Everyone should have the following basic clothing items:
- Footwear: - boots for land-based activities (with ankle support & lug soles) or sandals / old runners for water-based activities
- Wool socks (1 thin or 1 thick depending on the season)
- Water & Wind Resistant Jacket
- Wool/Fleece Sweater
- Pants/Shorts (wool/synthetic)
In so many ways, water is critical to the functioning of our bodies - muscle function, temperature control, reasoning, waste disposal, and joint lubrication to name a few. Dehydration can severely impair your bodies response to injuries, and in many cases the reason for an injury. It is wise to carry two litres during a hot summer activity and ideally a means of purifying additional water. The guide carries purification chemicals as well. It would be wise to purchase and carry a package of oral re-hydration solution (or those popular "sport drinks") to replace lost electrolytes for extended hikes in the summer.
There are many reasons why a night out is possible: a lengthy detour, getting lost, an injury, unexpected difficult terrain. This is food over and beyond your needs for the day. Choose food that is compact and packs a lot of energy.
Rain gear & extra insulation
Weather can change quickly and/or an injury could lead to a cold night out on the trail. Things to consider: know when to wear cotton (when wet it's a poor insulator and accelerates the progress of hypothermia, but it is good for those hot, sunny day hikes to promote cooling). Always have a synthetic layer for emergencies. It is wise to always carry a toque, even in summer to combat heat loss. Extra insulation can be in the form of a wool or fleece sweater, "long underwear" made of synthetic fibres, or a pack small synthetic insulated jacket. When a body is injured shock affects the thermo-regulation system so even in the summer insulation is needed to combat the effects.
Fire starter & matches
Fire can provide warmth, emotional comfort and as a signaling method in emergencies. Carry a lighter and/or "strike anywhere" matches packaged to be waterproof. Be aware the primary means to keep warm is with food, physical activity and clothing. Never assume you can start a fire here in the rain forest if the "Wet Coast".
First Aid kit
Although the guide carries a complete first aid kit it would be wise to have some of the basic supplies needed for simple injuries on yourself or as additional supplies in a larger trauma event. Items include: Band-Aids, tensor bandage, moleskin, tape, and gauze. Guides cannot provide or administer medications such as anti-inflammatory or pain relief pills but it is recommended you carry these items if you normally use them. Never use without informing the guide first.
Knife or multipurpose tool
They can be very useful in emergency and non-emergency situations.
Flashlight & extra batteries
For finding your way in the dark and signaling for help. There are small, LED flashlights that weigh very little so there is little reason not to carry a flashlight. If possible get yourself a headlamp to keep your hands free.
Large plastic bag
A heavy-duty, orange, lawn garbage bag works well for rain protection, emergency shelter, signaling device or ground protection.
Standard, effective items to signal for help. Avoid metal whistles.
Sunscreen & sun glasses
A simple solution to avoid a common injury. Apply early to be effective.
Bug repellent & Antihistamine
The curse of the outdoors! DEET is found to be the most effective repellent ingredient. It can affect and be affected by sunscreen. Applying the sunscreen an hour before the repellent is usually the best method.
Most people react to insect stings and bites, and allergies that can be helped with antihistamines. Some may find relief with "sting stop" type applications for wasp, hornet or bee stings. If you have any life threatening allergies must be indicated on your medical form, and you must carry an EpiPen. Please inform the guides at the meeting time as to your allergy and ideally letting the group know can decrease your risk.
You can lose a tremendous amount of body heat through contact with the ground, be it earth, rock or snow. The most common ground insulation is the blue Ensolite sleeping pad seen strapped to many a backpack. At the very least carry one big enough to sit on and that is cut to fit nicely into your day pack.
Map & compass*
First off, carrying a map and compass is only useful if you know how to use them. If you plan on doing your own hikes it would be a critical skill to learn. Maps vary from topographical maps (extremely useful with a compass) to specialty maps, such as provincial park maps. Printed government maps are hard to find these days but can be printed ahead of time from parks web sites.
*The guide carries these two items, plus a GPS, but one should carry them on personal outings provided they know how to use them.