We designate our April trips and our trips that require a hike in or out of Grand Canyon as “hike intensive.” If you’re booked on one of these trips, you’ve probably received at least one email by now that talks a little bit more about the strenuous hiking you’ll be doing on your trip. So what extra gear do you need to bring for these trips?
Not a whole lot. If you’re hiking into Grand Canyon at the start of your raft adventure, we strongly recommend hiking poles. If you’re booked on a different type of hike-intensive trip and you’re wondering whether you should bring your poles … that’s a personal call. I like to have my hands free for balance on the daily side hikes, so I don’t like to carry poles. Some people do like to use poles on all their hikes. If you’re comfortable using hiking poles, feel free to bring them on the river with you! The guides can find a place to store them on the boats so you don’t have to worry about fitting them in your provided dry bag. Just don’t forget to grab ’em before you leave the river!
What about special hiking shoes? Well, if you’re hiking in or out of Grand Canyon, you will want to have a pair of dedicated hiking shoes for that hike. I like to hike in comfortable running shoes, rather than heavier/stiffer hiking boots, but that’s also a personal preference. If your river sandals are really, really, really well broken in, you probably can get away with using those on most of the daily side hikes … but we’re betting there will be at least a few side hikes where you’ll be glad to have an alternative to your sandals. Again, these don’t have to be anything fancy — just a beat-up old pair of sneakers is perfectly appropriate, as long as they still have some decent tread on them.
Special daypack for those side hikes? Again, personal call. If you have a small CamelBak or something like it, sure, those can be handy on hike-intensive trips. It’s nice to have a hands-free water source sometimes. But do you need a daypack like this? Nah. We want you to bring some type of water container — whether that’s a bladder/hose system like a CamelBak or just a Nalgene bottle that you’ve looped a nylon strap through and slung over your shoulder is up to you. The guides will carry snacks for sharing on the longer day hikes, so you don’t really need to worry about bringing your own food on those. The guides also have a small first-aid kit they bring on these longer day hikes. So, really, the only thing you might need a daypack for (other than for water) is for little odds and ends: a place to stuff your camera or your fleece, if you get hot, or a place to carry your sunscreen. Not exactly necessary but, if you want to bring a small daypack, go for it.
And that’s about it! If you have any questions about other stuff, just give us a call!