Four of us spent 7 days in the Grand Canyon hiking down Bright Angle to Phantom Ranch, then up and east on the Tonto, and out on Grandview. Nighttime lows were between 30° and 35°. We reached a high of 70° on day 5 (Feb. 19th). All in all a great time was had. But I think three gear issues are worth sharing.
We are well aware that sunrise and sunset gusts are common in canyon country and that anything not secured Will blow away. We took care in setting up both a Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 and a Copper Spur 3. Every tie-out has a 3' section of cord so a stake could be clove-hitched away from the tent body to allow the stacking of rock without damaging the tent or fly fabric.
Nonetheless, we had a Big Agnes Copper Spur 3 blown into a nearby tree. Four 6" aluminum DAC angle stakes where completely sunk into dirt/gravel. Seven were horizontal and each were weighted down with a couple of 30# rocks. One tie-out was wrapped around a 50# rock. But all that came apart in about 3 seconds. The tent was lofted, but anchored by the tied-off rock, and pivoted up and into a nearby tree. We found one stake 50' downwind, one 40' downwind and one 20' upwind. These were the stakes driven through the tent loops and were apparently catapulted away as the tent broke free. The stakes under the rocks were still tied, but all had been pulled out from under the rocks in an instant. The Fly Creek, 50' away, just as exposed, with "rocks on stakes", never moved. Luck of the draw, I guess.
The fly suffered a 6" tear and several punctures, all of which were easily repaired with Tear-Aid Type A.
Lesson Learned: Tie the cords around the rocks. Stacking big rocks on a stake only works some of the time. Keep taking that repair kit.
For food storage we have used the Ursack Minor for the past 4 years. Last year in Grand Gulch I was surprised to have a hole chewed through one. On this trip we lost Two more, each at a different camp site. One sitting on the ground, and one sitting in the fork of a tree. (The other two folks used Ursacks (Major) without any problems.)
When they sit on something I think the taughtness of the fabric allows the critters (mice in this case) to work them over, and eventually "scrape" their way in. I'm hoping that if hung, the slack fabric will just move out of the way of their teeth. Or we will move on the stainless steel mesh.
Lesson Learned: Hang 'em!
I've used Gossamer Gear LT4s for the past three seasons. I broke one bottom in a "desperation save" while rock hopping and another literally falling off a wet log. In both cases the pole saved my ass. On this trip one of the others in our group had a tip fracture after being caught in a crack, and then broke the lower on the same pole with a slip and fall. The fractured tip was completely separated from the pole.
Ductape, LukoTape, and a thin-walled brass sleeve specifically sized for the lower took care of the repairs.
Lesson Learned: If it's UL and you're hard on gear, you need to have a solid repair kit. (Which we did, so all was well.)