Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day Hike System: Day Hike in Red Rock Canyon (Las Vegas, NV area)

My wife and I visited my uncle in Las Vegas this past weekend.  We were excited to not only see my uncle, but to do a bit of hiking in the Red Rock Canyon area.  We were only able to hike for about 3 hours total.  This gave me a chance to test out certain aspects of my Day Hiking System.

This was taken at the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Center.

Now, you may be asking yourself what I mean by "Day Hiking System".  The term of different "systems" actually comes from YouTube reviewer and patriot Nutnfancy.  I have always had different sets of gear for designated use, but Nutnfancy has really explained it in a more accurate way.  He also has reviewed literally thousands of pieces of gear independently.  I highly recommend watching his videos. But I digress.

The concept of a "system", as I use the term, is any selection of gear that furthers your goal (day hiking, bugging out, etc.) in an efficient manner and is complementary to your skills.  For this blog post, I will be giving my thoughts on the items I took with me in my Day Hiking System.  What goes into your system is going to be based on your skill level and preferences in many different areas.

My systems are always in a constant state of refinement.  Part of this refinement is dictated by funds and changing point of view (or philosophy of use, to use Nutnfancy's term).  For this Day Hike System concept, I wanted to cover the following categories:

  • Pack selection
  • Water
  • Food
  • Clothing

For these categories, I will comment on each and give a final verdict on why or why not I would change up the item in my Day Hike System.  Also, note that I actually had other items packed not covered by these categories.  However, I did not use them on this hike!  So, until I do a full day hike and use the other items, I will refrain from commenting on them.  There are also items that are for emergency use only (i.e. get lost, gets dark and have to camp overnight).  I will talk about those in a future post.

Pack selection

The first item I noticed that I could have changed was the pack I was using.  I was using an Eagle Industries A-III Pack.  For this particular day hike of only 3 hours, the Eagle pack, in my opinion, was overkill.  I only needed to transport a few items and a pack of that size was not needed.  The pack had room plenty of room to spare.  While that sounds like a good thing, it actually adds unnecessary weight.  Verdict:  I will be looking for a smaller, less bulky, lighter pack in the future for my Day Hike System.


I only had one source of water which was my half full Camelback.  This was the first time I had used it since picking it up over Christmas.  Again, probably overkill in the sense that I would not be drinking three liters of water in 3 hours.  If I had not been specifically using it to see how I liked it, then I probably would have stuck with my canteen (with possibly a spare bottle of water).  Verdict:  For a true day hike, I would probably rock the Camelback having an empty nalgene bottle or canteen with some water purification tablets as back up just in case.

For this hike, I knew we would only be out for a morning.  So I only packed some beef jerky and some Cliff Bars.  And did not eat any of it.  Verdict:  For a true evaluation of this category, I think I will need a full day hike.  I would like to try cooking my own food on a back packer stove such as the MSR Pocket Rocket and evaluate if that should be part of my Day Hike System.

I only traveled with the clothes on my back.  I did have a Russell moisture wicking short sleeve base layer  and a "mid-layer" quarter zip Patagonia fleece I got from Campmor.  The morning was a bit chilly (40 degrees F), but I quickly got warm while hiking and took that fleece off about an hour into the hike.  I also had North Face hiking pants and a good pair of Merrell Moab Ventilators with Smartwool socks.  Verdict: I got the clothing right for this particular hike.  I will mention that my back got fairly sweaty, but I chalk that up due to my pack not having much room for venting.  However, the shirt dried out quickly when we stopped for taking in the scenery and I would take off my pack.

So, in summary, the hike was a limited day hike.  Therefore, the only refining that I know I would like to do is to pick a pack better suited to day hiking.  The Eagle A-III pack is a good pack.  However, it will probably get shifted over to a different system (possibly my Get Home System that would stay in my vehicle).  The Get Home System is a system that I will most likely cover in future blog posts, so stay tuned.

Do you do something similar to the concept of a system?  If so, what kind of systems do you have?  In particular, what do you include if you go on a day hike?  Please comment below and share with other readers.  As always, thank you for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter @P_Patriot1 and like the Prairie Patriot Facebook page.

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