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Advice please:packing for multi-day wet canyon

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RossK, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. RossK

    RossK

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    Advice please? I'm going on my 1st multi-day canyoneering trip (4 days/wet canyon swims/carry everything) & did a packing trial run.
    I'm not too worried about weight - came in at 45lbs. (my trip has little steep stuff & I've carried that before). BUT I used a big pack (I'd guess its s/where betweeen 45-60litres) and still can't get everything in. It's actually a giant Ortlieb rafters' drybag to save on lots of extra drybags inside, so I need to roll it down, but I can't even get everything in it when unrolled.
    Yet others who've done 7-day Grand Canyon trips told me they carry 55lbs - 10lbs more than me. How do they do fit it in? (Can't see what I can dispose of - wetsuit, sleeping bag, tiniest tent, water filter, food, 1 set warm night clothes, stove, a bit of 1st aid stuff, some water bottles as there'll be quite a few miles between water sources.

    Apart from my 1 luxury - the DSLR which is barely 5% space wise - the only thing maybe to lose is the down jacket - never been to Lake Powell in May, camping out the sun would I need that at night?
    (One dark slot with swims is really cold so figured I may need warming up that evening when dry!)
  2. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Not a lot of experience with this, but it doesn't really matter if the wetsuit gets wet, so that can be strapped to the outside of the pack. Also not sure how much space your tent takes up but you might consider ditching it and taking just a ground cloth and pad.
    RossK likes this.
  3. RossK

    RossK

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    Thanks Tom. I thought about putting the wetsuit outside, but assumed once it's wet after a short swim that would add quite a bit of extra unnecessary water weight if not getting direct sun for it to dry quickly? The tent is pretty tiny - barely bigger than me as can't move in it or put gear inside! So you reckon planning cautiously - for the coldest May can offer in May - a tent is dispensable? (I have 20F down sleeping bag & down jacket - may have to choose between jacket or tent as they're same size)


    (the post I suppose sounds a bit stupid as everyone knows what's non-essential, & what is essential must go - and probably can't be made smaller - but I posted out of frustration at how people who've carried 55lbs got it in 45L packs!
  4. Ram

    Ram

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    The Heaps packs work great. If you are talking about a few wades and short swims, coming and going, then some big and a few small dry bags, inside the pack for essentials like your bag, clothes food etc.. I use closed cell ridge rest sleeping pads. Totally waterproof and a pair can be placed on them with a shock cord fastening or pack straps, to create pontoons. If done right, the pack become quite stable and can be swam thru, with holding a cord attached to the pack.
    R
    Rapterman and RossK like this.
  5. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Another option too for some Of the large items if it’s just a few swims on the way in/out is to just use garbage bags and double bag the items. As long as you aren’t jumping into pools or chucking your bag they hold up pretty well.
    RossK likes this.
  6. zul

    zul

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    Keep the down jacket. No need for the tent IMO. I'd bring a tarp (with 2 tent stakes and some para cord) that can be ground cloth and/or rain shelter. I have an 8x10 -- versatile and smaller than a softball.

    I like the Ram suggestion -- dry bag the sleeping bag and clothes. That's some good insurance for a dry sleep.

    Also, you'll be wearing the wet suit on the swims. Attach that thing exterior if ur pressed for space.

    May is pretty comfy in that area for sleeping. Swims will be cold -- Full 4/3mm suit or 5mm.

    Happy hiking!!
    RossK likes this.
  7. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    What's the average nightly low going to be where you'll be camping? 40's?

    I'd probably look at a 1 lb sleeping bag and trade the down jacket for a light nano puff jacket. That's all I use at high camp (11,600') in the Tetons in the summer. No pants. Silk tights for sleeping in (and hanging around camp). One light vermont weight type long sleeve. Maybe a spare tech t-shirt (or not). One extra pair of dry socks.

    Light sil tarp might be ok. Really, if the extended forecast is for really bad weather...you might not be in slots anyhow...?
    RossK likes this.
  8. MMclimbhigh

    MMclimbhigh

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    Reviving an old thread....

    Planning a two day Imlay trip this fall. We know that it is routinely done in a day, but we want to enjoy our time in this amazing place. Trying to keep pack weight under 30#. Over the past few years, we've slowly built up a gear list with some of the lightest gear on the market (mostly for self-support kayak trips). Always looking to hear the experience of others who've pushed the ultralight multi-day canyoneering limits. We live in some fun times in regards to ultralight gear! Far cry from the "lightweight" gear of the days of yore!
  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    okay. What questions do you have?

    Tom
  10. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    A friends says, "if you're not sleeping in all of your clothes, you brought too much stuff."

    Ditch the sleeping bag. Use an ultra light bivy sack. No stove or fuel.
  11. MMclimbhigh

    MMclimbhigh

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    No question really. Just like to hear what folks have been packing for multi-day wet canyons such as Imlay. We're planning drysuits, fleece onesies, and a single change of clothes. Probably bringing stove and h2o filter. Team of 4 to split the technical gear.
  12. joeb

    joeb middle aged guy who lies around alot

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    Somethings we do to shave weight:
    1. Dry bag the sleeping bag & clothes and any other must stay dry essentials.
    2. Use platypus bags instead of water bottles as they fold flat when empty.
    3. Ounces add up to pounds - look at every item and decide if you really need it and if so, can it be shared? can I find a smaller, lighter version?

    I am willing to bet after your first multi-day adventure, what you think is "needed" will change drastically!
  13. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Move faster. Amazing how much less you can bring. :) Imlay is routinely done in an admittedly long day, but I'd do it that way every time before I hauled camp through. If you don't have the ability to do Imlay in a day you should probably ask yourself if you should be in there at all.

    But at any rate, the way you decrease weight is to increase misery. Eat less. Sleep less comfortably. Be colder. Get giardia. etc. It's your call really where you draw the line.

    The only other option is to increase risk with less technical and emergency gear.
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I've done both Heaps and Imlay as day trips and as overnights. In high summer, it does not take much gear to be comfy overnight, but still...

    Moving with luggage in both canyons is a struggle. I prefer doing as a day trip, sneak or full, about 4:1. With less gear, it takes fewer hours.

    Tom
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