14 Must Have Items for Your Grand Canyon River Rafting Trip!

Arizona Travel

This post contains affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase an item linked here, you will help support our next adventure! These are all items we use personally and enjoy.

  1. A headlamp! This is essential for nighttime navigation and finding the groover after dark. We love this model because it has both white and red lights and a focusing beam.

2. Towel. Both Daniel and I had one of these towels and they worked great! Perk that they come in seven colors.

travel towel

3. Pillow. This was priceless! How wonderful it is to look up at the starry Grand Canyon night with your head on a soft pillow. We wondered why we hadn’t bought this sooner with all the backpacking we do!

travel pillow

4. Nalgene water bottle. An absolute MUST in the Arizona desert climate. We used these bottles exclusively! Rough and tough and now covered with Grand Canyon stickers to remind us of our amazing adventure.

nalgene water bottle

5. Carabiners. You will need two carabiners: one to secure your water bottle and the other to secure your day bag to the boat for use while you are rafting.


6.Neoprene booties. That Colorado River water is 50 degrees! These will help keep your piggies warm even though the biggest rapids. I got the blue flowered ones and even used them for walking around camp in the evenings.

neoprene booties

7. Gloves. The wet ropes and raft rubs and chafes at your hands. I used these throughout my trip and avoided some blistering that some of my raft mates experienced.

sailing gloves for river rafting

8. Sarong. Both men and women should bring a sarong! This is helpful in changing out of wet day clothes into your night clothes without flashing all of your raft mates. This also doubled as a shade/cooling cloth during the day. Simply wet the sarong and cover your legs with it while you’re on the raft, or use it as a cooling sheet for sleeping at night.


9. Power banks. We have several of these power banks to charge our phones, cameras, and GoPros. We have found it is more efficient two or three power banks than to attempt charging one bank with a solar charger.

portable charging device

10. GoPro. We’ve recently upgraded to the new GoPro Hero 7 due to the upgraded image stability and underwater capabilities. If you don’t have a GoPro, this bundle is an awesome starting point. This is our preferred way to document video while traveling and you’ll love watching your Grand Canyon whitewater rapid videos when you get home.


11. Grand Canyon River Guide. This book is the bomb! It has waterproof pages so you can hook it onto the raft to refer to it while while surfing down the river. Jammed packed with fun stories and history, this is an absolute must have!

Grand Canyon River Guide

12. Eagle Creek No Matter What Duffel. I bought this bag for my husband as a birthday gift pre-rafting trip and I loved it so much that I ordered another one for myself! This bag is roomy and weather resistant with a solid zipper and a sleeve on the side to use to secure the duffel to a roller bag. We could probably have done with the size small bag for the rafting trip, but this one will work well for other trips where a roller bag isn’t appropriate. Two thumbs up!

13. Cell phone lanyard. I looked high and low for a cell phone lanyard to use for my outdoor adventures. I have a Samsung S10 so this wasn’t as easy as I thought until I found this item. The rubber slips on easily and I can wear it around my neck or attach it to my life jacket for a longer leash. I used my Samsung as my primary camera on this trip and this lanyard (and the waterproof nature of the Samsung) made it possible. I love this item!

14. Teddy bear. My bear is named Russell the Rock Kisser and he joins me on all my backpacking and outdoor adventures. He also doubles as an extra pillow if needed. (Hint: search our blog posts and I’ll just bet you’ll catch a glimpse of him on our adventures.)

small teddy bear for traveling

I'm an only child who grew up on a sailboat, a lover of adventure, a mom, wife, an RN, and a friend of all dogs.


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