June 18, 2019
Your Day Trip Packing List
“Preparedness gives confidence. When you’re prepared, you will feel that much more confident to do something a little more challenging in the mountains,” says Jeff Bullock, manager of mountain programs at the University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre and a full mountain guide.
Hand-in-hand with the right gear is the right training and knowledge to travel safely in the mountains. “All of those things add up to give us the confidence to feel good and comfortable about what we’re doing in the mountains.” Here are Bullock’s suggestions on what to bring with you on a day trip to the mountains:
FOOD AND WATER
Take enough food to fuel yourself for your day’s activity, plus a few additional items, such as power bars, that could sustain you if you end up having a bigger day than expected. As for water, how much you take with you will depend on where you’re going. If there is fresh water along the way some people may choose to bring along a filtration system so they don’t have to carry as much water with them. Make sure you hydrate well before – and after – hitting the trail.
Dress in layers for maximum comfort and be prepared for all weather. Bring along a fleece and rain gear such as Gore-Tex pants and a Gore-Tex jacket, as well as a light down jacket or down vest. If you’re heading into the backcountry overnight, Bullock recommends leaving your cotton clothing in the city. If you know you’ll be sweating, stick to synthetics, such as polyester, polypropylene or nylon. Basics such as sunglasses, a sun hat and sunscreen will go a long way to ensuring your comfort.
Bring a rain cover for your backpack and a lightweight tarp, which can serve as a shelter if you’re caught in the rain and want to stop to wait out a storm. A 30- to 40-litre backpack should serve you well year-round, Bullock says. Taking one or two hiking poles is useful for many things, including supporting your knees when going downhill. You can also use pieces of your pole as a splint in the event of an accident. Bring a knife or tool to build a small shelter, and a little fire-starting kit, in case you’re caught out overnight. Place things that you rarely use, such as a first aid kit, at the bottom of your pack. Make sure your first aid kit is tailored to the activity you’ll be doing. For example, for rock climbing, you’ll want to be prepared for potential rockfall by including heavy duty bandages; and if you’re going hiking or backpacking, include tensor bandages. A small piece of foam placed inside the pack along its spine can be used to sit on during rest breaks, and for splinting in the event of an accident. A blister kit is another must, and can include such things as moleskin, gel pads or duct tape to reduce friction. Using wool or synthetic socks or sock layering can also reduce the chance of developing blisters.
CARRY A WILDLIFE DETERRENT
According to Bullock, bear bells are not very threatening to bears. A better option, he says, would be a combination kit made up of a small blast horn and a can of bear spray, carried in a bear spray holster, with both items secured on the waist belt of your pack so they’re ready to go if you need to use them. Always be aware of your surroundings.
KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING
Good situational awareness is important. Knowing your route, and having the right tools and the knowledge to use them, including a map, compass and altimeter, can help you stay on track. Also important is letting someone know where you’re going and when you plan to be back. Cell phone coverage is spotty in the mountains, so it’s a good idea to carry an emergency communication device such as a SPOT satellite messenger, DeLorme inReach or personal locator beacon.