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#193608 - 02/11/16 02:37 PM Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!)
Emy_1214 Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/11/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hello everyone!!

This summer I am going to be making the trek down into Havasupai Falls and I need some tips!

I've done a good amount of hiking and camping before, but I can't really say I have much experience "backpacking". This will only be a couple days trip, so I think it'll be a good introduction to it.

Basically you hike down this canyon til you get to the campground, setup camp, and then you spend some time soaking in the magical beauty of the falls, swimming, living the life (If you've never seen it, look it up- It's A DREAM). I think altogether it is about a 10 mile hike one way.

What is outside of my realm of knowledge is sort of like, the logistics of backpacking. Where do you put all your FOOD?! And what do you EAT?? HOW do you carry enough WATER with you!? What type of backpack do I need?? (And stuff like that, haha). I have a Camelback Helena 22 which holds a lot of water, but I don't think it is quite big enough for everything else we will need... And there are so many different backpacks, I don't even know where to begin...

Also if anyone has any reccomendations for good and moderately priced sleeping bags/pads (do I need both? I don't even know)

Fortunately I am going with a pretty experienced backpacker and since it's only one night, we may not have to pack TOO heavy. And from what I understand, since it is part of a Native American reservation, they have a couple shops in the village with food/water BUT HONESTLY I don't want to depend on that because it's expensive and plus I feel like it takes away the learning experience of backpacking.

Any other tips? PLEASE post! Thanks guys smile

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#193611 - 02/11/16 03:37 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: Emy_1214]
professor Offline
member

Registered: 04/26/11
Posts: 37
Loc: Southern California
I have been there a couple of times in the month of July. It's a 9 mile hike to the Supai village and then another two miles to the camp area. In July it is really hot and somewhat muggy in the camp ground. As I remember, it was 108 during the day and mid to low 70s at night. I used a fleece bag for sleeping.

There are rodents that will come and take your food. I brought my bear canister which worked well, but you have to keep it out of the sun.

I started hiking in just before sun rise, to beat the sun, but you have to stop by the check-in shack and they didn't open until 9:00 am so I had to hike the 2 miles to the camp ground in full sun light. I hiked out early in the morning, 3:30 one time, 5:00 another time. Again I was trying to beat the sun. Leaving at 3:30 worked perfect, also very quite. Later in the morning you have to share the trail with pack animals and horseback riders, very dusty.

Most any backpacking meals will work. I only remember one place to eat in the village, simple menu but you can get flat bread and beans.

You will need a lot of water for the hike. I got by with 2 quarts, but just barely. Others I hiked with needed more.

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#193612 - 02/11/16 03:59 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: Emy_1214]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
You say you've camped and hiked "a good amount" before this, but the rest of your post makes it sound like you have no clue about how to begin or what to think. Whew! This is a bit confusing.

It will be easier to help you if you get a bit further in the process of sorting out your thoughts and your plans. In the meantime, I am sure you will get some good, but rather general advice to help get you started.

Reduced to its simplest essence: you will need to eat, drink (water), sleep at night, and protect yourself from getting too hot, too cold, too sunburned, or too blistered to hike. The main thing that is hard about this is carrying everything you'll need to accomplish all that.

Since you are going with an experienced backpacker, it will be in that person's interest that you not make a lot of mistakes, since they will be the one who will be most likely to share the cost of those mistakes. Ask your hiking partner for a packing list to help you plan, with special attention to how hot it may get, how cold at night, and how much water you will need to carry. Hint: water weighs a lot, so getting the right amount is pretty crucial.

As for advice on what pack or sleeping bag to buy, it is too soon in the process to give you much advice. Good advice would depend on a many factors. Will you future trips resemble this one or be in entirely different environments? Will they be as short, or would you like to hike for more than one night? What do you already own? Do you have a lot of money to spend?

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#193613 - 02/11/16 05:11 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: aimless]
Emy_1214 Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/11/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I am not sure what is confusing. I explained that I have never "backpacked" before AKA any kind of hiking/camping that requires me to reduce and fit all of my needs into a backpack.

