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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SkyIslander18
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by SkyIslander18 » Apr 04 2012 1:27 pm

I've found some real good clothing deals at Sierra Trading Post in the past -
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/

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trekkin_gecko
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by trekkin_gecko » Apr 04 2012 1:30 pm

target has all kinds of champion double dry shirts and shorts
decent and inexpensive

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paulhubbard
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by paulhubbard » Apr 04 2012 3:38 pm

azbackpackr wrote:And don't forget the lip balm.
And DON'T mix up the lip balm and the "antibiotic ointment with anagesic" !! :sl:
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

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te_wa
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by te_wa » Apr 04 2012 5:14 pm

old navy and kohl's often have nice polyester hiking shirts. target carries a few styles too, but slightly higher pricing.
i got a few poly shirts that i like from sierratradingpost.com - and go the same route for socks. light smartwool or wool/poly blend socks are cheap there too.
you may want some silk baselayers for the canyon. that way you can change into them at night to stay warm and keep your bag cleaner.
peace!
:D

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PLC92084
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by PLC92084 » Apr 04 2012 6:01 pm

chumley wrote:Just stay away from the ManUtd crap
:gun:

Maybe it was youthful ignorance but MU was the one team I actually liked when I lived in England...

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Mick
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by Mick » Apr 06 2012 9:23 pm

Camp Sandals. I usually bring a 3/5 litre wine bag -after drinking you can wrap it in a fleece to make a good pillow. There was an awesome swimming hole at Hermit Creek CG last year. United!
AZMick

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azbackpackr
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 07 2012 2:34 am

There's always an awesome swimming hole at Hermit Creek. (Except after major, major floods.) It is HIDDEN just below the campground. In fact there is a campsite almost right above it. There's a little trail that passes just below the one campsite that is under an overhang and drops down to the creek. Just ask the other campers, or listen for shrieks. It's chilly, by the way, especially this time of year. In summer it's very nice, but in spring and fall it's cold.

Ditto on the camp shoes. Flip flops are okay, but I favor the low cost Tevas (the cheaper models of Tevas are lighter in weight). Most people seem to bring one or the other. Occasionally I see someone with sneakers in camp, but that's way overkill, you don't need sneakers. Tevas saved me last year. I hiked the last 20 miles of Huitzil/Royal Arch Loop in Tevas when I had a boot/foot problem.

Ditto on the freeze dried dinners. Don't mess with cans. Just go to 4 seasons or Peace and get a couple Mountain House or BP Pantry dinners. Then repackage them in freezer bags, into which you can pour hot water. Yes, I know you can pour hot water into the bags they came in, but those are bulky. You can also bring all your dinners, except for one, in cheap ziplocs, and then keep reusing the one Mountain House bag for all your cooked-in-the-bag meals. Expect that your cookpot will never need washing: always bring food that just needs hot water added.

Do you drink coffee? I am particular about coffee. I have started using Via from Starbucks, can also be bought at the grocery store. If you buy the 12 pack it's about $10, so not cheap, but it is worth it. Very tasty. I like the Colombiano. Then since I like milk AND sugar in my coffee, I bring sweetened creamer, usually French Vanilla flavored, from the grocery aisle. Comes in a small jar. Of course I repack it into ziplocs.

Everything that can be repacked into ziplocs should be. I once knew a guy who packed his clothes in ziplocs! He'd press all the air out of the bags and rubber band them tight. Took up a lot less space. I've tried it. It works, but it's usually overkill. I use that method when I am short of space.

ONE change of clothes, if that. For a three day hike I will have ONE pair of zipoff pants. No spares. Actually, even for a 5 day hike I will bring only one pair of zipoffs. I won't use any pants other than zipoffs (and I have no idea why Outside Magazine makes fun of them, has them on their top ten list of gear they don't like. DUMBIES!) Zipoffs save my butt every trip, because I absolutely HATE wearing long pants, (in town, too, I hate long pants) and only will do so if it is cold, or very brushy, etc. I have several pairs, and the lower sections are always a lot darker and less worn-looking, but I do bring the lower sections and use them occasionally.

I will have one pair of lightweight longjohns to change into, only for sleeping and hanging out in camp. I will probably have only two shirts. One is only for sleeping/sitting in camp. You don't want your sleeping clothes to get damp. I don't sleep nude, because then there is nothing to absorb the cold sweat. If I bathe in the afternoon there is less cold sweat at night. I think probably most people do sleep nude, though.

Last but not least, bring a needle on a card, with some thread wrapped around it:
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autumnstars
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by autumnstars » Apr 07 2012 10:50 am

The order is down Boucher, over, and out Hermit, correct?
In that case, I strongly second the idea of poles, especially for a first-timer.
The descent on Boucher is relentless, and the poles really help take some of the weight and pressure off the knees and feet.
My husband used some old hockey sticks (blades removed) as poles for his first GC trip - they weren't adjustable, but were free and durable, so you may be able to think of other creative solutions that save money.

