“Canyon Exploration also known as canyoning is an emerging outdoor activity that includes travelling in canyons using a variety of techniques that include outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, jumping, climbing, abseiling, walking and scrambling. It does not involve any technicalities and is often termed as canyoneering. Canyoning is a fun activity that is integrated with adventure but also requires a lot of preparation on your part. It is usually done in areas that have rugged settings and are situated in remote areas of the world. More often than not, canyoning lasts for a few days in which you explore the canyon in a group or all by yourself.
However, not all canyons are suitable for canyoning because they can have an unpredictable landscape that is difficult to map. Canyons that are cut in bedrock stone and have narrow gorges and countless drops are mostly the ones that are perfect for canyoning. They have amazing landscape interspersed with waterfalls that offer some scenic views while you trail around exploring nature at its best. Canyoning, no doubt is a fun and adventurous activity which is why it is gaining a lot of popularity nowadays, but it can be very difficult too. Canyons are very vast, and there are numerous canyoning routes spread all over the world. The thrill of canyoning is such that people of all ages thoroughly enjoy it.
Canyoning in the US has gained a lot of popularity. There are numerous companies that offer canyoning trips in which they take you through the beautiful gorges and vast woodlands into the deep ravines. The Grand Canyon is the most famous canyon in the world. Located in Arizona the Grand Canyon offers an amazing canyoning experience that is as unique as the marvellous canyon itself. There are many companies that offer you training and also the necessary equipment needed for canyoning.
Irrespetive of whether you are going for canyoning through a company or by yourself there is a certain level of preparation that it requires on your part. From canyoning gear to food and clothing you need to prepare yourself with adequate equipment to enjoy this unusual experience out in the rocks.
A canyoning trip can last from three days minimum to 21 days to anywhere in between. The adventure will involve hiking in the canyon, setting up your camp in the sands underneath the high towering cliffs, sliding through the cold water and icy rapids, swimming across the pools and abseiling down the waterfalls. So here is all the preparation you need to make sure that you have with you before setting out.
- Reservation: If you are going for canyoning through a company then make sure that you make a reservation for it well in advance. Since canyoning is gaining a lot of popularity as an outdoor and adventure sport amongst amateurs and professionals alike, there are chances that the seats for the trip are reserved well ahead in time, especially if there is a summer or spring break approaching. The companies offer a variety of trips for you to choose from out of which the most popular ones are booked at least a year in advance. You must also have a cancellation insurance in case an emergency arises before the day for departure for canyoning arrives, and you need to cancel.
- Canyoning Gear: Without the gear there isn’t much of canyoning that you can do even it involves simply hiking. However, what most people usually do is overpack rather than under pack for they fear leaving behind something of importance and that fear makes them pack everything, just to be sure. Taking a canyon trip involves hiking in and out for not less than ten miles at an elevation of approximately five thousand feet. With so much of physical exercise to do, you donâ€™t want to carry another 5 kilograms on your back, or you will never make it to the end within the stipulated time. Therefore, it’s important not just to pack lightly but also pack smartly to assess what needs to be included and what needs to be left out. Here is a list of the essential canyoning gear that you can consider packing up.
- Clothing: Bring clothing that you won’t mind if it gets all dirty and maybe even torn. Consider the type of place you are going for canyoning. The landscape is rocky and sandy with the wind blowing up the mud in your face. Canyon rocks are cut into limestone, granite, sandstone, and basalt among other rock types. The narrow slot canyons usually have abrasive walls. Getting down these slots can rip your clothing and gear.
Prefer clothes that are loose fitting, fast drying and are made of durable materials. Loose nylon shirts are light in weight and will reduce the weight of your backpack. They dry quickly as well.
