I’ve had many people ask for suggestions on what to bring with them to this magical land. Here are my suggestions with links to where to purchase them. Please note that these are items that have worked for me. Be sure to test your gear ahead of time to the best of your ability and be sure that it works great for you. This list is not necessarily all inclusive and there may be items that I don’t need that you feel you will, and vice versa.
I’m not as focused on weight as I chose to use the mule service to take my gear in and out for me. With this service they will drop your gear at the entrance of the campground, so keep in mind that you WILL still have to carry your gear to where you choose to set up camp within the campground.
Tent – I purchased a 3 person “backpacking” tent at Walmart. It was definitely NOT a backpacking tent, but worked great when it rained for a couple hours and one of my group that was just using a hammock needed to hide out with some of her gear with me. Be sure to look at the size that you need, include space for gear that you may want to store in the tent with you, and check the weight and dimensions to be sure that it truly is made for backpacking. Backpacking has become a keyword that they will use on anything to trick you into buying it.
Titanium Tent Stakes – Due to the hard ground, which last year prevented me from being able to fully stake my tent, it was suggested that we purchase Titanium stakes.
Sleeping pad – Again, the one I bought was definitely NOT made for backpacking as stated. You are definitely going to want one. The ground is hard, desert. It is not your soft, pine needle covered forest ground 🙂 This is the pad that I took with me last year and this is the one that I am purchasing to bring this year so that it is hopefully closer to an appropriate backpacking size based on the information in the listing.
Blanket – I went the last weekend of April and found that I was able to sleep in a tank and shorts with just this camp throw. I really only needed the throw around 3am. So this item or something even lighter versus a sleeping bag will be completely dependent on when your trip is.
Hiking Poles – I’m linking to an inexpensive pair on Amazon, but I bought mine at Walmart for about the same price. Do not go without poles. I have never used them before, but I would not have survived, or my knees, without these and everyone else in my group of 7 felt the same way. Most of them decided to buy them during the last minute Walmart trip we made on our way to the trailhead.
Odor Proof Bags – I used these bags last year and never had a problem with a squirrel, where most of my group did. If they can’t smell it, they won’t go after it. The only time I had a squirrel try to get in any of my bags was the one time I took my daypack to the falls and DIDN’T have my protein bar in one of these bags. I’m including links to 2 different sizes so that you can determine how to organize your food and personal care items and get the sizes that fit those needs.
Odor Proof trash bags – These were great last year! Please remember that everything that you bring in, needs to go back out with you. Also, if it smelled before you consumed it then most likely the packaging still has the odor, so it needs to be sealed so that the squirrels don’t go after it.
Day Pack – Remember to bring a daypack for when you are hiking to the falls and spending the day in the water. I used a larger one last year that was really larger than I needed. I bought this for the Bahamas and am looking forward to using it for my trip to Havasupai this year. Waterproof is important, especially when hiking to Beaver Falls.
Battery Charger – I used this last year to keep my phone charged. My phone was my camera. There are places to charge 3 different devices at once and it never even lost a bar with charging my phone for the 4 days.
Collapsible Coffee Mug – I didn’t bring a cup last year and ended up having to borrow one to make tea every evening. This is essential if you are going to want a cup of coffee in the morning, a relaxing cup of tea in the evening or anything of that nature.
Collapsible Bowl (if you are making anything that requires a bowl, such as oatmeal packets otherwise Mountain House meals won’t require this)
Silverware – This is a great all in one piece that is also long enough to reach the bottom of those dehydrated meal bags without you having to stick your hand in the bag.
Camp Chair – There ARE picnic tables, but not all sites have them. Last year I did not have one, and after a long day of hiking, sitting on a log isn’t all that comfortable. This year, I will be bringing one with me.
Moleskin – It was very hard to find moleskin in any of the local stores last year before our trip. This is a great package to grab as it’s low cost and already cut. If you buy a sheet of moleskin instead, be sure to bring small scissors to cut it to what you actually need.
