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Grand Canyon Packing List: What You Need to Bring

Grand Canyon Packing List: What You Need to Bring

Are you planning to visit Grand Canyon National Park? What exactly do you pack for a trip here? Well, here’s exactly what to pack for the Grand Canyon. The magnificence of this Arizona gem attracts visitors from all over the world.

Being one of the most alluring national parks in the world, the sites are simply amazing, and the activities available here are second to almost none.

But, even with all these amazing aspects of the park, adequate planning is always crucial before visiting.

Grand Canyon is located in a desert-like climate. This means that you must be sure of the things that go into your suitcase when planning for the trip.

If you want to fully enjoy the features, attractions, and activities that this place has to offer, you must carry items that will guarantee this.

That’s why we have gone the extra mile to make a detailed Grand Canyon packing list to ensure you have all that you need for a wonderful Grand Canyon vacation.

What the Grand Canyon Packing List Entails

Grand Canyon National Park

Our packing list highlights everything you need to pack for your trip to the Grand Canyon.

But, of course, this depends on the time of the year you visit, and even the activities you are planning to do.

  • When are you visiting? – the place experiences all four seasons, winter, summer, autumn, and spring. Our list of things to carry caters to all these weather variations. This way, whichever time you decide to visit, you pack the right stuff.
  • Activities – the massive and beautiful expanse of ridges, gorges, and various rock formations make the park an excellent place for hiking, sightseeing, and even rafting on the Colorado River. Therefore, the list entails the best items to pack for various activities.
  • Safety measures – while we always hope for the perfect times, sometimes unprecedented things do happen. So have you prepared for that? The e-book details the best way to do that. 
  • Other necessary items to make the trip a success.

Working with a list ensures that you carry about every item you need for your trip.

You don’t want to arrive at the park, all excited and in anticipation, only to realize you left some essential items.

What to Know About the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the worlds’ most dazzling national parks based in Arizona, USA.

It has the most spectacular views that you won’t find anywhere else. Due to its desert climate and desert air, anyone planning to visit ought to have a definitive Grand Canyon packing list to make the most of their voyage.

The Grand Canyon is believed to have come into existence due to the erosion of the Colorado River over a million years ago. This stunning natural structure varies in width, and its deepest point is said to be 6,000 feet.

Nothing compares to seeing the Grand Canyon up close and trekking the dirt trails as you explore its historical landmarks

And as you go down the south rim, you’ll learn a lot about the area at one of the Canyons’ interpretive centers or at the park’s ranger program.

Before we get to the Grand Canyon packing list, let’s explore how to get there and what activities to do.

How to Get to the Great Canyon

Overlooking View of the Canyon

How do you get to the Grand Canyon?

You can use your car to drive to the Canyon. If you don’t have one, you may consider renting an RV from Outdoorsy.

And if you want to not just rent, but buy an RV, the RVT, offers a great opportunity for you. An RV is an excellent option, especially if it’s a family visit.

After the arrival, you can get guidance from a local trip leader on where to hike and fun activities to do depending on your Itinerary.

Another cost-effective transportation to this breathtaking tourist attraction is the tour company or rental cars like Rentalcars.com or Alamo.

It can come in handy if you’re not sure about where to begin your adventures in the Grand Canyon.

Things to do in the Grand Canyon

There are plenty of family-friendly activities in the Grand Canyon. Other than hiking, you can visit one of the viewpoints along both the north and south rim.

Some travelers enjoy helicopter tours above the canyon. Others do fun activities, including horseback and donkey rides tours, swimming, rafting, bike rides, train rides, and more.

If traveling with kids, they can do fun activities like bike along the rim, ride the train, hike the Bright Angel Trail, and more.

If you plan to stay longer, then you can get them to join the ‘Grand Canyon National Park’s Junior Ranger Program.’

This provides a curriculum to train kids in different age groups about the Grand Canyon’s cultural and natural history.

But, how do you pack for these adventures? Here is the ultimate packing list for the Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon Packing List

If you’re planning on hiking the Grand Canyon, it’s vital to first understand the climate during your visit and the activities you intend to take part in to decide on what you should pack.

Most of the items you pack for a Grand Canyon adventure must be suitable for the prevailing weather conditions.

What is the Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon?

Depending on the location, the weather in and around the Canyon varies. For example, from May to September, the upper Rim is usually warm with mild temperatures, and the floor tends to be hot. 

Then from December to March, the base is extremely cold and snowy, and the upper rim is mildly cold.

It’s recommended to avoid visiting between June to August (summer) as temperatures can go as high as 86°F.

In addition, the place will be very crowded during this time because of the school holidays. So, unless you have a school-going kid and want to do a family visit, summer isn’t the best time.

Also, take it easy between December and February (winter) as temperatures can drop as low as 35.6°F. And besides that, the northern rim is usually closed (between October to Mid-May) due to heavy snowfall.

Therefore, the best seasons to enjoy the hikes are spring and fall. In these seasons, the temperatures are mild, rainfall is lower, and precipitation is lighter.

