2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

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hippiepunkpirate
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2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Apr 01 2012 12:19 am

Earlier this week I committed to my first backpacking trip. A friend of my dad had a spot open on a permit for a 2 night trip on Boucher/Tonto/Hermit (April 16-18) and my dad offered to help get me outfitted so I figured I better jump at the chance. I've hiked with my dad's friend before, he is an experienced Grand Canyon backpacker, and is very level-headed and responsible, so I feel reasonably comfortable taking on this trip having no backpacking experience prior. Before this thread turns into an all-out hammock fest, I must say that I'm basically broke and don't really have $ to go spending on ultra-light gear or luxury items. Basically, right now I'm just looking for a list of bare, absolutely essential items that will get me through my first three days as a backpacker. I looked at the gear list article here on HAZ, but it looks a little too comprehensive, so I'd like something a bit more pared down.

As for what I already have, today, my dad helped me out on an internal frame pack (Mountainsmith Lariat 65), a Thermarest mattress, and a new pair of Vasque boots (for better ankle support than my low top Ahnu boots that are about to die anyway. I have a friend at a outdoors shop that gave us a nice discount on that gear thankfully. Additionally, my dad is letting me borrow a 15 degree REI sleeping bag and a small propane stove. I'm not planning on taking a tent, but will have a tarp with rope to use as a shelter if need be. My friend at the outdoors shop will sell me his used mesh bivy for $20, but it has no rain-fly so I would need a tarp anyway in case of rain. I don't really have money to buy a tent otherwise anyway. That's basically all I've got, I just want to know what essentials I'm missing and what I can leave at home. Also, my company on the trip is planning on rehydrating freeze-dried food for pretty much the whole the trip, just wondering what you all would recommend along those lines? I also don't mind taking cans of soup, or easy snack foods (granola bars, peanut-butter cracker packs I both have at home). I'm not really a ramen person though. I would just like an idea of how much food to bring without running out but not over doing it. Hopefully, my first trip will be an absolute success, and I can eventually become a hammock-toting, raging ultra-lightaholic (or something like that), but for now I just need a bit of help identifying the essential items on an extreme budget.
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by RedRoxx44 » Apr 01 2012 5:37 am

I wouldn't bring cans of anything--too heavy. The store brand instant soups or noodles in the packets will work fine. Add a pouch or two of something like Tuna or whatever and you can have a pretty good meal. Snack bars with lots of calories are good. I personally just plan on dinner for the significant meal, I just snack for breakfast and lunch. For a really short trip and if you are not a rabid morning coffee drinker you could just take cold foods to eat,and ditch the stove, etc. especially if it's going to be warm. If the weather looks good you should be good without a tent. You'd only need the bivy if bugs are going to be bad ( it's early yet for it to be really annoying) or you are camping in a high use area and don't want the mice running over you at night. You'll need something to secure your food, if your friend has a rat sack or whatever they call them see if he has room in his for your stuff.
Water treatment?? Bleach will work---- and it's cheap, I would take something to disguise the taste. If I take directly from spring source I usually don't treat, but that's up to you. Smallest gas canister that fits with the stove, make sure you check that. Those small canisters' will last at least a week. Small light pot, that can work as a cup also.
Personally I would bring extra socks, and wear those boots several times before the trip.

Eh, just have a good time, remember man can last several days without food. And you can get under a bush or ledges if it gets bad weather wise. Do take a poncho and if you don't have rain gear a big garbage bag, the leaf kind, make a fair rain cover in a pinch and can serve to be a water resistant container for stuff in your pack too. Even if weather is good if you suddenly decide on some off trail adventure and have to do a creek crossing sometimes it's "oh sh&^%5t" if you don't have something to protect the stuff in your pack. My rule is always have dry and warm things to get into at the end of the day, even if you are soaked.

Have fun!! And take great pics :y:

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by WilliamnWendi » Apr 01 2012 6:05 am

hippiepunkpirate wrote: Also, my company on the trip is planning on rehydrating freeze-dried food for pretty much the whole the trip, just wondering what you all would recommend along those lines?
I have heard you can dehydrated using your oven but another tip from my own experience is that plenty of dehydrators end up going to the Goodwill. I got lucky. I just finished researching dehydrators when the wife and ended there on a "50% Off" Saturday and found one for 4 bucks. Dehydrating your own food is not only cheaper but healthier. Plus if you're gonna dehydrate left overs it's recommended using various means of reducing fat content so that makes an even healthier all around diet.

