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Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

West Coast Trail: Packing

Hiking Smart: Packing for the West Coast Trail
Hiking Smart: Packing for the West Coast Trail
© Parks Canada

Packing Checklist

To enjoy your WCT experience you must be comfortable; use quality, lightweight equipment. Your pack should weigh a maximum of ¼ (women) to 1/3 (men) of your body weight. Reassess the content of your pack if it is heavier than this.

  • Sturdy boots: High quality hiking boots with good ankle and arch support are required. Soft rubber soles provide better traction on slippery surfaces than hard soles. Do not break in new boots on this hike. Sandals or running shoes are good for wearing around camp and for river crossings. 
  • Rainwear and warm clothing: Bring a durable waterproof jacket and pants; underlayers that keep you warm when wet and are quick to dry, as well as a warm hat and gloves. 
  • Lightweight backpacking stove and fuel. 
  • High energy, lightweight, quickcooking food. 
  • Backpacks require a padded hip belt and should be lined with plastic bags. 
  • A tent with a waterproof fly is absolutely necessary. 
  • Sleeping bag: Synthetic fills are preferable, as down bags lose warmth when wet. Pack sleeping bags in waterproof bags and carry them inside the backpack. 
  • Closed-cell foam sleeping pad. 
  • The latest edition of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve West Coast Trail Map (PDF, 5.39 MB) tide tables (Tofino) and a watch for use with tide tables. 
  • First aid kit that includes treatments for blisters and insect stings.
  • 15 meters (50 ft) of synthetic rope per group to hang food, use as clothes-line, etc. 
  • Cell phones

Also consider:

  • an emergency signalling device 
  • cash for unexpected emergencies (up to $100 per person is recommended) 
  • water container, water purification equipment 
  • toilet paper 
  • zip-lock type plastic bags for keeping permits and other small items dry 
  • lighter or waterproof matches 
  • fire starter 
  • garbage bags to pack out all your refuse 
  • gaiters 
  • sun screen 
  • lip screen 
  • sunglasses 
  • hand sanitizer 
  • toiletries 
  • flashlight 
  • weather radio 
  • repair kits for equipment 
  • lightweight shoes for camp and river crossings 
  • cooking and eating utensils 
  • hiking staff or collapsible poles

NOTE: Do not bring an axe, firearms or pets!