Whether you’re hiking on your own or with a group, it’s important to talk about how to prepare for a hike. You never know what can happen in the wilderness of the mountains or how much cell reception you have out there. Here are some tips and tricks on how to prepare for a day hike.
Tell someone about your hike
The best thing to do before you head out on any hike is to notify someone of your plan. Let someone know where you are going when you are leaving and what time you are expecting to be back. On a trail like the one to Cheakamus Lake, for example, it is likely that you will see other people around. But on some parts of the trail, there is no cell phone reception which makes it hard to contact someone in case of an emergency.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Be Adventure Smart
If you want to have a good time out there, be adventure smart. Our friends at AdventureSmart created this great app called Trip Plan. It’s free to use and it allows you to create a trip plan with all the details of your adventure.
It’s simple, your trip plan ” explains your destination, travel route, equipment and expected return time. It is vital information to assist authorities in searching for you in the event of an emergency. ” Not only are you letting someone know about your hiking plans with this app, but you are making it easier for search and rescue to find you with the information you have already shared. So before you head out on your hike, fill out a trip plan!
If any of the hikes you are thinking of doing are located in the BC Parks, you might also want to have a look at their website for any trail updates. I remember last spring they closed a few trails because they were doing some logging for forest fire prevention.
It happens that some trails are closed for maintenance, or that there are bears in the area – these things are always good to know before you go!
Another great thing to know before you go on your hike how to find your way on the trail. Trust me, all the trees look the same out there. Was it this tree that you saw 2 minutes ago or was it this one? Or maybe it’s this one with the big branches!
If you lost your way and can’t find the trail anymore, look up. Most of the trails are marked with orange squares up in the trees, or pink ribbons wrapped around a branch.
Be Bear Smart
They are perhaps one of my favorite creatures out there. Black bears and brown bears are also Whistler residents. They are everywhere in the Whistler area and they even walk on the same trails as us! Do you know what to do if you encounter a bear during one of your hikes? First things first, don’t panic and don’t run away! Have a look at Bear Smart‘s website for advice about what to do if you see a bear on one of your adventures.
What to pack for a day hike
The last thing we should talk about is hiking essentials. What do you pack in your backpack for a day hike? How much should you bring?
The following is a basic list of survival items that you should have with you on ANY hike. If it’s not you that needs it, then maybe you will be able to help someone that was less prepared than you. Here are your hiking trip essentials:
- Flashlight + spare batteries
- Matches/lighter, fire starter/candle
- Signaling device: mirror or whistle
- Extra food and water
- Extra clothing
- Pocket knife
- Paper map
- Hiking boots/shoes
- Sun protection: glasses, hat, sunscreen
This list was inspired by Adventure Smart’s trip essentials and should be customized according to the weather forecast and your physical condition. I have also prepared a hiking checklist for your day hikes with a few of my personal suggestions.
There you go, I hope that you know feel more informed on how to prepare for a day hike. If you have anything you would like to add or any suggestions leave your comments below!