Grand Tetons trip equipment

This page has links to equipment checklists
(as well as links to details about the Colter Bay cabins the De Anza College Outdoor Club usually stays at)
on Grand Teton National Park kayaking trips.

Photo below by Fred Hanselmann

Fred Hanselmann photo Patriarch Tree and Tetons.:

Photo below courtesy of Rick Konrad

Rick Konrad photo Old Patriarch tree: Rick Konrad photo Tetons at sunset in background and Old Patriarch tree in foreground

If they can be transported, the club will provide: a limited number of drybags, kayaks, paddles, and lifejackets, (which must be worn and strapped securely). If the group can transport the De Anza owned kayaks, kayak permit fees that Grand Teton park charges will be paid. Again, all this is if the De Anza-owned kayaks can be transported, if not, we can rent them in the park, but the club won’t have a big enough budget for lots of rental time.

Before the trip, trip participants will need to try on lifejackets and decide which size / style we will pack for them.

two people in a kayak


Don’t buy
bear spray before the trip
, the cost is included in the trip cost you pay the club.

Before the trip we usually have people put on their fully-loaded-for-a-long-hike large day pack / backpack, and put a can of bear spray either in a outside pocket or on a harness, and decide which kind they will want to carry.
two people with bear spray harnesses around their chests

Bear spray should be in easy reach, not hanging from the back side of your backpack,
but it does not need to be out and hand carried.

Grand Teton park would like you to watch this Backcountry Travel video before you go.

In the video there is a section on bear spray with this:

keep bear spray immediately accessible

that shows a can of bear spray tucked in the waistband of a backpack.
But we advise people to consider that if they forget it is there and take their pack off quickly,
for example to get at their camera for that great picture, the can could fall to the ground and even roll down a cliff side.
A can in a harness would be immediately accessible and more secure.

Do not spend money on Grand Teton topographical (hiking) maps until you see the ones the club has for trip participants.

Trip participants are responsible for all other arrangements and costs, including, but not limited to: food, park entrance fees, campsite, cabin or hotel cost, gas and other transportation costs, sleeping and eating gear and other personal gear or the multitude of optional extra pay-for-activities there are in the park and surrounding area.


Bring the same stuff you’ll need for the Yosemite winter trip – and might want for early mornings on fall, spring or even summer trips. IT WILL RAIN ON THIS TRIP. If you do not have a hooded waterproof rain jacket big enough for a sweater, fleece and/or down vest underneath and waterproof rain pants to go over fleece pants that have room for (non-cotton) polypro long johns underneath, you will not kayak, even in (temporarily) sunny weather. And you should always carry the raingear with you on all hikes. You can get a set of rain pants/jacket at a hardware store then Improve your inexpensive rain gear. Your gear list should include food and food preparation equipment, tents, sleeping bag, at least two insulating sleeping pads. Be adaptable. Even if you are certain you will not camp, bring tent, sleeping bag and insulated sleeping pad so you can if the opportunity or need arrives. Most years someone will get a backcountry permit and might want companions See: backpacking in Grand Teton National park.

For fall or early morning summer kayaking we wear polypro longjohns, shorts over those and/or fleece on top, and bring rain gear, or on the 2000 fall trip one guy wore his wetsuit with a knit hat. It could be wise to also have a knit hat, mittens, gloves to put on if you feel cold and a swimcap for potentially under the knit hat while kayaking. Expect things to get a little damp or even a little wet, so if at all possible pack a second and third set of long johns and fleece for wearing while not kayaking, including hikes, evening picnics and sleeping.

NO COTTON in the longjohns! You can find lists of gear to bring for winter camping that have things that absolutely apply to this trip at Snow or rain camp must-haves . If you don’t have gear for or have never been rainy/cold camping we really recommend you read this list.


We watch the weather reports closely and try to track thunderstorms as they approach us. One day heavy rain and / or potentially large-sized hail, the size that can crack a windshield, was forecast, so we put two sleeping pads on the windshield under the wipers with a couple of straps tied across and through the shut car doors (the wind was coming up fast as we installed this.)
The hail did not materialize.

two sleeping pads across a windshield


And bring your swimsuit, we often end days with long hikes / paddles at the swimming pool
swimming pool with one person swimming

swimming or even playing waterpolo, then taking showers at the pool showers. (Especially good to take showers at the pool if you are trying to cram 8 people in a two-bedroom cabin with only one bathroom shower.)

