“You’re not a hiker until you’ve hiked the Grand Canyon”, a comment that stuck with me for nearly 20 years. After many attempts at obtaining a backcountry permit to hike the Corridor or (there and back again) as I like to call it, I finally came up a winner in the park service lottery; allowing us to hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, camp at Bright Angel and Indian Garden, and climb back to the tourist packed rim.

Only one percent of the five million annual park visitors leave the rim and venture down to the Colorado River. I was going to be one of those that would hike down and dip my feet in the river that carved out this magnificent Grand Canyon. I opened the envelope containing the official backcountry permit and a length of thin wire to attach to the trip leader’s backpack; that leader was ME!

I, my husband Herb; my brother Lee, my sister in-law Heidi, would find ourselves with carefully loaded and weight calculated backpacks standing at the infamous, exceptionally beautiful South Kaibab trailhead. Then it hit me…we are committed to this epic hike; 7.0 miles of scorching sun exposed switchbacks and nearly 5000 feet down to the Colorado River. Turnaround, cross back over the river putting one foot in front of the other and climb the 9.5 miles back up the Bright Angel trail to the rim. The Bright Angel trail, though not as exposed and with ample drinking water, takes weary pack carrying hikers through the Devil’s Corkscrew and Jacob’s Ladder leaving the steepest sections near the top with a grade just shy of sixteen percent.

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Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 liter and Women’s Aura 50 liter

Osprey's Atmost & Aura Backpacks

Osprey Atmos and the women’s Aura have been completely reworked with improved ventilation and breakthrough 3D Anti-Gravity Suspension. The backpacks contour to your body and the custom adjustability really does distribute the weight of the pack making the load seem much less than then it actually is. Anit-Gravity, I get the name now, clever.

When our packs were loaded up they seem heavy when grabbing the hand loop at the top of the backpack to move it into position to put it on. I can tell you that we were surprised at the difference we felt when the packs were in place and adjusted the effects of Osprey’s Anti-Gravity Suspension is astonishing. No wonder 90% of the backpacks we saw on the trail were Osprey. Almost all the newer packs, looks like Osprey owns the backpack market, and understandably so.

Just before we hit the trail my sister in-law, Heidi tried my pack on which actually turned out to be a bad idea. She was so impressed with the Aura that going back to dawning her backpack was quite a letdown. The good news her family bought her an Aura for Mother’s Day, too late for the hike of a lifetime but as they say, better late than never.

Both the men’s Atmos and the women’s Aura come in a choice of 65 or 50 liter pack. I opted for the 50 and my husband Herb went with the 65 liter. I felt like the pack held everything I needed and that is always my mindset with loading up my gear, only what I need.

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Marmot-AMP3-Ultra-Light-Tent

By Herb Manning

The more we talked with people who had hiked the Grand Canyon the more concerned we became with our pack load.

We own a Marmot 3 season tent that we have used often and it has held up very well over many years of use. But the max weight with all the trimmings is just under 7 pounds, too heavy for the climb out of the canyon. So we decided to invest in a new ultra light tent. Marmot had already proved to use how well thought out and durable their tents are so we ended up purchasing the AMP3.

We went with the 3 person instead of the 2, I am 6’3” and Treas is a tosser and a turner. The added width of the AMP3 has enough height at the head of the tent so that two people could sit up side by side and have plenty of headspace.

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Trails In Motion 3 from Trails In Motion on Vimeo.

“In 2015, the Trails In Motion 3 Film Tour will bring a collection of the finest trail running films to passionate audiences around the world. Not only do we strive to present a varied montage of high quality film content from dynamic film makers in this genre, but we also aim to develop a global community that brings together like minded trail runners and outdoor enthusiasts in a visual celebration of the sport.”