Wear your boots, even in town, to help break them in with the short time you have left.

It is great to go with well-prepared, experienced backpackers for your first trip.
To me, it is very essential to have a good map (or at least a detailed route description) along, but your companions likely have that covered.
Most importantly, soak it all in, relax, and enjoy. :y:
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 07 2012 1:25 pm

A note on poles. I have been using a knock-off brand for years. I bought them at Walmart. Some people say they break, but I have used mine for about 5 years. I seem to recall they were about 20 bucks. Not sure how much now. But you have poles, don't you, Jake?
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Apr 07 2012 3:07 pm

azbackpackr wrote: But you have poles, don't you, Jake?
Yeah, I have some Cabela's ones that I got with my snow shoes. Definitely taking those. Got a mesh bivy today to keep the critters off me when I sleep. I'm planning on getting out somewhere later this week to practice setting up an A-frame tarp shelter around the bivy as the 10-day forecast says that there might be a weather system coming through around the time of my trip.
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azbackpackr
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 07 2012 5:09 pm

You should take that mesh bivy back to the store and get your money back, use it for something else. You absolutely do not need it. Bring the tarp, and plenty of parachute cord. Someone who wants you to use a mesh bivy ask them how many nights have they slept under the stars in Arizona, or in Grand Canyon...

You can trust me on this, Jake. I had never even HEARD of a mesh bivy before this forum thread. What will they think of next to sell to unsuspecting newbs? Don't listen to the scaredy cats, Jake. Sleeping under the stars, with nothing between your face and the sky, is going to be one of the best, sweetest, most memorable experiences of any trip to the Canyon. If it rains, you have your tarp set up, so slide on under it under it at that time.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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PLC92084
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by PLC92084 » Apr 07 2012 6:44 pm

Jake:

I've used a standard bivy (no mesh) and didn't get eaten by critters (even though I felt a couple run over my chest in the middle of the night...). Liz slept out the whole time on our Royal Arch trip (except when it rained; she moved in, temporarily, with her "very close" friend, Mike). :D With warmer temps, I wouldn't bother with a bivy or a tent if I didn't have to... Save your money!

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 07 2012 7:05 pm

Haha, poor Mike!

Adding up trips I find that I have close to 60 nights in Grand Canyon. Hardly ever needed to use a tent except with rain or quite chilly. Have used a bivy for warmth.

It would have been nice to have a bivy on the November trip a few months ago, when I was chilly sleeping out the first night by Tanner Rapids. Robin and I were doing a tent share, so I did sleep in the tent the other two nights. I have a really warm bag but sometimes I tend to get cold and clammy. Just one of those things.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Apr 08 2012 8:51 am

If you do sleep out under the stars, make sure you lay a rope around your sleeping bag on the ground to keep the snakes away. :D. (True Grit)
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

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azbackpackr
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 08 2012 9:19 am

kevinweitzel75 wrote:If you do sleep out under the stars, make sure you lay a rope around your sleeping bag on the ground to keep the snakes away. :D. (True Grit)
Was that in the original True Grit with John Wayne, or the remake?
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Apr 08 2012 12:10 pm

I can't remember. I haven't seen either one of them in awhile. Both of them were good.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Apr 10 2012 10:55 am

Taking into account the supplies I still need to buy (food, extra batteries, ect) and including the 4 liters of water I will be packing in, looks like my pack weight is coming in at just under 40 pounds. Not exactly ultra-light but I am taking a dSLR body, two lenses and a tripod.
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by paulhubbard » Apr 10 2012 11:02 am

At least you have your priorities straight! :) Who needs a sleeping bag anyways? :zzz:
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by dsotm » Apr 14 2012 3:38 pm

hippiepunkpirate wrote:Oh, for water purification, my two hiking partners are both bringing filters, so they said not to worry about bringing my own.
I always bring iodine just in case

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te_wa
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Re: 2 Nights in the GC - Bare Essentials

Post by te_wa » Apr 14 2012 4:13 pm

^iodine basically sucks at killing many bacteria and viruses. Escherichia Coli will laugh at you! Giardia Intestinalis will mock you!
try katadyn MicroPur tablets (only clo2 treatment approved (not just recognized) by the EPA). They work harder, make water taste better, and have longer than the 3 month shelf life of iodine since they are individually wrapped. cost for the latter is about $1 per gallon of water treated.

40 lb pack WILL make you re-direct your needs in the outback. Such a pack is the reason why I went UL. Once you admit you have a problem, you can work on the 12 step "traditional backpacker" program to lighten your load. Understanding the problem is the first step to the cure.

:sl:
:D

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