Rocky Mountain Kayaking & Backpacking
Packing List

Getting ready to start packing socks and shirts into a duffel bag? This trip includes backcountry paddling as well as backpacking. You’ll have time on the morning of day one to repack everything you want for the kayaking camping portion of the trip into provided dry bags. On the night of day two, we will spend time unloading our dry bags and repacking our gear into backpacking packs. Anything you don’t need either on the paddling or backpacking portion can stay behind in our trailer. We lock the van and trailer up, but it is abandoned while we are paddling and backpacking so plan to bring any valuables along with you.

Remember, any gear you take backpacking you must carry on your back! Those packs can get heavy quickly, so try be conscious of the weight and packability of your gear when packing for this trip.

In anticipation for your trip, we recommend checking the weather forecast for Grand Lake, CO and making any necessary packing adjustments. We camp at an elevation that is 1,000 feet higher than Grand Lake the last 2 nights, so expect temperatures to be approximately 10 degrees colder.

Bags & Packing

  • (1-2) Soft-Sided Duffel Bags

    We recommend arriving with all clothing and personal gear packed into 1-2 medium sized duffel bags. It is okay to pack your gear into a hard-sided suitcase instead, but most adventurers find more ease in working out of duffel bags during the trip.

  • Small Packing Cubes or Stuff Sacks

    These will help keep your clothing and gear organized.


While we expect hot and sunny days, those temperatures drop once the sun goes down! We camp at over 8,000 feet of elevation, so prepare for chilly nights, especially if your itinerary is in June. Highly packable layers are best for backpacking!

  • (2-3) Synthetic T-shirts or Athletic Tops

    T-shirts or tops made for running or working out are good choices. Stick to moisture-wicking fabrics. Long-sleeve synthetic sun shirts are also a good choice.

  • (2-3) Pairs of Shorts

    Bring shorts designed for running or working out or water sports. Look for quick-drying or moisture-wicking nylon, polyester, nylon/spandex, or polyester/spandex fabrics.

  • Hiking Pants or Full-Length Bottoms

    Nylon hiking Pants or athletic leggings are good choices. Zip-off pants that turn into shorts rarely look flattering, but often work well!

  • Long Sleeve Baselayer Top

    Look for wool, Capilene, or polyester fabrics. No cotton. Don’t plan to wear this while paddling, you’ll want it to stay dry for cold nights at camp.

  • Pair of Baselayer Bottoms

    Moisture-wicking long underwear bottoms or ankle-length tights. Look for wool, Capilene, nylon/spandex, or polyester/spandex. No cotton. Don't plan to wear these when paddling; the seats of our sit-on-top kayaks are a bit too wet to expect these to stay dry.

  • (3-4) Pairs Athletic Underwear

    Stick to moisture-wicking fabrics. No cotton. If you pack shorts with built-in liners, you can pack fewer pairs of underwear.

  • (2-3) Sports Bras

    Stick to moisture-wicking fabrics. No cotton.

  • Upper Body Insulation Layer

    A warm, polyester fleece jacket or synthetic "puffy" jacket. This should be able to be worn under your rain jacket. No cotton. Something that is light and packable but still provides insulation is great for backpacking.

  • Extra Upper Body Insulation Layer

    A midweight polyester fleece top or other layer to add additional warmth. You should be able to wear this with all your other upper body layers.

  • Waterproof/Breathable Rain Jacket

    A lightweight hard shell you can wear over your other upper body layers.

  • Swimsuit

    Hot springs are calling!

  • Casual Clothing for Travel
  • Waterproof/Breathable Rain Pants

    These provide obvious protection from precipitation but can also be worn over baselayers if there is a cold snap.

Hand, Neck, and Headwear

It might seem silly to pack a hat and gloves for a summer adventure, but we camp at over 8,000 feet of elevation! Night-time lows easily drop into the 40s all summer.

  • Hat with Brim
  • Knit Hat

    A wool, synthetic knit, or fleece hat for cold nights

  • Lightweight Gloves

    Pack fleece, Power Stretch, or other gloves made for running or for use as a medium-weight liner.

  • Paddling Gloves

    Keep those blisters at bay!

  • Buff

    Use for warmth, or to keep the sun off your neck, weather depending


  • Pair of Backpacking Boots

    Choose waterproof/breathable boots with ankle support made for carrying a backpacking load. Make sure these fit well with the socks you plan to use on the trail. Also, be aware that feet tend to swell over the course of an adventure. It’s best if your boots are already broken-in when you arrive for the adventure.

