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Old 11-25-2019, 06:02 AM   #1
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What to Get for Hiking at GC, Zion, Bryce, etc?

Being Black Friday is coming up I figured it would be a good time to get what we need for our Spring trip to Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. What will I need for light (up to 5 miles) hiking? We have boots already.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:24 AM   #2
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A light pack and something to carry water in, either a couple of liter bottles or a water bladder. You'll need a lot more water than you expect if you aren't familiar with the area. Maybe get a foam pad and cut it in half so each of you has something to sit on. And if you think you could be separated get a couple of small cheap walkie talkies. I remember on one trail in Chiricahua that half the party went down one fork and the others behind went down the other. Confusion ensued and the party behind even notified the rangers that the others were lost...heh.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:28 AM   #3
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Something to carry water - either a belt to carry nalgene bottle or a small backpack with water bladder. Small backpacks are nice. You can shove a rain jacket or small windbreaker, carry a map, some light snacks, etc.

Also, don’t forget a small first aid kit. We were on a hike in Utah, when on an overlook my wife went to turn around and caught a tree branch in her face. Missed her eye by less than an inch. The small cut gushed blood. Wasn’t very deep but boy it sure bled. First aid kit was very handy.

Don’t underestimate not carrying water or snacks. We have been on plenty of small hikes that turn out longer because we always find something interesting or side hikes. Our rule now is water and snacks no matter how “short” the hike is.

Oh, we also carry a small emergency foil blanket
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:38 AM   #4
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Set of hiking poles. Get some good ones...
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:38 AM   #5
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Sunscreen and a hat. The sun's energy is more powerful at higher elevations.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:51 AM   #6
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Also good pair of hiking boots. We splurged for good ones with vibram soles that did a fantastic job gripping on rocks, especially appreciated in Fiery Furnace in Arches.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:54 AM   #7
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Trekking poles..... they really help
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:08 AM   #8
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I'm assuming you might be inexperienced hikers to ask the question, and I'm glad you did. If you'll just be in busy national parks and monuments, you won't need much more than water and a basic map of the park or monument with you on a hike.

If you desire to wander further, I would take a class on how to use a map and compass. The best way to deal with finding yourself lost is to unlost yourself. Can't depend on electronics to always work the way you need them to. I've been really lost, and used a map and compass to get back to the trail that took me back to my car. Priceless knowledge and skills for people that really like to wander.

The National Park Service has some simple advice on the ten essentials. You don't need big packs, you can pick the lightest weight and smallest size of the items that will work for you and put them in a small backpack that can also hold a fair amount of water.

Until you know how much water you will need, always take a little more than you think you'll use. It's never wasted on a hike.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:13 AM   #9
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As a member of a search and rescue team I can attest to most of what was listed. Most folks don’t realize how quickly the temps can drop in the south west at night, especially in the mountains. Good hiking boots that protect the ankles are a must. A small back pack with several liters of water, snacks, a flashlight, a good compass along with an inexpensive GPS, cell phone, a warm jacket, pocket knife, small first aid kit, a small bit of duct tape ( for blisters) tweezers for the prickly pear spines and a whistle.
And.....tell someone where you are going .
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:29 AM   #10
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Plenty of good advise above.

Staying hydrated and dry are two critical requirements to stay out of serious trouble. In many places rain can come up very quickly, sometimes with very large temperature drops. I've seen 54F drop in 20 minutes. So consider some type of rain gear may also double as a wind breaker.

I've hike the Rockies my entire life. I always carry my "emergency" bag of stuff. Just transfer it between packs as needed. It is always ready to go, probably about 20 small items. All have been used at some time or another.

Also useful to let a friend know where you're going and estimated return time. Then call them when back. They don't even have to be on site. Many serious cases where this would have prevented grave problems. I know too well.

In large parks with major trails not likely to get lost if you stay on the trails. If you venture off the trails then have a good map and compass. Also study the map before leaving so you have some working knowledge what lies ahead. As stated above don't place too much trust on electronics. Many places with no cell service at all.

My son has spent over 11 years on a mountain search and rescue team in Colorado. About half of their missions are body recovery and most of those could have been prevented.

Just be prepared and know your limits. You really only learn by doing so get out there and have fun.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:33 AM   #11
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I am sure 99% of our hiking will be established NP trails. My wife is scared of heights and I have knee issues. Our boots are the hi-top style. We do a lot of walking already and I plan on using our boots on them prior to the trip to break them in good. I do have a compass and I use to know how to use it when I was a Boy Scout. In fact it is my Boy Scout compass. If we decide to take a hike that is not an established NP hike I will need to do some research. Right now my list is below.

1) Backpacks
2) Walking sticks or treking poles
3) We have lightweight slickers already
4) Water bottles - we have a few, but may need more
5) Small first aid kit with tweezers and duct tape
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:36 AM   #12
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You'll be fine.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reubenray View Post
I am sure 99% of our hiking will be established NP trails. My wife is scared of heights and I have knee issues. Our boots are the hi-top style. We do a lot of walking already and I plan on using our boots on them prior to the trip to break them in good. I do have a compass and I use to know how to use it when I was a Boy Scout. In fact it is my Boy Scout compass. If we decide to take a hike that is not an established NP hike I will need to do some research. Right now my list is below.

1) Backpacks
2) Walking sticks or treking poles
3) We have lightweight slickers already
4) Water bottles - we have a few, but may need more
5) Small first aid kit with tweezers and duct tape
add

6) snacks
7) hats

The NPs all have trail maps at Visitor Centers, pick up one.

You'll be fine- enjoy.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rarebear.nm View Post
add

6) snacks
7) hats

The NPs all have trail maps at Visitor Centers, pick up one.

You'll be fine- enjoy.
I always wear a hat, but my wife does not. I forgot the snacks.
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