Canyoneering is a hybrid sport that demands versatility and may include hiking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, rappelling, and swimming through spectacular, rugged canyons. Before you leave, do some homework to find out the features of your route so you can prepare with the right skill set and gear. Although every canyoneering trip offers a different set of adventures, here are some of the essentials you’ll need for any basic excursion.

HelmetClimbing helmet

It’s a no-brainer. No matter what kind of climbing or scrambling you do, going through narrow canyons means you’ll have rough rocks above and around you all the time and that you’ll need to protect your head. A standard rock-climbing helmet will do the trick.

HeadlampLED headlamp

While canyoneering, you’re probably going to find yourself in some dark spaces—whether it’s nighttime or you’re just tucked away from the sunlight. It’s important to have both hands free as you navigate the rocky terrain, so you’ll need a sturdy, bright headlamp. Most of the best models come with LED lights to save power.

Dry BagDry bag

In canyoneering, you can expect some wet places. You can never be sure when a deep canyon is going to have water running through it. And if it does, that’s just part of the fun! You will want one of these waterproof storage bags to keep the essentials dry—nobody likes wet socks.

Neoprene SocksNeoprene socks

Speaking of wet socks . . . when your feet do get wet, neoprene socks will keep your feet warm and cushioned so you can keep on trekking. Some kinds of neoprene socks, like the Teko Heavy Hiker, are thick and have grip on the sole—and you can wear them without shoes.

GlovesClimbing gloves

Whether you’re climbing, rappelling, or scrambling, your hands will need extra protection. Leather or synthetic leather rappelling gloves are best for general canyoneering purposes.If you are new to canyoneering, go with and learn from someone who has experience. You’ll find that you will need some additional gear, depending on the kind of trip you are planning to go on. Check out the following websites to find out more about where to go and how to canyoneer safely.

Chris Anderson