Triathletes in ocean and lake swims sometimes wear two swim caps at once for extra warmth.
For swimming in the lakes, to be much warmer, a swim cap and “rash guard” shirt is advised.
(And if you have one, you might want to bring a spring wetsuit for possible cold water lake swimming unless you are intrepid.)

If you decide to try white-water rafting, you could be much happier with a swim cap for warmth, in case the rafting guide offers the opportunity, at a calm water section of the river, to hop out of the raft and swim a little. Or if the white water rafting guide really aims for the larger waves and the waves splash up into the raft to your waist level or higher. Even better, bring (wear) a vinyl swim cap right on top of your head, with a fabric one over it – layered for more warmth.

Glacier National Park said about biking in cold / rain:

“Windbreakers or rain shells over thin insulated jackets are good layers to bring for possible inclement weather conditions.

A thin, neoprene hat will help keep your head warm, and it will fit under a helmet.

Gloves and neck gaiters assist greatly with retaining warmth.

Bring additional dry and warm layers for after your ride.”

Neoprene is a close-cell synthetic-rubber material that is commonly used in wetsuits and to make an extra thick swim cap an open-water triathlete might wear: closed-cell 3 millimeters thick. Look for a flexible chin strap or you can buy one without a chin strap.

It should fit comfortably under your bike helmet (and climbing helmet) and not interfere with the proper fit of your helmet or your peripheral vision. and – you can use the neoprene hat for swimming and biking.

five people in lake, 2 wearing swim caps


For noisy campground neighbors or cabin mates who want to stay up later than you, you will wish you had good ear plugs. Most kinds of foam earplugs do not work well. Wax types, often made with silicon putty, are usually better.

To watch the Perseid meteor showers and for stargazing in general, a chair you can lean back in will be most comfortable, but you can also use your sleeping pads and just lie on them on the ground.


woman looking through binocularsThe club advisor brings a few pairs of waterproof binoculars, we can even use while out kayaking, (just be sure to attach the custom-sewn band of floats made from pool lane lines so the binoculars won’t sink if you drop them overboard) but she does not have enough for everyone on a big trip.

below, the binoculars with the flotation clipped on, and not clipped on:
binoculars and flotation

You will really want your own binoculars.

and a telephoto lens / tripod for your camera.

You can stay far enough away from animals if you have a telephoto,

three photographers
and get a photo of animals other people won’t even be able to see:

two moose


We encourage people to bring any and all kinds of telescopes for stargazing.

row of people and telescopes

Please also consult the Camping equipment checklist even if you intend to stay in a cabin or hotel. The day hike list and kayaking list at that page have lots of details.

It includes this:

_____ rubber sandals, (NOT FLIP FLOPS) the kind that Velcro around your ankle to stay on your feet (if you don’t want cut feet when out wading/swimming and you want to wear them in any public shower such as the shower at the Jackson Lake Lodge pool, or even in the shower in a cabin you share)

Tetons kayaking footwear:

_____ hat (with a brim for low angle morning sun when out kayaking, for example)

____ at least a large daypack, but a full sized backpack holds more


If you fly to a trip destination, for carry on bags, one airline quoted “Baggage may not exceed 45 linear inches (or 114 cm) in combined length, width and height, including any handles and wheels . . . Baggage must meet carry on size limits (approximately 22″ x 14″ x 9″ or 56 x 35 x 23 cm).”

Consider whether you want to make your really great large day pack for our hikes your carry-on instead of a small suitcase . . .

. . . if you fly to an out of state trip, wear your hiking boots on the flight to save on weight in your luggage AND to be sure your well-broken in, comfy boots actually get to your adventure. When you get there and your luggage has been delayed or lost, buying new boots and trying to get them broken in enough for our longer hikes would be a mistake.

More logistics of packing for flying to the Tetons are at Grand Tetons trip transportation.

Photo below by David Whitten

David Whitten photo beaver pond teton range:

Backpacking Advice has food ideas for a potential wilderness overnight.

