Equipment List for Grand Canyon Trekking - 2009

Official Papers

Camping Gear


Clothing Accessories




Optional Field Gear

Bags and Packs

The North Face Base Camp Duffel Large

Usually I am stuffing all of my stuff into a big back pack. But for trips where our gear is carried by porters, or when we will be setting up a base camp with some stuff being left behind, a duffel works better. Sometimes, you see the same thing all around because it's the only thing available. In this case, you always see a TNF Duffel on any expedition you go to because they are the best. This is the best duffel I have ever owned, hands down. I am now going to buy the XL version.

Why I bought it: This duffel has 3 things going for it. First, it is sturdy because it's made of a laminated material that resist fluids and can withstand abrasion. Second, the zippers are solid and can take a beating. Third, it has three hauling systems including twin handles on the ends (so you can drag it), the normal duffel handles that velcro together (so you can carry it) and finally backpack style shoulder straps that are adjustable (so you can throw the thing on your back). I have the Large, which is 5600 cu in (90 liters). The XL is 9070 cu in (140 liters).

Good for: Base camp. Long trips where your gear is going to get thrown around and punished.

Not Good For: I can't think of anything this thing is intended to do that it doesn't!

Mount Olympus Notes: The Olympic Range is the wettest place in the US and all we did was throw a bunch of wet, dirty and muddy stuff on top of our bags. So the fact that the bag is basically waterproof is huge for a trip like this. Loved it.

Iliniza Notes: I used this bag as my base camp storage. I kept all the stuff I wasn't going to be taking with me on the climb and the trek in it, back at the hostal in Quito.

Grand Canyon Notes: This was just big enough to carry everything on the plane to get me to the trailhead and back home.

Osprey Aether 60 : Mid Sized Pack

The Aether 60 is the smaller sized pack in the Lightweight Backpacking pack seires with a recommended pack wieght of between 40 to 55 lbs. The Large size is 3800 cu. in. and has stretch packet on the front as well as double entry water bottle pockets.

Why I bought it: Hiking in the grand canyon with about 45 to 50 pounds in my GoLite Pinnacle 1 and 1/2 lb pack demonstrated to me the needs for a framestay for heavier loads. I wanted a pack that was about 4000 cu in for overnight AT hikes and other 2-5 day hikes but that was lightwieght compared to the Gregory Chaos I already have.

Good for: Multi day backpacking trips where you are carrying more that 20 or 25 pounds, but want a lightweight pack.

Not for: Expeditions where you have to carry lots of stuff in yourpack and its heavier than 55 or 60 pounds.

Grand Canyon Notes: This is now my go to pack for anything where there is a need to carry a mid to heavy weight pack. I love the suspension and the ventilated back area is perfect for the heat. The back stretch pocket is also great for quick acces to the stuff you need quickly.

Mount Washington Notes: This is the perfect sized pack for a day hike of Washington. It's big enough to fit lots of layers, which is what you need on that thing. It's also got lots of pockets, that makes it great to throw your crampons or food or other stuff that you need to stowe. And the thing is very lightweight, which is now my number one feature of any peice of gear I carry on a mountain.

Camping Gear

Sierra Designs Lightning 2 : 2 Person / 3 Season

The Sierra Designs Lightning 2 Tent was one of SD's first major successes in the ultralight category, winning a Backpacker "Editors' Choice" award in 2004.

Freestanding, simple to pitch, the Lightning weighs a scant three pounds, 15 ounces. Clip-Locs and Swift Clips pull up to the x-pole design, meaning you can pitch the whole gig in seconds. With a nine-square-foot vestibule and plenty of mesh, it's comfortable, organized, and you won't get annoying condensation in the morning.

Acadia Notes: The one thing I hate about this tent is how it performs in the rain. This is definately a warm weather tent. Cold wet weather doesn't really work well. The bottom of the tent seeps water, even if you are using the accompanying tarp. I ended up having to line the bottom of my tent with garbage bags on the second rainy day in Acadia. It wasn't a river...but when you are using the tarp that comes with the tent, you evpect the only ater in the tent to be the water you track in on your boots.