For the upper body, pack the following:
- One paddle jacket
- A scarf or a bandanna to wrap to prevent sunburn
- One rain jacket
- Two mid weight long underwear tops
- 1 to 2 micro fleece tops
- One fleece or lightweight down jacket or vest
- One to two long sleeve sun shirts
- three lightweight synthetic long sleeve shirts
- 3 to 5 short sleeve shirts
For lower body, pack the following
- One pair paddle pants
- Midweight long underwear bottoms
- One pair fleece pants
- 1 to 2 bathing suits
For head, hand and feet, pack
- Two fleece or wool hats
- Sunglass Retainers
- Baseball caps or a hat with retention
- Sun Hat
- Wool or Fleece fingerless gloves
- Four pairs of hiking socks
- One pair neoprene socks
- One pair river sandals
- One pair lightweight hiking boots or shoes
- Here is a list of the necessary gear
- one daypack
- headlamp or flashlight
- extra pair of fresh batteries
- power charger for your camera or cell phone
- camp towel
- Toiletries and First Aid: Both items are essential when packing for a canyoning trip because you’ll be spending days away from the comforts of home in the midst of nature. Also, during regular hiking, climbing, swimming and abseiling there are high chances of you getting hurt, and you need to have first aid to treat it. Here is a list of the essentials.
- shampoo and conditioner
- hair brush
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- moisturizer for your face and arms
- lip balm
- hand sanitizer
- prescription eyeglasses and disposable eye lens
- sunscreen that does not have an oily base and has an SPF of more than 30
- sanitary napkins or tampons
- assorted Bandages for cuts and blisters both
- closure strips and butterfly closures
- sterile dressing pads for stopping the bleeding
- gauze rolls for holding the dressing in place
- pocket Knife
- small scissors
- sterile scissors
- safety pins
- irrigation syringe to flush and clean wounds
- resealable plastic bags
- pain relievers for minor aches, reducing inflammation of sprains and fever
- oral rehydration salts that include electrolyte salts and glucose for treatment of dehydration that can happen during canyoning
- Personal Items: This list consists of some items that you must bring to have a tension free trip. They include:
- At least two water bottles that you can fill with drinking water before you set out for the adventure of the day from your camp
- Carabiners for securing your water bottle so you don’t lose them while in the rapids
- A dry bag to guard your camera against the dust and water and also for keeping your medication
- Also, remember to keep all your valuables including jewellery and electronics that are not waterproof away at home. Canyon is no place for them.
- Physical Fitness: Canyoning is an activity that involves a lot of physical strengths. From hiking, climbing, swimming, to abseiling everything involves the movement of your body and for minimum 3 to maximum 21 days continuously, whatever the duration of your trip may be. If you are the kind of person, who gets easily exhausted and even if you’re not, you have to remember that canyoning in nothing like an hour or two in the gym. Therefore, you must work on increasing your physical stamina through regular exercises. This will increase your body strength to be able to bear the strain of rafting, side canyon hikes and exploring other scenery.
In an outdoor adventure, everyone is on their own. You cannot expect another person to set up your camp or do chores for you even if they are a friend because they are equally tired. So you will also be involved in setting up your camp every day. For a paddle trip, you will be using the upper half of your body especially your arms so make sure they are in the habit of this kind or a similar kind of exercise. You cannot imagine the pain and fatigue you will feel on the second day of your trip after a day full of activities if your body is not in used to this level of exercise.
It is advisable to visit your physician and get a checkup done for any physical ailment and test you for the possibility of one.
Keep your medical insurance ready and updated in case you need it because sometimes injuries caused by outdoor activities dig a huge hole in your pocket. If the trip is offering bonus insurance, make sure you purchase that.
- Food: This had to be there in the list of preparation. Of course! How else do you expect to survive? Considering the strenuous physical tasks you are subjecting your body to, you have to ensure that the next day you get up and you are all energised and ready. The only way to do that is good night’s sleep after a hearty meal. Apart from that you also need to have good breakfast for the kick and lunch during the afternoon for refilling your energy bar. Munching on granola bars and other energising snacks needs no mention.
A great option for food is MRE or meals ready to eat that are made especially for outdoor adventure purposes. They are meals that are nutritional, light in weight and easy to carry, delicious, hermetically sealed and multipurpose. If you carry one pack of MRE each day, you don’t have to worry about carrying a spare water bottle or extra snacks or even heating the food before you consume it because some MREs have a self-heating system. Plus, they also have all the three meals including snacks and desserts for the day.
- Emotional Preparation: Canyoning is an experience and an adventure for a lifetime. Before being mentally prepared, it is important that you physically prepare yourself too. If you are not ready emotionally, you can never be fully equipped for an adventure. Try and develop a positive attitude and focus on the bright side of the trip, the fun you will have and the memories you will make.