What to pack for a trip to Tucson, Arizona in March? I have the list for you-- after I learned from all of my mistakes while visiting Tucson's Sabino Canyon.

We pulled into our parking spot at Sabino Canyon's car park at 2:36 PM. 

With the air conditioning blasting, I was eager to run out into the desert on a long hike. I couldn't wait to see the Saguaro cacti and the waterfalls I'd heard about!

Right after I turned off the car, Arizona’s heat didn't hesitate. The temperature started rising in the car. We jumped out to escape the creeping heat. 

I snagged my backpack from the backseat. In the seconds standing at the backdoor, I could already feel the asphalt's heat radiating up my calves.

"Man, the sun is brutal today!" I commented looking up to the sun blinding myself. 

Then, I looked at my backpack.

All I had was a small water bottle. No sunglasses, no hat, no sunscreen, and not enough water. 

The road runner was running to shade, too!

The road runner was running to shade, too!

My senses immediately started responding to what they knew they'd be feeling soon enough in this heat.  A headache started creeping in, my mouth was now thirsty, and I had visions of myself in pain in bed from a scorching sunburn. 

Shoot! We did this all wrong. I was totally unprepared for the desert and we made the terrible decision to romp around in the desert in the heat of the day.

I confessed first-- "Adam, I can only handle 30 minutes out here."

"Me too!" 

Well, at least we were in agreement.

A long hike was off the docket today. We weren't going to see any waterfalls. 

Our visit to Sabino Canyon was going to be a quick in and out.

If I had only packed four essential items, it would have transformed our experience and I would have been able to adventure further into the canyon to see the beautiful waterfalls out there. 

We do suggest going early in the morning or more toward sunset--- not 2:30 PM in the heat of the day!

To see more pictures of our Sabino Canyon experience, click here

Sabino Canyon's 1/2 Mile Nature Trail- no shade here!

Sabino Canyon's 1/2 Mile Nature Trail- no shade here!

To prepare yourself to have fun in Arizona's desert, pack these items.

10 Must Pack Items for Arizona's Desert

Be prepared for the heat of the day and the cool nights with this gear:

  1. Hat

    1. make it a big hat providing lots of shade!
  2. Sunglasses

  3. Sunscreen

  4. Water- lots of it!

    • How much is enough?
    • Here's a suggestion from the Grand Canyon: Drink one-half to one full quart of water or sports drink each and every hour you are hiking in the heat. 
    • Carry your water bottle in your hand and drink small amounts often. 
    • By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
  5. Buff

    1. use this for covering your neck, pulling your hair back, or wiping sweat:)
  6. Short sleeve shirt

  7. Long sleeve shirt

    1. to cover your arms, chest and shoulders during the day and to keep you warm at night
  8. Shorts

  9. Long pants

    1. to cover legs from the sun during the day and to keep you warm at night
  10. Hiking/running shoes


Have fun out there!

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