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Hiking Smart: Packing for the West Coast Trail
[Parks Canada beaver logo]
[title: What to pack for the wet west coast?
[Geoff Carrow, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve]
Geoff Carrow, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve: To better help you be prepared for hiking the West Coast Trail, we’ve put a list together of...
[title begins a list: Top Ten; beside the list, a hiker tightens her full backpack]
GC: ...things you need to bring.
Girl Narrator: Starting with your pack, you’re going to want a pack that’s made of sturdy construction and good materials.
[title: padded backpack]
[a Park staff holds a backpack with padded shoulder straps and waistbands]
GN: You’re going to want a well-padded shoulder strap and waist band.
[the hiker checks the weight of her bag]
GN: For women, the ideal weight to carry is ¼ of your body weight and for men it’s a...
GN: ...1/3 of your body weight. Anything over that and you might want to reconsider what you’re bringing along with you.
[a seasoned hiker shares his dedication]
Older Man: I’ve done this now 19 times, that’s 116 days over 1000 miles on the trail. I have never had a blister.
[the hiker ties the laces on her hiking boots]
GN: For your footwear, you’re going to want a sturdy pair of boots.
[title: sturdy hiking boots]
GN: Preferably something that goes above the ankle to provide better support.
GC: You need to have boots that you’ve worn...
[Geoff talks about appropriate hiking boots]
GC: ...before you’ve gotten out here.
[hiking boots step along a wooden platform]
GC: Boots that are comfortable on your feet and sturdy enough to support your ankles.
[the seasoned hiker speaks]
OM: When you buy your pair of boots,
[boots step over wet rocks]
OM: ...buy a good pair and take 2...
[hikers climb a steep rocky hill]
OM: ...hours to buy them. Try on ½ dozen pairs. Walk around the store...
[Geoff talks about hiking poles]
GC: Something else a lot of hikers like to use out of here and what I think is a...
[a hiker uses poles while traveling along a small boardwalk]
GC: ...really good idea is to have a good...
[title: hiking poles]
GC: ...set of hiking poles. It’s great for crossing creeks, they help...
[poles help another hiker cross slippery stones on a creek]
GC: ...you gain your balance in there—the rocks are often algae covered and very slippery. It also helps you get through...
[hikers test the depth of mud with their poles]
GC: ...the mud pits because you don’t see what’s in the mud, you don’t know how deep it is, you don’t know if there’s something solid down there you could step on. So the poles are invaluable for that—for feeling your way through.
[Geoff talks about rain clothes]
GC: Make sure you have a full rain suit for...
[the hiker puts on her rain gear]
GC: ...hiking the West Coast Trail. We get rain here...
[title: rain gear]
GC: ...any time of the year and lots of it. You could be out here for days in the rain. I hope you’re not but you could be.
[moss and water droplets cover tree branches]
[the Park staff holds gloves]
GN: You’re also going to want to bring some warm gloves and a...
[the hiker puts on her toque]
GN: ...warm hat.
[the Park staff holds a tent bag]
GN: It’s important to have a warm, dry and...
[campers set up a tent]
GN: ...lightweight tent that has a...
[title: tent with waterproof fly]
GN: ...waterproof fly. Options for sleeping...
[a camper unravels a sleeping bag]
[title: synthetic sleeping bag]
GN: —you’re going to want to bring a synthetic sleeping bag. Down sleeping bags can stay wet...
[the Park staff holds a wrapped up sleeping bag]
GN: ...if they get wet. Synthetic sleeping bags will dry quicker. And you might also want to pack it in a plastic bag in order to reduce the chances of it getting wet.
[Geoff talks about cooking and water]
GC: Once your tent and sleeping bag and everything’s set up for night, you’re going to want to...
[a hiker pumps stream water through a filter]
GC: ...cook some food. There’s creeks on a lot of the campgrounds, along the West Coast Trail.
[food cooks in a steaming pot on a portable stove]
GC: From those creeks you should always...
[a filter hose sits in a stream]
[title: water purification system]
GC: ...boil your water, or filter it or use iodine tablets...
[a hiker pours purified water into a water bottle]
GC: —some kind of purification system.
[a flame burns on a tiny camping stove]
[title: lightweight cooking utensils]
GN: For cooking, you’re going to want to bring lightweight equipment—that includes...
[the Park staff points to a tiny stove and a set of pots]
GN: ...a back country stove and some pots. Ideally you don’t want to bring all the pots in your collection.
[hikers set up a camping stove on a beach]
GN: You might want to think about how many people you’re bringing and how big the meals you’re going to be making.
[they put a pan on the stove and pour sauce and spices]
GN: And maybe just simplify it by bringing 1 pot for food and 1 pot for water or even if you might be able to get away with one pot for the group.
[the Park staff displays packaged foods]
GN: For food, you’re going to want to pack light weight and high energy food. We recommend freeze dried options, a lot of energy bars and...
[hikers prepare food]
GN: ...items that don’t have a lot of packaging. An option you can do is to remove...
[the hiker wraps some items in a Ziploc bag]
GN: ...some of the items from their packaging before heading out on the trail and wrapping them up in Ziploc.