During any long hike or backpack,
To truly be able to leave no trace and follow backcountry rules about camping the proper distance from a lake or digging your personal latrine hole the proper distance from water, etc.,
you will need to know how far 100 or 200 feet is.
Lay out a tape measure at home and walk it and count your paces.

How to poop in the woods.

You really will be happier with a comfortable full-sized backpack that fits all your gear, instead of a tiny daypack, for any long hikes.

You can rent bikes in the park, but bringing your own on a vehicle is cheaper. Bike helmets are required for all ages of riders on all club trips, even if bike riding is not an official part of the trip. Biking in the park can be safe, but due to the large, unpredictable wild animals, there are safety precautions that are different than at home, please read: Grand Tetons biking.

For warmth, look for a thin warm beanie / thin knit cap / maybe a cloth swim cap, that fits comfortably under your bike (and/or climbing) helmet and does not interfere with the proper fit of your helmet or interfere with your peripheral vision.


NPS photo cutthroat trout leaping: cutthroat trout leaping out of the water in a fast moving currentYou will need a Wyoming fishing license to fish in Grand Teton National Park, which you can get at various vendors in the park and at the Visitor Center in Jackson. One-day licenses cost much less than annual, so you might want to get more than one one-day license.

(One place recommends: “Dry Flies: Royal Wulff #10-16, Parachute Adams #10-20, Humpies #14-16, Elk Hair Caddis #14-18, Turck Tarantulas #8-12, Parahoppers #10-14, Parachute Hares Ears #12, Chernobyl Ants #6-12, Ants and Beetles #14-16, Stimulators #10-16, PMX’s #12-16 Nymphs:Pheasant Tail #10-20, Hare’s Ear #10-18, Copper Johns #12-18, Rubberlegs #6-10, Prince Nymph #10-16, Zebra Midge #18-20 and Streamers:Black Leeches #4-10, Tan Sculpins #4-6, JJ’s Special #4-8, Zonkers #6-8, Wooly Buggers #4-10”)

A Fishing report (no longer on-line) about Tetons area streams included this: “Pacific Creek, the Buffalo, Gros Ventre, and Hoback Rivers are the main tributaries to the Snake. Fishing any of these creeks with medium sized (#8-#16) attractor patterns will get the fish’s attention.”

The Park Service reminds people in mid to late summer: you can help save native trout by not fishing in warm weather when the water in rivers and streams gets too warm. When the high temps are forecasted to reach 85 degrees, the water may warm up to 68 degrees. Stress caused by catch and release can be fatal to fish. When water temps reach 60 degrees, use heavier line and release the fish quickly after catching it, since fish may be prone to stress. 45 degree water is optimal. Read more at:

Look for fishing brochures at:

Experienced surfers could bring their surfboard, there are sections of the Snake River (from West Table to Sheep Gulch, especially Taco Hole and Lunch Counter) you can surf in place on a rapid for as long as your legs hold out (or until a raft needs to go through or someone else wants to take a turn). Some really are only for experienced surfers, as the wash out below the rapids can be serious rapids as well. You know without asking this is not a college-sponsored event.

If you want to go horseback riding riders must weight no more than 225 pounds and must wear closed toed shoes that cover your foot (long pants recommended). No backpacks, video cameras or binoculars allowed by most outfitters. Recommend you apply sunscreen and insect repellent PRIOR to the ride. This is not a college-sponsored event.

We’ve sometimes needed mosquito repellent on fall Tetons trips. Read some advice at: insect repellent.

Stores in the park have a few basic over-the-counter medications, but not all of them. In Jackson, there is everything you might need at large groceries and drug stores, but it is at least an hour drive (45+ miles from Colter Bay to a large grocery or pharmacy). You should plan to bring an adequate supply of your prescriptions for a longer-than-you-anticipated road trip and over-the-counter remedies for any ailment you often get that could spoil your trip, possibly including: aspirin, Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, Naproxen Sodium, athlete’s foot, anti-itch hydrocortisone, cold and cough syrups and lozenges, allergy tablets / eye relief / sinus relief, stomach ache, Breathe Right, Imodium, calamine lotion, (please check their expiration dates),

and preferred toiletries such as shampoo, deodorant/antiperspirant, dry skin lotions, (unscented since scented attracts mosquitos and other irritating insects), toothpastes, mouthwashes, dental floss, sunscreen, insect repellent, petroleum jelly as well as a personal first aid kit with various sizes of bandages.

