6 things I wish I had brought on my Grand Canyon self-support kayaking trip
1. Longer paddle
My shoulders hate me right now for trying to save money by using a 194cm paddle that I already had. Lesson learned: when paddling a longer and heavier boat, a longer paddle is also necessary.
2. Seat cushion
No matter how much of a dirtbag you are, sitting on the ground every meal for 12 days straight is not awesome.
3. Face wash
Sometimes girls just need some quality spa time.
I went through some serious fruit withdrawals during the trip. I had a few dreams about apples and bananas dancing through a field of orange trees.
Oops! Left that one in the car. Luckily, the only rain we had was just a slight drizzle and I was fine without my raincoat. However, had the rain been any worse, I would have been living in my drysuit day and night.
6. Bowl with a lid
It is never fun to wake up in the morning and find that your bowl has been turned into a public toilet for all the mice that live within 3 miles of your camp. Lesson #1 learned: always put your bowl in a drybag overnight. Lesson #2 learned: bring a bowl with a lid so that mice cannot get into your bowl in the first place.
5 things I wish I had left home on my Grand Canyon self-support kayaking trip
1. Most of the alcohol I brought
I am not a big drinker, so this is entirely from my own experience, but I found that after paddling 20-30 miles each day, I had zero interest in drinking when I got to camp. Changing into dry clothes, eating a giant meal, and crawling into my two sleeping bags that I brought were the only activities I had any interest in partaking in most nights.
2. Neoprene kayaking mittens
I had been told that the water in the Grand Canyon is freezing cold, so I came prepared with both pogies and mittens. However, after paddling for most of my life in Montana, I found the water to be moderate in temperature, and I never used my mittens once. I did, however, use my pogies.
3. Front foam pillar
There is no longer a requirement in the Grand Canyon rules and regulations that states that kayakers must have front and back support pillars in their kayaks. I did not fiddle with the outfitting in my boat long enough to figure out how to remove the front pillar, and therefore I struggled with packing all my gear in my kayak every single morning.
4. Cotton t-shirt
Winter trip = long sleeves and fleece worn at all times. Cotton t-shirt in 30 degree weather = completely pointless.
5. Several Wag Bags
This trip was my first experience using a groover (glorified word for poop tube), so Wag Bags (poop bags for humans) were a completely new thing for me. I purchased way too many, thinking I would have to use one for each deuce. Much to my grossed-out surprise, Wag Bags are multi-use! I could have saved a lot of money and groover space had I known this in advance.