Kurt is our backpacking gear tester, who also produced an awesome how-to layering video! He is wearing his WoolPRO Agena and ultralight 135g Juno baselayers backpacking in the Grand Canyon. Check it out on YouTube! It’s thorough and has awesome background scenery.
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Five Tips for Hiking the Grand Canyon from the National Park Service:
Be a Lightweight
THE LESS YOU CARRY, THE MORE ENJOYABLE THE HIKE.
Travel as light as possible. The heaviest items in your pack should be food and water. Use hiking sticks to take stress off your legs. Wear well-fitting and broken-in hiking boots. Bring a small lightweight flashlight and a change of batteries and bulb. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Bring a map, compass, signal mirror or whistle, first aid kit, and water purification tablets. Keep in mind that all trash (including biodegradable) needs to be carried out of the canyon.
Avoid Huffing and Puffing
IF YOU CAN TALK WHILE YOU ARE WALKING, YOU ARE WALKING THE PERFECT SPEED.
When you huff and puff your body is not getting enough oxygen. Walking at a pace that allows you to be able to walk and talk means that your legs and your body are getting the oxygen needed to function efficiently.
When your body generates fewer metabolic waste products, you enjoy your hike more and you feel better at the end. At times it may seem like you are walking too slow, but at an aerobic pace (sometimes even baby-sized steps when the trail is steep) your energy reserves will last longer. You will also feel much better that night and the next day.
Take a Break
TEN MINUTE BREAK AT LEAST ONCE EVERY HOUR.
This helps remove the metabolic waste products that build up in your legs while hiking. Sit down and prop your legs up. Eat some food, drink some fluids, and take this time to enjoy and appreciate the view. These efficient breaks can recharge your batteries. In the long run, breaks will not slow you down.
No Food, No Fuel, No Fun
DRINK FREQUENTLY AND EAT OFTEN.
Eat and drink more than you normally do. Eat before, during, and after your hike. Eat before you are hungry. Drink before you are thirsty. No matter what the temperature, you need water and energy to keep going. For every hour hiking in the canyon, you should drink ½ to 1 quart (liter) of water or sports drink.
Keeping yourself cool and hiking the canyon takes a large amount of energy (food). Salty snacks and water or sports drinks should be consumed on any hike lasting longer than 30 minutes. Food is your body’s primary source of fuel and salts (electrolytes) while hiking in the canyon. You need to eat about twice as much as you normally would to meet your energy and electrolyte needs while hiking in the Grand Canyon.
Your best defense against illness and exhaustion is to eat a healthy breakfast, a full lunch, a snack every time you take a drink, and a rewarding full dinner at the end of the day. This is not a time to diet.