GC: Some other stuff hopefully you’re not going to have to pull out of your backpack but you should have with you is...
[a first-aid kit lies beside a hiker]
GC: ...you should have a really good first aid kit...
[title: first aid kit]
GC: —something that will treat bee stings, will treat blisters, will treat small...
[a hiker takes a band-aid from a first-aid kit and applies it]
GC: ...cuts. All the kinds of things you could think you’ll find out here. Have some sunscreen, a little tube of sunscreen.
GC: Make sure you’ve got several tensure...
[the hiker checks her bandages]
GC: ...bandages in there if you need them or if someone else you meet on the trail needs them.
[Geoff talks about wildlife in the area]
GC: On the West Coast Trail, you can see in any day, you could see lots of bald eagles, you could see whales off shore, you can see river otters running up and down the beaches. Cougar, bear, wolf also frequent the area. You’ll likely only see...
[footprints of wildlife are pressed into the beach sand]
GC: ...sign of those animals. For hiking in cougar, bear and wolf country, the best...
GC: ...thing you can do is manage the food around your campsite and anything that might have any kind of smell or attract wildlife that be make them curious. It could be your deodorant or your toothpaste. So think about all the things...
[a woman puts food and scented items into a net]
GC: ...that are scented that you need to manage at night. Make sure all your food is put away in bear...
[the woman puts the net into a food locker]
GC: ...lockers that we have provided on the trail. If there’s no lockers available or they’re full, which sometimes happens in the middle of the summer in July and August,
[a hiker ties a rope around a bag]
GC: ...you can also hang your food.
[title: 15 metres of rope and bag]
GC: You’re going to need 15 metres of rope and a some kind of bag you can gather everything in anything that has a scent...
[the hiker throws the bag up to hang it from a tree branch]
GC: —your pots, your pans, all your food, anything you’ve cooked and eaten with, soap, toothpaste,
[the hiker ties the end of the rope to a root]
GC: ...all that stuff gets put in a bag and you’ll hang it. It’s important to remember everything you bring on the...
[the hiker picks up garbage and puts it in a Ziploc bag]
GC: ...West Coast Trail you need to take out with you. So bring something like a heavy...
GC: ...duty garbage bag or a large...
[the hiker walks away with the garbage]
GC: ...Ziploc bag that you can put all your waste in and you take it all out when you leave.
[title begins a list: Do not bring]
GN: Some items you don’t want to bring on the trail...
[the Park staff displays canned food; title: Canned foods]
GN: ...includes canned food. Water’s available along the length of the trail. Again, please bring dehydrated foods.
[the Park staff now displays a juice box; title: Excess liquids]
GN: Already mixed juices. Juice crystals are a great option instead of bringing the weight of...
[she displays a bag of onions; title: Fresh vegetables]
GN: ...juice. Heavy fresh vegetables, like onions or potatoes, are definitely not recommended as well. Again, those things can be found dehydrated.
[she displays a large pan]
GN: Large heavy cooking utensils. Again, go with the light-weight pot set.
[she displays a cotton towel; title: Cotton (no jeans)]
GN: And finally, stay away from bringing anything cotton, especially large towels. Camp towels are available and are definitely light weight.
[she holds up a pamphlet]
GN: Here are a few items that are available at the trail head information centres.
[at the information centre, hikers examine the trail map]
GN: We have a West Coast Trail map that is produced by Parks Canada and covers...
[a detailed map shows necessary information for the West Coast Trail]
GN: ...kilometre by kilometre the trail. It also includes information on backcountry etiquette, public safety messaging and history of the West Coast Trail.
[the Park staff holds a tide chart]
GN: You’ll also get a tide chart which provides the tides for the week you will be hiking,
[she holds up a safety information sheet]
GN: ...as well as a West Coast Trail safety information sheet which is information that explains to you how to contact emergency personnel in an emergency.
[title: A few words of advice]
[a couple stand on a beach]
Female Hiker A: Yeah, don’t wear cotton. It will never dry...
Male Hiker A: (laughs) Pack light.
[a father and daughter stand beside a wooden ladder]
Daughter: I would say wear gators. Get good gators cause it’s really muddy.
[another couple stands on a beach]
Female Hiker B: And I was wearing beige pants to start off with, which is not a good plan.
[a different couple stands on the beach]
Female Hiker C: Bringing our spam cans probably wasn’t a good idea.
[three young women sit in front of their tent]
Female Hiker D: The things I’ve been happiest about being prepared for have been having the right boots that somebody really helped me pick out, an expert, and having trekking poles has been essential.
[a young man stands on the beach]
Male Hiker E: Start to love ladders and mud and sweat. And be friendly to people because we met some amazing people on this trail.
[title: You're watching a series of videos on...]
[title: ...The West Coast Trail]
[title: Parks Canada/Parks Canada government logo]
[title: Copyright - Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Parks Canada, 2010]
[title: Government of Canada logo]
To better help you be prepared for hiking Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s West Coast Trail, here is a list of things you need to bring, along with what you should avoid packing.
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