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Grand Canyon river travel tips

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Here is the official Hatch supplies list:

Sun lotion

Hat (tie-on)


Soap, towel

Wash cloth

small mirror

shaving kit         

sleeping bag


air mattress or pad

swimming suit


Blue jeans

T-shirt and shorts         

long sleeved shirt

tennis shoes socks


camera, film

canteen (small)

light rain suit



beer or soda pop (optional)

liquor (optional)

Note: You should pack light. A canvas or cloth duffel bag works well, plus a small hand bag or airline flight bag for personal items needed during the day. Camera equpment should be packed in a waterproof container. We recommend that you bring a light rain suit, and this can be purchased at the starting point. For the folks who do not have sleeping gear, rental units are available at the rate of $50 each, consisting of sleeping bag, air mattress, ground cloth and pillow in a waterproof bag. Hatch supplies food, life jackets, cooking gear, eating utensils, first aid kits and portable toilets with tissue.

The main Hatch site:

Grand Canyon from the feminine perspective

Sunscreen: take a spray, because you’ll get sandy, and nobody likes rubbing sandy cream on themselves. Also take a really waxy stick, in case it’s hot. You can apply stick sunscreen to your feet and ankles even when they’re wet.

Bug spray: don’t take a huge amount, but some, just in case.

Critters: prepare yourself psychologically for evidence of small and not-so-small rodents prowling the campground after you have zipped your tent shut.

Clothes: In general, my tactic was to get three or four bikinis and wear them as underwear. They dried out quickly and could be washed in the river every night. Cotton really sucks – even if it’s hot, your cotton clothes (i.e. undies) might never dry out at night, even if you hang them on the outside of the tent.

Tops: Take a couple of cotton tank tops to wear over bikini tops if it’s hot. Otherwise, stick to nylon, goretex and polarfleece. Those “rash guard” long-sleeve shirts made of swimsuit material seem like a good idea, though I haven’t tried them because they didn’t exist back then. They’ll have them at Old Navy pretty soon.

Bottoms: Look for nylon shorts, like board shorts. Old Navy usually sells board shorts and bikinis that go together.

Rain clothes: Take a lightweight waterproof coat with hood, also a rain hat, and good rain pants – not plastic. The little plastic rain sets that are so cheap are worthless. They’ll help you for maybe a couple of hours, and then they tear apart. Gore-tex rain pants are fabulous, but expensive. But you must get something.

In case of cold: be sure you have at least one, maybe two, polarfleece tops in case it’s chilly. The second one would be in case the first one gets soaked.

Shoes: Tevas. You’ll wear them night and day. Hiking sandals that work when wet.

Night clothes: I had a set of cotton jammies that I kept clean and dry and wore every night. I was soooo happy to get out of the nylon for a few hours. I only wore them in the tent so they wouldn’t get sandy.

Sunglasses: Be sure to have a strap for whatever glasses you’ll wear. If you wear prescription, get a set of prescription sunglasses. Pack an extra pair in case they get lost.

Hat: Rain hat, but also take a sun hat or visor. It shields the sun and also breaks the spray as it drenches you. Repeatedly.

Chapstick: lots. I like the kind with a little clip so you can attach it to your shorts.

Camera: pack some disposables in case your digital gets ruined. Maybe even waterproof disposables. Expect to take a lot of pictures. The first time I went I had a film camera, and I took 11 rolls of pictures.

Food: don’t worry about it. Don’t pack anything, not even power bars. You don’t want little animals in your tent.

Feminine, um, complications: just pack whatever you usually use. You’ll be fine. Be sure to have a Ziploc bag for carrying a day’s worth of supplies in your day pack.

Note: you can bring along folding chairs to hang out in at the campsite. Don’t get good ones, because you’ll leave them with the guides when you’re done with the trip.

Questions? Email Lisa at

More veteran tips

On this trip, it is not easy to get clean. The only bath available is in the river, which is about 50 degrees. Plus, after the first couple of days the river gets very muddy, so if you put your hair underwater, it comes out full of mud (so I have been told by people with hair). I plan to buy a couple of sunshowers. We should be able to fill them from clean tributaries and let them warm up during the day.

I was able to bring all of my folding chairs home with me on the helicopter. So bring decent quality chairs; it is well worth it. I have a bunch of these chairs except mine are older and don't have drink holders...I wish they did!

Hatch charges an extra $50 to rent you a sleeping bag and pad for the trip. I suggest you bring your own, as their sleeping bags are well used and the pads are old style air mattresses that leak. I got a great deal on sleeping bags at the REI outlet, and air pads in long or extra long (like a Thermarest, but not nearly as expensive) at a different retailer.

Your main bag is thrown around a lot during the course of the trip. That is why a duffel bag is recommended; regular luggage would not do well with this abuse. During the day you have no access to your main bag, so you need to have a smaller dry bag that you can use. You will keep your rain suit, sun block, camera and other daytime necessities in it. On some days we may do a short day hike before we stop to camp, so keep anything you will need for this kind of hike in your dry bag.

I highly recommend sport sandals; look at the following links for men's or women's sandals.

Sunglasses are also a good idea.

Hatch will charge $10 per person Grand Canyon entrance fee. You can buy a National Parks Pass for $50. This pass covers everyone in a family at all National Parks, so it can have other uses (I already ordered one which will cover all Kremers).

A Matter of Great Concern


I intend to drink 4 beers a day. It will be very hot. I will have 28 beers with me when I get to the raft. I will be driving there, so I have the potential to pick up more for others. I will happily do so if I have room.

For those who brush by this, and neglect to ask me to help them with beer, and ignore this Matter of Great Concern, these individuals may look forward to a raft trip where they will watch me drink 4 beers a day. It will be very hot.

Beerfully yours,


Beer-Soda Pop

A handy addition is a mesh sack that you can put your beer-pop into and hang over the side of the Boat to cool in the refreshing waters of the Colorado. If you now question the term "refreshing" just wait till you go thru the first rapid.

More thoughts

Here are some more things I thought of:

A small bag to keep your camer dry during the day:
Innovative Dry Bags

Stuff sacks: if you have a sleeping pad without a stuff sack, this should work: Thermarest stuff sacks

My new sleeping bags did not come with stuff sacks, so I'm getting these: compression stuff sacks

Take a look at these rain rain suits; men's and women's. I never have had to wear one, but some people like them.

Here are some good duffle bags. As I mention above, regular luggage will not take the abuse of this trip very well. I plan to get two of these for each person; one for clothing and one for sleeping bag, pad and chair.

Don't forget to have a good flashlight. I plan to bring two each, plus extra batteries. A headlamp is another option.

Sometimes during the day we will stop for a quick hike. You wont be able to get at your main luggage, so it can be useful to have a small backpack handy (keep it folded up in your dry bag). That way you can carry your camera, snacks and a water bottle.

A river knife may come in handy.