Assuming you already have first aid, and personal's like chapstick and headlamp, I will be adding baby-powder for our Havasu Falls Hike to stave any further experiences with monkey butt. Of course make sure you have a couple different means to boil water. You have mentioned propane stove so there's one and if you haven't got a small pot with a lid go to Goodwill, found something that works perfectly well for .50c. Consider a rehydrator to (Small plastic bowl wrapped in foiled bubblewrap, saves you fuel) I think I paid 8 bucks for mine. Keep food and toothpaste in pest proof conatainers, I did opt for the ratsack (wire mesh) and the opsak combo(Suppose to contain the scent), won't stop a bear but it works. Keep food and toothpaste out of your tent. Time for me to get on the trails. Good luck, I'll check back later to see what the folks with the real experience have to say.
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by paulhubbard » Apr 01 2012 7:35 am

For breakfast I've pre-mixed instant milk and cereal and kept it in a ziplock bag. Then you just add water and voila, cereal and milk (albeit warmish, instant milk.)
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Apr 01 2012 8:34 am

Food - Sportsman's Warehouse has dehydrated food at reasonable prices. A buck or two cheaper than REI. You only need two dinners. And save the bags to use for your future oatmeal meals. Make sure someone has a ratsack/outsack for food storage. The mice on Hermit's Beach can be aggressive.
Shelter - The bivy is a good idea - keeps the mice from nibbling at the corners of your mouth. That can ruin a night's sleep.
Water purification - you don't mention. What are you using? Tablets?
Some say beer, I say Tequila. More bang for the ounce.
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Apr 01 2012 10:38 am

Oh, for water purification, my two hiking partners are both bringing filters, so they said not to worry about bringing my own.
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by PLC92084 » Apr 01 2012 12:04 pm

Al_HikesAZ wrote:The bivy is a good idea - keeps the mice from nibbling at the corners of your mouth.
Ewww! :o

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by Jim_H » Apr 01 2012 12:24 pm

From the title of this thread, I thought you might have been considering hiking the canyon nude. It's a little early for that, wait until after it gets above 90 at the bottom.
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by writelots » Apr 01 2012 12:31 pm

My advice would be to go with the freeze dried meals for your first trip. You'll have enough to worry about without complicated meal planning. Just remember - if it sounds like there isn't much chance it will taste good, then it probably won't. Chili-mac, Beef Stroganoff and Pasta Privmavera are the most popular I've found, and the Italian pasta options are just about always winners (although beware the lasagna - the cheese is like superglue on your spoon/pot). A lot of guys I know eat the 2 person meals solo, but I don't have that big an appetite when I'm out. You'll want to look at having about 2,500 calories available to you throughout the day between meals and snacks. Anything less and you're in too big a deficit.

Don't forget some sort of gatorade/electrolite drink mix. You're gonna sweat even if it's cold, and replacing those minerals helps a lot with energy levels.

If you use a ratsack/outsack make sure to hang it or completely cover it with rocks. The ravens are smart, and they're everywhere: http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=245541

April is one of the unpredictable weather months. Make sure you are prepared for rain and/or snow. I would bring along YakTrax or some sort of traction in case you run into patchy snow on Hermit (very possible). Bring layers, avoid cotton. At least one pair of spare socks.

Do you hike with poles? I find that for first timers - particularly on tough hikes like this one - poles help A LOT. You're balance is off because of the pack and you're hiking more than you're used to on consecutive days. The poles help keep you moving confidently and help with the pack weight. At least one for the downhill I think is essential.

Oh, and don't bother with the hammock ;) - probably won't be any place to hang it. The original ultralight was essentially super basic anyway, and it sounds like you're there.

Have an amAZing time! I love that area and can't wait to hear how your first Grand overnighter goes!
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by Canyonram » Apr 01 2012 2:51 pm

The Park Service has a video with tips for an overnight backpack. This link will allow you to download the entire 22 minute video:
http://mms.nps.gov/ram/imr/hike-all.wmv

Or, you can view via youtube:
1) Planning for your Trip: essential things to know. 8m:15s
https://www.youtube.com/user/grandcanyon ... UOpJmm2nqI

2) Your Hike: experience the adventure. 9m:39s
https://www.youtube.com/user/grandcanyon ... 7b8mPcTgq4

3) Critical Review: 2m:40s
https://www.youtube.com/user/grandcanyon ... 1LrOLSoztI

The portal page for the Grand Canyon is here: http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-tips.htm

Trail update page here: http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/t ... osures.htm

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by nonot » Apr 01 2012 3:47 pm

Bare minimum, eh.

