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How To Prepare For An All-day Wilderness Hike
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How to Prepare for An All-day Wilderness Hike

It’s quite amazing how many people will head out on an all day hike totally unprepared. I read in the news today about a man that ventured out to do the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver. He had planned to only be out hiking for the day. However he ended up lost and injured in the North Shore Mountains for 9 days. He did not tell anyone here he was going and was not prepared for the rugged terrain with only running shoes for footwear. He had no idea what trail he took to get up the mountain and did not have a cell phone. As the days wore on he became weaker and more dehydrated. He was clinging to life when a rescuer finally found him by chance. He saw several hikers during his time on the mountain but was not able to alert them. He is extremely lucky to be alive. Don’t let this be you. Always go prepared when hiking even for a day.

Before you head out on your all day hike?

First of all you must let someone know where you are going. It is a good idea to have a map with your route drawn right on it. Make a copy for someone and let them know when you plan to return.

Never hike alone. If you will be hiking in a wilderness area never hike alone. Even if you are on a well-marked trail there is no guarantee that you will come across any other hikers on a given day. You also have no recourse should you become lost or injured and are not able to hike out. Don’t count on having cell coverage when in a wilderness area! If you are unsure of the area you are hiking in find someone who is familiar with the area and confident about finding their way in the wilderness.

Always take the essentials with you. A wide brimmed hat will protect you from both the sun and the rain. Navigational tools such as a map and compass and or GPS unit in order to ensure that you know where you are at all times. If you do not know how to use these tools you should not venture into the wilderness without someone who does. Take a whistle as this is an excellent tool for alert other hikers in the area if you get lost or injured.

Always take fire making tools such as a lighter (keep the lighter in a sealable plastic bag) and a jack knife or multi tool. You never know when you might have to spend the night or just need to get warm and dry after a heavy rain. I also like to take a small backpacking type stove for heating up water for a hot drink.

Make sure you take lots of food and water with you and a water purification kit it you will be taking drinking water from a lake or stream. Take extra food in case your hike is longer than expected or someone gets injured.

Take a proper wilderness first aid kit with you and someone in your party should know at least basic wilderness first aid.

A flashlight or headlamp (with extra batteries) is also essential as it can mean the difference between getting back to your car at the end of a long day of hiking or having to spend the night because of darkness.

Always wear proper hiking boots for the type of hiking you are doing, and the right clothing. Take extra warm layers and a waterproof breathable rain jacket and pants with you if you are hiking where rain is likely or if you will be hiking in the mountains. The weather can change very quickly in the mountains and the temperature can drop dramatically. Always be prepared for rain and in the mountains it could even snow unexpectedly especially during the shoulder seasons. Have a toque and gloves in your pack in case you need them.

If you make these preparations before your all day hike in the wilderness, you will have the tools and the confidence that you will get back from your wilderness hike safe and sound.


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