  • Pair of River Sandals or Water Shoes

    Bring either sport sands with ankle straps (like Chacos or Tevas) or water shoes (like KEENS). Flip flops are not acceptable.

  • (2) Pairs of Backpacking Socks

    Stick to purpose-built, medium-weight wool or synthetic backpacking socks from companies like Darn Tough and Smart Wool.

  • A Pair of Warm Socks for Sleeping
  • Shoes for Camp
    Optional, But Recommended

    Pack a pair of sneakers, crocs, or other camp shoes. A lighter weight and more packable shoe is advantageous. If you have a lot of backpacking experience and prefer to omit bringing a camp shoe, that’s OK by us!


  • Sleeping Bag

    Bring a mummy-cut, backpacking-style sleeping bag rated for 15 to 20-degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a sleeping bag that's highly compressible. Avoid large, heavy, roll-up-only sleeping bags because they may be too bulky to fit in a dry bag or backpack.

  • Camping/Travel Pillow

    A compressible or inflatable camping pillow makes nights more comfortable.

  • LED Headlamp and Spare Set of Batteries

    Headlamps with an optional red light won't blind your fellow adventurers or ruin your night vision.

  • (1-2) Water Bottles

    Minimum of 1 liter carrying capacity for paddling days and 2 liters for backpacking days. Pick bottles with a screw-top lid that covers the areas your mouth contacts. A Nalgene-brand bottle is a good choice.

  • Hydration Reservoir/Bladder
    Optional, But Recommended

    A 2-3 liter hydration bladder works well for our backpacking days.

  • Sleeping Bag Liner

    If you are worried about your sleeping bag not being warm enough, a liner is a great idea for staying warmer when the nights get cold.

Personal Care

We recommend taking a stripped-down version of your personal care/toiletry items, especially on the backpacking portion of the trip. Shoot for travel-sized items and repack liquids into anti-leak small containers. Our guides recommended the Nalgene travel bottles. While showers are available at the hot springs resort, we want to leave the shampoo and conditioner behind while we are in the backcountry.

  • Sunglasses with Strap
  • Sunscreen

    Pack at least 4oz of sunscreen. Guides recommend at least SPF 30 Small containers work better than larger ones. No aerosol spray cans, please.

  • Lip Balm with SPF
  • 2oz Bottle Hand Sanitizer

    It's handy to have your own personal hand sanitizer that can either live in your tent, coat pocket, pack or PFD pocket.

  • Toiletries

    Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, soap, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, lotion, moisturizer with SPF, brush/comb, ear plugs etc.

  • Microfiber Camp Towel

    To dry off after your shower or hot springs dip. We recommend a small to medium-sized towel that won't take up too much packing space. Leave those beach towels at home!

  • Any Medications You Take
  • Menstrual Hygiene Supplies

    Tampons, Diva Cup, or pads. Pack 50% more supplies than you expect to need.

  • Spare Glasses or Contact Lenses
  • Bathing Body or Face Wipes
    Optional, But Recommended
  • Insect Repellent

    Look for the active ingredient DEET. Ben’s brand is packaged well for backcountry travel. No aerosol sprays.


  • $40-$50 Cash

    For hot springs admission and our lunches at Grand Lake Lodge on the final day of the trip.

  • Guide Gratuity

    Please consider rewarding hard work and excellent service with a guide gratuity at the end of the adventure.

  • Personal Reading Materials
  • Notebook and Pen
  • Portable Charger Battery Pack
  • Phone Charging Cord

Provided by Bad Adventures

  • Backpack

    We'll help you get fitted with a comfy, padded, frameless backpack.

  • Kayak & Paddle

    15 to 16-foot sit-on-top touring kayak.

  • Personal Flotation Device

    Our life jackets (PFDs) have pockets. Ooh la la!

  • Dry Bags

    These help keep your personal gear and clothing dry while we paddle.

  • Tent

    Sturdy, dome-style backpacking tent. Prefer to share a tent? Contact us.

  • Camping Mattress

    A comfy, inflatable camping mattress makes nights restful.

  • Stove & Cookware

    We'll pack all the necessary backcountry cooking gear.

  • Dinnerware

    Bowls, plates, utensils, and mugs. You can leave that rusty old spork at home!

  • Camp Chair

    Our camp furniture is comfy, collapsible, and fire engine red.

  • Bear Canister

  • Group Gear

    Medical kit, satellite phone, emergency equipment, and more.

  • Trekking Poles

    These are great for extra stability on rocky, uneven terrain!

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