Over-the-counter medications can be ineffective if not used as directed on the label, or can even cause potentially long-lasting or even life-threatening consequences. “Oooops, was I supposed to take one of this tablet every six hours or two every four hours?” Don’t expect that you will remember, even if it is something you take regularly. If you re-pack them into small containers be sure to copy and pack the instructions (and expiration date) with them.

Covid mask even if they are not currently required. N95 in case of smoke drifting from even a far away forest fire.


Water purifying tablets are not on this list because some brands are not effective on Giardia AND Cryptosporidium and we prefer to use a water purifying pump because it is easier and faster.


Cellphones don’t function well everywhere.
The Grand Teton Lodge Company website said in early 2005 (we found no mention of it since then):
“Verizon works at Jackson Lake Lodge. Cell phone service is not as reliable at Colter Bay Village and Jenny Lake Lodge.” The area at Jackson Lake Lodge has had more consistent cell phone reception than at Colter Bay. BUT in late summer 2021, a cell phone tower was put in the Colter Bay campground and we found better service, often good enough on both AT&T and Verizon to use your cell phone as a hot-spot for WiFi.

Here are views of Colter Bay campground campsite number F132 with the cell phone tower:

If you intend to camp bring all your cell phone/lap top/camera chargers and an inverter to take turns with others in your carpool charging them as you drive around or maybe you can charge them in in one of the cabins someone is sure to rent, especially if all the cabins users bring fused power strips (with circuit breakers built in) for each outlet. Please don’t expect 24 hour access to your device that you leave in a cabin to be charged.


People who intend to camp (as well as those in cabins) could bring a laptop, as there is free WiFi available at the Moose Visitor center, Jackson Lake Lodge parlor and the Colter Bay laundromat that anyone can use without a secret code (and a few DVD rentals in Jackson).

If you ride in a carpool driving straight through, pack a small bag with the items you will wish you had for 48 – 72 hours so that you don’t need to stop and go through your luggage looking for: your toothbrush, flashlight (electric torch), rain jacket, pillow, book, journal, camera, headphone CD player. Other people in the vehicle will appreciate it if you wear freshly laundered clothing without perfume or cologne and have recently washed yourself. Please, do not bring organic French lavender hand sanitizer spray, since it will attract bears into your car, and attract mosquitoes to you. See: Road trip advice and etiquette.

bright sunset clouds and tops of peaks

Where you stay in the Tetons is up to you, but it can be difficult to coordinate timing of activities if we don’t all stay in the same area, so we’ve all stayed at Colter Bay for at least part of the time (usually all of the time) on previous trips.

Colter Bay cabins, Grand Teton National Park.



Colter Bay tent cabins

Colter Bay campground.

The “Outdoor Club” does not get campsites (or any overnight accommodations),

students on the trip get them and share them as they want to.

If you stay in a cabin, there is advice for more to bring at Colter Bay cabins, including a portable electric heater (and extension cord), a few extra hangers, portable radio/tape player/DVD player or laptop, AND fused power strips (with circuit breakers built in) for every outlet so you won’t have to wait forever for a maintenance person to come switch your power back on when you make the mistake of using two hairdryers and a heater at once.

No alarm clocks are provided, and we often bring a bunch of small battery powered clocks so we can have one in the bathroom as well as each bedroom. You will need to set alarm clocks (and most car clocks) one hour ahead after you drive into Idaho from Nevada (from the Pacific Time Zone to the Mountain Time Zone).

You need to not only have enough ice chests for all the fruit, milk, yogurt etc., but also either
large securely lidded containers or lidded bins for cookies/crackers/granola bars/popcorn/chips/bread that you don’t want the deer mice to nibble on. table with large containers on it

Besides your rain jackets/pants, a big golf-sized umbrella
can be great to get back and forth from the car to cabin to another cabin,
from under your campsite dining canopy to the car/your tent/another campsite

Or for a fun photo while kayaking:
three women with large umbrellas at the front of three kayaks, with three men behind them paddling
An old towel on the floor by the front door is often needed to wipe wet shoes on.


