Hikernut’s Grand Canyon Companion Designed especially for the first-time day hiker or backpacker, this common sense guide contains everything needed to enjoy a fresh perspective and get below the rim of one
Can you run a marathon? Do you think that means you’re in enough shape to hike the Grand Canyon? THINK AGAIN! To a marathon runner, the three main corridor trails are relatively short. The South Kaibab
There’s isn’t a camera out there that can capture the remarkable beauty of the Grand Canyon. However, the GoPro HD HERO 960 Wearable HD Video Camcorder comes pretty darn close. I’m taking this wearable HD Video Camcorder on my next Grand Canyon Hike and here’s why…
The GoPro HD HERO 960 allows you to record HD video at selectable resolutions such as 960p, 720p and 480p. One cool feature is that you can capture 5.0MP still images at 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 second intervals for amazingly clear images. This is great for hands free picture taking. Of course you can set it to take single shots, triple shots and it has a self timer for “traditional” photo taking. The one thing I don’t like about “regular” digital cameras is how long you have to wait between shots. The GoPRro HD Hero 960 is built to capture all the action so no need to worry about missing a thing.
When you’re on your Grand Canyon hike, there’s going to be a lot of steps and obstacles, and there’s no doubt you’ll be dropping and handling your backpack a lot during breaks. Not to mention that there’s always a chance for rain. You’ll need a camera that will handle the stress of your Grand Canyon hike. No need to worry with the GoPro HD HERO 960. It’s shockproof and the included housing protects it from rocks and other hazards and makes it waterproof up to 180’/60m. I wouldn’t be surprised if it survived a fall off the canyon into Colorado river. Of course I don’t recommend doing that. What’s great is that the glass lens and housings are replaceable and inexpensive.
Weight: 3.3 oz. with battery; 5.9 oz. with housing
Read what another person said about the GoPro HD Hero 960:
“Excellent Action Camera” – By captnjack
“This camera is ideal for anyone that wants to document your activities from POV’s that are not possible with a standard video or still camera. It is rugged with housings for damage protection in most any condition. Quality of the video and stills are excellent and rival most any video/still camera available…”
CONCLUSION: For your Grand Canyon hike and all your outdoor adventures, this camera has it all. With the remarkable HD quality video and stills and all the features, it’s hard to believe that the price beats “regular” cameras with half the features. I’ve always wanted to take first person videos of my hikes but didn’t want to carry around a heavy camera or three different cameras to do three different functions. The GoPro HD HERO 960 Wearable HD Video Camcorder does it all.
Food and water should be your top priority when you plan your Grand Canyon hike. The trails are long and rigorous so you’ll be using up a lot of energy and burning a lot of calories. It’s recommended that you eat about 500 calories an hour. However, you should eat in small amounts so your body can process the food more efficiently. There’s no doubt that you’ll be taking a lot of breaks during your hike for pictures or for resting your muscles. This would be a good time to drink water and munch on a granola bar or salty snack. Even some some cookies or salty chips will work but remember they crush easily in your pack. I really DO NOT recommend bringing energy bars if you’re hiking during the hot weather. We learned the hard way that the hot Grand Canyon weather will quickly turn a bag full of energy bars into a blob of warm chocolate goo in no time.
We brought enough food for 2 full meals a day and enough snacks to last us in between. For my full meals (breakfast and dinner), I brought with me MRE’s (Meal Ready To Eat) which are used by the military as survival food. The civilian version are called “A Packs”. I like MRE’s because it’s a complete meal in one package. You can eat it cold or you can heat them up with an MRE heater which it usually comes with. With the MRE heater and a little water you can heat up your MRE up to 200°F. No need for fire. To me, MRE’s taste a lot better heated up. Even though the weather can get really hot at the Grand Canyon, there’s nothing like rewarding yourself at the end of a long hike with a nice hot dinner. A nice hot MRE for breakfast helps get you going as well. Another good thing about MRE’s is that each meal is contains about 800-1000 calories.
One disadvantage of MRE’s/A Packs is that they get heavy. I also brought along some Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food. The Mountain House meals much lighter to carry and they do taste pretty good. However, you have to make sure you add the right amount of hot water and of course a way to heat up the water. It’s a good a idea to test out a couple MRE’s/A Packs and Mountain House meals before your hike. That way you know how to heat them up, the right amount of water to use, and if you even like the taste. You don’t want to be in the middle of your hike trying to figure out for the first time how to heat up your food.
So the food that I originally brought consisted of 2 MRE’s/A Packs per day for breakfast and dinner. Snacks included packets of tuna, crackers, energy bars (they melted!) packets of fruit, and beef jerky. I’m ashamed to say, I also brought a can of cheese whiz, a couple of SPAM singles, and powdered Gatorade, and cooking oil. Why did I bring those? I had this wild notion that I’ll be sitting happy at camp eating cheese and crackers and then cooking up pancakes (which Juan brought) in the morning. That wasn’t the case. I was so tired after day one all I thought about was the added weight of the extra weight. I also had the bright idea to store the crackers and oil in Tupperware. Another bad idea. It just added more bulk and more weight and the crackers were still crushed and oil leaked everywhere! Oil spilled inside your pack cooking in the Grand Canyon sun did not give a very pleasant odor. Lessons learned.
At the last minute brought a couple Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food meals just in case. The first time I tried them was during our hike and I had no idea what I was doing. The first one came out very watery and cold. That’s why I recommend testing everything before you’re hike.
NOTE: When you’re at camp, be sure to secure your food in a stuff sack and hang it up to keep animals from getting to it. Depending on the campsite, there could be storage containers that you can use.
