WHAT TO WEAR FOR HIKING IN THE MOUNTAINS?
Because this question comes up often, we thought we would offer our gear or clothes list here:
- T-shirt or top
- Long sleeve shirt
All 3 above with wicking capability so material that is synthetic or wool, takes moisture away from your body and dries quickly. Please no cotton.
Mid and outerlayer – upper body:
- Sweater or fleece, preferably non-bulky
- Mid-layer such as a thin polyester or down jacket
- Wind breaker, insulating layer
- Rain or gore-tex jacket for a waterproof layer
Mid and outerlayer – lower body:
- Hiking pants, breathable material
- If shorts, take a pair of leggins or lightweight pants in your pack
- Rain or goretex pants
- Socks – 2 pairs, one you wear plus an extra one
- Toque or beanie
- Gloves or mitts
- Sunhat, cap or bandana
- Sunglasses, eyeglasses
- If wearing contact lenses take your eye glasses with a bit of solution
- Sunscreen, lip balm
- Hiking shoes or boots with orthotics if any
- Gaiters for early season
- Hiking poles
- Cleats or micro-spikes for early season hiking or if going high up
WHY SHOULD I BE PREPARED FOR MY OUTDOOR ADVENTURES?
Because as much as we all love outdoor adventures, the best ones are those we can proudly say made us happy and didn’t put us or anyone in our group in misery or in any kind of danger. The goal is always to come back home to our loved ones safely.. this way we can do it over and over again and just up our happiness, it’s as simple as this!
WHY SHOULD I BE READY FOR ANY TYPE OF WEATHER?
Because mountain weather can change within minutes depending on where you are and what the forecast is and the human body without protection is not very much against the elements.. is it sun, wind, rain, hail or snow.
HOW IS MOUNTAIN WEATHER DIFFERENT FROM PRAIRIE WEATHER?
Mountains are the highest points around and attract all sorts of weather patterns passing through. Because they are higher, the temperatures can also vary a lot from where you parked and started your adventure at a lower elevation to your destination point often at a higher elevation. Winds also can be quite strong up high and you will not even feel it as you hike through the forest towards your higher point.
HOW DO I PREPARE BEFORE GOING ON A HIKING TRIP?
Nowadays, there are a lot of resources you can use to prepare yourself for hiking in our beautiful Rockies! There use to be only paper maps and guide books – talking 10-12 years ago – whose descriptions required a lot of guesswork but now you can add the list below to do your home work before hitting the trails:
- paper or waterproof map
- Google earth
- GPS devices
- GPS Apps (for your cell phone)
- trail report Apps
- guide books
- trip reports websites
- your local guides!!
- or experienced outdoor club leaders
- or knowledgeable friends or family
Of course of the many mentioned here, each have multiple of them.. multiple apps, multiple trip reports websites, multiple guide books etc.. so take the time to read and prepare!
One more quick advice: do not think you are the 1st one going there, this time is now long gone in the Rockies! (unless for very remote places)
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME FOR SAFETY?
Here is a list of what we suggest you bring with you for the SAFETY aspect of your hiking trips in our Provincial and National Parks who are mostly in the mountains:
- map & compass with the knowledge on how to use it
- print screens, photos or photocopies of guide books, trip reports, trail description etc.. you found as you were preparing your hike at home. Note: if all this info is on your cell phone, make sure it is fully charged before going and take a power bank for in case it dies.. yes that happens!
- First Aid kit with: bandaids, moleskin/2nd skin for blisters, medical tape/duct tape (on wax paper in a mini zip lock not a full roll), a few pain meds, steristrips etc..
- Samsplint with 1-2 triangular bandages, 1-2 tensor bandages with safety pins (https://www.canadiansafetysupplies.com/SAM-Splint-36-Flat-SAM-Medical-p/sp507-ob-en.htm)
- Bear spray in a holster you can have around your waist, attached to the waistband of your backpack (not on your pack side or in your pack)
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- A repair kit pouch with: extra shoe laces, zip ties, a couple small wires, a waterproof container with waterproof matches and/or a lighter, a knife, hand / feet warmers, safety blanket, duct tape on wax paper in zip lock.
- Tarp for your group size
- Satellite communication device – preferably bi-way – that you know how to use and have tested before going!
- GPS device or GPS app – with cell phone power bank for long trips
Also don’t forget to let someone know where you are going and how long the trip should be.. text or email a friend or family member, write a note and leave on your car dashboard or write on the dusty window etc..