After hiking a few times, we’ve determined what items we MUST have when we hike the Grand Canyon. You may want more, but I wouldn’t suggest any less. Check with your local outdoor shop and see what other items they may suggest, but be sure you at least have these…
Hiking Backpack- You’ll want a hiking backpack. One that is lightweight, comfortable, durable, has an internal frame and lots of storage space.
Snacks for the hike- You will get hungry when walking for miles and miles. Get something tasty that will offer you a boost of energy. Trail mix, power beans/sport beans (jelly beans packed with carbs, electrolytes, and vitamins for quick energy), granola bars, Superfood Snacks (review coming!)… Any snack that gives you a boost of energy and satisfied your taste buds.
Food- You’ll want food that is lightweight yet tasty and leaves little trash, since you have to pack out all of your trash. We had friends pack in all kinds of food that added tons of extra weight to their packs PLUS left tons of garbage that they then had to pack out. We opted for instant oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter and honey sandwiches on bagel thins for lunch, and Mountain House meals for dinner (review coming!). Oatmeal can be all put into a few small ziplock bags. We did one bag for each day. Peanut butter can be purchased in individual serving sizes, and on the bagel things they make a perfect lightweight sandwich for lunch. Mountain House meals are freeze dried, so you just add hot water and wait a few minutes before you can eat! Packages make the perfect trash bag…
Gatorade- You’ll want and NEED this for that extra boost while you’re hiking in and out. The powdered single serve works good to put in 1 small water bottle that you can pack with you.
Stove and fuel- You’ll need this to heat your water for your meals. We have a quick boiling stove that is small, folds up super compact, but boils water in less than 2 minutes.
Tent and/or sleeping bag- We took 2 backpacking tents that weighed 4 lbs each and fit all 5 of us in. Gary and our littlest kid in one, me and our other 2 kiddos in the other. We had sleeping pads for underneath us (makes it much more comfortable but not necessary) and a fleece liner that we slept in. The fleece liner is lightweight and fits better in the backpack than a large sleeping bag. If you choose not to sleep in a tent, bring a piece of plastic (at the very least) to lay down first.
Hiking Shoes and socks, and water shoes- Good shoes and good socks are a must. With all that walking you’ll need something that fits right, with socks that won’t cause blisters. You’ll also want a pair of shoes for the water.
Moleskin- Just in case you DO get blisters, moleskin will make them nearly painless. Seriously.
Flashlight- Unless there’s a full moon, it’s very dark at night. Even then, you’ll still want a flashlight if you need to ‘go for a walk’ in the middle of the night.
Toilet paper- There are no bathrooms on the trail, and the bathrooms at the campsite are occasionally out of toilet paper… Need I say more?
There may be a few more I am not thinking of right now, but I’ll add them if I do. Remember, you can always go to your local outdoor shop (hiking shop or REI) and they’ll help you out too!