The Best Gear for Canyoneering

If you’ve experienced one slot, odds are good you’ll be back for more. Use these picks from Steve Howe, owner of Redrock Adventure Guides in Torrey, Utah, to stay safe and mobile in the Southwest’s iconic canyons.
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It's a canyon, not a catwalk: Sandstone is abrasive. Howe recommends using cheap clothing and any comfortable shoe with a grippy sole.

Black Diamond Half Dome

Protect your noggin from loose rocks and tight canyon walls with this tough polycarbonate lid. The Half Dome's fit-adjustment dial offers solid range to ensure all-day comfort, while well-spaced ventilation holes keep you cool in high temps. The women’s model has a ponytail slot. $60; 12 oz. (m’s M/L) ; m’s S/M, M/L, w’s S/M; Buy Black Diamond Half Dome Now

Petzl Alcanadre

This toploader’s svelte design is great for tight squeezes, and its TPU construction is tough enough to drag through sandpaper corridors and slide down awkward drops in Zion. No stays mean the Alcanadre can barrel if overstuffed, but its foam/mesh backpanel prevented sharp objects from poking our backs. (Padded shoulder straps let us tote loads up to 35 pounds in comfort.) We appreciated the large drain holes while wading through Zion’s Imlay Canyon, and the color-coded loops inside for keeping our ropes organized. $140; 2 lbs. 9 oz.; 45L; one size; Buy Petzl Alcanadre Now

Singing Rock Canyon XP Harness

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Rock climbing harnesses wear out fast in tight slots, so get one specifically designed for canyoneering. We like the Canyon XP for its durable PVC butt pad that protected our keisters and clothing while sliding and chimneying in Canyonlands National Park's Robber’s Roost. Dual gear loops, adjustable leg loops, a bright-red tie-in point, and a padded waistbelt round out the features. $100; 1 lb. 6 oz.; S, M/L, XL; Buy Singing Rock Canyon XP Harness Now

Showa Atlas 300

No sense in spending big on gloves that will inevitably last about five trips. Instead, pick up these (or similar) cotton/poly work gloves from a hardware store. The Atlas 300s have grippy latex palms and armored fingers that provide friction on sketchy moves and ward off rope burns and scrapes from rough rock. $4 at Home Depot; 4 oz. (M); S-XXL; Buy Showa Atlas 300 Now

Imlay Canyon Gear Canyon Fire 8.3mm

Narrow (8mm to 9mm), static ropes may look flimsy, but they’re anything but. The Canyon Fire resists abrasion thanks to a sheath that’s 56 percent of the rope’s weight, and doesn’t soak out due to a an all-polyester construction that’s naturally hydrophobic. It’s stiffer than some ropes, but that helps it resist tangling. $160 for 200 ft.; 7 lbs. 11 oz.; Buy Imlay Canyon Gear Canyon Fire 8.3mm Now

Canyon Werks Critr 2

critr canyoning gear

The simple design of this one-piece, aluminum alloy figure eight belies its versatility. Its “arms” make it easy to adjust friction, lock off on a descent, or hold steady for photos, scouting, rigging, or rescues. $44; 4.6 oz.; Buy Canyon Werks Critr 2 Now

Imlay Canyon Dry Keg

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Drag your drybag across slickrock and it will eventually leak. Drag your Dry Keg across slickrock and it won’t. This screw-top canister—which has a rubber-sealed lid—is made of hard plastic. It has survived two years of hard duty in Utah’s gnarliest slots. $25 (3.5L); 12.4 oz.; 3.5L, 6.4L; Buy Imlay Canyon Dry Keg Now

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