Not all trails are made of dirt. In fact, some paths can only be seen by those who seek them out or those who forge paths of their own. One such instance where a path may seem invisible to most is found in a practice known as canyoneering. We’ll explore canyoneering more in depth at a later time, but today we’ll take a look at what kind of equipment you’ll want to bring along when exploring slot canyons.
As far as canyoneering packs go, you’ll want to find one that’s narrower than your average pack. This will keep your balance streamlined and confined tighter to your body, and reduce movement as you negotiate delicate hand and footholds. Also, given the conditions of canyons, try to find one that’s comprised of touch fabric that will hold up against sharp rocks. Lastly, most canyons tend to lead to water and rivers, so finding a pack with drain holes will help keep your gear from being ruined should you go for an unintended swim.
Speaking of unintended swims, a further precautionary measure that’s smart to take is keeping your gear inside a dry bag within your pack. There are several sizes available on the market today, so you should have no problem finding one to slip inside your pack. Furthermore, if you’re going to be working around a lot of water, it might even be a good idea to invest in a wetsuit. Wetsuits provide buoyancy and offer further protection for your skin. Just keep in mind that the thicker and warmer the wetsuit, the less agile you’ll be while wearing it.
Your footing will be crucial when traversing steep canyons and dodgy terrain, so I would suggest opting for footwear that’s rugged and durable, but also allows a better range of movement, especially in your ankles. For this reason, I’d go with lightweight, streamlined hiking boots. There are even boots designed for canyoneering, so take some time to explore your options.
Lastly, be sure to always protect your head from potential injury by wearing a sturdy helmet when exploring canyons. The unsure footholds, along with the sharp, hard rocks, can do a lot of damage and cause long-term injuries, or even death, if you’re not wearing a helmet.
Canyoneering can be a lot of fun if you prepare ahead of time by gearing up with the proper equipment. Keep the options mentioned above in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a safe start to your own season of exploring canyons.