My Complete Havasu Falls Packing List (Updated for 2019)

Get ready for your Havasu Falls backpacking trip! Check out our complete Havasu Falls packing list with all of the gear you need for a fun & comfortable adventure .


Havasu Falls in Arizona is one of my favorite backpacking destinations. With the waterfalls, swimming holes, and warm temps for a good chunk of the year, a trip to Havasu Falls feels like a tropical vacation…except all it takes to get there is a 10-mile hike and a coveted camping permit (see how to get one here).

I hope you’re here because you are planning your Havasu Falls backpacking trip and are ready to get your gear dialed. Down below in this Havasu Falls packing list, I share all of the necessary backpacking gear you should take to have a relaxing and comfortable stay. I also include specific recommendations for each gear item in case you are looking for something new.

One caveat: With this Havasu Falls packing checklist, I’ll assume that you are carrying all of your own gear. When you get down to the Havasu Falls campground, you’ll see elaborate basecamps with full-blown kitchens and a lot of extras that most certainly require a pack animal to carry in. There’s been conflicting reports of the welfare of the pack animals at Havasu Falls. I didn’t see any abuse myself, but it’s something to be aware of if you want to bring more than the necessities. Another option if you want to pack a few luxuries would be to hike in and take the helicopter out.


Get ready for your Havasu Falls backpacking trip with our complete Havasu Falls packing list featuring the camping gear you need for a fun adventure.

Havasu Falls Backpacking Essentials

  • Backpack

For most people, a 50-60 liter pack should be more than adequate for a 2-5 day trip. If you don’t have your own backpack yet, I’d suggest going to REI and trying on some fully loaded packs to find one that is comfortable for your body type. What works for me might not necessarily work for you and vice versa. If you’ve never been backpacking, check out this blog post with tips for how to pack a backpacking pack.

Your sleeping pad gives you cushion and insulation while you are sleeping. I’ve tried nearly a dozen different sleeping pads, and I’m now back to the Thermarest ProLite. It’s not the lightest or most compact, but I like that it consists of one flat solid piece. It’s also self-inflating which means you don’t get out of breath trying to blow it up.

Read Next: How to choose a sleeping pad for backpacking

Sleeping bag

The sleeping bag you’ll need depends on the time of year you’ll be visiting Havasu Falls. In Spring and Fall, a 20 degree 3-season bag should do the trick. In summer, nights can be very warm, so you can get away with something even lighter.

  • Cheap Option: If you are looking for an inexpensive 3-season bag, the Kelty Cosmic Down Sleeping Bag (men’s/women’s) is a moderately light bag rated to 20 degrees and only costs $120.
  • Diverse Option: This REI bag (men’s/women’s) is the one I took on the John Muir Trail. It has an excellent warmth to weight ratio and packs smaller than the Kelty Bag. This bag will be overkill during summer, but if you are only going to invest in one bag, this is an excellent option.

Read NextHow to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Backpacking

  • Tent

Choose a lightweight backpacking tent that will accommodate you and whoever you are sleeping with. I like tents with two doors and vestibules, like the MSR Hubba Hubba, which make it easier to get in and out of and to store your gear while you are sleeping. Alternatively, if you want to sleep in a hammock, you can save weight and skip the tent, but make sure you bring a lightweight waterproof tarp to protect you in the case of rain.

The Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp has multiple settings, including ultra bright and red night vision – which comes in handy when you want to have a conversation without blinding your friends. It also has a locking mechanism to prevent it from accidentally turning on in your bag. You can also charge this headlamp on solar if you are using BD’s rechargeable batteries.

Learn how to properly pack a backpacking pack

Havasu Falls Camp Kitchen Gear

There is one spring at camp that provides safe drinking water. The Havasupai tribe tests the water regularly, so generally you don’t need to worry about filtering. However, this one spring may end up being quite far from your individual campsite. So I’d recommend bringing your hydration bladder or water bottle for drinking, plus a high capacity collapsible water jug or bag that you can bring back to camp so you aren’t walking back and forth every time you need to fill up. To air on the safe side, pack some purification tablets in your emergency kit, just in case.

  • Backpacking Stove 

You’ll want a lightweight backpacking stove. If you are sticking to dehydrated backpacking food that only needs boiling water, I recommend the Jetboil. For a 3 night/4 day trip, we didn’t even burn through one small fuel canister for 3 people, and the Jetboil is one of the fastest stoves for boiling water. If you pour the hot water directly into the dehydrated food bag, then clean-up is also really simple, and you can use that bag to pack out your micro trash.

Get ready for your Havasu Falls backpacking trip! Check out our complete Havasu Falls packing list with all of the gear you need for a fun & comfortable adventure .