Grand Canyon Notes: I took this along with me to the Grand Canyon and I absolutely loved it. I usually just use the tent without the fly, unless theres a good chance of rain. It's just big enough for me and my pack so it's great for camping when I don't feel like rooming with somebody. It was perfect for the canyon. I bought 2 of them, so JP slept in the other one, which was good because he decided it was a good idea to roll over on his camelback and dowse his sleeping bag with water. I would not have been thrilled had we been sharing sleeping quarters.

REI Travel Sack 55 deg

This is a lightweight sleeping bag that should be used for summer time or late spring in a hot place such as the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Notes: This is a perfect bag for the Grand Canyon during spring time. It's lightweight and not too warm.

El Potrero Notes: At the last minute, after checking the average weather in Potrero in March, i decided to not bring my 40 deg bag, and instead bring this one. For the most part I was fine, but a couple nights I got pretty cold. Next time, I'll probably bring my 40 and just be prepared to open it up. But if you are packing lite, and trying to minimize gear, you can certainly be more than fine with this and your puffy.


Underarmor Boxer Brief

These are the best underwear I have ever used. Because i have a problem with my legs rubbing to together as i walk, which causes my pant to ride up on me, I decided to change to biker shorts (slick material) rather than a cloth material to see if that would alleviate my problem. They worked better than I ever would have expected. I will never go back to cloth boxer briefs.

Duofold Ultra Tec Heavy Weight Base Later pants

Once again, I went for value when picking out my base layers. My other base layer was the bergelene brand available at EMS.

Madawaska Notes: I brought this along in case it got really cold at camp. I used it to sleep in and was really happy I brought it along.

Grand Canyon Notes: I decided to only bring a pair of bottoms for bnightime since I was already bringing my North Face Flash Jacket for the night. I was glad I did too, because it was cold each and every night.

Wigwam Ultimax Cool Lite Hiker Sock

I don't wear cotton socks anymore. It's all about wool or synthetic blends.

Tour Notes: It doesn't much matter what kind of socks you wear on this ride. however, it is "On" whether the meteorologist calls for rain or shine, so I suggest wool or synthetic blends because they stay warm when wet.

Grand Canyon Notes: I brought 4 pair of socks. I loved these socks. They were really comforatble and didn't slide around on my foot.

EMS Superwick T

This is a lightweight polyester shirt that is highly breathable and quick drying. It wicks moisture away from the body and comes in a fe different colors. I actually picked up a long sleeve and a short sleeve. They were great as a first layer in the jungle.

Iliniza Notes: Most of the climbs will have you at some point in your t-shirt. Let it be a comfortable one.

Canadian Rockies Notes: Most of the climbs will have you at some point in your t shirt. Let it be a comfortable one.

Grand Canyon Notes: It gets hot down there in the canyon, so bring a lightweight t shirt.

North Face Paramount zip off pants

These zip off pants are quick drying, comfortable, and come in good colors. What else can you ask for. The bottom of the pants have the side zip to the calf so you can zip off the bottoms without having to take off your boots. Comfortable shorts by day, bug-thwarting pants by night! These travel-savvy convertible pants offer versatile comfort. Plus they are baggy with a deep enough crotch.

Canadian Rockies Notes: Definately bring at least one pair. I personally brought 2 pair. While I never unzipped tham on any of my hikes, others in my group did on the one hike I didn't do, because it got so hot.

Grand Canyon Notes: I brought 2 pair of pants, but only used these as my hiking pants all three days. I used the other pair as my camp clothing.

Patagonia Stretch Zip Long T

I love this shirt. It has thumb holes to keep your sleeves from riding up (or keep your wrists warm), it's comfortable and it has the half zip neck which I love because you can use it like a turtleneck or you can open up to breathe. Designed to be versatile enough to use as a high-mobility base layer for winter sports or a midweight outer layer in warmer climates.

Canadian Rockies: This was my staple shirt for the entire trip. I don't go anywhere without it.

