It's like mountaineering but in reverse — canyoning mixes aspects of hiking, rappelling and spelunking as you make way through deep crags and crevasses. But down in a canyon, a boulder on your arm is just one of the many things that can go wrong.
Be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you with these nine canyoning tools.
Objects fall in canyons all the time — small rocks, large rocks, cougars, other hikers, you name it. So when you're hiking around below all of these potential falling hazards, it's a good idea to wear a helmet. The Petzl Elios helmet is lightweight and uses a polycarbonate shell and form liner to protect your noggin. $US66
The H7 uses a patented reflector and lens combination that provides a focused beam of 155-lumen light for peering into dark corners that can refocus into broad splash light to ensure you don't become a falling hazard yourself. $US60.
Did I mention there would be swimming involved? Because there is and river water can get pretty chilly depending on the time of year. So, rather than freezing your tuchus off fording a mountain stream, step into a wetsuit. The O'Neill 4/3 uses 4/3mm neoprene and minimizes evaporative heat so you don't go hypothermic in chilly water. $US285.
When you're rappelling down a sheer rock wall, the last thing you need to be thinking about is the quality and condition of your rope. The Canyon Fire rope has a thicker sheath than most other ropes which allows it to wear and resist cuts longer before needing to be replaced. It's also 100 per cent polyester to minimise water absorption. $US0.88/foot.
If you're doing serious canyoning, more spelunking than hiking, then traditional hiking boots just wont cut it. The 5.10 Canyoneer Shoe drains and dries quickly thanks to an all-synthetic construction and has super sticky soles to grip rocks like a billy goat. $US130.
Why would you need a bag of floating rope on a canyoning expedition? Two words: flash floods. $US48.
If you've got to swim through a pothole, where a rock spinning in an eddy of water will wear away the ground below and deepen the hole, it's much easier to do so without balancing your pack on your head to keep it dry. Store your gear in a dry sack like the Black Canyon Boundary and forget about the elements. And with 115 litres of capacity, the Black Canyon Boundary can hold enough gear for even multi-day expeditions. $US170.
When you're lost, like good and truly lost, you'll need a bit more than quick thinking to get yourself found. The Adventure Medical SOL Origin includes a signal mirror, 10-lumen LED light, An AUS 8 steel blade, fail-safe 100db, compass, and various other implements of survival. $US60.
James Franco as Aron Ralston, showing the world that the only way worse to lose an arm than by amputation (a la Requiem for a Dream) is self-amputation. $US16