What to Pack for the Grand Canyon Based on Season

The weather is extremely variable in the Grand Canyon, which can include cold temperatures in the winter months and extreme desert heat in the summer months.

What to Pack in Summer

Consider light layers during summer. Light-layered clothes can protect you from the sun and are pretty versatile for hikes.

During the warmer months of summer, pack:

Light T-Shirts and Shorts

Set of Different Colored T-Shirts

A light t-shirt and shorts will be perfect for a hot-day trek. These attires, suitable for both males and females, aren’t too heavy and will allow enough flexibility to enjoy the walks and hikes.

Also, they let you stay cooler and hydrated.

Sturdy, Comfortable Shoes

Hiking Shoes

You need to invest in sturdy, comfortable shoes for your Grand Canyon adventures. While some areas are pretty developed, especially in the South rim, most parts still have rugged terrain.

Some good choices include sports sandals, running shoes, and mid-weight warm weather hiking boots with lots of ankle support. If you plan to go rafting, then pack a pair of good water shoes.

Heels and flip-flops aren’t recommended when visiting the Grand Canyon.

Light jacket/hoodie

Man Wearing a Hooded Jacket

You should consider packing a jacket just in case it gets cold in the evening.

Swimsuits

Woman Wearing a Two Piece Swim Suit

If you plan to go swimming, you shouldn’t leave behind your swimsuit. Nothing better than a hot tub or swim after a long day of hiking.

Sun Protection Items

Neutrogena Suncreen

If you visit during summer, you’ll need protective items like a hat with a wide brim. Sunscreen will protect your skin from the intense sun rays. Also, pack sunscreen with an SPF of over 30 to avoid sunburns. Sunglasses are ideal as the sun shines brightly throughout the season.

What to Pack in Winter

During the cold months of winter, pack:

  1. A warmer hat – that will keep your head warm, especially in the morning and evening when temperatures drop.
  2. Jeans – These are ideal as they protect your lower body part from the biting cold.
  3. Gloves – During winter, the cold can be very fierce. Gloves will keep your hands warm and protect you from frostbites.
  4. Long-sleeved blouses, Shirts, and warm jackets or sweaters – They will keep you warm if you visit the Grand Canyon when it’s too freezing.

Grand Canyon Day Hike Packing List

In addition to the items you pack based on weather, here are more items to pack for a short day hike in the Grand Canyon:

10.  Travel Insurance at the Grand Canyon

World Nomads Logo

If the Grand Canyon is over 100 miles away from your home, consider getting a cover from a reliable travel insurance firm to cover your visit.

Travel insurance coverage will protect you if you get medical emergencies, flight cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and other valuable items. 

In addition, this offers you peace of mind throughout your adventure. Some fantastic travel insurers include the Worlds Nomads Travel Insurance, TravelInsurance.com, and AARDY Travel Insurance.

11.  Map

Grand Canyon National Park Map

A map will come in handy to guide you through the trails. But, if you cannot acquire one to pack, no need to worry.

You can get a map of the Grand Canyon North and South rims from a park ranger at the entrance. A compass and guidebook are equally crucial when visiting the Canyon.

12.  Snacks

Box of Quaker Granola Bars

Packing snacks like granola bars or trail mix is a good idea if you want to remain energized throughout the trip – especially if you’re traveling with kids.

Therefore, hop into Wal-Mart and buy a few things that you would enjoy to snack on the trip and even when hiking.

13.  A Non-disposable Water Bottle

Reusable Water Bottle

The air in the Grand Canyon can be really dry. Therefore, it’s crucial to pack enough water to avoid dehydration. Plan to have at least a liter per hour at any given time.

Therefore, consider packing reusable bottles to refill with water in the Grand Canyons’ refillable points. Research the trails with fountains and their locations before leaving for the canyon to plan your water intakes.

14.  Camera

Sony Compact Camera

A camera comes in handy when traveling as it captures beautiful moments of the excursion.

Get an excellent portable camera like SonyRX 100 or a waterproof camera like Akaso EK 7000 if you plan to swim or go underwater. This will help you preserve good memories and even share them with friends and family after the trip.

15.  Bandages or a Small First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

When walking down the rugged terrains, you may get scrapes, bites, blisters, or scratches.

Therefore, it’s important to always be prepared for that with a first aid kit like Johnson and Johnson all-purpose first aid kit. 

This can come in handy to get you out of immediate danger before you get specialized treatment. Also, ensure you have insect repellant like Buzz away. You can use it to repel those nagging insects around you.

16.  A Small Backpack

Herschel Backpack

You will need to have a small backpack to carry your stuff, such as water, sunscreen, binoculars, camera, cell phone, toiletries, and other personal items while enjoying different activities.

A backpack also comes in handy as it helps keep your hands free for taking photos or for gripping for support (if need be).

17.  Bicycle

Mountain Bike

If you enjoy bike riding or mountain biking, then bring it! The south rim has a network of traffic-restricted roads and off-street paths connecting Hermits Rest to the Yak point.

This is an area where you can enjoy great rides on a stretch of about 10.5 miles one way from Grand Canyon Visitor Center to Hermit and 3.5 miles one course from the center to Yaki point.

