Spring/Fall Grand Canyon Backpacking List

Grand Canyon Backpacking Spring/Fall Gear.

This picture can change slightly from trip to trip, but it gives you an idea! Note, the photo actually includes 8+ days of food, a bear can, and extra socks/shoes in anticipation of extended snowy, wet conditions, items beyond the base weight described below.

GC 2015 - Tanner to Grandview MR DSC_0891Here’s my basic gear list for backpacking in the Spring and Fall in the Grand Canyon. I tweak the insulation layers depending on how close to summer I am and the weather forecast right before I leave.  I’ve provided measured weights for the items listed (some, weighed with an appropriate amount of dirt integrated in!)  Because I’m usually doing multi-day trips, with a lot of food, and carrying Grand Canyon-appropriate amounts of water (often a lot!), I try to keep the rest of the weight down!

Holler if you have questions, and I’ll do my best to answer.

Items in green really stand out for me as favorite/best-in-class items.

Pack/Shelter/Sleeping System: 88.8 ounces (5lbs, 8.8oz)

Item Ounces Notes
Hyperlight Mountain Gear Southwest 2400 (Tall) 28.8 Hyperlight Mountain Gear makes some world class adventure gear. I really like the Southwest 2400 pack. It handled even the maximum weight comfortably. It was more than up to the task durability wise. Very impressive in a sub-2 lb. package. And the dirty white makes it look like something I stapled together in my garage for bonus style points! 😉
Trash compactor bag liner 2.4 Pack liner. While the HMG pack
fabric is waterproof, the pack itself is not completely. The liner gives added assurance, for down quilt and dry clothes in particular, that stuff will stay dry. (I think the trash compactor liner works better than a pack cover in extended rain.)
Essential Elements shoulder strap bottle carrier 0.8 Securely held 750ml bottle. Fit was perhaps too “perfect”–sometimes took a moments wrestling to to get the bottle in.
Essential Elements shoulder strap camera caselder strap camera holder 1.0 Work great. Very Convenient. For phone-camera or compact camera. When I’m bringing a bigger camera, I use a Peak Design gizmo to clip my camera on the strap.
Hyperlight Mountain Gear Square Flat Tarp 10.7 One of the most versatile lightweight shelters out there, it can be pitched many different ways. The only downside for some is the lack of an integrated bug net. If you really want a net, check out the Zpacks Duplex.
Stakes in sack (4 MSR Ground Hogs) 2.1 The MSR Groundhogs are great stakes. Not the lightest option, they were more practical and durable than the titanium wire stakes I used to carry.
Sleeping Gear
Thermarest NeoAir (Large) 17.2 With two added cords for quilt attachment. Super comfortable! When it’s going to be colder, I use the NeoAir XTherm.
Katabatic Gear Palisade Quilt (Long/Wide) 22.8 A few ounces heavier than the 35-degree Western Mountaineering sleeping bag it replaces, but wow, I love the Palisade quilt! As a thrashing side-sleeper, I found it extremely comfortable. On the one sub-freezing night I’m aware of, I was toasty without even cinching it down. I can see this easily going down to 20-degrees comfortably. For warmer temps, I still use the WM bag, open like a quilt, because it’s a few ounces lighter.
Sea to Summit Air Pillow (Small) 3.0 Not pushing the limits of temperature range, I could have used clothes–but this pillow is more comfortable. I hike better, especially on multi-day outings if I sleep better.

Other Things In or On the Pack: 145.4 ounces (9lbs, 1.4oz…but varies!)

