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Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
22 posts
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1 helpful vote
Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

We are experiencing our first Houseboat vacation on Lake Powell in September and starting the process of making lists of what to bring. Besides the common things what items would you bring to make the most of your houseboat experience. We are 4 couples ages 30-35. Thanks!

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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20,002 posts
16 reviews
52 helpful votes
1. Re: Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

You can never have enough ice! Block or dry ice is a good idea.

Plenty of water/drinks. Its very dry in the desert.

Camera, with extra batteries and memory chips.

Don't overpack. You will practcally be living in a pair of swim trunks and a t shirt the entire trip.

Having a ski boat, jet ski or at least a kayak will make exploration of the lake easier than just having the houseboat.

Edited: 12:47 pm, August 03, 2014
Atascadero...
Destination Expert
for Lake Powell
Level Contributor
1,781 posts
2. Re: Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

The lakepowell.com website has a handy list of things you might think about packing on your trip:

lakepowell.com/plan/…packing-list.aspx

I think it's a good list, but I would avoid bringing plastic disposable cups, plates and utensils, since these are a waste and headed straight for the landfill afterwards, and the houseboat already has these in abundance (just need to wash them yourself).

Other key suggestions:

1. Don't need to bring tons of plastic bottled water--the boat already has drinking water-just bring a reusable container, or reuse the few plastic bottles that you do bring.

2. Bring you iPod for music--they generally have a docking station on most (but not all) boats

3. Bring fewer clothes than you think you'll need--dez is right--you'll be reusing the same t-shirt and shorts al the time, and swimming generally keeps you pretty clean.

4. You'll be living in Tevas or flip-flops or bare feet while on board. Bring a sturdy pair of shoes that can get wet for your hikes.

5. Bring enough memory for your camera, plus your battery charger.

6. Bring a wide-rimmed hat, and an extra pair of sunglasses for when you lose or break the first pair. Plus lots of sunscreen.

7. Leave the bug spray at home. It just kills a few gnats around the lights at night, which will then just be replaced by more gnats. But then your boats is coated in toxic chemicals.

8. Bring an extra pillow or sleeping bag for more flexibility as to where to sleep on board.

9. Bring a fleece jacket for cooler evenings.

10. Bring a first aid kit and swiss army knife.

11. Bring extra rope and duct tape. You'd be surprised about the many ways you'll find to use those things in a minor emergency.

12. Bring a camelbak for hiking (if you plan longer hikes).

13. Bring a headlamp in case you need to deal with things outside at night--hikes, emergencies, or just for sitting around the campfire.

14. Bring common sense. It's often in short supply on the lake.

15. Bring hiking poles (if you plan to hike). Very helpful in muddy and unstable areas near the margins of the lake or in canyons with running water.

16. Bring a mix of block ice and crushed ice--roughly half and half. I typically get 6 of each, and that lasts about 4 days if you're opening and closing the ice chest a lot. Get more at Dangling Rope Marina when you need to.

Pack your meats in a separate good quality (not styrofoam) ice chest full of block ice that you leave inside the houseboat, or in the freezer.

Edited: 2:01 pm, August 06, 2014
Chicago, IL
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3. Re: Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

Thanks JFR and Dez! These are great suggestions---Getting super excited! :)

Bethesda, Maryland
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42 reviews
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4. Re: Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

Hi, I just returned from a stay on a houseboat so my experience is very fresh! Although I was not on Lake Powell, I think these tips would apply to just about any houseboat vacation in the US.

1. If you like to drink wine, bring some nice tough acrylic wine glasses or see if the houseboat supplies them. Drinking from red plastic cups just can ruin the experience!

2. Pack a small bar or jar of your favorite face soap. Although the houseboat will likely have soap, it may not be face soap. Remember it will not be stocked like a hotel.

3. Check into amenities provided by the marina. Some have shower facilities. Showering on a houseboat is done in tight quarters, if given the choice you may prefer to shower at the marina.

4. In many ways, your stay will be like a cross between camping and a house rental, so think of your packing list in that way. What do you need to be comfortable?