Grand Canyon Notes: I will only bring one long sleeve shirt. And since I did, this was the only one I brought. My staple shirt on all my trips. So much so, that everybody says I need to buy some new shirts!


North Face Ascent Beanie

Nice little fleece hat to cover my newly shaved head! I like it because there's more fleece on the ears thatn the top which is exactly how I like it. My ears are sensitive like a little girls!! lol

Grand Canyon Notes: I brought one fleece hat and only used it in camp at night and in the morning. But I was glad I brought it. it's cold enough in camp during the spring that you will definately need one.

Buffwear Bandana

Basically a simple tube of wicking polyester, it's stretchy enough that it can be worn as a bandana, neck gaiter, pony tail holder, helmet liner, even over-the-eyes since it's sheer enough to see through.

Grand Canyon Notes: This is the best thing I have ever used for desert hiking. It's so multifunctional, that you can in seconds move it from your head to around your neck and back again, which is usefule when in the backcountry. I love this thing.

I even pulled it over my face when I was taking a nap on the side of the trail so that no bugs would go into my mouth and I could get a little darkness while I slept. Very useful.

North Face Flash Jacket

This was one of the major items that I had still not purchased for climbing but was looking forward to adding to my gear pile because of its utility. Besides being extremely warm, it is extremely lightweight and very compact and packable.

Canadian Rockies: I will never do a hiking trip without a down jacket again. Best thing I took with me.

Grand Canyon Notes: The beauty of this jacket is its flexiblity. It stowes into a little pocket, is extremely lightweight, and can be used for many things, from a jacket to a pillow. I pretty much take this on every trip or expedition.

El Potrero Notes: This is the perfect item to bring to potrero. It is extremely lightweight. It is extremely warm. And it is extremely versatile, given that you can use it as a coat, sweater, or pillow! It doens get windy and cold depending on what time of year you are going.


Saloman XA Pro 3D Trail Running

This is the third pair of Salomon Trail Runners I've bought and they sure won't be the last. The best part is the quick lace feature that keeps them tied tight and eliminates the need to tie your laces!

Canadian Rockies Notes: I absolutely love these things. I did all of my hikes in these. They are vented so your feet stay cool. They did well on the wet day (even better than some in boots).

Grand Canyon Notes: I did the entier Grandview to Tonto to South Kaibab trail in these. The first day was very tough on the ankles, when the steepness and sree caused us more than a little trouble getting down the trail quickly and efficiently.

Appalachian Trail Notes: The AT is pretty rocky, and most prefer to wear boots. Since I have very strong ankles and don't tend to turn them very easily, I prefer to wear runnind kicks ot minimize the weight on my feet. However, most will wear boots on the AT.


Crocs are ugly, but they are the best thing ever thought of for anybody who needs easy to slip on footwear that doesn't get funky when wet. I love my crocs and I don't care how ugly they are.

The first time I saw a pair of Crocs was on the Deerfield river with the KCCNY. This dude was broncoing in a hole, and got out to portage over some rocks to do it again. He kept doing it over and over, and every time he would slide out of the yak, pull the crocs out of the hull, put them on, and pick up the yak. His crocks were and ugly orange, and all i could think was, they must be pretty functional, because they sure are ugly. And he confirmed. And from then on, I decided I needed a pair.

Madawaska Notes: I didn't own a pair of crocs when I did this trip. But I wished I did!

Canadian Rockies Notes: This trip I bought them and never will take a long trip without them again.

Grand Canyon Notes: I brought these as my camp shoes since they are light weight, and I want to get out of my shoes in camp. Well worth their weight. I need to air out my dogs at night and these help me do that.

El Potrero Notes: Do NOT leave home without them. The showers are clean enough, but I would not venture into that bathroom without my shower shoes!


Dermatone Lip Balm with biner

I really like this balm. Its very much like "Unpetroleum" that i took on Alaska trip and loved.

Grand Canyon Notes: Do not forget to bring lip balm on this trip. You will regret it if you do.