At Colter Bay there is a laundromat in the row of the store and gift shops. If you have a roll of quarters you will not have to depend on the change machine being operable. (We found that we only needed one or two quarters for a small dryer load to get things dry.) They sell laundry products but if you want unscented (scented can attract mosquitos) or hypo-allergic, or a specific brand of detergent or stain remover, it would be wise to bring small containers from home.sign says please remove your laundry as soon as machine finishesThere are lots of machines, but if they are all taken and you notice that someone left their machine and it is finished running, you can ask the laundromat attendant to remove the clothes so you can use the machine.


A dozen things to start on well before the trip are at
In advance of the Outdoor Club Grand Teton National Park trip
including why you can save money by investing in a $80 National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands annual pass,


for road trips, we advise people to check everything that powers, stops, cools, heats, ventilates and lights their vehicle
well before they leave on an adventure. People on a budget often put up with not-essential-for-safe-driving problems with their cars. But deferred repairs and maintenance can spoil a road trip. Here is a checklist, including things you can do yourself.

If there is any chance you will want to make a side trip into Canada, you will need a passport

U.S. passport cover

and a Canadian Non-Resident Interprovincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card,
sometimes called a “Canadian ID card”
(FREE from your insurance carrier).
See: logistics for a side trip to Canada from Grand Teton National Park.

CSAA or other Auto Association memberships usually give you (or maybe your parent?) free maps.
Paper maps can be easier to use for planning. Yes, you can download maps on your phone, but paper maps can be essential for driving through areas without phone service.
You will want at least the state maps of California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. You might also want, for the drive home through more National Parks, Washington and Oregon or Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

a narrow band of sunset clouds

Pack in haste, repent at leisure
… pretending to use a hatchet as a can opener:

man pretending to use an axe as a can opener

a narrow band of sunset reflected on the water


NO pets (including comfort dogs) on our trips. Pets scare away wildlife or even worse, can engage wildlife, endangering themselves, the people with them and the wildlife. Pets wake sleeping people. In Grand Teton park pets are not allowed more than 50 feet from the roadway (such as on any hiking trail), in boats on the Snake river or any lake except Jackson Lake, or on Ranger-led activities. The few places they are allowed they must be restrained on short leash at all times.

Launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft (drones) on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service is prohibited
Animals get aggressive when people fly drones around/over them, endangering everyone in the vicinity. Please try to get the vehicle license number (and if possible make, model and color) / campsite number of anyone using a drone and report them to Rangers. If you have cell phone coverage, call park dispatch. The phone number for dispatch is usually in the park newspaper you receive when you enter the park. (When people fly drones around forest fires, the helicopters with firefighters and tankers with sprays to put out the fire can’t fly!)

The National Park Service often warns hikers :

“Avoid becoming dehydrated or experiencing heat exhaustion. Drink plenty and drink often; pace yourself; rest in the shade; eat salty snacks.”

“Replace sodium lost through sweat by supplementing your water intake frequently with salty, easily digested snacks, such as trail mix or nuts.”

Avoid salt tablets, as they can irritate your stomach and cause nausea and/or vomiting, can raise blood pressure, cause stomach ulcers, and seriously affect people with heart disease.


photo below courtesy of Rick Konrad

Rick Konrad Images bull moose reflection: Rick Konrad Images bull moose reflection in river Grand Teton park


Put downloads and links to info on your smart-enough-phone
to be able to access info more easily
, including webpages about the trip AND

Jackson Hole weather

Weather map: “GeoColor is a multispectral product composed of True Color (using a simulated green component) during the daytime, and an Infrared product that uses bands 7 and 13 at night. During the day, the imagery looks approximately as it would appear when viewed with human eyes from space. At night, the blue colors represent liquid water clouds such as fog and stratus, while gray to white indicate higher ice clouds, and the city lights come from a static database that was derived from the VIIRS Day Night Band.”

For the drive: Tetons area road conditions (Wyoming Department of Transportation)

A drawing of the peaks with the names of the peaks, from various locations:

Yellowstone bear safety webpages:

The app for when Old Faithful in Yellowstone will next erupt



Find a compass, altitude, latitude and longitude on your cell phone



cell phone with app showing

An app for Grand Teton National Park info (best downloaded before you get there when you can find reliable internet), with info about visitor centers, historic places, natural features, and services throughout the park. “Even without cellular service, the app will be able to share your location on the map and bring up all site content.”



