Havasupai is popular spot in Arizona with a unique mix of outdoors enthusiasts, tourists, and what we like to call the “Spring Break” crowd. The campsites are 10 miles from the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot, and there are multiple ways to get there. You can backpack, hire porters, or helicopter in. Because of this, some people will bring giant 12 person tents and full stove tops, while others will bring all backpacking gear.
If you’re getting a helicopter or porter, you can pack whatever you want, and they’ll take care of it for you. If you’re backpacking in like us, though, you’re going to want everything to be as light as possible (every pound counts) and absolutely necessary. Whether it’s your first time backpacking, or your 100th time, we’ve put together a packing list to help you plan for your trip.
ULTIMATE HAVASUPAI PACKING LIST - BACKPACKING TO SUPAI ARIZONA
Camping & Hiking Gear
- Backpack: preferably lightweight and comfortable when you’re carrying heavy loads. We’ve tried a lot of packs and Osprey has the best ones. Here’s the youth backpack I use and here’s Jacob’s. Jacob carried the tent and most of our camera gear, but if you’re carrying everything on your own, a 60L should be sufficient.
- Backpack Rain Cover: Mine came with a rain cover, but if yours doesn’t you should get one for this trip. Rather than bringing giant dry sacks, when it’s raining, you can put the cover on and lay your backpack cover side down under your rainfly to keep your contents dry.
- Backpacking Tent: Our backpacking tent is one of the best. Whichever tent you decide on, it’s really important that it’s light and compact as possible.
- Sleeping Bag: We both have REI sleeping bags. This is no longer available, but check out REI’s newer versions. Pay attention to the temperature rating, weight, and compressed volume. Generally, you want warmer, lighter, and smaller.
- Sleeping Pad: These are the ones we currently use, and we love them! Be sure to pay attention to the R ratings.
- 3L+ Water Bladder: We only needed 1L on the way down and 2L on the way up. The temps were cooler and we hiked at night to beat the heat, but if you’re hiking in the day bring 3L.
- Hiking Poles: Jacob has had bad knees since middle school, but even if they are in great shape, hiking poles help so much when you’re carrying a heavy load (especially going down those switchbacks).
- Headlamp: Especially helpful if you’re hiking when it’s a bit darker.
- Hiking Shoes: These are our newest hiking shoes and we really like the grip, support, and fit.
- Water Shoes: The ground is rocky in the pools below the falls. Also, if you’re hiking to Beaver Falls, you will hike through water.
- 3x Quick Dry Shirts
- 3x Underwear: You definitely don’t need one for every day but I like clean underwear :)
- 2x Hiking Socks: You can let one breathe while you use the other.
- Microfiber Towel: You can get any size, but I do like bigger ones since I know I’m getting in the water.
- Bathing Suit: I’m always looking for a cute one that works well.
- Hat: It gets hot in the sun so a hat really helps protect you.
- Hiking Pants: We like convertible ones so we can wear them as shorts too.
- Warm Layer or Jacket: What you need depends on the time of year. We had friends who went late fall and it was really cold.
- Raincoat / Poncho: Havasupai has unpredictable weather, and it was forecasted to be rainy for us. Even without rain, though, the waterfalls are really misty and can be cold when you’re not swimming.
- Base Layer / Long Underwear for sleeping
- Camping Meals: We had Mountain House (our favorite is Lasagna). I’ll take them over any other camping food.
- Jetboil + Fuel: Pro-Tip: Coleman sells fuel that fits the Jetboil and is much cheaper.
- Snacks: We brought beef jerky and Kind bars.
- Camping Fork / Spoon: Get an extra long one so you can eat right out of the Mountain House bag.
- 2x Large Ziplock Bags: They always come in handy.
- Sunscreen: Don’t get sunburnt – it’ll ruin your trip.
- Lip Balm
- Toothbrush + Toothpaste
- Toilet Paper: The Hualapai Hilltop parking lot and your campground will have primitive bathrooms. They sometimes run out of TP, so it’s good to have some on hand. There are regular toilets in Supai village (yay!).
- Wet Wipes: I usually wipe down a bit before bed.
- Feminine Hygiene Products: (optional, but mine seems to change its schedule to sabotage me every time!!)
- First Aid Kit: It’s always good to have one on hand just in case.
- Trashbag: You need to carry out all your trash. If you want to keep the place beautiful, there’s a lot of trash along the trail, so you can also pick some up on the way out.
OPTIONAL ITEMS IN THE HAVASUPAI PACKING LIST
- Camera + Batteries: These were heavy but it was definitely worth it since it’s so picturesque.
- Wide Lens: A must since the falls are so tall.
- Battery Bank: In case you want to keep your phone charged too. We love this one since it can fully charge our phones a few times each.
- Travel Tripod: For long exposure shots.
- ND Filter: We’ve been using these with step up rings to adjust for each lens.
- Cash: To buy snacks at the store.
- Flip Flops: I brought some flip flops too because I like having them for ease at the campground when my water shoes are wet. Jacob just used his hiking shoes at the campground.
- Hammock: We saw a lot of people hanging out in hammocks along Havasu creek. We would have loved to bring ours, but we didn’t want to carry the extra weight. Some people can sleep in hammocks, but I’m not one of those people.
Have you ever backpacked? What’s your most memorable experience? Would you backpack in, get a porter, or take the helicopter?
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.