Backpack - sounds like you're covered.
Sleeping system - OK, you'll probably use the bag as more of a blanket than a bag - hopefully it is at least 3/4 zip. You've got a sleeping pad too.
Shelter -
Hammocks don't often work in the Grand Canyon, not enough trees.
A tarp will be tough at Hermit Creek if you're expecting trees, but better options may exist at Boucher Creek. Didn't check out either beach, but I wouldn't expect too many trees near the river, maybe a few tammies, but having poles rather than depending on trees will help. Try to learn how to setup your tarp as an A-frame with hiking poles and some tent stakes. Blowing sand will be annoying on the beaches if there is wind. With a tarp you probably want something like a piece of tyvek for a ground sheet (wash it once to get the crinkley out). If sleeping on sand directly you may be OK without.

For food - I'd recommend you get freeze dried dinners that you just have to rehydrate. Mountain House and Backpacker Pantry are popular. Practice using the stove before your trip - a few can be tricky, easy to resolve this issue when you're at home and not panicky. Measure out how much water you need before you go and mark a bottle or nalgene or something. To this add stuff you don't have to cook - candy, gorp, etc. I usually just bring dry cereal for breakfast, if I eat anything at all. And add to that your favorite hiking snacks/bars. Also sandwiches or typical hiking lunch.

Here's my list for 1 days worth of backpacking food: breakfast item (such as 1 cup cereal, maybe a breakfast granola bar instread), early day snacks (a few strips of jerky and 1 granola bars with peanuts, or just a handful of peanuts), lunch (sandwich and a bit of jerky and a candy treat), afternoon (a few more pieces of jerky or some gorp or another granola bar with peanuts, maybe a small package of oreos), dinner (one 2-serving mountain house) and desert (a candy treat and some gorp). Eat a bit every 2 hours, you might be resting anyways.

Protect your food at night and don't leave it behind if you dayhike. Ravens and squirrels when there's sunlight, mice where there's not.

Hermit gets quite a bit of sun mid day, so bring sunscreen and a hat with a good brim on it. Sunglasses are typically worn. Make sure you can carry enough water - I'd recommend a 3 liter camelback plus perhaps another 1 liter carrying capacity (nalgene, bottle) for a total of 4 liters for this trip since Boucher and Hermit creeks should both have water. Start early on your first and last days to beat the heat.

Water Filter - you mentioned there will be group filters.

So you've got your basics covered - the big 3 plus food and water.

Other items to bring - extra gallon ziplocks for trash, 3+2 days worth of toilet paper (in ziplock bag), a spork to eat your dinner. Maybe some hand cleaner (the type with alcohol). Hermit creek has a composting toilet, but I don't think there's anything at Boucher so someone will want to have a small trowel. Haven't checked out either beach yet.

You may want a hiking pole - some bring 2, but I think 1 is the correct number to bring.

First time backpacker things to know - change of underwear and socks for each day (or at least one extra for each day you can't wash them), also buy a small pack of baby wipes or other type of paper towel type wipe made for outdoor stuff. You may want a toothbrush and toothpaste - go travel size. Deodorant will help you tolerate each other. Maybe an extra layer like a midweight full-sleeved shirt for early morning/night activities. If you plan to get really dirty you may want to have a separate pair of lightweight clothes to sleep in, rather than getting your bag dirty. With the creek and river though I imagine you'll be able to clean up.

If it rains, ponchos are cheap and light.

Enjoy your trip!


hippiepunkpirate wrote:Earlier this week I committed to my first backpacking trip. A friend of my dad had a spot open on a permit for a 2 night trip on Boucher/Tonto/Hermit (April 16-18) and my dad offered to help get me outfitted so I figured I better jump at the chance. I've hiked with my dad's friend before, he is an experienced Grand Canyon backpacker, and is very level-headed and responsible, so I feel reasonably comfortable taking on this trip having no backpacking experience prior. Before this thread turns into an all-out hammock fest, I must say that I'm basically broke and don't really have $ to go spending on ultra-light gear or luxury items. Basically, right now I'm just looking for a list of bare, absolutely essential items that will get me through my first three days as a backpacker. I looked at the gear list article here on HAZ, but it looks a little too comprehensive, so I'd like something a bit more pared down.

