Our equipment continues to evolve and improve, with the goal of minimizing weight and eliminating unnecessary items. As an example, we have traded our rugged but heavy Minolta Weathermatic camera at 16 ounces for a Yashica T4 Super at 7.4 ounces, and our Nikon Travelite binoculars at 11.6 ounces for a German made monocular weighing under 3 ounces. The problem is that it can become very expensive after a point to reduce equipment weight without sacrificing quality.
Handles and tags? Who needs them. You would be surprised just how much extra cloth you can eliminate by cutting the tags and labels off your clothing, backpacks, sleeping bags, storage bags, etc. The toothbrush and eating utensil handles are way too long for what is required, and can be cut shorter to save weight.
Another consideration is redundancy, where the loss of any one critical item will not severely impact our trip. For instance, for our drinking water we carry a Sweetwater filter pump, an extra filter cartridge, and iodine purification tablets as an emergency backup.
Our first aid kit contents contain most of the items we might need to get at quickly. Additional medical items are kept in our medical kit.
First aid kit packed. Yes, everything fits into this bag, with a little room to spare.
The emergency kit fits into a small plastic soap holder, and contains hurricane matches, tinder, fishing kit, nylon string, whistle and a snake bite kit.
The kitchen consists of a covered titanium pan, two Lexan bowls, Lexan spoons, forks and a knife (all with cut down handles), two plastic coffee cups (with measuring marks in quarter cup increments), salt and pepper shakers, GAZ stove, aluminum foil windscreen, and a propane lighter. Everything but the bowls fits inside of the pan.
Navigation in the Canyon is pretty simple due to the numerous landmarks (i.e. the river, drainages, Desert View Tower, the easily identifiable buttes, etc). I do carry a compass, however, which I use mostly to locate buttes from the topographic map. The Suunto compass we use has an adjustable declination (13 degrees east for the Canyon), so no magnetic to true conversion is required. It also has a built in magnifier.
Don't leave home without it! When the weather gets hot, the headlamp allows you to beat the heat by hiking in the dark. I use a dual beam Petzl, and Kathy uses a Micro Petzl. The dual beam has a standard bulb for general use and low battery drain, and a halogen bulb that throws a concentrated beam several hundred feet. The lithium batteries weigh much less than the alkaline types, and last several times as long.
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