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Topic: Noob about to hike the Grand Canyon, South-North< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2012, 5:26 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi guys, this is my first post so I'll throw a little intro in as well. My name is Moe and I'm totally new to backpacking, though I spent 6 years in the Marines with a unit specializing in mountain warfare. At the end of the month I'm flying out to AZ to spend a week hiking the Grand Canyon, South Rim to North Rim. It's been on my bucket list, and I got a last min invite from a group for me and my girlfriend so despite not being fully prepared we jumped on it. Just today I finished assembling gear, and am currently fine tuning my gear and testing my pack. My buddies are swearing they are going to get their total gear load down to 25 lbs or less, though I'm struggling with it. My pack, minus water, is currently at 37 lbs, and my gf is at 32 lbs. I have scrutinized everything, to the point of throwing every piece of gear on a postage scale to give it a weight/necessity value, and other than pushing my food supply, I just can't shave any more weight. I already dumped our heavy bags and mats for lighter gear (old ones were 10lbs total, new ones down to 3.5 total). Tent is about 3 lbs each. Minimal clothing, lightweight stove, water purifer, etc. I'm using 2 MREs each per day for food (broken down and all unwanted/unneeded items culled out). The MREs are heavy, but I couldn't find a comparable calorie/weight meal. The pack I carried in the Marines was around 80 lbs, so I know what it's like to struggle up a mountain with a heavy load, but that was 15 years ago and I was 35 lbs lighter and in much better shape. I'm now 39, 6.3" and while not athletic, I'm not out of shape either, and my gf is 26 and in good shape. So having said all this, am I being unrealistic in trying to knock 10 more pounds off this thing for a 7 day hike? Quick gear list is 3 pairs sox/underwear/pants/shirts/1 fleece, all lightweight nylon. First Aid Kit, whisperlite stove and small pot, sweetwater mini purifier, shammie towel, TP/wipes, poncho, 550 chord, leatherman, camelback, Gregory Baldor large pack (6.6lbs). Obviously I could spend some serious bucks on lighter gear, or skimp on food. The guys I'm going with are all in their 60's, though they hike a lot. Any advice or tips are appreciated, sorry for the very long post.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2012, 6:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"a comparable calorie/weight meal" I sort of find that hard to believe since the only difference (other than the preposterous amount of trash which you've said you're already dumping) is that MRE's are hydrated while freeze dried and dehydrated meals are not. And water has pretty much zero calories while at 2 lbs per quart it's got plenty of weight. So for any campsite with available water, the water in the MRE is just wasted effort. A LOT of wasted effort for a 7 day trek.

The other thing that leaps out is a 6 lb. shelter weight (is how I'm interpreting 3 lbs "each"). That may be necessary but I'd really want to check whether that's too much shelter for the expected conditions before giving up on the shelter being somewhere you can save on burden. What are the other people carrying in terms of shelter? A tarp or something equally telling?

You don't need multiple shirts or pants if that's what the list says. You'll be sleeping on dirt: tough it out. :)
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2012, 9:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's not really a tough it out trip, I'll have my GF with me, who has never done anything like this, and we will be sleeping at 3 of the usual tourist campsites, so there's that privacy thing when we wanna get freaky. I could go spend some bucks on a lighter tent, but I just spent $90 at REI on freeze dried meals for a net weight savings of only 2 lbs over the MRE's I replaced. (I tossed half the MRE meals).
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2012, 10:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just in case you didn't know, being a beginner and all that, trail reports have to include details of when you and the GF get freaky.  And don't forget the number one rule of the mountains...pictures or it didn't happen
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2012, 10:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Whoa.  40+ pounds for a R2R in September?  Yeah, waaay too much stuff.  First of all, you're doing a R2R over an entire week?  That's a lot of days just to do a R2R -- what's your itinerary exactly?

Keep in mind that you need VERY little gear to hike in the Grand Canyon in late September.  It will be hot, rain is unlikely and there are no bugs.  So, things to consider:

- Shelter.  6lb for the two of you is really overkill.  I hike with just a tarp.  If you have double-wall tents that can be quick-set with just the fly and footprint, leave the body at home.  Or if you can afford to spend a little $$, something like a Shangrila2 would give you some privacy at camp plus protection if you need it.  It's inexpensive and, without the inner nest, would weigh about 1.5lb for the two of you:
http://www.golite.com/Shangri-La-2-Tent-P46826.aspx

- Sleeping bag and pad.  You don't have them on your list.  I'm guessing you've got heavy stuff.  40-45* bags are plenty.  You will need pads but the cheap blue foam pads will work and they're light.  Campsaver.com has Z-Lites (irregulars) on sale for under $20.

