Although Movara’s website offers a very good packing list, I thought I would offer my own insights on what to bring and what to leave at home. My perspective is from a winter guest (January), and will be much different from a summer experience in Utah (aka HOT).
Inside joke from my adventures on The West Highland Way, I depend very much on my hiking poles. I have a fear of edges and falling, and hiking poles give me confidence. Don’t Bother. Each hiking van at Movara comes equipped with good quality hiking poles for any guest who wants to use them.
Extra Food and Supplements:
In my post Starvation Diet? I talked about how concerned I was regarding limited calories vs 6 hours of exercise/day. To make sure I would be getting enough, I packed some protein powder. Don’t Bother. You really do get enough food and nutrition at Movara. 1,200 – 1,500 calories/day doesn’t sound like much, but the food is filling, nutritious, and plentiful. The salad bar is available for lunch and dinner, and there are a variety of dressings from flavoured vinegars to creamy Sesame & Ginger (my favourite at 70 calories/serving). During breakfast and lunch there is a snack table with fruit, almonds, hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks and peanut butter. Help yourself. I personally like to snack around 8:00 pm. So I gathered my food earlier in the day, and kept it in my room for my evening snack.
I packed electrolytes from Biosteel – I’m a sweater, so I believed this product would help to restore my electrolytes lost during exercise. Each evening after dinner I made myself an electrolyte drink. Biosteel’s mix is delicious – it tasted like strawberry. So double-duty, it prevented dehydration and served as a sweet tasting treat after a hard day. The shop at Movara also sells electrolytes in case you decide not to pack your own.
I decided to try the Scrubba Wash Bag on this trip. Although Movara has do-it-yourself laundry facilities, I purchased the scrubba to deal with my light-weight t-shirts, bathing suit and sports bras. It did an outstanding job and I highly recommend this product for travel. You can find it on Amazon.
On my way to the resort I stopped by Wal-Mart and grabbed some laundry detergent. I kept it in my room to use with the Scrubba, and donated the rest to the laundry facilities when I left. Apparently everyone donates soap when they leave, so there’s all kinds available to you.
One of the guests had this game, and we really enjoyed relaxing evenings with Banagrams. So just in case Lisa-from-Toronto isn’t there when you are, I recommend you pack this fun little game to break the ice with your fellow guests.
I wore my Fitbit HR every day, as well as my HR Monitor from Orangetheory Fitness during workouts. I love tracking fitness data – It keeps me motivated. If you’re looking for a tracker, here’s a video to help you decide which one you might like.
Photography is my passion, and I LOVE the beauty of southern Utah. Bring your camera if you’re planning to take some side trips on the weekend, or before/after your trip to Movara. But during the hikes, you won’t have time for much photography. Definitely bring your smartphone though, which take amazing pictures while you’re on the move.
Waterproof Hiking Shoes
I initially packed my Merrell Azura hiking shoes. Big Mistake. Don’t get me wrong, these shoes are great under the right conditions. They are not waterproof, which to me, means they are lighter and breath better. Perfect for hikes in the desert right? Wrong. Sand found it’s way very easily into my shoes. To the point where sand collected in all the stitching and between the layers, making little sand piles in the construction of the shoe. This means it was in there, but I couldn’t just dump it out, I had to massage the piles of sand and work it out of the seams. What a nightmare. Also, on Day 3, we hiked in some snow for a bit, making my foot wet, and causing blisters.
I strongly recommend some waterproof shoes not only for hikes in the rain, but for hikes in the snow, and hikes in the desert (which covers about 90% of your hikes). I ended up driving to St George, and the salesman at The Desert Rat was very helpful. He sold me a pair of 5-10 Camp Fours which are not technically waterproof, (I already have waterproof hiking boots at home) but the leather uppers prevented sand from seeping in. I was seriously impressed with the Camp Four’s grippy sole. These are excellent shoes for stability scrambling up slick rock.
I have hydration packs at home, and don’t like them. I decided to bring a small daypack for my hikes, and carry a water bottle in the side pocket. During the orientation at Movara, they strongly recommended a Camelbak hydration pack. They explained that hydration is very important, and you won’t be able to carry and drink enough water without one. Yeah yeah yeah, whatever. I have to confess, despite my stubbornness, they were right and I was wrong. I never had time to stop and drink enough, and I was forever bugging my hiking partners to hand me my bottle. During week two of my stay I went to the shop at Movara and bought my Camelbak. It’s really cute, the bite valve is better than the one I have at home. It was a wise purchase.
I wore a very lightweight, zip-up wicking jacket on my hikes. I love this jacket because it has zip pockets. Why do I need zip pockets? It keeps my iphone safe (see “camera” above) and it’s where I kept my kleenex handy. Hiking in cold weather often results in the need to blow your nose. Being able to grab your camera or a kleenex without taking off your backpack is very handy.
If you don’t have or want a zip-up jacket (or you’re planning a trip in warmer weather), then fashion-be-damned, get a fanny pack! You can buy very small, flat, discreet packs at a sporting good store, just big enough for your phone and a pack of kleenex. Or wear hiking pants with a zip pocket. But make sure you bring a zip pocket of some sort on your hikes. You’ll thank me.
Each room at Movara comes with a hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, body wash etc. You don’t need to bring any of this. The water is hard though, so if you have fine hair like me, you might want to bring a leave-in conditioner. I’m glad I brought mine.
BONUS: Some Added Advice for Canadians
Before you leave for Movara, check with your health insurance provider and ask them if your massages will be covered. I have insurance with Sunlife, and they are covering 100% of my massage costs while I was there. The front desk at Movara will provide you with a receipt detailing the full name and license number of your therapist (information required by your insurer). They are familiar with our fabulous Canadian health care system and will provide this special receipt on request.
If you deal with GreatWest Life, and they say no, give them a call and debate the issue – they will likely see things your way.
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