5. Depending on how long you are on the houseboat, the number of people aboard the houseboat, and the quality of the water in port, the toilet may get very dirty and smelly. Consider bringing some cleaning supplies or ask the houseboat owner what they supply or how that is handled. Alternatively, maybe you can negotiate more frequent cleaning. Based on my experience with four people in a marina with a lot of silt and pollution, I would have liked the toilet aboard the houseboat to be cleaned every three days.

6. Make sure that no one in your party is very susceptible to allergies to mold, or if they are, have them take allergy meds a few days before heading onboard the houseboat. You never know if there has been flooding on a houseboat or if there is a lot of algae or pollutants around, but all of that can trigger allergies which can make your trip unpleasant. (This is what happened to us and we had to cut our vacation short when my son became I'll). Similarly, check to see if the houseboat has carpeting or just bare flooring. Carpeting might be problematic. Consider bringing your own pillow if you are susceptible to allergies.

7. If you enjoy dining outside, bring candles and matches or ask if they have them onboard.

8. Pack plenty of sunscreen, big spray, and sunglasses.

9. Consider bringing fishing gear.

10. If you plan to do a lot of cooking onboard, it is worth checking into the specifics of how well the kitchen is stocked. Will it have the tools you need? If not, bring them.

Atascadero...
Destination Expert
for Lake Powell
Level Contributor
1,781 posts
5. Re: Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

AnneParris' list is helpful, but her list raises some questions that I can answer more specifically about Lake Powell:

1. The boat will not be stocked with wine glasses, but with solid plastic cups, which I think work pretty well for wine or anything else you might want to drink.

2. You should make sure that any soap you bring is biodegradable, since it will eventually find its way into the lake, and the lake is a drinking water supply.

3. The houseboat has a shower, and some have both an indoor and outdoor shower. Minimize the use of the indoor shower, since the water will be stored in a graywater tank; with too much use, it can overflow. The outdoor shower drains straight to the lake, which is another reason to use biodegradable soap. Or, just don't take any showers, and bathe in the lake itself--my preferred option.

4. Agree that the experience is halfway between camping and a house rental. I guarantee that you will overpack clothing, and use only about 70% of your items. For food, you will buy too many condiments and small packages of food, but that's hard to avoid.

5. The toilet will not be a problem, as long as you use the small packs of blue cleaning chemical they provide, throwing one in the toilet (break the bag with the toilet brush) perhaps once a day. No one is coming onboard to clean your toilets for you--you're on your own.

6. Agree about allergies, and I agree it's a good idea to bring your own pillow if you can pack it from home.

7. Candles can be nice. There are matches onboard. Suggest you bring a small butane lighter as well. Suggest a small camping lantern or headlamp will help when you are outside as well.

8. Agree about the sunscreen and sunglasses, but you will not need bug spray. Fortunately, bugs are a very minor issue at Lake Powell. Most of what you'll see are gnats flying around the porch light, and the occasional fly in the cabin. Gnats are best dealt with by turning out the light or just leaving them alone--bug spray will kill the ones that are there, but others will replace them, and your stuff will be covered with toxic chemicals. Flies are best handled with a fly swatter.

9. Fishing gear is a good idea. (That is, if you like to fish.)

10. The kitchen is fully stocked with pots, pans, plates, silverware, cups, baking dishes--pretty much everything you have at home. Even a can opener. I prefer to cook on the grill on the front deck, which keeps the cabin cooler, but you can certainly use the stove and oven, just as you would at home.

Bethesda, Maryland
Level Contributor
45 posts
42 reviews
16 helpful votes
6. Re: Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

JFRCalifornia, I loved reading your response. I'm so grateful you mentioned the importance of biodegradable products. None of the supplied products on our houseboat were biodegradable. Nor did we have the blue toilet sanitizing tablets you mentioned, not a toilet brush. I will definitely inquire about those should we vacation on a houseboat again. It was a beautiful and unique experience in many ways, but sadly our experience apparently didn't match that available on the houseboats on Lake Powell.

Atascadero...
Destination Expert
for Lake Powell
Level Contributor
1,781 posts
7. Re: Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

Anne-- out of curiousity, where was your houseboat trip?

8. Re: Top items you would bring on a houseboat trip

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