You know, like, I have never had to "backpack" to get to a campsite, I've only ever had to drive to a campsite where putting all my belongings in a backpack is not a requirement, because I have more than enough room to fit whatever I want/need in a car, I have a cooler for food, etc. etc. etc. It's a totally different dynamic...

So I don't think it's really THAT strange to say that backpacking is just slightly beyond me and new to me and I don't really appreciate your condescending response...

And you reiterated exactly what my concern is : "the main thing that is hard about this is carrying everything you'll need to accomplish all that"

... which is why I asked for tips on how to do so. and reccomendations on backpacks and etc. Because I don't know, and I am here to learn. And I am really not worried about mistakes, and my partner is here to help me. but uh, thanks I guess

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#193615 - 02/11/16 05:16 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: professor]
Emy_1214 Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/11/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Thank you for the info, professor.

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#193616 - 02/11/16 05:53 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: Emy_1214]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
A fleece blanket should be warm enough, with a closed cell foam pad from Wal-Mart or an outdoor supplier to sleep on. Sawyer mini-filters (Google them) will give you water from the river and only cost 25 bucks. Cookie tins, like those that have snow scenes and Santa on them grin will keep the critters out. They've worked for me in the canyon farther east. I glued some Velcro to the sides and lid to keep them shut. They work against the squirrels , mice , ringtails, and ravens. One should be enough for an overnight. For just one night you can consider bagging cooking and not using a stove. Your friend who backpacks should be familiar with cook/no cook scenarios. You can easily live on some crackers, nuts, granola, jerky etc.... and even drink some cold instant coffee if you need caffeine. Prof. gave you great advice about the heat, and I would suggest Gatorade or something with electrolytes for the hike. You should be able to fir everything into a pack around 50-60 liters. All over the place in price range from 60 to 360, so it depends on your budget. For cheap, maybe look at the Kelty lines. http://www.backcountry.com/kelty-redwing...0NhdDcxMDAwMDc1
There's an example. Not the cheapest, but decent and useable. If you can find them in a store, try them on and get it fit to you. You'll be glad you did. The falls are on my "someday" list. Right now, I'm still doing much more adventurous hikes in the NP. Won't be too long before the knees won't take it anymore, though. Have a blast and take some pictures to show here, Please?


Edited by bluefish (02/11/16 05:57 PM)
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#193619 - 02/11/16 07:13 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: Emy_1214]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1338
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Start by picking up a good, short introductory book on backpacking (I'd recommend Karen Berger's Hiking and Backpacking), and you'll get a lot of your basic questions answered. You don't need to study it closely, just read the parts about getting ready and gear (for now, skip the parts about where to hike, first aid, and other stuff you'd need to know if you were going by yourself.)

Will your hiking partner be supplying the cooking gear and water filter? If so, don't worry about that.

You will need a tent (unless your friend has a 2-person tent, is willing to share, and you don't mind it possibly being a bit snug for two.) You will need a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad (self-inflating or air mattress, unless you're used to sleeping on a thin closed-cell pad.) You will need a cup and spoon (and maybe a bowl, if you don't eat your freeze-dried meal from the bag); you can skip the cup if you're willing to drink just water - then you drink directly from your water bottle. A small pocket knife, a headlamp, appropriate clothing (depends on temperatures), rain gear (weather dependent), and you're pretty good to go.

Food - keep it simple: oatmeal or granola for breakfast, snack food (jerky, granola or energy bars, dried fruit, maybe hard cheese or cookies - no candy bars, which melt if it's hot) for snacks and lunch, and a freeze-dried meal for supper. And remember, lunch is often just a bigger helping of snacks. Gourmet? No. But for one night, it will be fine - and it doesn't sound like eating well is a priority of the trip.

For a pack, a 50 liter pack will probably work (definitely no larger than a 60 liter. Might it be a bit too large for this trip? Maybe - but it will be good for backpacking trips you might take later - this is an easy sport to get hooked on. Your 22 liter pack won't work - not large enough, and probably not a good enough suspension to carry the weight you'll be carrying. (Point of etiquette: if you are sharing gear, you should offer to carry part of the shared gear - another reason for the larger pack.)

