Meghan Hicks April 18, 2012 TWEET COMMENTS 3

Light, Lighter, Lighest - Page 7

Stove. Some fastpackers save weight by leaving the stove at home, but I enjoy both hot food and drinks in the backcountry. A plethora of ultralight stoves exist, but I have found the lightest to sometimes be the most inefficient, requiring extra fuel. I rely on the Jetboil Flash Java Kit for its fast work, reliability and included coffee press (jetboil.com).

Sleeping bag. Choose a down bag that is as light as you can afford and rated to about 10 degrees cooler than the temperatures you expect. I love Western Mountaineering’s ExtremeLite series (westernmountaineering.com).

Sleeping pad. In mild weather, you may need only a little padding for your hips, vertebrae and shoulders. I use a custom-cut foam pad with just enough room for my torso. If you’re headed on a cold/snowy trip, an ultralight inflatable sleeping pad will insulate you from frozen Earth. We like Montbell’s U.L. Comfort System Pads (montbell.us).

Water purification. Filters, UV lights and chemicals can all be used to filter or purify water in the backcountry. In fastpacking, weight is everything, so I use Aquamira Water Purifier Tablets (aquamira.com).


Backcountry Beta for Canyonlands National Park

A backcountry permit is required for overnight travel in Canyonlands. Obtain one at any visitor center or by advance reservation (435-259-4351, www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/backcountrypermits.htm).

Trail options. Canyonlands National Park is divided into three districts divided by un-bridged rivers: Island in the Sky in the north, the Needles in the southeast and the Maze in the southwest. For a three- to five-day visit, stick within one district. Due to its remoteness, topography and the fact that all trips require technical, off-trail travel, skip the Maze until you are an expert desert fastpacker.

Climate. Fastpack anytime except summer when temperatures exceed 100 degrees. Expect below-freezing nights on trips between early December and late February. Beware of summer monsoons and fall or winter rainstorms that cause flash floods.




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