Use clothing to protect your body from the dry atmosphere, harsh
sunlight, and high temperatures in the summer. In the cool months,
clothing provides protection from the sun and from the cool temperatures.
Proper attire can make a big difference in your comfort when hiking
the Grand Canyon. Consider these recommendations as you prepare
for your trip.
brimmed hat should top your head. This is absolutely essential
- it will keep the sunlight off your head and neck. Avoid baseball
hats because they don't protect your ears or neck. Make sure the
hat has a chin strap and use it
- strong winds can snatch your hat and carry it out of reach in
During the cool months, also pack a knit hat to provide welcome
warmth in the cool evenings and mornings or near the rims.
Sunglasses provide eyes welcome protection from the sun year round.
you wear contact lenses? Put vanity
aside and wear your regular glasses when hiking in the Grand Canyon.
The canyon is a very dusty place. The dust will quickly get under
your lenses and irritate your eyes. It is always a good idea to
leave an extra pair of glasses in your car. Accidents happen. While
climbing out the Red Canyon trail, I set my glasses down during
a rest break. Forgetting where I'd set my glasses, I decided to
retie my boot. Yep, you guessed it. I put my boot on top of the
glasses. The boot won. Fortunately I had a spare pair of glasses
in the car.
colored long sleeved shirt will reflect the hot sunlight
and significantly reduce the amount of heat your body has to deal
with. Less heat, less cooling, less water lost. We've had good success
with shirts made of Supplex. Yes, a long sleeved shirt is often
cooler than a short sleeve shirt.
In cooler months, augment the shirt with a synthetic
wicking under layer. I prefer a long-sleeved top with a zipper
neck. The neck zipper makes it more useful across a broader range
of temperatures. Simply zip or unzip the neck to accommodate changing
weight full-zip fleece sweater
provides welcome warmth in the cooler months. Fleece is relatively
light and dries fast. A fleece sweater also makes a great pillow.
Add a waterproof windproof breathable shell
when hiking the Canyon in the fall through early spring. The shell
will provide relief from the wind and protection from the occasional
rain or snow shower. It is unlikely you will need a shell in the
summer though you may appreciate one when near the rim. The shell
should be light in weight and large enough to go over all your layers.
Layered over your fleece sweater, you'll have about all the insulation
needed to keep you warm below the rim during the cool months.
Consider packing a lightweight down
vest for additional warmth during the winter months if you
will be camping near the rim.
Lightweight leather gloves provide
welcome hand protection if your itinerary includes sections on which
you will need to hand-line your pack. In cooler months, a pair of
light weight polypro or Thermax gloves provide welcome warmth to
and sunscreen for your legs are often fine if your are traveling
the Corridor Trails during the warm months.
If your hike will carry you beyond the corridor, you will appreciate
the protection long pants provide
from thorny plants. Pants made of Supplex or Cordura are light,
low bulk, dry fast, durable, and surprisingly comfortable in high
temperatures. Supplex or Cordura "convertible"
pants, with zip-off legs, are especially handy when hiking
the Grand Canyon. Size your pants a little large to allow extra
During the cooler months, add lightweight
thermal bottoms made of synthetic fabric to your kit. You'll
appreciate the added warmth in the morning and when hiking near
fitted, well broken-in hiking boots
with ankle support and a steel shank. I'm partial to traditional
heavy leather backpacking boots. They provide feet lots of protection
from jagged rocks and spiny plants. The thick soles found on heavy
hiking boots also provide your feet considerable insulation from
the hot ground.
Make sure your boots lock your heel in place and have plenty of
toe room. Grand Canyon hiking involves lots of extended downhill
hiking. If your boots are too short, downhill hiking will jam your
toes against the toe box causing blisters or painful toe nail blisters.
Experienced hikers everywhere understand the need for proper foot
care. Blisters in the Canyon can ruin your hike. Follow these simple
precautions to lesson the likelihood of blister problems:
a thin, synthetic inner sock to wick moisture away from your feet.
- Wear a thick outer sock made of wool.
- Make sure sock seams are flat, so they don't abrade your feet.
- Take at least one extra set of socks.
- Pack mole skin to treat blisters.
- Make sure your feet are fully accustomed to your boots prior
to your Grand Canyon trip.
If you've conditioned yourself for the Canyon, your boots will
be broken in, your feet will be tough which will lessen the likelihood
you'll experience blister problems.
A pair of camp shoes provide
welcome relief to feet in camp at the end of the day. Sport sandals,
like Tevas, are an excellent lightweight choice.
prevent sand and small rocks from getting into your boots. I've
had great success with the Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters.
These 6" high gaiters, are just tall enough to do their job
Instep crampons are often necessary
to safely negotiate ice on the upper parts of the trails anytime
between October and the middle of May. These compact metal devices
strap to your boots. They have 4 to 6 spikes that provide comforting
traction on slippery canyon terrain.