As for what I already have, today, my dad helped me out on an internal frame pack (Mountainsmith Lariat 65), a Thermarest mattress, and a new pair of Vasque boots (for better ankle support than my low top Ahnu boots that are about to die anyway. I have a friend at a outdoors shop that gave us a nice discount on that gear thankfully. Additionally, my dad is letting me borrow a 15 degree REI sleeping bag and a small propane stove. I'm not planning on taking a tent, but will have a tarp with rope to use as a shelter if need be. My friend at the outdoors shop will sell me his used mesh bivy for $20, but it has no rain-fly so I would need a tarp anyway in case of rain. I don't really have money to buy a tent otherwise anyway. That's basically all I've got, I just want to know what essentials I'm missing and what I can leave at home. Also, my company on the trip is planning on rehydrating freeze-dried food for pretty much the whole the trip, just wondering what you all would recommend along those lines? I also don't mind taking cans of soup, or easy snack foods (granola bars, peanut-butter cracker packs I both have at home). I'm not really a ramen person though. I would just like an idea of how much food to bring without running out but not over doing it. Hopefully, my first trip will be an absolute success, and I can eventually become a hammock-toting, raging ultra-lightaholic (or something like that), but for now I just need a bit of help identifying the essential items on an extreme budget.
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by te_wa » Apr 01 2012 4:08 pm

hippiepunkpirate wrote:absolutely essential items that will get me through my first three days as a backpacker
a [pack] of Deviant Dale's around the campsite will liven things up a bit [a lot!].

spare socks!
3000 calories a day, minimum.
ALL ten essentials, no cotton, good windshirt, have camera ready [bighorns].

oh, and Bad Brains on the iPod.
:D

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Apr 02 2012 12:26 pm

Thanks for all solid advice here! Once again HAZ saves countless hours of research and possible money spent
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by Jim_H » Apr 02 2012 12:31 pm

Plus, you know not to hike nude until after the temps warm.
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by Canyonram » Apr 02 2012 2:19 pm

You mentioned brand-new boots. Need to get your feet acclimated to both the boots and carrying a backpack---be prepared to handle blisters. The hike down is relentless and can damage the skin. When you feel a 'hot spot' be prepared to stop and make corrections to your socks/boots/protection. There are plenty of websites that provide info on how to both protect against blisters and how to treat them should they occur. http://www.backpacker.com/april_2001_he ... kills/1998
Huge blisters will ruin your hike (especially on the way up). Carry some moleskin or one of the other blister treatments available.

Use two hiking poles. They provide for greater balance and rhythm when walking. Experimental work comparing one-pole to two-poles is far in favor of using two. Three-points on the ground (two feet and one pole, one foot and two poles, etc) form a stable triangular base that will help you maintain your balance over the rockfalls and rough sections of trail. If you have not hiked with poles before, consider if your hands are tough enough without gloves---you can blister your palms/fingers as well.

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Apr 04 2012 8:44 am

Looks like I have a few extra bucks to spend...anybody know of any good deals going on for good non-cotton clothing?
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by PLC92084 » Apr 04 2012 8:51 am

I always check the clearance racks at my local sports stores... $30-$40 shirts for $10 are in my price range. REI had some deals on hiking pants; haven't checked on availability in the last week or so, though...

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by writelots » Apr 04 2012 12:16 pm

try departmentofgoods.com - the outlet for Backcountry.com. They always have some good deals. Also, campmor - they have a store brand which is pretty good and often a very good deal. Finally, you can usually find cheap stuff at Big 5 or other retailers in the fishing section (particularly pants and sun shirts).
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by chumley » Apr 04 2012 12:25 pm

The Ross/TJMaxx/Marshalls stores will often have deep discounts on European soccer jerseys because apparently most Americans don't care about the beautiful game. Some are more genuine than others, but many are surprisingly high-quality, made from whatever proprietary materials their contracted manufacturer uses (Nike, Adidas, Umbro, etc.) Just stay away from the ManUtd crap ok? And don't get a Renaldo jersey or you'll have to spend half your hike on the ground crying. :roll:
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 04 2012 12:41 pm

For butt rash, aka monkey-butt, I'd recommend the antibiotic ointment with anagesic (pain killer, and it REALLY WORKS!!) added. You can get a generic version at Dollar General or Wally World. I think it lasts way longer than powder. I also bathe. Imagine that. Helps prevent the above. Bathe and then use the stuff.

And don't forget the lip balm.
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