Clothing & Gear Info
Essential gear & clothing packing list
- 3 Short Sleeve Shirts
- 2 Pair Shorts/Swim Trunks – Synthetic, loose fitting, heavy-duty, quick-dry. Worn as the base layer of clothing, enabling you to add/change clothes with ease throughout the day; longer “board short “styles provide sun protection for tops of legs.
- 1 Bathing Suit (women) (Two piece suits are generally preferred as more versatile and comfortable.)
- 1 Sarong (men and women) —The most versatile sun protection, used in boats/camp.
- 2 Sports Bras (women)
- 2 Lightweight long sleeve “Sun Shirts” (Long-Sleeved Button-Down) ) – For sun protection and—when worn wet – to keep body temps down. Cotton dries slowest, enhancing its effectiveness. Used in boats and on hikes.
- 1 Pair Sunglasses + Chums or other Sunglasses Retainers
- 1 Baseball Cap (plus Hat Retention Strap) or Visor
- 1 Sun Hat (plus Hat Retention Strap) A big straw hat and other full brim sun hats create shade – a treat during the hotter months.
- 1 Rain Jacket + 1 Pair Rain Pants
- 1 Set Mid-weight Long Underwear (Top + Bottoms)
- 1 Light weight fleece top □ 2 One-Quart Water Bottles —See DETAILS page 5.
- 1 Small Daypack for day hikes. See Float Notes for details.
- 1 Headlamp (highly recommended) or Flashlight + batteries
- 1 Pair River/recreational sports Sandals. See Float Notes below for specifics and brand suggestions.
- 1 Pair Lightweight Hiking Shoes/Sneakers & 2 pairs socks
- Two Water Bottles (1 quart each).
- Daypack (not a fanny pack) for the side canyon hikes.
- Small Synthetic Pack Towel (like a chamois) is highly absorbent and compact.
- Bandana – Small but effective. Wet and place on neck for evaporative cooling and sun protection.
- A Warm Hat (Fleece or Wool)
- Microfleece Tops
See our Float Notes below for seasonal packing suggestions, the essential toiletries list, and for more gear details and descriptions.
If you will be taking prescribed medication while on river, please list its name and its purpose on the Registration Form. Conditions specific to Grand Canyon such as sun exposure, high temperatures, cold water immersion, etc. may affect the efficacy of your medications. Adverse reactions to medications may mimic other health concerns such as heat stroke, dehydration, etc. If we don’t know about your medications, you risk a misdiagnosis/mistreatment on-river. Please consult with your physician to determine if weather extremes or dehydration might affect you. NOTE: Bring two (2) courses of medication if you are asthmatic, have severe allergic response (e.g. to bee stings), or are using prescription medicine for any reason. Once on-river, keep one with you and give the 2nd to the trip leader.
Average Temperatures and Weather
April: Days 60–80 F/Nights 40–55 F;
May:Days 80–100 F/Nights 60–70 F;
June/July/August: Days 100–120 F/Nights 70–90 F.
Note: July/August is typically the monsoon season in Arizona which usually means a cloud buildup in the morning and short heavy rain in the afternoon.
September/October: Days 70–90 F/Nights 50–60 F.
THESE ARE NOT ABSOLUTES! It can rain in any month, or conversely, be arid and cloudless. Clouds and/or rain can cause the temperature in the Canyon’s desert environment to plummet—even during the hot summer months.
You can check these sites for weather forecasts prior to your trip:
The weather on your trip may even vary between hot and cold several times a day. Layering options are required as unexpected temperature extremes can occur at any time of year and body temperatures change with the activity (hiking in the middle of the day vs. boating early in the a.m. etc.)
It is possible, even probable, that the weather you encounter will be consistently sunny and warm/hot, but you will need to be prepared for the Canyon’s many different moods.
There is a good possibility that spring and fall rafters will experience weather conditions that lower body temperatures. During these months, if the sky is cloudy, it will result in very cold conditions while you are rafting, and “dry” gear and layering options will be required on the water.
The river water temperature is ICE COLD at ALL TIMES (50–55 degrees F) – a big factor in body temperature as even the smallest waves will give you a soaking.
Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, is the closest major airport and is about a 2.5 hour drive or a half hour flight away from Flagstaff. Most of our rafters fly into Phoenix and then fly, take a shuttle, or drive a rental car to Flagstaff.
Flagstaff By Plane
Direct flights are available into Flagstaff from Phoenix. Service from Phoenix is provided by American Airlines (aa.com/en-us/flights-from-phoenix-to-flagstaff). If you fly American Airlines into Phoenix, there is often a reduced fare on the Phoenix-Flagstaff portion.
Phoenix/Flagstaff by Shuttle
Groome Transportation 928.350.8466, Ext# 1303
Groome Transportation offers pick-up service at each terminal at Sky Harbor Airport and drop-off at the Amtrak Station in downtown Flagstaff, a five minute cab-ride from our meeting location/hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton Flagstaff. With six departure times each day, this is a convenient and reliable transportation option.
Phoenix/Flagstaff by Rental Car
Car rentals are available in Phoenix and Flagstaff from a variety of rental agencies. Please contact the car rental agencies directly for information as their offerings vary year to year. You will need to arrange transportation (taxi) to and from the rental agencies’ locations; be sure to allow time and money for the pick-up and drop-off of your rental car both before and after your trip.
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