Outdoor Research

Gear - Havasu

After months of talking about it, a crew of four of us are going on a hiking / camping trip in the Grand Canyon to see Havasu Falls.  If nothing else, the planning process has revived my passion for the outdoors.  I realize now that I haven't been on a multi-day camping trip since my brother and I went into Algonquin Park about 5 years ago.  It's been so long that I had to think back to who I've lent my gear to over the years.

Here is our planned itinerary:

  • Day 1: Travel ~ The four of us meet in Vegas and drive part way to the Grand Canyon, stopping for dinner in Kingman, AZ
  • Day 2: Hiking to Havasu Falls ~ Descending 2,400 ft over 10 Miles
  • Day 3: Bumming around the Falls ~ There are 4 waterfalls near the campgrounds
  • Day 4: Hiking back out and driving back to Vegas ~ Post trip celebration
  • Day 5: Travel ~ Back home

None of us are particularly hardcore hikers or campers so we've already had a lot of fun with the organization and trip preparation.  We even went to watch the Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk film at the Ontario Science Centre to get an idea of what we are in for.  The final frame of the film was a fade out of Havasu Falls!  

We are pretty well set for gear at this point.  Hiking shoes, tents, sleeping bags are all handled ... just a few more little details to iron out and we're on our way.

I thought I would run down my gear to give you an idea of what's in my pack.  All links are Amazon Affiliate links so purchasing through here will make a small contribution to the site.


This is a solid backpack that has been on a lot of hikes over the years.  I have no idea where I bought it, but it has multiple compartments on the inside to separate your food from gear and it has loads of straps on the outside to secure things like sleeping bags or tents.  At 63L, It's way bigger than I need for this trip but it's so comfortable I will just waste the space.

Hydration System:

Leftover from my more serious mountain biking days I have this MULE that holds 3 litres of water.  This is the newest model so mine has a slightly different look, but it works great and can easily be work on front when the big pack is on my back.

Camp Stove:

The MSR Superfly is able to boil a litre of water in 3 minutes.  For our purposes, this little beast is perfect.

Sleeping Bag:

MEC Merlin -3C

I am stoked about this sleeping bag.  It is spec'd to be comfortable to -3C so the 6 degree nights ahead should be a breeze.  It weighs in at just over a pound and compresses down to the size of a large grapefruit.


This sack gets my sleeping bag to a tiny size and also allows me to pack my clothes nice and small.  The nice added bonus is that it is waterproof so, no matter what the weather on the way in, I have a nice dry change of clothes and sleeping bag.

Air Mattress:

This is another component that has been with me on almost all of my trips over the years.  At 2 lbs this is a luxury well worth the added weight.  You simply roll it out and open the little knob and it self inflates.  Just a few breathes make the difference between a soft and hard bed for any comfort level you want.  Mine is actually the older burgundy colour, but you get the idea.

Pocket Knife:

Two if us picked these up for the trip.  At $15 this little guy packs a lot of value.  420HC stainless steel blade and a glass / resin handle make for a lightweight, yet effective, pocket knife.  It works beautifully one handed and looks pretty cool to boot.

We are using a small tent that was given to me and a larger tent that we found nearby from Kijiji.  The tent is one area that I would love to upgrade, just not for this trip.  I'm looking at doing a few solo trips this summer so I am considering buying the MSR Hubba HP as a long term solo investment.  It's a one-man tent, but it is unbelievably light and has been getting great reviews.  Unfortunately, no luck so far in finding one second hand and the $349.99 USD price tag is a little rich for my blood for a new one.

Water Purification:

Water Purifier Systems have been with me for years.  I've gone through a number of replaceable filters and I've never had any problems with this gem.  

That's it for the gear.  Of course, I will have some lightweight technical clothing and food to round out the pack weight.  My base weight right now, while carrying 3 litres of water, but without food beyond a few snacks and dry food packs is 32 lb.  It seems very comfortable to lift and wear, but may be a little heavy for the length of hike and difficulty of terrain that we are facing.  I've been told that, on a difficulty rating of 1-10, this hike is a solid 7.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there are 4 of us so we will likely be able to spread some of the weight out, given that we are sharing a number of things.  I think the other guys should have slightly lower base weights as of today so, hopefully, we can all even out well under 30 lb each total weight.

Count down is on ... I don't think I'll get much sleep over the next few nights!