Item Ounces Notes
JetBoil Sol w/ .8L Cup 11.8 Probably not ideal for a one-person trip, but I find it very good choice for 2-4 people. Works in the katabatic winds that seem to kick up every evening just around the time I’m thinking of boiling water.
Sil Mug 2.3 To drink my coffee! Extra weight, but I just like it that way.
Bic Lighter 0.8 The piezo igniter on the Jetboil is very unrealiable.
Sea to Summit Alpha Long Spoon – Long 0.4 Great for reaching deep into food bags. I attach a loop of Glowire to the handle to make it easier to see–otherwise the dull metal spoon just disappears against a variety of backgrounds.
Fuel (Starting weight varies, usually ~7oz.)
Packed Clothes
Smartwool Microlight Boxer Brief Underwear (Medium)derwear boxer briefs 3.1 Sleeping/spare while the other pair is drying.
Darn Tough 1/4, Light Cushion Socks (Large) 2.2 Extra hiking socks, and/or clean, dry socks to wear at night. It seems a lot of West Coasters aren’t yet tuned into the fact that Darn Tough socks are comfortable and durable. They seem to have a tighter weave than Smartwool and some other brands, helping keep dirt out and blisters at bay. And their Lifetime Guarantee? Simple and hassle-free. Turn in your worn out socks and get a new pair!
Wool long johns 5.6 I generally change into these at night, as much to keep my sleeping bag clean as for warmth.
Ibex Indie Hoody (XL) 12.6 Love this piece of gear! The Indie Hoody a very versatile base layer or primary layer. Huge comfort range. Treated with permethrin, the long sleeves and hood were great at keeping the mozzies away, except in a couple of insane locations. and very stylish.
Montbell UL Down Jacket (XL) 8.5 While I’ve thought of upgrading this for years, it has remained faithful. The jacket makes a nice light insulating layer.
Wool hat 3.5 (varies depending on hat!) I like a beanie instead of a hood if it isn’t too cold. I sleep in this most nights.
Outdoor Research Realm Jacket (XL) 11.8 Rain/Wind Gear: The OR Realm is awesome, breathable, dry, and light. I could hike in this without swimming in my own sweat. Regarding sizing, I’m normally a large-tall, but the very slim cut Realm fits me great in XL. Note, for 2018, the Realm has been discontinued and replaced in the OR line by the Interstellar Jacket. I’ve had the chance to try it on. Fit is similar to the Realm, and it looks great. I don’t envision field-testing it though, because my Realm is still in great shape.
Mountain Hardware Stretch Ozonic Rain Pants Large-Longch Ozonic Pants, Large-Tall 10.5 (Only bring when I expect it to be very cold or wet–these usually don’t make the trip.) Rain/Wind Gear: Comfortable, super breathable, and almost long enough for my long legs.
Misc. Bag
Silnylon dryish bag 1.0 Bag to hold all the first aid and small stuff together. I really need to switch this out to a cuben fiber sack at some point.
First Aid Kit 4.3 In Small Aloksak, including: Blister Pads, Band-Aids, Alcohol Pads & Neosporin, Dipenhydramine Tablets x8 (50 mg), Chewable Pepto x4, Lomotil x4, Acetominophen 325mg x10, Ibuprofen 200 mg x20, Aleve 200mg x15 Diamox 125mg x10, Valerian Root tabs x10
Leukotape 2.6 Biggish roll! But I shared with a few different hikers in need.
Repair Kit
2 Safety Pins, Needle & ThreadThread in a Small Ziploc 0.2 Sewing Kit, First Aid…and somehow I lost my safety pins between the hotel in Mammoth and Day 7 on the trail.
~30 feet 2mm Lawson GloWire 0.8 Used a couple of times for unique tarp pitching, and once as clothes line
Tenacisous Tape (24″) 0.5 Fix-it–only repair this trip with the top to my Smartwater bottle.
Small roll Gorilla Tape 1.2 Different fix-it
Small Zip Ties x 4 0.3 For other things that need fixing (Used two ties and some Leukotape to repair a woman’s boot–the sole had delaminated-a pretty solid repair than only had to last her a day and a
Small Carabiner 0.9
Aquamira tabletsnt tablets 1.2 Back-up water purification
Iodine tablets 1.2 Back-up water purification
Ear Plugs in Tiny Case 0.3 Just in case
Firestarter 0.8 Spark can light stove. Tinder.
Brunton TruArc 3 Compass 1.2 The most basic compass…
Micro Leatherman 2.0 Knife, scissors, file, flathead screwdriver, tweezers & a toothpick…
Travel Toothbrush w/ head cover 0.3 To brush my teeth…
Toothpaste tube 0.5
ID/Cash/Cards/Permits in small ziplockn small ziplock 1.5
Map/beta 2.0 (varies) I always have a hard copy
Closed cell foam sit pad 0.5 Use as sit pad during the day
and to supplement/protect my NeoAir at night.
Glasses in Hardshell case, plus micrfiber cloth 3.2
1 Gallon Ziploc Bag 0.4 First Garbage Bag
Sawyer Mini Water Filter 1.8 While I’ve used the mini for several years, I’m leaning toward replacing with the slightly bigger and heavier, but twice as fast, full-sized Sawyer.
2L Evernew Bottle, Gravity hose, plunger, spare cap, in a small sackty Hose, Backflush plunger, spare dromedary cap, small
sil stuff sack
5.8 Dirty water bag, and gravity set up.
MSR Dromeday with hose 5.8 I still like the bladder with hose when I’m a long way between water stops.
750 ml Smartwater Bottlee 1.1 Drinking vessel…
Toilet Paper in Ziploc Bagg + Dirty Bag 3.9
Deuce of Spades Trowelrowel 0.6 To dig a hole…works well enough
Purell 1.1 Kill the nasties on my hands!
Lotions and Potions (Varies: sunscreen, bug juice, body glide) 3.5 (varies) Stored in hipbelt pockets
Lip Balm 0.2 Stored in hipbelt pockets
Black Diamond Storm Headlampeadlamp, w/ 4AAA batteries 4.1 To light the way… I’ve been
impressed with the durability–it’s been submerged in water canyoneering many
mini Space pen 0.8 Ink doesn’t freeze or run in water. Used it to jot down notes about my gear so that I could tell you later, 😉
mini sharpie 0.2 In part for emergencies, I’ve also used this to make a sign for hitch hiking to/from trailhead.
iPhone 7 w/ case 6.3 Camera/GPS/and communicator. Or dedicated camera–weight varies!
Garmin InReach Explorer+ w/biner 8.8 A newer edition to the kit, and doesn’t go on every trip. But works well in the GC environment. (Not as strong a signal as a true PLB, like the ResQLink, but provides for two-way communication.)
Large cotton hankerchief 1.4 Gets heavy use for a variety of things.

