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Calgary Nature Lovers Pages

Spring.Summer.Fall Hiking

This is only a recommendation, for more advice on packing speak with an expert at one of the hiking stores in town or go to MEC Learning Pages

We strongly recommend that you get a canister of BEAR SPRAY and learn how to use it

Suggested clothing to wear (note always dress for the weather, this list is for a warm dry day):
NO COTTON, try to get fabrics that wick moisture away
• Sturdy hiking boots that are comfortable, do not wear new boots on a hike
• Socks that wick moisture away - wearing wicking liner socks under your socks helps to prevent blisters
• Under layer – made of wicking material
• Short sleeved top (lightweight and UV protected are best)
• Well-fitting shorts (lightweight is best) or long pants with zip off bottoms
• Sun hat
• Sunglasses

In back-pack:
• Water – at least 2 litres for a 10 km hike, more if it is warm outside or there is lots of elevation gain
• Packed lunch/supper if staying out late
• Long sleeved fleece
• Spare short sleeved shirt
• Water/wind proof jacket (we like Gore-Tex)
• Cargo over pants water/wind proof
• Gloves
• Spare socks
• River sandals for river crossings
• Small towel
• Toilet tissue in zip lock bag
• Suntan lotion

First Aid Kit
• Bandages, including ace, triangular sized, small bandages and non-adhesive for burns
• Antibiotic ointment
• 4x4 gauze pads
• Medications, including laxative, allergies, aspirin
• Prescription medications, enough to last at least 4 days
• Tweezers & scissors
• Adhesive tape
• Moleskin for dealing with blisters

Survival kit:
• Waterproof matches or cigarette lighter in zip lock bag
• Compass with mirror for signalling to overhead assistance
• Whistle
• Emergency reflective blanket
• Swiss army knife
• Waterproof map
• Headlamp & spare batteries
• High density food bars
• Trail mix (it’s best to have too much food than to get caught with not enough)
• Water purifier & tablets

We recommend that you line the inside of your backpack with a large orange garbage bag and place all of the items in ziplock bags inside the garbage bag as protection against rain.. The garbage bag has two functions: to provide double protection against the elements and to act as a very visible shelter if you get caught out overnight

Hiking Poles
Even if you are hiking only a short distance, hiking poles will make the trip easier and more enjoyable. They offer added security on wet, slippery trails and more stability when crossing streams. They are especially helpful, and take a lot of the strain off the knees and thighs, when you are descending steep slopes or when you hit sharp downturns in the trail. Modern hiking poles are lightweight and collapsible so they are easy to pack.


Snowshoeing Equipment Info

Snowshoes: There are 2 types of snowshoes suitable for the average snowshoer and these are:

Trail snowshoes which generally are a tube type frame with a large metal claw under the toe, these are used for snowshoeing on the flat or gentle slopes but on more abrupt inclines and declines these shoes may not provide enough traction which can allow you to slide uncontrollably downhill or be unable to climb a steep part of a trail.

Mountain snowshoes have a metal frame with saw type teeth as well as a very aggressive claw under the toe piece. Some mountain snowshoes have a calf saver which flips up and elevates your heel (like wearing high heels) you use this when going up prolonged inclines and it saves the muscles in the calves of your legs from tiring as quickly.

Trail snowshoes are cheaper, they can even be purchased as a package from Costco .. snowshoes and poles for approximately $100. If you get into more high end Trail snowshoes you will pay anywhere from $160 to $250. For the novis just starting out and maybe only doing a few trips a year Trail snowshoes are fine and then if you really get into the sport you can upgrade to Mountain Snowshoes.

Mountain Snowshoes are more expensive but if you are an avid hiker and want a replacement activity for winter then snowshoeing will fill that gap. In this case I suggest you start out with mountain snowshoes so you can enjoy all the trails without struggling. Mountain snowshoes range in price from $200 to $300 but are well worth the money. My personal choice is the MSR Lightning Accent, these come by gender and then you select your size by your weight. If you are close to the end of your weight category I suggest you go to the next size up.

Renting Equipment is always a good option so you can see how you like the activity and you can rent a couple of times and try both the Trail and Mountain Snowshoes that way before you make a decision. Snowshoes rent out for under $20 per outing and some places will give you back the cost of one rental towards the price of your snowshoes if you buy from them after. Places that rent are Mountain Equipment Coop, Campers Village and University of Calgary Outdoors Centre.

Poles: You need hiking poles with winter (powder) baskets on them for snowshoeing. I suggest that these are adjustable poles. If you don't already have hiking poles you can get entry level Black Diamond adjustable poles for about $40, if the winter baskets don't come with them they can be purchased for $5.

Boots: You will want warm winter boots, the kind suitable for activities.

Backpack: You will need a backpack to carry extra layers of clothing, your lunch & snacks, water (at least a liter and an optional hot drink is a great warm up at lunch), small first aid kit ( blister care, Tylenol or ibuprofen, and polysporin are a good start) and hand warmers. You will build your own list of items but this is a good start.

Clothing: Dress in layers, you will heat up once on the trail and want to peel off a layer but when we stop at lunch you will want to put on an extra jacket or sweater. Remember you want to wear dry fit or moisture wicking clothing and NO COTTON. Cotton gets wet with sweat and clings to you, this will make you cold in the winter and overheat in the summer. Moisture wicking clothing is available in all sporting goods stores and many department stores at reasonable prices. Socks should be a wool blend and many people like to start with a synthetic sock liner under the wool sock but this is a matter of preference. Waterproof pants such as light ski pants or lined wind pants, check to make sure they have lots of pockets. A light wind and water resistant jacket that you can wear over other layers is better than a bulky winter jacket. You should have 2 pairs of mitts or gloves a lighter pair and a heavy pair along with a warm toque and possibly an ear band.

Here are a couple of links that you can find l lots of useful information:

MEC Learning Pages

Snowshoe Reviews http://snowshoe-revie...

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About Calgary Nature Lovers July 16, 2012 2:14 PM Frank & L.

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