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Home » Our Programs » On the River » Equipment

Grand Canyon Youth River Equipment List

River shoes: Sport sandals with a thick sole and heel strap.

  • Hiking shoes: Lightweight boots or athletic shoes with good traction on dirt and rock that are already well worn-in.
  • Two water bottles: You need at least 2 quarts. A gallon orange juice container works well. Camelbacks are okay as long as you bring a spare water bottle.
  • Day backpack: If you will be hiking in or out of the Grand Canyon, you will need a sturdy backpack with a waist strap to carry your personal items to or from the river. On other trips, you need a small, lightweight daypack where you can put items that you need to access during the day.
  • Two carabiners: This metal clip lets you attach your daypack and water bottle to the boat. You can find them at most outdoor shops.
  • Sun hat: Preferably one with a large brim and a strap to keep from losing it in the wind. Bring a hat that you will wear.
  • Hat such as a “beanie” or ski cap in case you get cold.
  • Rain gear: You’ll need both jacket and pants (ponchos don’t work on the river).
  • Lightweight fleece jacket
  • Long underwear. Polypropylene or Capilene will keep you warm when wet. Wear them under your rain gear for warmth. These are not mandatory for summer trips.
  • Socks for hiking and warmth. Bring one pair for every 2 days of your trip.
  • Quick-dry shorts: They should be made of nylon or fast-drying material (not cotton!). Athletic shorts work well. Bring one for every 3 days of your trip.
  • Bathing suits: Please be appropriate; tying elements on swimsuits are not comfortable or recommended for the river. Dark-colored, fast-drying sports bras work well as a bathing suit top. Bring one for every 3 days of your trip.
  • Long-sleeved, lightweight, cotton shirts: These are ideal for sun protection and cooling off on hot summer days. Think men’s dress shirt. They are easily found at a thrift store. Bring one for every 3 days of your trip.
  • Lightweight cotton pants or sarong: These are ideal for sun protection and cooling off on hot summer days. Hospital scrub bottoms work well. Bring one pair for every 4 days of your trip.
  • T-shirt: You wear these primarily at camp. Bring one for every 3 days on the river.
  • Bandana to wet and tie around your neck or wear under your hat to keep cool.
  • Waterproof (disposable) camera(s)
  • Sunglasses
  • Eyeglasses (if you wear them). If you wear contact lenses, bring an extra set.
  • Retention device for your sunglasses and/or eyeglasses so you don’t lose them in the river. These are sometimes called “Chums” or “Croakies.”
  • Personal toiletries including a toothbrush, toothpaste, body soap, shampoo, leave-in conditioner, feminine products (tampons with cardboard applicators or O.B. tampons are suggested). Choose travel-size and biodegradable products when available (such as Dr. Bronner’s soap).
  • Sunscreen: A minimum of 15 SPF is required.
  • Lip balm
  • Lotion (8­–16 oz). A jar-type lotion with a screw lid leaks the least.
  • Ziploc bags: Two or three 1-gallon for storage. Also bring a couple of plastic grocery bags for dirty clothes and your spare pair of shoes.
  • Small flashlight or headlamp: Pack it with a new set of batteries and they should last the entire trip.
  • Spring / fall trips: Pack a pair of gloves as well as an additional fleece jacket, and pants.

Other notes about packing

  • Bring two sets of any medications you need such as inhalers, Epi pens, and psychotropic medications. One set will stay with you and the other will go with the trip leader for backup.
  • If you can’t locate or purchase any of the above items, please don’t hesitate to call GCY. We have spare cold weather gear and rain gear you can borrow.
  • GCY will provide and pack your sleep kit (sleeping bag, tarp, and pad) and waterproof bag (called a dry bag).
  • Don’t bring something you will be sad to lose, get dirty, or have broken!
  • iPods, cell phones, and wallets are intentionally left off the list. Leave these at home or at our office while you are on your trip.
  • Pack lightly. Everything you pack needs to fit in your waterproof bag and small daypack. You don’t want to spend your time fussing with too much gear.
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