Worn or Carried (not in Pack): 85.2 ounces (5lbs, 5.2oz)

Item Ounces Notes
Darn Tough 1/4, Light Cushion Socks (Large) 2.2 West Coasters, listen up. Darn Tough socks are darn tough! Comfortable and durable. They seem to have a tighter weave than Smartwool and some other brands, helping keep dirt out and blisters at bay.
Smartwool Boxer Briefs (M)(9″ Inseam) 3.1 All day comfort! Once you go wool, it’s hard to go back.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts (34) w/ Mountain Hardware Belt 8.2 Tough, breathable, water-resistant, fast-drying, good sun coverage, light. The OR Ferrosi are perhaps my favorites shorts ever (and I’ve tried a lot!).
Ibex Echo T-shirt (L) 5.5 This is my favorite hiking T-shirt ever. Wool. Broad comfort range. 1/2 zip for venting. Collar for warmth/bug protection. Alas, Ibex doesn’t make it any more, and this one doesn’t have much life left. So I’ll sub in another wool T. (I’ll be testing Icebreaker’s Strike Half-Zip as a replacement.)
Smartwool Sleeves (L/XL) 1.9 Very glad I had these. Expand comfort range of T even further. Great on cool morning. Great on warm days–sun protection that feels good. On hot days, awesome, as I wet them in
streams (along with hat and shirt), and it was like walking in air-conditioning. I preferred the weight of Ibex’s Indie sleeves, but I can’t find them for sale anymore.
Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat (L)


2.7 I think this is the best of the goofy looking sun hats. Wide brim, great back-of-neck protection for NOBOers, good ventilation. It stayed on it the wind. (I found the OR Sun Runner too hot, not enough air movement.)
Sunglasses 1.3 Don’t leave home without ’em. Nothing fancy prescription, polarized sunglasses. If I’d been heading South, I think I would have preferred good Class 3 glacier glasses.
La Sportiva TX3, with Superfeet Insoles (12.5) 33.2 I really like these shoes.
https://mikeshikes.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/review-la-sportiva-tx3/ The trail is so good on the JMT, I probalby would have been fine with Altra’s Lone Peaks–but that pack was heavy with 8 days of food starting from Horsehoe Meadows.
Dirty Girls 1.2 Help keep feet cleaner and pebbles out of the shoes–and lots of wild fabric choices.
Black Diamond Leather Palm Gloves (XL) 3.4 The specific hand warmers change depending on conditions, but I usually have something–my fingers get cold. And something I like protection from rough rock.
Timex cheapo watch 1.4 I use this to gauge distance, time until dark, and alarm for early morning starts (e.g., Whitney and Half-Dome).
Leki Corklite Poles 18.3 My weight puts me above the comfort level for carbon poles, and these aluminum guys are pretty tough.
Tether for knife, whistle 0.2
Storm Safety Whistle 0.2 On a small piece of GloWire in shorts pocket.
Knife 2.4 On a small piece of GloWire in shorts pocket. Redundant, but I use this more than the micro Leatherman

John Muir Trail gear - worn

Now add food weight (1.5 – 2 lbs per day, depending on length of trip and other variables) and water weight (often 4 liters in the morning, sometimes even more!, and when I’m lucky, less, at 2.2 lbs per liter–water weight can be a big deal!)


About Mike Rogers

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