Grand Teton National Park birds has photos and details about the most common ones we can hope to see
including Bald Eagle, Red-winged Blackbird, Canada Geese, Clark’s Nutcracker, Golden Eagle, Great Blue Heron.Great Gray Owl, Harlequin duck, Loon, Magpie, Merganser, Northern Flicker (woodpecker), Osprey, Ouzel, Pelican, Peregrine Falcon, Ptarmigan, Raven, Sandhill Cranes, Steller’s Jays, Trumpeter Swan, Western Meadowlark and Western Tanager, with links to calls / songs from most of them to listen to.

and you can Download photos of over a hundred birds of Grand Teton National Park

hawk flying



You can download a free copy of these Red Cross first aid textbooks to your smart-enough-phone to bring with you (perhaps especially useful on the looooong hike many people do, and/or if you decide to backpack)

The Red Cross Wilderness and Remote First Aid Emergency Reference Guide and Red Cross Wilderness and Remote First Aid Pocket Guide



NPS lightning 1: NPS lightning 2: NPS lightning 3:

Lightning strikes in the last 24 hours are recorded at:;x=-108.2102;z=7;t=1;m=oss;r=0;s=0;o=0;b=27.83;n=0;d=2;dl=2;dc=0;ts=0;

Using the lightning strikes links above you can check out where the storm lightning hits are moving
and it can help you decide
if you are going to the swimming pool, taking a shower now or later, and when you actually hear thunder you can check out where it hit (closer to Yellowstone, or nearby at north Jackson Lake, or . . . YIPES, that really was nearby!).



Download these instead of buying them at a visitor center, (well worth looking at for info about animals and much more):

Yellowstone Grizzly Bears: Ecology and Conservation of an Icon of Wildness
” . . . Bears can see in color, can hear in the ultrasonic range, and possess an incredible sense of smell.. . Heaviest Known Body Mass in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Adult male 715 pounds (324 kilograms); Adult female 436 pounds (198 kilograms)
Speed: 35 to 40 miles per hour (56 to 64 kilometers per hour)
Strength: 2.5 to 5 times greater than humans

$39.95 or a free download

and perhaps of interest:

Yellowstone 2023 State of the Park report


herd of elk, bull with head raised to bugle

How-to-it info:

There’s easy camping info at: Have more fun camping you can learn how to build campfires that don’t smoke too much, how to pack an ice chest, do dishes in camp and lots more.

fireamomentafterlighting 113 pxls: icechestinteriorwithdishdra 113 pxls: twoburnercooking 113 pxls:


Tuolumne food storage locker: campsite food bear box:

Using a campsite food storage locker, gives you ideas on how to use a metal campsite food storage locker, including some logistics on sharing one in a large group.

(If you find yourself wanting to bring more food than will fit in your campsite bear box, (with advance notice) people in a cabin might have room for your extra ice chest – but you will be responsible for refilling the ice and will not have access to it any time you want.)

There are crucial things wrong with each of these tents.

Don’t buy a cheap tent has reasons why and more examples of tents to NOT bring.
mountain peaks

For details about our next club trip to Grand Teton National Park, go to: Grand Tetons.


Grand Tetons trip pages index has brief descriptions of most of the pages about this trip.

Grand Tetons kayaking

Grand Tetons sightseeing

Grand Tetons trip transportation has flight info, driving distances and guesses at gas cost, previous trip examples, etc.

Grand Tetons trip cost has examples of

The cheap trip,

The not-so cheap trip,

The slightly more costly trip, but less driving time,

also known as the I-can’t-get-much-time-off-work trip,

and The expensive trip.

Your safety in grizzly bear territory tells you what to do if you see a bear in the distance or a bear charges you and has info about Bear Pepper Sprays

What might happen before a bison charges.

During a thunderstorm, don’t take a shower or use a sink, including washing dishes. Don’t talk on a land line phone. Don’t use your I pod. Don’t get zapped! Please read Thunderstorm and lightning safety

moose dining at edge of water