Mt Rainier Notes: If you have never been on a glacier in the middle of the summer, you can't really understand how important it is to have lip balm. I buy these 6 at a time every time I go to the camping store. I avoid chapped lips at ALL costs.


It really doesn't matter which moleskin you choose. Personally, I like the thin moleskin, especially since I start applying it as soon as i feel even a hotsot. I never wait until i develop a blister so i rarely ever develop one. But i use moleskin almost every day of a hiking trip and remove it at night to air out the hot spot.

Wet Ones Travel

It really doesn't matter which moleskin you choose. Personally, I like the thin moleskin, especially since I start applying it as soon as i feel even a hotsot. I never wait until i develop a blister so i rarely ever develop one. But i use moleskin almost every day of a hiking trip and remove it at night to air out the hot spot.

Grand Canyon Notes: Since water will be so sparse on this trip, I'll bring a pack of these for my outback shower!

El Potrero Notes: Anytime you are in Mexico, bring wet ones. They rarely have toilet paper in any of the bathrooms, so having these hand is nice.

Packtowel Camp Towel

Bottom line, this is not ever an optional item. I have to have at least one on my trips. It's really water absorbant but rings out like a shammy and packs away dry right after you've used it on your whole body!

El Potrero Notes: Bring a camp towl because they don't have them readily available at the Posada.

Grand Canyon Notes: I'll bring my small towel just so I can wash my face, or if I want to go down to the river.

Sigg Water Bottle

Why I bought it: I used to always use and suggest nalgenes wide mouth lexan water bottles. However, the week before my trip to hike the Grand Canyon all this stuff about PCB's and the 2,3,7 plastic recycling thing came out. I didn't want to take a chance, so I took the opportunity to switch to aluminum Sigg bottles. I know these don't leach into your body and cause chromosomal irregularities!

I haven't used these in the bottom of my boat yet, but I'm sure they'll work fine.

5 Boro Bike Tour Notes: You really only need one, and that's only if you like to sip a lot and don't plan on stopping at the rest stops. You can pretty much get water and or juices and beverages at all the rest stops. For free!

MSR Dromedary Bag

I used one of these on my trip to Alaska. WE used it as our only water source and I really liked it. It has a black casing that attracts heat to warm the water if left out, and an attachment to hang it and use it as a shower. Great versatility.

Grand Canyon Notes: On this trip, depending on the water sources available, we were carrying anywhere from 1 to 3 days of water at a time. Given that you need anywhere from 2 to 4 liters of water, that can be 8 to 24 pounds. This thing holds 10 liters so I brought 2 just in case and we each carried one.

first need water filter

I went out and bought this filter because I was so impressed with it on my Ecuador trip. I had the MSR Waterworks II, which was the same micron size and filtered basically the same parasites, but the Waterworks was painfully slow. the flow rate on the first need was so much faster (it seemed to be at least 4 times as fast) that I just put my MSR in the bottom of my pack and borrowed the first need from someone else every time it was time to pump. Its a little heavier, but I think well worth it when you have to pump 12 liters of water ona 15 minute break in the trek.

Canadian Rockies Notes: At least one person in your group should definately bring a wateer filter if you are staying overnight at any of the huts. While at Stanley Mitchell, my First Need got a first rate workout, as it was the filter of choice for our entire group.

Grand Canyon Notes: We needed a filter for this trip because all of the water is from springs, and most had tadpoles in it, so there was definately a chance for parasites. I was glad to have it.

Dermatone Dry Gel Sunblock

I like gel sunblock better than the normal lotion kind because I tend to sweat a lot and it lasts much longer. I also use bullfrog but couldn't find it this time around in the camping store.

Grand Canyon Notes: This worked just as well as the Bullfrog I usually use.

Julbo Nomads

The Julbo Nomads are my favorite shades because of how closely they wrap around my face and their low profile. What I also liked about them was that they have plastic clip on side sheilds rather than the botton on leather ones.

Kilimanjaro Notes: I forgot them in the tent on summit day! But they worked great every other day!

Madawaska Notes: I went back and forth between using shades and not. in the end, I found that what i really wanted was just somehting to stop water going in my eyes, but clear. I'll get something for next time.

