August 24, 2018
The following are some notes on what I've got inside my pack. Being slightly thriftier than most, I am definitely not the most ultralight hiker out there, and with a base weight of 14 pounds I don't even qualify for the renowned title of ultralight. Just... sort of light. For a quick breakdown of what I'm taking, head on over to LighterPack to see a fancy chart with the weight of each and every thing, down to the ounce.
This is a great pack. Comfortable, with giant hipbelt pockets for all the snacks. It's the same one I used on the PCT and though it's a little beat up, it still works great. I'm expecting the canyons to chew it to shreds, but if I can make it the entire Hayduke on this pack I'll be stoked. 63 L capacity is plenty, even with the long stretches between resupply and water. For a pack liner, which I'll need to slide into a few plunge pools in the Grand Canyon (and hopefully not for the rain, since I expect that to happen almost never), I'm just using a big ol' trash bag.
I love this tent. I've had it for nearly three years, and it's always been plenty spacious for me and my pack. Plus it has a sweet awning I can prop up and essentially have a luxurious patio space. Initially I'd planned to take my Black Diamond FirstLight which is terrible in the rain but is freestanding (so I can camp on the slickrock), but it's a whole half pound heavier and I'm a baby about carrying extra weight.
My new luxurious sleeping bag! I got this baby in the spring and I love it. It's warm and cozy and pretty lightweight. It rates 20° which means I'll be plenty cozy unless it snows on the Grand Canyon North Rim.
For the first time ever I am hiking with not only my cell phone, but a personal locator beacon (PLB). It's remote out there, and I would rather not get stranded and die alone. I won't use my cell phone except for when I'm questioning my navigation skills and need to check my old-school paper maps against a GPS (so probably all the time), and I won't use my PLB unless I'm facing certain death and need a rescue. My PLB will also leave a GPS track of the entire route which I'll totally nerd out on when I finish.
A note on PLB devices: There are oodles of stories of people activating their beacons because they are cold, or just tired, or because their water tasted funny. Or even more reasonable cases like they sprained their ankles and it's tough to walk out on their own (now there's a good character building experience!). But here's when you really need to use your beacon: when you are at risk of losing LIFE or LIMB. That's it. False alarms are a pretty big—and expensive—issue for search and rescue teams. Perhaps I'll rant more about this later...
Another unique item for the Hayduke is a 30' handline. There are some non-technical scrambles, chimneys, and tricky spots where it's necessary to haul your pack up or lower it down.
I'm taking a pair of trekking poles, which is out-of-the-ordinary for me because I don't ever hike with them. But there are a few crossings in large streams (the Dirty Devil near Hite, Tapeats Creek in the Grand Canyon), plus some quicksand here and there (?!), so these poles will come in handy. Plus I can use them to set up my tent!
From the bottom up: Altra Superior shoes, Darn Tough socks, brand spankin' new NorthFace shorts (because they were on clearance and have a pocket in which I can store maps), an old sports bra I wore on the entire PCT, and a thrift store Dad-style (or perhaps Heaps style) button-up shirt. And a hat. I fully expect all of these clothes to turn to dust by the end of the Hayduke, chewed up and spit out by the sandstone canyons of the Colorado Plateau. Additional clothing, carried in my pack, will be a wool baselayer set, an extra pair of hiking socks, one extra pair of underwear, a Feathered Friends puffy jacket, and a wool Buff to keep my head warm. At night I tie up my Buff and fold in my puffy to serve as a very cozy little pillow. Oh yea, and camp socks. (The best socks.)
Just like on the PCT, I'll be stoveless for the Hayduke, which saves me a heck of a lot of weight from a stove, fuel, and large pot. Instead I'm using a plastic jar (Sunbutter FTW!) to eat from. Classy, I know. I've prepared some dehydrated meals for my food caches and resupply boxes, which take up to 30 minutes to reconstitute in my pack at the end of the day, and will purchase easy-to-reconstitute food when I resupply at grocery stores in towns. My Sunbutter jar, a spork, and a collapsible cup for instant coffee/electrolytes weigh a whole... three ounces? Four? Basically nothing.
I'll bring my Sawyer Squeeze Mini water filter because it's easy and it's light, but I don't expect to be able to use it much. The water on the Colorado Plateau is so silty it'll clog this little filter up in just one squeeze. For those times, I'm bringing Aquamira tabs. And to be quite honest I probably won't filter much anyway. Not that I condone that or anything, but sometimes I think one of my many superpowers is immunity against giardia. (Another is spotting microtrash. Leave No Trace, y'all!) Or maybe I've just been very lucky over the hundreds (thousands?) of times I've drank water without filtering. There are times when I'll have to carry 50 miles worth of water, about two days or so, and for that I'm bringing a lightweight dromedary bag, in addition to the hydration reservoir that lives in my pack. In total I'll have a capacity of 9 L.
I'm taking my camera, a little mirrorless Nikon 1 J5. I purchased it for my PCT hike because at the time it was the smallest camera that shot in RAW mode. I'm also bringing a tiny tripod (for instagram selfies, duh) and an extra lens. The whole kit is light for a camera setup, I suppose, but probably worth it. Also a LuminAID to charge my phone, and a headlamp, of course.
I've made all my maps on Caltopo, with data pulled from a handful of previous Haydukers (namely Puppy, with a few note from Andrew Skurka, and some alternates from Jamal Green). Maybe I'll write more about the mapping process in a future post. (If you aren't familiar with it, Caltopo is AMAZING and is the best thing to happen to backcountry trip planning since fruit snacks.) A big 'ol stack 'o maps will be printed at FedEx and included in my maildrops and food caches. And to use those maps, I'll need a compass. As a backup, I'm using the Gaia GPS app on my phone, pre-loaded with my Caltopo maps.
This is boring. Contacts, glasses, toothpaste, toothbrush, all in a tiny little stuff sack. Yes I shaved the end off my toothbrush, but just so that it fits in my stuff sack, not because I wanted to save 1/4 ounce.