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Banff National Park

Day Hiking and Backpacking Equipment Checklist

This is a list of suggested equipment, which you can adjust to suit your personal preferences. Mountain weather is unpredictable; be prepared for winter conditions at any time of the year. Snow may persist in high mountain regions into the summer and avalanche danger may be in any season. This equipment list does not account for the special knowledge and equipment required to travel in avalanche terrain.

Day Hiking Checklist | Backpacking Checklist

Day Hiking Checklist

If you plan to be out for more than an hour or two, you should have the following with you regardless of the weather forecast:


  • extra layers of clothing (not cotton) for wind and weather changes (i.e. long pants, warm jacket) 
  • hiking boots or hiking shoes with good soles, extra socks 
  • rain jacket and pants, winter gloves, and a warm hat 
  • hearty lunch, snack & drinking water, at least 1 litre 
  • sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat or baseball cap 
  • personal blister kit and first aid supplies (just in case!) 
  • bear spray


  • binoculars 
  • trekking poles 
  • insect repellant 
  • knife or multi-tool 
  • sandals or runners, for the drive home 
  • camera with batteries and memory cards 
  • topographic map, trail description, GPS or compass 
  • cell phone or a watch (Note: Cell coverage is not reliable.) 
  • personal locator beacon
  • personal toiletries (i.e. toilet paper, lip balm, brush or comb) 
  • compact emergency kit (i.e. waterproof matches or lighter, flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries, signalling device such as a whistle or mirror, emergency blanket)

Hiking in Banff National Park

Backpacking Checklist

When to Go | Where to GoPasses, Permits & Reservations | Safety & Stewardship


  • tent with waterproof fly and groundsheet 
  • sleeping pad 
  • sleeping bag 
  • repair kit


  • backpack
  • hiking boots with ankle support and good soles, extra socks
  • sandals or runners for fording streams and at camp
  • socks and underwear 
  • pants and/or shorts 
  • short and long-sleeved shirt 
  • insulating base-layer and outer layer (long underwear)
  • rainwear or shell, and gaiters 
  • hat and gloves
  • sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat or baseball cap 
  • basic toiletries & toilet paper

Dry clothes go a long way to making you feel comfortable. Pack light but bring something dry to change into when you reach camp.

Food & Cooking 

  • water treatment or filter (Drinking Water in the Great Canadian Outdoors)  
  • water bottle or camelback, 1L minimum 
  • food, including enough for an extra day
  • stove and fuel, with waterproof matches or a lighter 
  • cooking and eating utensils 
  • water storage container 
  • garbage bags to pack out all food and personal trash
  • sturdy food sack (or backpack) for hanging
For your safety and that of wildlife, your food must be suspended from the food storage cables in your campground. Ensure you have a sturdy food sack that will stand up to wind and the elements. To stay safe and protect wilderness, manage your food, food smells and garbage.


  • backcountry permit and reservation
  • bear spray
  • sunglasses & sunscreen 
  • headlamp or flashlight 
  • pocketknife or multi-tool 
  • rope & carabiner (approx 8 m) 
  • trip plan (left with a friend or family member) 
  • insect repellent 
  • topographic map and trip description
  • GPS / compass 
  • first aid and blister kits 
  • whistle
  • extra batteries for your devices
  • Compact emergency kit (i.e. waterproof matches or lighter, flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries, signaling device such as a whistle or mirror, emergency blanket, pencil and paper)

Bring a carabine

  • It is recommended that you carry bear spray and know how to use it.

    Other items you may find helpful...

    • personal locator beacon
    • camera with charged batteries and an empty memory card 
    • notebook and pencil 
    • deck of cards 
    • fishing permit 
    • binoculars 
    • biodegradable soap 
    • camp towel 
    • watch or alarm clock 
    • candle
    • trowel
    • altimeter
    • binoculars
    • field guide(s)
    • trekking poles
    • satellite phone
    • change of clothes and sandals for the drive home