Essential Hiking Safety Tips for Your Canadian Adventure

May 5, 2014
Essential Hiking Safety Tips for Your Canadian Adventure

Are the mountains and nature calling you? I can tell you that I’m at my happiest and calmest, and feel most blessed during a good hike.

Here are some hiking safety tips to make sure your hike in Canada is as enjoyable as possible.

What to expect/What to bring

1. Expect to encounter wild animals on your hike.

Speak loudly, whack bushes and never hike alone. Get educated about the wildlife in your area and be aware of your surroundings. Look for animal waste and footprints on the trail. Remember: you are in their backyard!

2. Choose a good quality day hiking backpack

You’ll want one with a waterproof cover.

3. Bring a hat and extra wool hiking socks.

You’ll lose heat from your head and feet first.

4. Bring sunscreen and sunglasses.

5. Bring a watch.

6. Don’t forget hiking poles that retract

You want them to be small enough to fit in your pack/gators/MICROspikes.

7. Bring a nylon cord.

8. Carry two pieces of ID

One on your body and one in your pack

Other packing essentials include:

1. Flashlight/headlamp

(With extra batteries)

2. Waterproof whistle with good range

3. Extra clothes

Layer your clothes because it’s better to have too much on than not enough, and make sure that includes rain gear.

4. Waterproof matches and commercial fire starter

5. Pocket knife with tools

6. Shelter

This can be an orange plastic garbage bag (so that it can be seen from far away) or a tarp.

7. Water, purifier tablets, and extra high energy bars

8. Cell phone

9. GPS/compass/map

Make sure you learn how they work beforehand, and bring a mirror to use as a reflector

10. First aid kit with extra blister pads, allergy pills, mosquito repellent, and antibiotic cream

(Be sure to take a basic first aid course.)

Other important safety tips:

  • Tell someone where you’re going and call them when you are home safe.
  • Leave a note in your car, which says the trail you are on and the date/time when you will return.
  • Take a camera with extra batteries in order to take pictures of landmarks along the way to help you remember the way out.
  • Wear comfortable and waterproof trail or hiking boots.
  • Bring flagging tape.
  • Check the weather and trail conditions.
  • Give yourself enough time to complete the hike before dark.

If you realize you are lost on the trail and dusk is coming, stop walking and start preparing to stay overnight. The longer you walk, the deeper in the forest you will get and it will take searchers that much longer to find you. If you leave a note in your car and tel someone you are going hiking, then you have given yourself two more reasons to be found. Someone will see that you’re missing and will find you!

Next, find an open area and with twigs and rocks, and make an arrow pointing in your direction and the letters, SOS (which means, “save our souls”). Now, find a tree and put some leaves down for extra warmth.


You should have a space blanket or an orange bag with you. If it’s an orange bag, cut a small hole at the top for your face to poke through. If it’s a space blanket, wrap yourself in it so that your head is covered with just your face peeking out.

Tuck your pants into your socks; this will help prevent bug bites and provide extra warmth.

Now get your whistle out and blow three times with a one minute pause in between. This also means SOS. It will both help keep wildlife away, and will aid the searchers in finding you. Use the whistle instead of your voice. Save your voice for when the searchers are coming near. Keep sipping small amounts of water and nibbling at your food.

staying safe on hikes, hiking safety tips
Space blanket; photo by Danielle Joyce Photography

Your safety is the most important thing. Stay on the trails! It’s your responsibility to be safe in the back country. Remember that although most places will have search and rescue, these people are often volunteers and leaving their families to rescue you. Teach your children basic wilderness awareness–it is a life skill. Hiking in Canada is fun and should have a happy ending.

Happy and safe trails!



Essential Hiking Safety Tips for Your Canadian Adventure

About Lori Pederson

AvatarLori Pederson is an Education Assistant in the biggest district in BC, Canada and works with kids that have special needs. In her spare time, she spends time on the mountains, scouting out safe hikes and then posts them to her hiking site.

2 thoughts on “Essential Hiking Safety Tips for Your Canadian Adventure

  1. Trish Roberts
    Trish Roberts
    June 15, 2016

    Lori has given us some very good tips and I need to listen to what she says! I have hiked all over the Canadian Rockies and not once did I think of putting ID in my pack on top of carrying ID on my person. Well done Lori and I am now better educated because of you so thank you for writing this.

  2. Avatar
    Maya Clarke
    May 5, 2014

    This is a fabulous article that’s full of relevant content..lots of good practical information here…well done. I am certainly going to follow her valuable suggestions. I would appreciate reading more articles by this author, Maya Clarke

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