Also, the north rim offers some excellent off-road biking.

However, if you don’t have a bike, then no need to worry. You may borrow one from Bright Angel Bicycles.

18.  Cell Phone

Samsung Phone

With a cell phone, you will be in good communication with your folks and friends. A cell phone can also come in handy when you want to connect with the rest of the team if you go off-trail or off-path. Also, you can use it to call for help if an accident occurs.

19.  Binoculars to Watch the Parks’ Rock Formation

Black Binoculars

To catch a glimpse of the Canyons’ faraway rock formation and condors, pack a pair of binoculars. Invest in a suitable hiking pair of binoculars that aren’t too heavy to carry and avoid those with limited features. SKY Genius is a perfect pair to buy.

See Related: 13 Best National Parks to Visit in November

Grand Canyon Hiking Packing List for a Multi-day or Overnight Hikes

If you take more than a day in the Grand Canyon, you need the all-day hiking equipment listed above, plus several others listed below.

20.  Tent, Sleeping Bag and Foam Mat, Camping Gears

Camping Tent

If you enjoy camping, find a suitable camping site in the rim site or in the developed camping ground to set up your tent.

For that, you’ll need to pack a sleeping bag, foam mat, and all the other camping gear. But if you don’t have them yet, get them from a reliable supplier like Tentrr.

For those not prepared to camp, find lodges or hotels inside the park. It’s more convenient for you, and you will maximize the time you explore the magnificent park.

Most tourist hotels and accommodations are along the Grand Canyon South rim.

21.  Backcountry Permit

If you plan for an overnight hike, you need to have a backcountry permit. To apply for the backcountry permit, mail the application to ‘Grand Canyon National Park, Permits Office, 1824 S. Thompson St., Suite 201, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001.15.’

Alternatively, fill out an application form and fax it to the ‘Grand Canyon’s Backcountry Information Center at 928-638-2125.’ 

22.  Whistle

Pair of Whistles

A whistle like LuxoGear Emergency whistles comes in handy when you get lost or need some assistance, and no other means of calling for help seems to work.

23.  Pocket Knife

Pocket Knife

Whether you want to get rid of something on your path, cut fruits, or prepare your meals, a pocket knife like RoverTac can come in handy.

24.  Torch or Flashlight

Flashlights

A torch or flashlight like LED Tactical Flashlight will be ideal if you plan to take more than a day.

That’s because when it gets dark, scorpions and other strange creatures may come out. With a black light, you’ll easily spot them and get rid of them.

25.  Stove, Matches, and Fuel

Camping stove

To start a fire for cooking while camping, a stove, fuel, and matches will come in handy.

26.  Food

Different of Food in a Pouch

When planning for extended hikes, you may pack already made food. A good thing with already made meals, you’ll only need to warm them. However, if you plan to cook meals on your camping site, pack all the ingredients you’ll need. 

27.  Plates and cutlery

Plates for Camping

You’ll need a few utensils like plates and cutlery for serving and eating.

Other personal items you need to pack:

See Related: The Ultimate Scottsdale Itinerary

What NOT to Bring to the Grand Canyon

  • Uncomfortable shoes.
  • Full-size towel as it takes unnecessary space when packing
  • Too many electronics… It’s the Grand Canyon! Get outside, enjoy the scenery
  • If you are coming from a cold-weather state, do not assume that it will be warm. The Grand Canyon gets snow and can be very cold.
  • Excess amount of valuables. Visiting a national park doesn’t mean bringing valuables. Less is more at parks.

FAQ

How do I prepare for the Grand Canyon?

There are a few things you can do to prepare for your trek down into the Grand Canyon. First, make sure you are physically fit and have been walking or hiking in the weeks leading up to your trip.
You should also pack appropriately – make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as sturdy hiking boots and clothing that will protect you from the elements. Finally, be aware of the potential dangers posed by trekking in such a rugged landscape, and always heed the advice of park rangers to ensure a safe journey.

What should I pack for the Grand Canyon in the summer?

Pack lightweight clothing along with warm weather hiking boots and hiking socks that are breathable and lightweight. A rain poncho isn’t necessary but is nice to have if you are visiting the area during the wetter side of summer.

If you plan on camping or hiking in the Grand Canyon, pack a warm sleeping bag rated for colder weather.

If you are packing a tent and pad, remember that weight adds up quickly so try to find the lightest tent and pad combo that will be comfortable for you. For cooking, pack a stove and fuel of your choice, cookware, utensils, food/snacks to fit within the confines of your bear canister (if applicable).

If you plan on hiking on the rim or into the lodge area in the summertime, a selfie stick is a great way to get amazing pictures without an extra person in them.

What should I bring to the Grand Canyon?

Bring a quality camera to take photos (you’ll be happy you did). Also, consider bringing snacks, sunblock, and drinking water if you plan on hiking. You should also bring comfortable, breathable shoes so you can hike the trails, a cap for shielding your eyes from the sun, sunglasses, light clothing, and personal items (such as your camera’s batteries and spares).

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