Trivia: What’s the very first thing you pack when visiting the Grand Canyon? Don’t worry, I have done all the research so you don’t have to. And best of all, I’m willing to share! If you are a seasoned traveler or hiker, you may have this packing thing down but in my case, I actually had to put in some hours’ worth of research. It was my first time visiting the Grand Canyon, I was traveling alone, and it was my first ‘big’ hike; so this was a big deal!
Some of the items may not apply if you are the casual visitor not planning to do any major hiking but if you plan to really get into it, you will need these items. So anyway, let’s get straight to it.
- Backpack. Because everything you need won’t fit in your pockets. Trust me on this one.
- Hiking shoes. Your feet will thank you for this. Some people wear regular athletic shoes. This may suffice if you plan to stick to the rim, but what’s the fun in that? 🙂 It is possible to hike in athletic shoes but you risk injury. Athletic shoes don’t do so well in grabbing on to rocks. Tip- break in your hiking shoes well before your trip.
- Hiking socks. Regular socks may be ok but you want hiking socks. They have better cushion so less risk of blisters, especially when paired with hiking shoes. Good ones also have better thermal management.
- Waterproof jacket. Even though it is the ‘desert’ the weather can be really unpredictable. So if it rains, do you really want to be toting around an umbrella? Especially if you are on a hike? Tip- invest in a quality one. I am
cheapfrugal but I invested wisely and I was so thankful for it.
- Sunscreen. Nuff said.
- Hat/Cap. I resisted this because my hat looks so goofy on me. It’s one of those you get from races; however I packed it. It’s not that heavy, after all. But it was soooo useful in shielding my face from the sun! (I didn’t pack sunscreen).
- Sunglasses. See 5 and 6 :).
- Bug spray. Nuff said. To be fair, I didn’t pack this but if you plan on camping overnight in the canyon, this may be very helpful.
- Flashlight. If you will be hiking overnight or will be hiking late. Even if that’s not the case, just pack one.
- Whistle. In case you need to signal for help, especially if you will be alone- which the park does not recommend hiking alone, by the way.
- Water. Lots of water. I can’t stress this enough. You get dehydrated fast without knowing it; especially in the hotter months. So even if you don’t feel thirsty, bottoms up! But be careful, bathrooms are not exactly in abundance on trails. Tip- Buy the water after you get off the plane. Why fly with all that heavy water and have to pay for checking in your bag? Plan for about 2 liters a day. Sometimes there’s water stops on trails.
- Sports drink. Electrolytes! To balance your salt levels, especially if you end up sweating a lot. And for some energy too, I suppose. I also bought this after I landed- I needed more than a couple of 3 oz bottles :).
- Salty snacks. See 12 above.
- Fruits. As if the physical activity of hiking isn’t enough. #fitfam
- Nuts. You get the point. Keep eating, all the time, every time. Even if you are not hungry. See why the backpack is handy now?
- Tissue paper. In case you need to do the number two and there is ‘a situation’ with the bathrooms.
- Moleskin. To treat blisters, should they occur. Or to prevent them in the first place.
- Clothes. Duh. lol. However, aim for light colored, loose fitting clothes, and dress in layers. That is a pro tip; the layers thing. Also, avoid cotton. I wore my running clothes. I also wore long sleeves and long pants, partly because I wasn’t going to pack suncreen and partly because it was going to be a high of 50F at the rim the entire time I was there.
- Hand sanitizer. You never know the kind of germs they will have there.
- Painkillers. Because hiking or just walking around for a while could make you sore and sometimes headaches and sprained ankles don’t announce themselves.
- Allergy medicine. You may suddenly be exposed to a [previously unknown] allergen.
- Alcohol wipes. I am not a germophobe; I promise.
- Band aids. For the occasional minor cut.
- Treats. Amen to treats! Sometimes you may need to reward yourself for progress made during your hike, no matter how small. They could also serve as motivation. Whatever it takes to get back up to the rim.
- Cell phone. In case you need to call for help but do not rely on your phone. I repeat, do not. Especially if you use Sprint. #noshade. It’s at least good for telling the time. And for selfies- let’s not forget the selfies :).
- Money. Credit/Debit card should be sufficient but it doesn’t hurt to carry cash. You may need to buy souvenirs or lunch. Oh and to pay the entrance fee to the park.
Of course, not everything on the list is mandatory. I didn’t take every single thing on this list (such a rebel!) but it’s a pretty good list- if I do say so myself :).
Did I miss anything? I am a novice hiker so please comment below so I can know for next time :).
Oh yes, #27- running shoes, if you would like to sneak in a quick run before you go on your hike. Hey, they even have races at the grand canyon, so you could
crash same-day register for one!