So, for our next Grand Canyon hike, my food list will still include MRE’s but because they are so heavy I might limit it to one a day and bring more Mountain House meals. The fruit packets I brought ended up becoming heavy so I may try bringing dried fruit instead. I’ll also add more crackers, trail mix (no chocolate because it melts), and some granola. This isn’t set in stone yet but the goal is to stay as lightweight as possible and only bring food that will provide energy and nutrition. Also, this time we might consider having dinner at Phantom Ranch located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. If you reserve early, Phantom Ranch will have a dinner waiting for you when you reach the bottom. They offer a steak, veggie, or stew. A great reward for a long hike. They also provide sack lunches for the next day to take with you as you continue your hike, again, you have to reserve early. Snacks, first aid items, and souvenirs are available too but quantities are limited and with a high price. Be sure to bring money. Consider taking advantage of the food at Phantom Ranch. It’s less you have to carry. REMEMBER to reserve early.
NOTE: If you’re hiking during the hot months, don’t bring anything that’s perishable.
Remember food and water can either make or break your Grand Canyon hike. Not only do you need to eat, but you need to eat foods that will give you the energy. You’ll need to replace the salt that you will be sweating out during your hike. Salty snacks and sports drinks will take care of that. Finally, consider the weight of the food you’ll be carrying. Bringing too much food will make you’re backpack heavy and if not eaten, it’s more for you to carry back up.
The cork grips make it comfortable to use and the anti-shock absorption is necessary for your long hikes especially if you plan to hike the Grand Canyon. Traction is important when it comes to hiking poles and thanks to the carbide tips, these poles will give you the traction you need. The ‘Quick-twist” locking mechanism also gives you piece of mind during those times you need to put all your weight on them.
“I purchased two pairs of these polls for our hike up Mt. St. Helens. They worked great. They are easy to expand and detract. They have a great spring in them that allows for a little give when necessary…”
CONCLUSION: The Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro Trekking Poles offer two key features when it comes to hiking poles, lightweight and rugged. You don’t want to the poles to give or collapse when you apply added weight. The Quick-twist locking mechanism locks into place with no worries. They’re not that much expensive at all compared to other hiking poles with similar features which makes these hiking poles worth checking out.
This Teton Sports Scout 3400 internal frame backpack is a good quality backpack for the mid-level hiker. It weighs about 5lbs and has plenty of pockets allowing you to easily get to everything you need. This backpack works great for the young hiker or if you intend on going light.
The Teton Sports Scout 3400 has all the comforts you need in a backpack such as shoulder, lumbar, and waist pads. The shoulder straps are adjustable to fit any size hiker. The backpack is designed to fit the contour of your body which provides a comfortable hiking experience.
Here’s what another hiker said about the Teton Sports Scout:
Great product – By JWood “Backpack was in great shape and provided a fairly comfortable experience (as much as can be expected when backpacking through Europe). I found it to be very durable and easy to pack. Great pack and DEFINITELY worth the price. You can’t beat it…”
CONCLUSION: The Teton Sports Scout 3400 internal frame backpack is great for the mid-level hiker who’s goal is to stay light. The pockets and sleeping bag compartment are a great plus. It also accomidates a hydration bladder which is important especially when you need to carry a lot of water on your hike. For the price, size, and weight, this backpack is worth taking on your next hike.
The Apple iPod MP3 Player has opened up a whole new world for portable music and entertainment. It seems like everyone has an iPod now including myself. I have to admit, it took me 5 generations before jumping on the iPod band wagon. But now that I have, I can’t believe I lived without one for so long. All my music, audio books, and videos stored in one small digital device. It tunes out my co-workers when I’m trying to focus on work, it gets my mind distracted as I go on my long runs, and it keeps me entertained as I sit in traffic. But what about taking your
Apple iPod with you during your Grand Canyon hike? Depending on what type of iPod you have,you have the ability to do so much. From GPS to apps that track your hikes, I can see the advantage for taking along your iPod during your hiking adventure. I can see both advantages and disadvantages, but what do you think?
Personally, I prefer to stay one with nature and enjoy every sight and sound the trail has to offer. It’s not everyday that I get to go out into the sunshine, smell the fresh air, and experience the outdoors. I use the time to be with my thoughts. The Grand Canyon is so spectacular and overwhelming, sometimes it’s hard not to feel spiritual. As much as I like listening to Lady Gaga while working out at the gym, I’m not sure it’s the right soundtrack for a hike. More importantly, listening to music can be distracting and could be dangerous.
The trails at the Grand Canyon are very narrow. You have to share the trail with other hikers in both directions as well as the occasional mule train that passes through. You don’t want to hold up a fellow hiker that wants to pass you because you can’t hear him/her. You especially don’t want to be surprised by a team of mules coming towards you. The mules have the right of way and since the trails are so narrow, you need time to find a place to move out the way. Another reason, is that you don’t want to be distracted and not able to hear any imminent danger such as large animals or someone calling out to you saying that the trail ends at a cliff 300 ft.
So should you bring your Apple iPod with you on your hike? For me, I prefer to be without one. There’s far too much to see, hear, and experience on the trail to be distracted by my iPod. However, during the downtime when you’re at camp, the iPod could keep you entertained. You could view the pictures you took or listen to some camping music. I’m sure there are apps out there where you can log your hike or see how many miles you put it. Also, keep in mind, there’s potential for iPod to become damaged during the hike, and once the battery drains, all you’re left with is added weight.