Way back 2 weeks ago I talked about hiking rim to river and back and/or rim to rim in the Grand Canyon with very little gear. I will save another entry for the training one needs to do in order to prepare. This is the gear you need to consider having in order to make this journey. Remember this just applies to day hikes. A back country permit is required to stay overnight in the Grand Canyon.
You don’t need camping gear because you are not camping. You are staying in the Maswik, Bright Angel or the lodge of your choice the night before you hike. Lodge = sleeping in a bed, eating food made by someone else and watching them clean it up. Alcoholic beverages are discouraged the night before a hike instead you need to hydrate. You could always do what I did last time (for the last time) and stay at the campground. But it involves the ground and the ground is not built for comfort, at least not anymore.
You need a large Camelback or other brand backpack that has room for a hundred ounce bladder to fill with water. It is probably best to splurge a little here. When I went rim to rim in May 08 my friend had the newer, larger, more comfortable Camelback. Mine is small and I had things hanging out all over it. I looked like Jed Clampit hauling his junk to Beverly Hills. As an aside, Jed Clampit is a great band name but someone has already beat you to it.
Hiking in the GC is no time to start a diet or continue with one. This is the time for gorp (almond, cashews, peanuts, raisins and M&Ms) , power bars, granola bars, bagels and peanut butter. Apples are OK but forget the bananas. You are going to snack all day long because if you don’t drink when you are not thirsty and eat when you are not hungry you get to meet a friendly Park Ranger (they all are carrying side arms now) and maybe even get a helicopter ride at your own expense, medical insurance not accepted – thank you very much.
Layers and liners will make your day great. I wear hiking shorts and a high tech running shirt. Early in the morning I have on long sleeves and those super thin, super lightweight (but warm) plastic running pants. A hat with a brim is a must. Lightweight wool socks and tested hiking shoes are all one needs. Just forget new boots, heavy boots, or sandals.
You basically do not need much in the way of navigation if you are on the corridor trails Bright Angel, South Kaibab and North Kaibab. These trails are heavily traveled, patrolled by Park Rangers making shift changes and there are mule trains on these trails. Still it is wise to have the small but informative guidebook, “Official Guide to Hiking the Grand Canyon” by Scott Thybony
Other Must Haves
Sunglasses, sun screen, chap stick, head lamp, signal mirror, a little first aid (ibuprofen, ankle wrap, band aids, moleskin) trekking poles and a camera are must haves to hike the GC. Consider cash for Phantom Ranch coffee, snacks and the T-shirts they sell.
For more information please check these excellent resources. Also feel free to comment here or twitter me with questions.