Fun Stuff to Bring on a River Trip

Fun Stuff to Bring on a River Trip


Everybody loves beach games and small crafts to remember their trip


Many Hatch guests wonder how they’ll be able to keep their families (and themselves) entertained on their river trips with no access to the usual entertainment options from home like TV, video games, and internet. While the Colorado River and Grand Canyon are immeasurably beautiful, we can understand why you might want a few things to do while you marvel at the glory all around you. But here’s the challenge: finding fun things to bring that will fit your bag and won’t push you over your 25lb weight limit!

Here are some of our top suggestions for fun, canyon-friendly items you can bring to pass the time hanging out in camp or at side canyon stops:


Card games, dice games, and travel board games can be great for spending quality time together in camp while you’re waiting for dinner. Games that play in short rounds are preferable to those that require hours-long commitments. Glow in the dark bocce is a great option that transitions from evening to night! Keep in mind that whatever you bring should be small and packable without too many stray pieces that could get lost. Sand is ever present in the canyon, so stay away from games with components that could be damaged if they get sand in them. Wind can also be an issue at camp, so if you’ve brought a deck of cards (they make waterproof ones too), maybe choose a game that doesn’t require spreading them out.

Sports Gear

You may visit a beach large enough to accommodate a game of frisbee or throw around a baseball or beach ball. This can even be a great way to get to know your other trip mates! Remember when packing for a Hatch trip, space is at a premium, so leave the baseball bat behind. But balls, discs, and other small sports equipment could come in handy with a little patch of sand and some time in your schedule. Glow in the dark items can be handy as the sun sets.


There might be no place more serene to relax with a book than in a shady spot beside the Colorado River. Something that can be read in short bursts whenever you have a little down time on dry land works great, like a book with shorter chapters or a collection of essays or short stories. If you’re a puzzle person, a book of sudoku or crosswords might be more your thing. Crossword puzzle clues are also a great way to involve more people!

To learn about some Canyon history before you get here, some of our favorites are The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko (also available as an audiobook), There’s This River: Grand Canyon Boatman Stories edited by Christa Sadler, and Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon by Flagstaff local Melissa L. Sevigny. For Hatch history specifically, check out Riverman: The Story of Bus Hatch by Roy Webb available from our online store. Check out our Pre-Trip Education page on our website for Grand Canyon book recommendations!


watercolors painted in a notebook by stacey egan from her grand canyon rafting trip

Watercolor journal entries painted by Stacy Egan (courtesy of her flickr @stacycreates)


If you write or draw, you might enjoy passing the time with a pencil in your hand and a journal or sketchbook. A travel watercolor paint palette can be perfect for your creative spirit. Grand Canyon is packed to its brim with plants, animals, stories, people, and breathtaking views to inspire you!

Musical Instruments

If you’re a musician, a harmonica or other pocket sized instrument is a great item to bring along! These small instruments stow easily in your day gear and thus are perfect to bring along on your trip. (Don’t bring anything that might be damaged by sand, water and wind, though.) Some of the side canyons on your trip have incredible acoustics that you’ll be able to experience to the fullest with your instrument handy. If you don’t have a suitably small instrument, you could always engage your fellow travelers in a sing-a-long.

Whether you choose to pack any of the items above or not, it’s hard to be bored in Grand Canyon. Being completely immersed in this remote, natural place is its own kind of entertainment—one that doesn’t require any packing space at all! We just know you’ll have a fantastic time taking it all in.

Be sure to stock up on any other gear you may need from our online store. Click here to book your next river trip!