Before I hiked to Havasupai, I was a wreck. “Did I overpack?” “Will I starve?’ “Should I wear boots or my sneakers?” I was like this for months. I searched Facebook groups and blogs for a reliable Havasupai packing guide until the night we left for Arizona. Everyone has different suggestions, and the overall feel of their posts was, “you’ll be okay regardless because it’s magical.” Yes, it is magical, but you should be adequately prepared.
This Havasupai packing guide will help you create the perfect packing list! You may not need everything I am suggesting, and that’s okay. These items helped me, but I’m also a big baby. Use discernment and decide what is best for you. Good luck and happy camping!
For more Havasupai guides, check out How to Score a Permit to Havasupai and my Havasupai Photo Album
- Want to skip the text? Head over to my Amazon shop, She Strayed Essentials, for the full packing list!
Havasupai Packing Guide Overview
- Hiking In and Out
- Campsite Essentials
- Inside Your Tent
- Food Supplies
- Food Storage
- What to Wear
*This post contains affiliate links. That means I will receive a (very) small percentage of your purchase at no cost to you. Thanks for helpin’ ya girl out.
Hiking In and Out of Havasupai
Shoes: I did not wear hiking boots. Instead, I wore my Nike Flex Trainers that I had for about a year before the hike. I decided not to wear hiking boots, although every Havasupai packing guide on the planet suggested to. I didn’t have a pair of boots that were broken in and fitted for my feet. My sneakers were worn in, comfortable, and didn’t cause blisters. I have read many posts about blisters and how awful they can get from the hike. Due to my comfy shoes and thick hiking socks, I didn’t develop a single blister! My advice is to wear what you know.
Socks: I purchased Danial and I each a set of Alvada Wool Hiking Socks. The socks are thick, warm, and cozy, which is necessary on long hikes. I kept one pair clean and only wore them at night. The others I wore twice in a row because I didn’t bring enough socks. They come in a set of three, which shorted us a day of clean socks, hence why I had to be strategic about how I wore them. Looking back, I should have purchased two sets for each of us. That would have been far more comfortable and clean.
Trekking Poles: I bought trekking poles and returned them because they felt awkward. I’m a moron. Please don’t do what I did. Hiking poles are popular with old people for a reason, they help! Eight miles into the hike, I was limping. I have never had knee problems, but the uneven and unfamiliar terrain did a number on my body. I was in a great deal of pain that was alleviated when I finally picked up a stick to use a trekking pole. Please bring trekking poles. Please. Please. Please.
Tylenol: When you skip buying the trekking poles like a dumb-dumb, you’re going to need this. Tylenol is the only reason I’m not still on the trail, crawling my way through tears and horse poop.
Havasupai Campsite Essentials
Hammock: Depending on the time of year you visit Havasupai, you may want to consider sleeping in a hammock instead of a tent. I, on the other hand, went in October and it was freezing. Sleeping in a hammock would have killed me.
Aside from sleeping arrangments, many people brought them on hikes and would set them up in the sight of waterfalls. This allowed for some peaceful, off the ground, downtime. We didn’t bring a hammock because we knew it would be freezing, but looking back, I wish we had.
Solar Powered Lantern: I brought a lantern for obvious reasons; it gets dark. The specific one I purchased is solar-powered, which is necessary for the middle of the desert. It clips onto your daypack, is delightfully compactable, and weighs virtually nothing.
Head Lamp: Do you want to see anything at night? Then bring a headlamp. It is 100x easier than hiking with a lantern to the bathroom at 3 am.
Tip: turn your red light on while walking around the campground at night. This will be less bothersome to other campers than a blazing white light. It also keeps bugs out of your face. You’re welcome.
Camping Chairs: I was wishy-washy on whether or not to bring chairs, and I’m so glad we did. It felt great to sit up-right after a daily 10-mile hike. Sitting on the ground was uncomfortable for my sore body, and nothing felt better than sinking into my camping chair. The one I brought it lightweight and folded up nicely.
Dry Bag: There are five waterfalls and miles of river; your belongings will get wet. Keep them safe with a dry bag. Throw your phone, wallet, keys, camera, and snacks in the dry bag, attach it to the outside of your daypack, and be on your way. This will ensure that your essential items remain dry when you fall on your ass while crossing the river. It will happen.
We opted for the 5L bag, and it was plenty big for all of our essentials.
Inside Your Tent
Sleeping Pad: If you want to sleep on the floor without padding, by all means, go for it. I am not as hardcore as your enormous penis, tough guy, so I purchased a sleeping pad. After a long, excruciating day, lying on a comfortable surface, is priceless. I highly recommend bringing one along. This specific one is lightweight, easy to pump without extra accessories, and holds form throughout the night.
Sleeping Bag: We went in October, and it was freezing, so I needed a sleeping bag. Chances are, you’re not going when there is a rare cold front sweeping through, so disregard this item. Most hikers opt-out of a sleeping bag because it’s usually quite warm. If this is the case for your trip, consider bringing a sheet instead.
Camping Pillow: I understand that most people roll up clothes for a makeshift pillow while camping, but that honestly sounds awful for my neck. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice a good night of sleep over a few ounces added to my pack. Our pillow compacted into small bags that we attached to the outside of our large packs while hiking in. They were practically weightless and worth the buy.
