Lots of 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 fallback options they have at home like TV, video games, and the 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 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 catalysts 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. Keep in mind that whatever you bring should be small and packable without too many stray pieces that could get lost. Sand is a given everywhere in the canyon, so don’t bring anything with components that might be damaged if they get a little sand in them. Wind can also be an issue at camp, so if you’ve brought a deck of cards, maybe choose a game that doesn’t require spreading them all over a table (or more likely your cot or ground cloth).


You may visit a beach or two large enough to accommodate a game of frisbee or to throw around a baseball. This can even be a great way to get to know your other trip mates! As with all aspects of packing for a Hatch trip, remember that space is at a premium, so you should probably leave the baseball bat behind. But balls, discs, and other smaller sports equipment that you can pack with your day gear could come in handy with a little patch of sand and some time in your schedule.


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 means you can pick it up whenever you have a little down time on dry land.

If you want something more interactive, maybe try some mad libs or joke books to share with your group!


If you write or draw, you might enjoy passing the time with a pencil in your hand and a journal or sketchbook in your lap. Grand Canyon is packed to its (mile deep) brim with plants, animals, stories, people, and breathtaking views to inspire you!


If you’re a musician, a harmonica or other pocket sized instrument is a great item to bring along! These small instruments travel and stow in your day gear easily 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 if you’ve got 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.

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