  • Spork

An all-in-one eating utensil. Snowpeak makes a lightweight titanium spork that will last forever. If you are traveling with a large group they even come in fun colors so you can keep your gear separate.

If you want coffee in the morning or a warm drink at night, you’ll need something to drink out of. Your Nalgene works too, but this mug will keep your coffee hot for a long time.

  • Food bag & paracord

Anytime you are sleeping or away from your campsite, you’ll want to hang your food so those pesty squirrels can’t get it. Bring some paracord and a bag that you can use to tie your food to a branch. The further from the main tree trunk the better and make sure it’s far enough off of the ground. If you have a bear canister or a Ursack, that’s an even better option.

Get ready for your Havasu Falls backpacking trip! Check out our complete Havasu Falls packing list with all of the gear you need for a fun & comfortable adventure .

What Clothes to Pack for Havasu Falls

Check the weather before you go to make sure you have the right clothing. These are the clothes I packed on my 3 night / 4 day Havasu Falls trip in May where we experienced everything from hot sun to windy rain and cool nights. If you are going in the heat of summer when days are blistering and nights are warm, you won’t need as many warm layers and you can adjust this Havasu Falls packing list as needed.


Pack 2 short-sleeve shirts. You can wear one during the day when you are hiking and then have one “clean” shirt for night when you are hanging around camp. Avoid cotton and choose quick-dry, wicking fabrics. These Nike scoop neck shirts are my favorite, and they don’t stink even after several days of wear.

Any pair of exercise shorts will do. If you have a comfy pair of board shorts that you can hike in, that’s a great option since you’ll be doing a lot of swimming at Havasu Falls.

Bring 1 long-sleeve layer that you can throw on as an extra layer while hiking or for mild evenings.

I always hike in leggings. These Patagonia tights are very comfortable, breathe well, and they aren’t too tight in the waist band.  Keep in mind; depending on the time of year you might be more comfortable hiking in shorts or cropped leggings, but you still want might long pants for the evening.

I’ve tried nearly all of the different “outdoor” underwear out there, and these by Ex-officio are my favorites (although they run a little small). They clean easily, don’t retain smells, wick moisture and have no panty lines. I’d recommend bringing at least 2 pairs of quick dry underwear. You can alternate days and rinse them in the river (no soap) when they get dirty.

If you want to protect your skin from the sun or want to cover up in general while you are swimming, this Carve Designs rash guard is very flattering, dries quick, and keeps you cool when it’s damp. I’d suggest sizing up, as they run just a tad small.

You’ll want something to dry off with or lay out on at the waterfalls. This towel is lightweight, big, and will dry very quickly hanging up at camp.

Rain Jacket – Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket

You’ll want to bring a rain jacket as a just in case. This Outdoor Research jacket is very lightweight, breathable, and will keep you dry in case of a storm (Note: Rain is common July – September).

  • Swimsuit

  • Hat

  • Sunglasses

Get ready for your Havasu Falls backpacking trip! Check out our complete Havasu Falls packing list with all of the gear you need for a fun & comfortable adventure .



Whether or not you need a warm jacket like this will depend on the time of year you visit. If you are visiting in late July, chances are the nights are going to be very warm and you can survive without one. In April and May, I’d suggest bringing an insulated layer for evenings. This Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody is lightweight, warm, and windproof.

These pants are very comfortable. They are fleece lined leggings and perfect for cool nights. Again you might not need these if it’s really hot out, and your one pair of hiking pants should suffice.

  • Beanie



Ever since backpacking the John Muir Trail, I’ve been hooked on these socks. I’ve never gotten a blister, my feet never feel sweaty, and they provide just the right cushion.

From the trailhead to the campground, you’ll mostly be hiking in a sandy wash. I just got these Oboz boots and they’ve quickly become my go-to. For Havasu Falls, it was nice to have a high ankle to prevent sand and rocks from getting into my boots. That said, if you are more comfortable with trail runners, than you can definitely get away with those too.

Shoes you can wear in the water are an absolute must. If you plan on hiking down to Beaver Falls where there are several river crossings, these Astral water shoes are an amazing choice. They are extremely lightweight so you won’t notice them in your pack down to the campground. Built like a tennis shoe, they provide a little more support than a sandal and they help keep dirt and rocks out unlike a water sandal. And if you really wanted to shave some weight from your pack, you could probably do the entire hike down to Havasu Falls in these shoes too (but take them for a good test ride first)

Other Necessary Backpacking Gear

You should always have a first aid kit when you are hiking. This ultralight, waterproof medical kit comes with the minimum supplies that you will need to address minor wounds, as well as some travel packs of some handy medications. Don’t forget to add personal medication and additional blister bandaids. You’ll be hiking in sand and water, both of which are tough on the feet.