- Food.  I don't know how many calories you think you need but don't take MRE's; take freeze-dried meals.  You just add boiled water to re-hydrate.  Read this thread for ideas/brands:
http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....1120968

- Water.  Assuming you don't have any Colorado River camps (which you normally wouldn't on a R2R), just take chemicals, like this:
http://www.rei.com/product....e-of-30
There's potable water along Bright Angel and North Kaibab trails.  Other water sources are clear-running creeks.  You need to treat but filtering/purifying isn't necessary.  Expect to carry 2-3 L of water most times but I'd have enough soft containers to carry a gallon if necessary.  

- First aid kit doesn't have to be crazy.  There are full infirmaries at Indian Garden and Phantom Ranch and probably at Cottonwood.  They're well stocked, can run IV's, etc.

- Don't need gadgets like leathermans and the like.  Take a small knife, a little bit of cord, duct tape, headlamp.  Don't forget eating utensils.

- Clothes.  It's so dry in the Canyon that things will dry in a flash.  You only need one change of clothes that you can rinse out.  No soap allowed in any of the Canyon creeks.  I take a bandana but have never needed a towel.  Make sure your footwear fit well with room in front of your toes.

- Pack.  Wow, your pack is really heavy but at least it will carry comfortably.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2012, 9:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

yeah, seems huge to me and I'm not an expert by any stretch.  For comparison, however, I'm going next week.  South Kaibab to the river and BAC, back up the Bright Angel Trail 2 days later.  My pack, with water, is around 23lbs.  I'm not using top tier gear, either.  

Some thoughts from having done this all of once and about to go a 2nd time.  I'm taking 1 pair of shorts to hike in, 1 pair of running shorts to sleep in.  It might get chilly at the rim, but the majority of the hike will be in comfy weather.  If you're taking the standard corridor trails (which I assume you are), you can ditch the toiletries since there are outhouses at several points along the trails.  Also, like TigerFan said, good water is available in many places (except the South Kaibab trail).  If you really feel the need, grab some Potable Aqua tablets, but I wouldn't think they'd be necessary.

I agree with the others in that an itinerary and gearlist would help.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2012, 10:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Indytechnerd @ Sep. 13 2012, 9:43 am)
QUOTE
Also, like TigerFan said, good water is available in many places (except the South Kaibab trail).  If you really feel the need, grab some Potable Aqua tablets, but I wouldn't think they'd be necessary.

I would always have backup purification (chemicals) if spending any nights at Cottonwood (North Kaibab.)  Indian Garden is actually the most reliable since the spring is there.  Bright Angel Campground is pretty good too (but had a few breaks this year.)  So, you can arguably risk going without backup on a rim-to-river off the South Rim.  North Kaibab is a 14-mile stretch, however, and the pipe does break.  You should have backup for a R2R.

"Doing laundry" on a rim-to-river or R2R in warm weather usually means a soak wearing everything in Bright Angel Creek at the campground or a shower at Ribbon Falls.  I don't bother with a change of clothes for a 2-3 day'er either.  But for a week, I usually take one change.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2012, 12:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I also think it might be easier to recommend, if we knew your route & where you are stopping.  Nobody has mentioned this yet, but I think the water tastes bad, so take plenty of powder for your drinks.  If you camp along the river, a portable bucket is handy to let the silt collect on the bottom.  If multiple people are going, some gear can be for the whole group.  We always had a stove & water filter for every 2 persons.  I also agree about ditching all the MREs, needless weight imo.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 17 2012, 11:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sorry guys I was at bike week for the past 4 days. I spoke with one of the guys who is going, he's done this several times and after looking over my gear list he says I'm fine. A good chunk of my weight is food, and even after replacing the MRE main meals with freeze dried stuff I only saved 1 lb. We are two days hiking out, and he said we can feast on all the extra food before we hike out to lighten up the loads. I tossed the extra clothes, and while I'm packing a 1lb water purifier pump, he said if he had one he'd take it because he doesn't like the taste of the water. My tent is not a backpacking tent at 6 lbs, but it's quick to setup and it's free. I may still buy a lighter tent if I see one I like. Here is the itinerary:

1. Indian Garden Camp
2. Horn Creek Camp
3. Bright Angel Camp
4. Bright Angel Camp
5. Cottonwood Camp
6. Cottonwood Camp
7. Out

We are taking a ton of time to do this, because most of our party is in their 60's, though they are all experienced hikers, they take their time. Thanks to all you guys for the links and advice, I'm not at all familiar with the gear, and my sleeping bag and mat were huge, I replaced them with much lighter versions (3lbs total vs 8 lbs for the old stuff).
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