Face covering – One of the things that I did not plan for last year was the amount of dust the mules and horses kick up as they are running past you. By the end of the hike I was pulling out my cooling cloth to hold over my mouth as they ran by. The probably with that is I didn’t think about how porous the cloth is, so it wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. Be sure that you have something that you can cover your mouth and nose with as they run by. The advantage to these is that you can also wet them so that they can cool your neck as well. I do not have asthma, and live in the desert and by the end of the hike I felt like I had asthma from the dust.
Towel – It’s always a great idea to have a microfiber towel so that they will dry quickly. We also loved having them to lay on by the falls and just relax.
Waterproof Selfie Stick – Last year I used just a regular selfie stick and was worried it was going to snap at any time. I also had to worry about it getting wet. I’m super excited to be able to bring this one this year and not have to worry about the remote getting wet. It also has the advantage of being a table top tripod as well.
Ear Plugs – I brought these last year and did not need them. IF you are a light sleeper then you will want these and also a sleep mask if you are going during a full moon, or if people’s flashlights will wake you.
KT Tape – I brought this last year and did not use it soon enough. If you have ever had a knee issue in your life, then I recommend using this for the hike in as well as the hike out. I do not currently have any knee issues, but many years ago I did and the pressure from the incline of the hike caused it to flare back up. Watch the videos they offer and you will know how to apply it rather easily.
Toilet Paper – The composting toilets in the campground have toilet paper, but I’ve read where many people said they’ve been empty when they’ve gone in. There are hundreds of campers every day, so I would imagine there are times of the day where there may not be a roll in one. There are also no bathrooms along the trail in/out and the hike to Mooney and Beaver Falls. Again, keep in mind that what comes in with you has to go back out with you, so be sure that you have an odor proof bag to use for trash and soiled toilet paper when out hiking for the day.
Feminine Hygiene Disposal Bags – If you are unfortunate enough to have your monthly visitor while there, be sure that you have these with you for disposing of your hygiene products. You will need to take your trash out with you.
Waterproof phone pouch – Thankfully my phone is waterproof, however I purchased these for the Bahamas, so I can attest to how great they work. If your phone is not completely waterproof, make sure you have something like this! You are going to spend a LOT of time in the water or near it and you don’t want to kill your phone.
Cooling Towel – This is a necessity based on when your trip is. If you are going in May through August, please be sure that you are aware of the temperatures and plan accordingly.
3L Hydration Pack – The one I used last year is not available, but this looks like basically the same one. I loved the insulated pack for it for the hike in. That meant the nice cold water I started with that morning stayed cold the whole hike in. You NEED to pack in enough water for the 8 mile hike into the village. Once you are in the village, you will be able to refill at the office to get you to the campground. If the cafe or store are open then you can also buy things like a frozen Gatorade or another beverage. There is no water during the 8 mile hike in though, so a filter will not even help through that part of the hike.
Stove and fuel
Food is a personal preference. I am including some of those I brought with me. My biggest suggestion is that you must be sure to account for the extra calories that you are going to be burning during this trip. We hiked about 60 miles in our 4 days, 3 nights, that is going to be way more activity than most in a normal 4 days. The cafe and store in the village are a 2 mile hike through sand from the start of the campground, and aren’t always open. The Fry Bread huts are also not guaranteed to be open. Do not base any of your packing decisions on being able to purchase items while there. The fry bread is definitely a must have treat IF they are open when you are there.
Isagenix IsaLean Meal Replacement Bars – These were my absolute must haves for breakfast, lunch and even to snack on throughout the day. Be sure that if you are bringing “protein bars” they are actually meant to be meal replacements and not just snack bars.
Electrolytes – I cannot stress enough how important it is to have electrolytes with you. You will need them during the hike in, the hike out and throughout your time in the canyon. There are many options out there based on your personal preferences. My personal preference due to my allergy to stevia is Laird’s Hydrate which is made from dried coconut water. The Hydrate with Turmeric is great for keeping the inflammation down from all of the hiking and physical activity. I use the mylar packets below to make my own single serve packets.
Mylar Pouches that I use
For my vitamins and supplements – I break them up by morning, afternoon and night for each day
Electrolytes and other powder drinks that aren’t available in single servings