Toiletries to Bring for Rafting Grand Canyon

Packing for your Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting trip can be a little bit daunting. Here we break down one component of your gear – your toiletries! 


A frequent question from guests is, what toiletries should I bring for rafting Grand Canyon? Here’s a breakdown of things to keep in mind while packing your toiletries bag. 

Being organized before launching your Grand Canyon rafting trip ensures a smooth first evening in camp, but you will probably readjust as you see fit throughout the trip. We recommend putting all toiletries in either a bathroom kit or Ziploc bags to keep everything together and easily accessible!

Check the Label Before You Buy

When purchasing toiletries, check for biodegradable and “reef safe” labels on the packaging, like sunscreen, as much as possible. Purchasing from a natural food store (Sprouts/Whole Foods) can give a head start on this recommendation. We have another blog that goes into what biodegradable and Reef Safe means and brands known to follow these standards. 

Dry Skin is Inevitable

The number one item most guests and guides recommend is hand lotion and hand salve. Everyone says, “It’s a dry heat” because of the low humidity in Arizona. The low humidity combined with water and sand and your skin can start feeling the effects. Prevention of cracks with a good hand lotion can make a big difference. Many guests like to apply lotion and then a salve on their feet at night and then wear cotton socks to bed and keep some lotion on their hands as well.


Ensure you have nail clippers and a file! this might be an overlooked item in the toiletry bag, but your hands and feet are active participants on this vacation and keeping them comfortable helps immensely. Keeping your nails short to avoid painful ingrown nails, getting rid of a hangnail, or just being able to clean under your nails can make a big difference on these trips. They are small enough items that its better to pack and not use, than to need and not have. 

Bathing on a River Trip

We recommend keeping bathing as uncomplicated as possible. Baby wipes are essential to any toiletry bag for many reasons, but they can especially help on those evenings a cold-water dip doesn’t sound appealing. Minimizing hair washing to one or two times on a trip can also help preserve your time for relaxing and enjoying the company of the other guests. For those with long hair, protective hairstyles like braids can help with excessive tangling from swimming and sand. Make sure with braids, sunscreen should be used on any scalp exposed to sun (or cover up with a hat). Trust us, having your scalp burnt is not fun. 

Oral Care

Brushing your teeth and flossing on the river are pretty straight forward. However, keep in mind that all liquid (including your toothpaste spit) should go directly into the river. This means you are spiting directly into the river. The water current allows things like toothpaste to breakdown in the water, where it will last a very long time if it on the beach. It might even attract ants or other critters, making it less enjoyable for the next group to come through. So, all liquids in the river!


We recommend contact wearers bring either glasses or single use contacts. The sand can make this task a bit uncomfortable so think about your process prior to packing. If there is an old pair of glasses, throws those in as an extra pair. Things like glasses are easily lost or broken on a river trip and having a back up pair can really save the day. 

Feminine Hygiene

Ladies, it might be a good idea to practice urinating outdoors, perhaps on a camping trip or hike (but make sure you follow local ordinances on how to take care of that in your specific area). All rivers have rules that are best for their specific ecosystem, for Grand Canyon, you urinate directly into the Colorado River. A female urinal may be useful, but practice beforehand if you have never used one, because it can be tricky the first time. Also, know your cycle and if you will any need for feminine hygiene products, so you remember to bring anything you’ll need. Bringing a few extra plastic baggies can be helpful here as you will dispose of these materials in the trash instead of the groover. Again, please do not throw any feminine products into the groover, they should be disposed of in a trash container. 


To close it out, we understand the complexity of the packing process. We recommend reading the “Typical Day on the River” section in your trip packet. If you know what to expect, you can plan accordingly, so we are happy to help you through this process! Give our office a call if you have any questions, we are happy to answer any and all questions.