Power To Be staff share insight into camp and hike prep

Warmer weather calls for the dusting off of packs and tents. As Power To Be gears up for the backpacking and camping season with participants from Wilderness School and Adaptive Recreation, a recent weekend provided the perfect time for a tune up of skills.

The Wilderness School Year 3 cohort laced up and explored the Juan de Fuca Trail in preparation for longer adventures further afield this summer. The weekend was spent hiking the trail, and making camp at China and Bear beaches. The goal? Spend some time on our beautiful coastline, and shake the winter cobwebs off to be prepared for the upcoming backpacking season.

As the summer weather continues to arrive, more and more folks will be taking to the trail or headed out on overnight camping trips. Here are five tips to help ensure you have a fun, safe, and memorable time!

Stay hydrated

Keeping your body well hydrated is important at all times of the year, but the summer months can make this task particularly challenging. Ensure that you are drinking water regularly, not just when you are feeling thirsty. Dehydration can ruin a trip, and is especially damaging on a remote trail away from help. Make sure you are drinking water throughout your hike and have a safe way of collecting it on the trail if needed. Surface water should be boiled, filtered, or treated before consumption. Even water that appears to be clear usually contains particulates and can also hold bacteria or protozoa that cause a variety of ailments.

As a baseline in the West Coast climate, always pack at least one litre of water with you and be prepared with treatment options for future fill ups.

Check your gear before you go

It is important to be familiar with the use of your gear before you head out on the trail. Understanding how your equipment works will aid safe use, and reduce frustration. The last thing a backpacker wants after a long day of hiking is to get to camp and have to read extra directions.

A couple helpful tips include:

– Setting up your tent a few times before you go (camp in your backyard if you can!)

– Ensure you know how to use your stove and cookware and that you have the appropriate fuel to power it.

– Take a look at fellow backpackers’ gear lists, and compare to your own.

– Weigh your backpack. A bag should never weigh more than 25 per cent of the hiker’s weight.

– On the West Coast, there can be strong wind off of the ocean. Ensure that your sleeping bag is rated to cool temperatures (at least -2 degrees Celsius), as it can be chillier than expected in the evenings.

– If you are packing additional safety equipment (such as: flares, bear spray, GPS, radio) ensure that you are educated and trained to use this equipment safely.

Be prepared for rain

The wild West Coast weather is unpredictable and likely to change at any moment. Even if there is sun in the forecast, it pays to be prepared for all kinds of weather situations. Rain gear (jacket and rain pants) should be part of your standard gear list when planning any hiking or camping trip. Keeping the rain off you will help you stay warm, happy and dry on your trip. It is often said that the most important shelter is the one you wear.

Likewise, a large tarp to huddle underneath in the rain can be the difference between an amazing time and one you’d rather forget. Practice setting up your tarp, as you may need to get it up in a hurry!

Carry a First Aid Kit

Have a small first aid kid in your bag and take it with you everywhere. You never know when it may be necessary for you or anyone else you may encounter on the trail. Be prepared!

Tell someone your plans

It’s important that at least one other person who is not camping with you knows where you are planning to be and when you expect to be back.

This person can be a friend or relative that will check on you to make sure you have arrived safely. Often, this can be as simple as: “We are going to go out and camp at China Beach, we may walk some of the trail. We are planning to be back by Sunday evening, if we are not back by Monday afternoon, please check in.” It is a smart thing to get in the habit of doing just in case plans change or you need help.

Make this part of your pre-trip routine!

 – Story and tips shared by Robbie Young, program facilitator

Get out there - Adventure recommendations from Robbie

Accessible Camping - Bright Angel Park

This accessible campground and trail network is located in the Cowichan Valley on the banks of the Koksilah River. Learn more here.

Accessible Camping - Golden Ears Provincial Park

This accessible campground is located on the Lower Mainland, near Maple Ridge. The park offers a number of accessible campsites and many hiking options. Check out a story about one of our camping trips to this park, and learn more here.

Hike in Camping - Mystic Beach

This beautiful beach is the first campsite on the Juan de Fuca Trail and is located two kilometres away from the JDF Trailhead at China Beach. Be aware that this is a very busy spot in the summertime so if you plan to camp here overnight, get there early in the day to secure your spot.  This location lives up to its name and showcases the magical places available in our backyard! Learn more here.