Packing Tips for Lake Powell

Have you ever noticed that some blog posts simply don’t apply to you? Well this one might very well be the one but that’s ok because it applies to me and to many of my family members.

I live in the desert. Here we have heat, tumble weeds, sage brush, and a little more heat. Naturally my family and many of my friends are drawn to Lake Powell in the summer. We love the cool water! We love to sit with our feet in the lake. We love to dive in and wash away the dry dustiness of our lives at home. We love it because it is so hard to find water anywhere else. I grew up at the lake and it has become a part of me, like the mountains are for my husband. When I was in middle school and part of high school I had these two amazing best friends who also came from Lake Powell going families. For four straight summers the three of us hitched a ride nearly every week with whichever family was headed to the Arizona/Utah state line with a boat in tow. We loved skiing, wake boarding, eating good food, riding in the boat, and discussing the mysteries of life.

Now that I’m an adult I want my kids to feel the same love for Lake Powell that I feel. But I have since learned that packing for the lake can:

A- Make you freeze into a pondering stupor.

Either way it can be a bit overwhelming and a little stressful. Our typical lake trips involve 10 to 15 adults and 12-18 young kids on ONE BOAT!! My dad’s house boat is really great and we all love it but 25 is a lot of people to have living in a small space for 6 days so packing the least amount of stuff as is possible is very important to us. Every summer I try to nail down the best packing list to ensure that we have all we need but nothing more. I think I finally have it, so for the sake of my Lake Powell going friends and for my own personal future reference here is my list and my instructions for packing. This list doesn’t include food but keep in touch and hopefully that list will be here soon!

Printable list here

Each person only gets ONE BAG!! Yup, that’s right ONE BAG for all clothes, sleeping bags, life jackets, etc.

All of the items on this list for my kids fit into one stuff bag (for easier organization once we are at the lake I put all their clothes in a small duffle then put the duffle, with their pillow, sleeping bag and life jacket in the stuff bag). This way they are each responsible for only ONE BAG, which simplifies life so much!! (For my husband and I we put our bedding in one big stuff bag and we keep our clothes in a regular duffle bag (still equaling 1 bag per person).

1 Sleeping Bag (A small lightweight bag works great, Lake Powell is HOT – for the adults I bring sheets, they take up less space and are much more comfortable on hot nights)

1 Pillow (For the kids I pack old pillows that are flat and compress well, I also have a few camping pillows that pack into a compact case)

1 Swim Suit per 2 days (Wear each suit two times, it works well, I promise)

1 Swim Suit Cover up per 2 days (The girls have cute dresses or wraps, the boys just need a swim shirt to keep the sun off)

1 Pair Pj’s per 2 days (again, these should be cool, no sleeper feet involved here!)

1-2 Pair light weight clothes per 3 days (We go for basketball shorts and t-shirts; something for the kids to wear to get out of the suits for a few hours. This is less important for some kids than others, my 9 year old daughter hates to be in a wet swim suit so she will change into her clothes 10 times each day.)

3 pair of underwear (kids can wear the same underwear twice; they are only wearing them for a few hours anyway. If this freaks you out add more, they don’t take up much space.)


Book to read



Life Jacket

Toothbrush (1 tube of paste for the whole family)

Hairbrush (rubber bands and comb for the girls)

Water Bottle

Glow Sticks (These are a must for the lake! So fun to go swimming at night with glow sticks!)

I also bring one stuff bag filled with beach towels, dish rags, and hand towels for the bathrooms.

One bag for beach toys.

And one bag that acts as my purse to hold movies, games, phone chargers, books, camera, and sunscreen

SUNSCREEN bag incudes: chapstick, aloe, and lotion

In my duffle I have a toiletries bag with toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, razers, medication, deoderant, etc.

We can’t live without my favorite blue raft

And the kids like to do a bit of fishing.

After all is said and done we end up with 6 stuff bags (one for each of 4 kids, towels, bedding for adults), 1 duffle bag (adults clothes and toiletries bag), 1 carry-on type bag (for movies etc.), one beach toys bag, my blue raft, and a tackle box.

This may seem to still be plenty of stuff but trust me, it is so much better than everyone having 1 bag for clothes, a seperate sleeping bag and pillow, and random toys, life jackets, and hats. When everyone is clear on the fact that they only get to bring enough stuff to fit in ONE BAG the whole ball game changes and we become a little more selective as to what we pack. In reality my kids actually still have plenty of room for a few toys, water guns, and beach balls. I have noticed that when you have a big group of kids no one ever gets bored! All the extra baggage ends up interfering with the good stuff.

One more thing: If you have baby or a toddler you MUST get one of these pop up tents. The fold into practically nothing (unlike a gigantic pack and play) and they zip up completely so you don’t have to worry about your little one rolling away or crawling off.

KidCo Peapod Plus Infant…


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Wenzel Camp Pillow


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Big Chill Little Boys’…

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Sloggers Women’s Wide…


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Sakkas GA4565 Retro Vintage…


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Hand Bulb Ear Syringes- 3 oz….


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Texsport Nylon Stuff Bag…


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Sea to Summit Nylon Stuff…


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