Packing for your big hike

Whether hiking through tight spaces or wide ones, labour intensive or easy going climbs, here’s how to get ready.

When hiking, you can encounter a wide variety of things from animals to tight, hard to pass spaces, to steep terrain. So you should always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. 

There are many things I have learned from speaking with fellow hikers on the trails around Simon Fraser University (SFU) which is situated up on Burnaby Mountain. And while that particular area has plenty of convenience stores in case you need a drink or some bandages, if you pack accordingly for your hike, wherever you are, you will have everything at your fingertips. 

Gear is the most important aspect of hiking. Even a tiny multitool could be helpful but the more you have, the better the outcome will be if something unexpected occurs. So if you go hiking, invest some money in good gear to get you through any eventuality. For anyone getting started in hiking, here are some tips on how to pack to help you be prepared.



That’s why something like bear spray (to be bought and handled by someone of legal age) or lights could be the best things you could ever bring. Bear spray can be used for any animal that you might encounter. The spray contains 1% capsaicin which is very toxic if ingested or if you come in contact with it. Pepper spray on the other hand usually contains only 0.18% capsaicin, and is not an effective tool against bears. My friends and I used the Frontiersman Bear Spray from MEC


In addition, flashlights are a must have, especially if you are hiking at nighttime where you can’t see anything as trees may block any moonlight. The lights we used were all from Olight. I was carrying the Olight S30R Baton 3, my other 3 friends were carrying the S2R Baton 2, the S1R Baton 2, and the Seeker 2


We each carried one backpack with 3 bottles of water and 2 Cliff Bars, as we knew that it would take some time to reach the end of our climb and we didn’t want to risk running out of energy.


Rope is a necessity as it can be used for an abundance of things. It can be used to pull people up if they are stuck somewhere, start a fire, measure paw prints, and more. In my backpack, I brought around 100 meters of 550 paracord in Safety Green by G.I. Plus so that way it would be much easier to see. 


Multitools and knives are your second-best friend after the bear spray as multitools can be used for almost anything like cutting rope to size, opening cans, tightening something, and much more. I brought my Gerber dime–a small but versatile tool for anything that comes my way. My friends brought their Leatherman Squirt that’s also ready to take whatever challenges it encounters, the Leatherman Juice S2 with everyday essentials on it, and the Leatherman Free P4–the best of the bunch with a saw, pry tool, and another 19 gadgets. 


The last thing that you need to bring is a small medical kit. You don’t even have to buy a pre-made kit (but my friends and I did). You can make your own by putting bandages, gauze, alcohol wipes, a pair of medical gloves, and a pressure bandage also known as a Israeli Bandage because you can wrap the wound to keep everything inside (if it is a big wound) and it will apply pressure at the same time, sort of like a tourniquet. It will be the best thing you could ever bring as it could possibly be a lifesaver in certain situations. 


Be prepared for things to break. If it is an essential item, you may want to have a replacement available. My friends and I have encountered many problems while hiking, one being that one of my friends’ shoelaces had started to fray due some prickly bushes that caught on to the lace. At first we thought that he would have to hike up the rest of the mountain without a shoelace but then I recalled that I had brought my paracord and in the end we laced up his shoes with that and it lasted all the way to the top without any problems. 


 You may pack up and get ready then you realize your bag is pretty heavy, but if and when you find yourself in a difficult situation you won’t have any regrets! Make the smart choice: prepare for the worst and hope for the best. 


Image Credit: Pixabay/Wootcrisp

3 comments on “Packing for your big hike

  1. Best of the Midwest

    Nice article!


  2. Pingback: Packing for your big hike – Best of the Midwest – Hiking, adventure and photography

  3. Loved your photos and the articals


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