String Lights: A coworker suggested I purchase tiny copper string lights off Amazon to create a relaxing ambiance at the end of a long day. She had gone to Havasupai the year prior and swore by these battery-powered string lights. She was absolutely right! They were a treat!
Freeze-Dried Food: This is going to sound nuts, but the specific freeze-dried food I’ve linked is shockingly delicious. It should be on every Havasupai packing guide out there! Multiple people recommended this to me before my trip, and I was so skeptical, I only brought three along. That was a huge mistake!
My favorite is the breakfast hash (linked). It was filling and can feed multiple mouths. Danial had filled up on protein bars before I started eating, so he didn’t have much of the hash. Because I couldn’t finish it all, we saved the leftovers and mixed it will a chopped onion and kielbasa we brought for dinner. It was incredible. Truly.
Bottle Top Propane: Open flames are not allowed, but propane stoves are. There is more than enough propane at the ranger station. DO NOT BRING PROPANE! I promise that there is enough for you and 600 of your friends. While we’re being mindful, please consider hiking out with at least two empty propane bottles. They pile up and can only be brought out of the canyon by hikers. Do your part.
The stove-top attachment is necessary and I’ve linked that above.
Instant Coffee: One of my favorite parts of the trip was drinking hot coffee on the river bank as the sun rose. It’s not a necessity, but it was an excellent addition to the trip, and if you’re a coffee drinker, I highly recommend the brand I linked. I did research on instant coffee brands before my purchase, and I’m happy to report that this was a good buy.
Fold & Snap Dish Set: Dishes aren’t necessary depending on how you camp. We’re boujee and brought chopped veggies and meat to cook, so we needed a dish set. Extra, I know. This specific set I bought and used during a four-month excursion in East Africa in 2011. I traded the plate set for souvenirs and later purchased a second set for Havasupai.
The set I link unfolds and lays flat, which is perfect for saving space in your pack. To assemble, you simply fold and snap the corners. I think it’s made for kids considering its neon green and decorated with dinosaur fossils, but it gets the job done.
Water Storage Cube: There is a freshwater spring on the campground, and unless you set up shop next to the spring (don’t do that, weirdo), it’s going to be a long hike to fill up your water bottle. We camped .25 mile from the spring and walking that every time we needed water would be insane. Just about everyone brings a water storage cube, fills it at the spring faucet, and carries it back to camp.
Pots & Pans: This is helpful if you plan to boil water for freeze-dried food and coffee. The set that I linked is compactable, stackable, and lightweight. It paired well with my propane stove and, although it took up space in my pack, I’d do it again.
Peppermint Essential Oil: I read on another Havasupai packing guide that rodents detest the smell of peppermint, so I mixed some in a spray bottle with water and spritzed everything. Although I overdid it and everything reeked of peppermint, we didn’t encounter a single rodent the entire time we camped.
Paint Bucket: Please do not buy and haul a paint bucket. There are dozens at the ranger station as you’re entering the campground. Sadly, more and more buckets are added to the pile every day. You do not need to bring one from home.
Ratchet Strap: Without the peppermint, we would have been okay because Danial brought a ratchet strap to secure the paint bucket closed. Most people hang buckets from trees, which we also did, but pesky rodents have been known to chew them down. We didn’t want to take any chances with our limited supply, so we wrapped a ratchet strap around the bucket, and we didn’t encounter a single problem.
*Other Havasupai packing guides will suggest rat-sacks, but they’re upwards of $60. A ratchet strap is $10. You choose.
What to Wear to Havasupai
Neoprene Water Socks: You’ll notice in the first picture, I’m wearing black water socks. Those are neoprene socks; you wear them most commonly with a wetsuit. Most Havasupia packing guides will suggest water shoes, but I used these instead, and they were wonderful. My feet were safe and warm the entire time I had them on. I look like a dork, but I didn’t care. I was comfortable and protected.
Breathable Sun Hat: (not pictured; please enjoy the gem above instead) This sun hat is not cute, but it gets the job done. I loathe sweating, so although the hat is a bit ugly, I wore it with glee. It is lightweight, quick-drying, breathable, and offers UV protection. Ladies, this may be a men’s hat, but hiking Havasupai is not about fashion; it is about survival. Get the hat.
Bringing Electronics to Havasupai Campgrounds
GoPro 7 Hero: If you don’t already have a GoPro, I highly recommended purchasing one. They are a great addition to all outdoor activities. My GoPro is durable, dependable, and takes excellent underwater photos and videos. Hold onto your memories of Havasupai forever, and get yourself a GoPro.
GoPro Accessories: I brought 1/4 of the accessories from the bundle to limit the weight of our packs. Unfortunately, I forgot a crucial fastener and was unable to use any and all of the accessories. This bundle includes a chest mount, which I was thrilled about, and a handful of defogging strips. Those were the most essential items for this trip, in my opinion. In all, I found the accessories to be cheap but good enough for an amateur like myself.
Solar Charger: This is the second solar charger I’ve purchased on Amazon, and it’s amazing what an extra $15 will get you. There are four panels on this solar charger, a light similar to the one on your phone, and two USB ports that can charge your phone and camera simultaneously. I attached the charger to my daypack with a snap-loop that allowed it to hang while I hiked. It was fully energized by the time we reached camp every night. 10/10
If you enjoyed this Havasupai packing guide, don’t forget to check out my other guides: How to Score a Permit to Havasupai and Havasupai Photo Album
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