Arroyo Seco River Hike Checklist

The keyword to remember is "light". There is no trail, so we will be wading and swimming most of the time. With a heavy pack, it is easy to slip on one of the grapefruit-sized slippery stones that carpet the streambed we'll be walking on. Do not take anything that will not recover from getting soaked.

Below follows my personal checklist. Please feel free to adapt to your own needs. I added the weight of each item in my back in grams (28.35 grams = 1 ounce). The total weight is 5905 grams (13 pounds), with camera and maps not yet counted. Somebody should also carry a rope and karabiners. From the items that are already checked we need less than one per person; I will be taking one.

Well covered shoes and socks -    These you will wear at all times (except at night) and will be completely soaked. The stones we'll be walking on have a tendency to roll around, so big sturdy shoes are best (but too heavy shoes can be a burden while swimming). Canvas tennis shoes will do, but check that the glue is waterproof. Not recommended are sandals, Tevas or Aquasocks; they allow sand to enter, and don't protect your feet from the stones, although for some people high quality water sandals with good tread, worn with thick synthetic fiber socks, work better. Socks help to protect your feet, and in keeping your shoe sand-free. Synthetic materials keep wet feet warm better than cotton.
Sun hat and sunglasses -   Optional. It is likely to be very sunny. Polarized sunglasses can be a great help in seeing rocks in the river.
Walking Stick. -   Optional. Many people find this a great help when walking through a river.
Drybag 1000   Everything else goes in the drybag. I list my stuff in the order of packing: from bottom to top.
Important stuff (in ziplock back)
Insurance card 5   In case you have to be rescued.
Paper and pen 10   To leave messages if we loose each other.
Car keys 10   If you don't have a number lock.
Sleeping bag 1900   It may or may not get cold at night.
Sleeping pad -   If you care for a particularly soft underground. As we plan to sleep on beachy sand, I don't take one.
Ground cloth / plastic tarp 400   An inexpensive 8'x10' piece of plastic. I sleep on one half; in the remote chance of rain I fold the other half on top of me.
Towel 40   Optional. There is no need for towels during the day. A tiny ultra-absorbing towel (from your backpacking shop) is more than enough.
Toothbrush 10
Toothpaste 5  A micro-tube.
Flashlight with battery 50   Not needed if you sleep at night.
Fuel 280
Pan, cover and grip 440
Stove 280
Matches (waterproof) 15
Bowl and spoon 35
Food - and what you need to prepare it 800   In case of a two-day trip, e.g. lunch-dinner-breakfast-lunch and some snacks.
Pocket knife with tin-opener 60  If needed.
Soap (biodegradable) 75
Cleaning sponge 25
Sunscreen 100
Lip balsam 10
Insect repellent 30  
First Aid Kit 55+?  Plasters, Iodine, Aspirin, knee-band, ...?
Your personal cosmetics, pills etc. 10
Waterproof camera and extra film ?   Maybe I try a throw-away underwater camera.
Waterbottle. 130  Holding up to a liter of water. It is not necessary to carry much water when walking, as we can purify water at the breaks, or when we need it.
Water purification set 130   Filters or chemicals
Maps ?   The USGS quads are Junipero Serra Peak and Tassajara Hot Springs (also known as Zigzag Creek). Waterproof them.
Clothes 0   Optional. Evening clothes may keep you warmer, but I don't find it worth the weight and will wear my sleeping bag instead. During the day the sun will be intense, and you may consider a shirt, and something to cover your neck. It will get soaked. Clothes you wear in the water better be synthetic fiber rather than cotton, so that they dry faster.
Also take a working car, filled with people and stuff to at most half capacity.
Some things I recommend you NOT to take on the hike are: You may wish to have money at the endpoint of the trip though. As well as some clothes, to wear while carpooling back to the beginning of the trip, where half of our cars are. At the forest service campground's we visit prior to the hike, you can pitch a tent.
Rob van Glabbeek