Of course, you can hike year-round, but many of us are fair-weather hikers. And summer’s almost here! But avid and occasional hikers alike have a similar problem before their first outing every year. What do I take hiking?
Part of the problem is that the climate in Southern Ontario gives us a bit of everything, at almost any time of year. That means preparing for even a short day hike can be difficult
Take These Things on Every Hike
First, there’s a difference between day hikes and multi-day hiking and camping. The list below includes things you should carry with you on just about every trek, regardless of its length or duration, for your safety and enjoyment.
Some of these items might seem like a little much if you just want to hit the trail for a day hike, or when in familiar areas. But even on the shortest jaunt, if something happens, you’re not likely to have help nearby. And the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re ready for anything makes it all that much more enjoyable.
- The Tools of Navigation – You should always have a compass and topographic map. A map and compass will never run out of power like a GPS unit might.
- Extra Clothing – Remember, this is Southern Ontario. Even if you’re just using a t-shirt, you should have an insulating and outer (waterproof) layer in your backpack.
- Sun Protection – Sunscreen, lip balm, wide-brim hat and sunglasses are must-haves and long-sleeve shirts and pants are should haves.
- Lighting – Not just your cell phone either. You need that for emergency calls. Carry LED flashlights or headlamps with spare batteries.
- A First Aid Kit – Make it as large as needed for the number of people on the journey, it’s duration, and the risk levels you anticipate.
- Food & Water – Have enough energy bars and dry food to last you until tomorrow and at least two litres of water. A way to treat water, either tablets or a portable purifier, is a nice thing to have.
- Tools – A solid multi-tool with scissors, knife, plastic ties, screwdriver, saw and pliers is the bare minimum. Carry larger yet portable versions of all of those if at all possible, and also duct tape and a shovel.
- Fire Starter – In a plastic bag, pack a lighter, waterproof matches and a fire-starter product.
- Emergency Shelter – You’ll have a tent and sleeping bag if you’re on an overnight trip. But even on a day trip, you should carry an emergency blanket and large orange plastic bag, which will not only keep you dry, but it’ll be easy to see in a search and rescue situation.
Hiking is one of the many things to do in Blue Mountain, summer or winter. There are many trails on the Mountain, below it and more than a few along the face of it.
If you liked this post, check out our recent article about how to pack a hiking backpack.