How are your boots? Comfortable boots (or, my preference, trail shoes) and good socks are critical. If you already have good comfortable boots, what kind of shape are they in? Don't want them falling apart on the trail.

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#193620 - 02/11/16 09:05 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: Glenn Roberts]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
http://www.mikestith.com/havasupai-falls-the-complete-backpacking-guide/

Here's a pretty specific guide. One other piece of advice. It's a long way down, bring some NSAIDS, and/or some muscle rub like icy hot, as it's hard on your quads, shins and knees and you have to turn around and go back up the next day.
_________________________
Charlie

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#193622 - 02/11/16 11:23 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: Emy_1214]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1338
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Don't be too hard on aimless; we get a lot of "tell me everything I need to know in 160 words or less" posts, and my first quick read through your post left me with the impression that it was one of those, too. It gets old after a while; I doubt he was trying to be condescending - just trying to move you toward specificity a bit more quickly.

Your response to aimless did exactly that, and garnered you some better replies. Hang in there; he's a really nice person.

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#193623 - 02/12/16 12:46 AM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: Glenn Roberts]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6371
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I agree--your first post was somewhat unclear, but you did answer most of Aimless' questions in your second. The questions he asked were designed to get the information from you that we needed to be able to advise you.

There is a lot of information on this site and many others for beginning backpackers. Also, lots of books--do check out the one Glenn mentioned. It is very likely available through your public library.

Beginning Backpackers Guide from PMags Note that he suggests borrowing or renting the more expensive gear items, until you've had more experience and know that you want to invest in this activity. Many others (especially clothing) you probably already have. At the end he has a book list, in case the one already recommended isn't in your local library.

Home page of this site, articles listed in left-hand column--mostly on gear selection

"Sticky posts" in our Backcountry Beginners section (this one), especially the one by phat. Note, though, that he lives in a cold climate (northern Alberta), so you probably don't need as much for the Havasu trip.

Our own Topshot's thesis,, written for Scouts but applicable to other beginners.

Budget gear:

$300 gear challenge

Budget Backpacking Kit (a step above the $300 challenge)






Edited by OregonMouse (02/12/16 12:54 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#193627 - 02/12/16 09:29 AM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: OregonMouse]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
That "Budget Backpacking Kit (a step above the $300 challenge)" article is one of my favorite things PMags has written. Note though, that according to professor, you won't need a $130 sleeping bag for this particular trip, or the down jacket, possibly not the tent if you're sharing, or the balaclava... you get the idea. It's about being smart about what not to bring just as much as what to bring. Of course, you need to be prepared for the worst/coldest/wettest/windiest conditions you might encounter. It might be a good idea to call the rangers there and confirm about the weather.

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#193631 - 02/12/16 12:50 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: 4evrplan]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 829
Loc: Torrance, CA
Originally Posted By 4evrplan
.... It's about being smart about what not to bring just as much as what to bring....


I just wanted to reiterate this excellent advice. Lightweight backpacking is much more about leaving stuff at home than it is about buying fancy stuff. And trust me, for that hike, you will want to have as little on your back as possible. Pair down your clothes to the absolute minimum for the worst weather you could face. If you hit unexpected cold weather and aren't a bit chilled with everything scrap of clothes you brought with you on your body while in your sleeping bag, then you brought too much.

I haven't been to Havasupai (it's on my list!) but you should find out how the insects are during the when you will visit. If there isn't much chance of insects, a tarp would be better in the heat, lighter, and cheaper compared to a tent.

Also, you are new here. We are trying to feel you out as much as you are trying to feel us out. You shouldn't be so quick to be offended when asking for free advice on the internet. It is worth every penny you spent.

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#193632 - 02/12/16 01:32 PM Re: Havasupai Falls (new backpacker, need tips!) [Re: BZH]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
I'd bring a tent as in summer you can have blowing dust, red ants and the chance of a monsoon. Not much different than weather in Phoenix. I've used a tent in the GC and found it a must. You can use a tarp, but expect to get your stuff dusty and possibly wet. I lived in a canyon north of Wickenburg and have spent a lot of time backpacking in AZ. There's some good places to go in the future. This forum is full of info, but not always the friendliest place.
_________________________
Charlie

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