When it’s hot out at Havasu Falls, the sun can be very intense. Pack some waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF so you don’t end up with a sunburn. This Thinksport Sunscreen comes in a small tube, is water resistant, and provides SPF50.

You’ll want a small packable daypack for exploring the different falls that you can throw your suit, sunscreen, camera, and towel in.

A hammock is a must for Havasu Falls – whether you want to sleep in it or just relax around camp. This ENO Sub6 Hammock only weighs 5.8 oz. For easy hanging, bring the ENO Helios Hammock Suspension System.

99% of the campsites have picnic tables, so you don’t need to worry about bringing down a camp chair. If you do want to bring a chair, this Helinox Chair Zero weighs exactly one pound and packs down to the size of two water bottles.

  • Book

I hope this Havasu Falls packing list helps you get organized with the right gear for your Havasupai backpacking trip!

Have you been to Havasu Falls? Leave your tips and questions in the comments below.

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There are 25 comments on this post.

About the author

Hi! I'm Kristen....blogger, hiker, sunset-watcher, and dance floor shredder. I feel most alive in the outdoors and created this website to help you enjoy the best that the West has to offer.

25 Comments on “My Complete Havasu Falls Packing List (Updated for 2019)

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  1. Perfect timing on this post… I leave in a week for Havasu and it is always nice for any tips and additional packing items! – Heather @

    Great list! I am not leaving to Havasu, but I totally love many of your packing items and probably gonna need a few of them during my next adventure. Thanks for sharing.

    I got your email with the notice about Havasu Falls reservations opening up. The good news is my sister-in-law and I got a reservation! The bad news it’s only for one night. 🙁

    So my question is about backpacks – I’ve done other hikes Kilimanjaro, Inca Trail etc and thus have accumulated a small cache of gear. I only have a 35 and a 65liter pack and really don’t want to have to buy another. Would my 65liter be overkill for one night? I will have a lightweight tent (3lbs) and a lightweight compressible sleeping bag plus a lot of what you suggested.

    I love your blog and used many of your tips for planning a JMT hike a few years ago! Thank you so much for your thorough research and sharing the wealth!


      Hi Kimberly! Thanks for reaching out. You could always take your 65liter pack but not fill it to capacity. 35liters might be a little small so I’d aim for using the 65 liter pack but push yourself to not pack it to the brim!

    So helpful! Very easy to read/navigate with the links! Really appreciate the work you put into your articles! Thanks! 🙂

    Hello, for the gas canister are they allow you to check it in on the flight? or should the gas canister be purchased in NV?
    I’ll be coming from New York to Las Vegas or Flagstaff airport.
    Planning the trip in May for 2019.
    Hopefully I can get a group to come to this place.

      Hello Francisco! You can not fly with gas canisters, you would need to pick them up at an outdoor store or hardware store in NV. Have an awesome time!

        Did you fly with your jetboil? If so, was it okay to fly with ?

          Hi there Andrea, you can fly with the JetBoil you just can’t fly with any fuel. You’ll need to pick up fuel locally after you land. Generally hardware stores or outdoor retailers carry fuel for campstoves.

    Hi Kristen,

    What about water filtration systems? Is this necessary for Havasu? I am going in October and I’m so excited!!

      Hi Meagan, Kristen talks about water filtering in her 2018 Havasu Falls Camping Guide, here is what she said, “There is a fresh spring in the campground that is tested for contaminants on a monthly basis. On my trip, this is where we filled up, and we didn’t worry about filtering our water. However, there are times when the Camping Office will recommend you filter the water, and for that reason, it’s always good to have a backup plan. Good options include simple purification tablets or the Platypus GravityWorks Water Filtration System (read my full review) which is super lightweight and effortless to use.”

    Coming over this coming week
    Is it possible to take the helicopter in and out same day? Will that be enough time to enjoy the view and do some swimming?
    I have never camp before and I’m Kind of late to learn all tha awesome ideas you mentioned
    Please help
    You’re awesome

      Hi Wally, we really recommend taking the time to hike in & camping 1-2 nights at least before hiking back out.

    Thanks for all the info, very helpful in planning my first trip. With regard to the gear I found it all a bit to expensive for my budget so it took me a little find cheaper alternatives…

    Hey Kristen! Do you think I need a ratsack if I’m planning on using Loksak Opsak Odor Proof bags and hanging it up? Don’t want to purchase an Ursak but would love to get your opinion. Thanks!

      Hi there Jessica, those bags have really great reviews so you might be okay but if an animal bites through them then you are in trouble. I don’t have specific experience with those bags so we can’t speak for them. I’d ask the company their recommendation or talk with a specialist at REI.

    Love this post! We are getting ready to go this summer! I’m curious about your tarp setup over the picnic table – what do you use?

      Hi Allison–you can use a number of things–you could use a large tent tarp or you can get a rain tarp at any camping store.

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