Grand Canyon Notes: Even though it was really bright, I usually don't use sunglasses unless I am driving or riding my bike. On this trip, I just squinted a little the whole time! :-) But I carried them the whole way just in case I needed them.

Petzl Tikka

Since I bought the Petzl Tikka to replace my Black Diamond Gemini head lamp, I have never looked back. The Tikka is the perfect size and wieght, and it has all the functionality you really need in a head lamp.

While there is no spotlight on it, I have found that I rarely use the spotlight, so this is perfect for my needs. And when you are trying to limit the weight in your backpack, every ounce counts. I actually have 3 of these to give to my non backpacking friends when we go out together.

Why I bought it: I had the Black Diamond Gemini before this, which was great, but big and bulky and just overkill. After actually using these things, you only need a small lamp with a few lighting settings.

Madawaska Notes: You don't really need this if you are staying in the bunk house. But if you are camping, you know the drill!

Grand Canyon Notes: You have to have a head lamp on any trips in the backcountry. And since we were in a primitive area, I brought an extra as a back up. And a good thing too, because Drill Sgt left his in the car at the trailhead!

Jetboil PCS

Jetboil PCS – the original Jetboil – has sparked a revolution in outdoor cooking. Boiling two cups in two minutes at 75-80% efficiency, the PCS is twice as fast and uses half as much fuel as conventional stoves. The PCS boils up to 50 cups (12 Liters) of water from only one Jetpower isobutane/propane micro-canister. Such outstanding performance results from the patent-pending FluxRing™ heat exchanger, which captures and focuses the burner’s heat.

Jetboil Notes: I love this thing for backcountry camping because its self contained and easy to set up and put away. And I don't have to deal with any fuel issues. Just hook up the taknk and get to boiling.

Mt Marcy Notes: This is great for winter camping. Easy to set up and compact.

Camera and Other Toys! :-)

Canon Powershot SD 630

Film is just superior to digital when it comes to pictures..being printed! But Im not really printing them anymore! I'm throwing them up on the website.

So this is the camera I usually carry with me. It's a 6 mega pixel handheld with a limited zoom and

Why I bought it: I bought this camera because I got tired of carrying about a purse with a bunch of camera stuff. I realized that I was all about the experience of the adventure, and not the documentation of it. The photography was only secondary to the experience, so I pared down to just what I needed to take a good photo in most situations. The decision wsa the best I've made so far. A major lesson learned.


Gatorade Packs

Gatorade is one of the best tasting electrolyte replacement drinks. I't probably not necessary when mountaineering because you are not sweating, but it can't hurt. But if you're out there in the heat, you need to replace those electrolytes.You can get them in 1 quart packages which are perfect for your nalgene liter bottles.

Mt Washington Notes: Adding gatorade to your water on a freezing cold mountain helps to keep it from freezing. It's high salt and sugar content will add at least a few degrees to your drinks max freezing temperature.

Grand Canyon Notes: You should definately bring at least one liter per day. It gets really hot in the canyon.

Pure Protein Bars Chocolate Deluxe

This is the best tasting protein bar on the market in my opinion. I always bring protien bars on my trips because it's very difficult to keep your protein levels up on trips. Most camping geared dehydrated foods are really low in protein and high in carbs, so i always bring some protein bars to supplement my dehydrated meals.

Kettle Valley Real Fruit Bar

Fruit bars are my favorite food. And you can get them pretty much anywhere.

I take these on any trip. once again, highly nutrient dense.

Sports Beans

Sports beans are candy. But they are good. Salty and sweet. Electrolytes.

Backpackers Pantry Freeze Dried Meals

There are a number of freeze dried meals on the market. These are by far my favorite. Specifically, the Chicken Cashew Curry- Oh My God is that thing good.

Tip: any of the meals with rice, the key is to not over hydrate, and then as soon as you pour in the hot water, trap as much air as possible in the package and roll it tight. This will basically create a pressure cooker and steam the rice.

Action speaks louder than words, but not as often!
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