: paperback book, pen, spoon, frizbee, tiny pulley & 2
    prussiks, camera, dry bag, floatation, thermarest, sunscreen
    Kayak Groover. 18" section of 4" pvc pipe with a sealed end, bleeder
    valve, and screw on cap. Crap in a paper bag, put the bag in a ziplock,
    put the ziplock in the pvc pipe - you can also skip the zip lock and just
    flush the contents in stages when you get home. This is also group gear.
    Total Weight: Less than 85 pounds - dry.


  • static line or 3-4 throw lines
  • Pulleys and or Locking Carabineers
  • Orange signal Panels (2) 3' x 10' **NPS**


  • Propane Tanks (2 x 20# summer, 4 X 20# winter)
  • Stove(s). (Repair kit w/spare o-rings)
  • Matches and or butane lighters
  • 2) 8.0 Fluid ounce Anti-bacterial hand soap pump bottles
  • Katydyne industrial Water filter
  • Kitchen Box
  • Pots, pans, cooking utensils
  • Silverware
  • Sharp cutting knives
  • Bowls, plates, hot/cold cups
  • Pot Scrubbers/sponges
  • Dishwater Screen **NPS**
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Dishwashing Buckets (3 or 4. Metal preferred for ease of heating on stoves)
  • Bleach (liquid, Clorox. Enough to pour 1/4-1/2 cup min. in every trash
  • Water (Bailing) Buckets (5-gal size, and clean inside)
  • Kitchen Tables (bring 3, 2 for the kitchen, and one for dishes)
  • Kitchen Tarp (to catch crumbs & micro trash)
  • Mesh dish rack to hang under table
  • Dry boxes (for breads)
  • Dutch oven
  • Channel Locks
  • charcoal (self start)
  • fire pan (for winter trip Oct 1 to April 30 you may burn driftwood,
    otherwise you must pack-in pack-out your own, 432 sq. In. **NPS**)
  • Wire brush for cleaning grill
  • Folding shovel


  • 1 5-gal. Designated pee bucket
  • TP(1 role industrial type (1000 sheets single ply/role)/2 people/10 days.
    Yes, this may be excessive, but TP is a good bartering tool toward the end
    of the trip, and if kept dry, can be used after the trip.)
  • Powdered Clorox (2 box's to keep smell down)
  • Scrub brush and rubber gloves to clean seat
  • Zip locks or "tupper wear" container to hold TP.
  • Pump type designated Groover antibacterial hand soap (2 bottles)
  • Toilet seat (don't forget this...)
  • Washable reusable containers (depends on size how many you bring)**NPS**

Our thanks to Jason Robertson of American Whitewater,
Bob Woodward and Tom Martin of the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association, and Bob Hiltner.

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