Last updated on February 25th, 2023 at 12:58 pm
I am a born and raised Canadian, however, I hail from the province of Ontario… as in, the city of Toronto… as in, no mountains.
Therefore, I am no advanced hiker, probably ranking myself above a beginner and below an intermediate. I would say this puts me in the realm of advice giving.
This blog will cover the packing essentials needed for Canadian hiking destinations. I hope this packing list sparks your memory, helps you remember an essential item and/or shows you that you are prepared for it all!
BEAR SPRAY IS A MUST in most Canadian hiking areas. You cannot pack this in your luggage if going on a plane, as it is considered a weapon. Please purchase this when you arrive at your destination. Bear spray can be found at information centres or superstores.
Some links in this post are affiliate. If clicked, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
1. Passport or valid Identification (ID): If you are a Canadian citizen you will not need your passport to enter other Canadian provinces. However, if you do not have a valid ID from your home province, bring your passport. Anyone travelling to Canada from another country will require a passport.
2. Travel Insurance: I do NOT travel without this. I want to ensure I have medical attention if I need it. I am extremely lucky that I have travel insurance through my job, however, since COVID, I do tend to purchase an extra package just in case. You will never be sorry you invested in this if you are ever in need.
3. Activity or Tour documents/tickets: This is not necessary, however, sometimes our electronic devices do not work or get stolen, and I am sure you will be thankful that you printed out your entrance tickets or documents.
Type of Baggage
Since COVID there have been many baggage delays. I would advise against a checked bag if you are able to do so to avoid lost luggage or luggage mishap!
- A medium-large sized luggage, that you will fill up until the max weight per airline (usually 50lbs/23kg), OR a hiking backpack (if you are planning on doing more overnight hiking
- Carry on: A backpack that can double as your pack for day hikes. I usually make sure my carry on has at least 3 outfits in case my check-in bag gets lost.
- Personal bag: small shoulder bag, for going out on the town or wallet/card holder
What to Wear While Travelling
Your heaviest clothing: hiking shoes/boots, jacket, sweater, and comfy pants/leggings.
Don’t forget your mask/face covering(s) for travel during COVID-19. Check with your airline for guidelines around masking, as this is subject to change! Most airlines do not require mask wearing anymore.
What to Pack For Late Summer/Autumn/Spring
Late summer/fall/spring (0-16°C):
Keep in mind, you will most likely be doing outdoor activities and will want comfortable, active wear.
1. Jacket: (2)
- waterproof rain jacket with a hood IS A MUST (for hiking)
- small puffer/fleece jacket that you can overlap with a rain jacket. (For example, I bring a small puffer and wear my North Face rain jacket on top, if it is extra cold I layer further with sweaters).
2. Shoes: (2-3)
- Hiking boots/trail runners: for the hikes I do (easy-moderate), the trail runners work just fine
- Shoes to wear around town, day walks (running shoes/sneakers). I personally use Vessi running shoes (waterproof runners).
- Shoes to wear out to dinners (sneakers, booties, knee high boots) – this is not a must, however, I enjoy bringing this extra pair just to tie in my outfits (and I am extra lol)
- Hat, ear muffs or headband
- Scarf and/or neck warmer (we use one from Columbia with heat/UV protection). There are many affordable options on Amazon here.
1. Sweaters: (3-4)
- You will be wearing these quite a bit, I guarantee.
- Have some fleece sweaters/tops as well
2. Tops: (6-7 activewear, 1-2 for going out)
- If you are like me you will probably be sweating all day with the activity, I would recommend packing some light T-shirts to layer and just switch up daily. If you have access to laundry even better
- I would also bring about 1-2 tops for going out to dinner.
3. Bottoms: (5)
- Active bottoms; leggings, pants, joggers, sweats – whatever you are most comfortable in
- Jeans or nice pants (1-2). If you enjoy going to restaurants with a constricted waist line, bring those jeans/nice pants.
UNDERGARMENTS & PAJAMAS
1. Underwear: (as many as your heart desires).
- I bring about double the amount for the days I am staying, no, I am not actively soiling myself but I do like to change them after showering, OKAY?!
2. Bras: (2-3)
- Sports bras (2-3)
- Regular (1-2)
3. Socks: (1.5 the amount of days you are staying)
- Wash your socks if you have access to laundry. Let me repeat: WASH YOUR SOCKS (and then you don’t need as many).
- Trust me they will get wet and gross with all of the hiking, I went through sometimes 2 pairs per day.
- Bring a mix of warm hiking socks and regular for days in town
4. Pajamas: (2-3 pairs)
- I usually just sleep in a T-shirt and underwear
- So just do you, and don’t forget your comfy PJs
My trick is to go from head to toe, so I don’t forget anything.
Buy travel sized containers to put shampoo/conditioner and body wash in, this saves so much space and 100ml will last you quite a while. You also don’t have to worry about where you pack it – can go in carry on or checked baggage if it’s less than 100ml
- Hair: shampoo, conditioner, brush/comb, hair dryer (if you can live without, this saves a lot of space). I also use things like gel and curl cream but I wouldn’t bring it somewhere like this where I won’t be styling my curly mane.
- Eyes: contacts, glasses & sunglasses
- Face: cleanser, moisturizer, SPF (very important), any other products used for skin care (vitamin C, retinol, etc).
- Ears: q-tips
- Nose: I always bring a saline flush for my nose. I have been on trips with a stuffy nose before and it is worse than wet socks in shoes, TRUST ME ON THIS. I refuse to leave without some type of nasal spray.
- Mouth/teeth: tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, mouth guard, chapstick
- Makeup: anything you want or use regularly. I would not bring a lot on a trip like this as it will be mostly active
- Body: deodorant, body wash OR soap bar, moisturizer, razor, loofah (I use loofahs religiously, if you don’t, forgo it, it takes up a lot of space), baby wipes (I do not go anywhere without baby wipes, never know when you’ll need them).
- Prescription medications: do not forget to pack any prescription medications you take
- Pain: ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Antihistamines: diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergy treatment, if having any
- Nausea: Dimenhydrinate (Gravol, etc).
- Injuries/First aid: Polysporin or other antibacterial creams, bandaids, medical tape, gauze, saline (to clean wounds, water would also work).
- Phone: I mean… who lives without their phone these days? They also double as a camera when you don’t own one.
- Camera: If taking pictures and good quality is important to you, I suggest investing in a camera. If buying a very expensive camera is not in your budget, I recommend this one here. It is pretty affordable and the photos are stunning.
- Kindle: This may just be a me thing… But I am a reader and would much rather carry my kindle onto the plane than have three books taking up space in my luggage. The kindle lasts weeks without charging, so if you’re bold, forgo the charger. I have the Paperwhite, linked here.
- Headphones/airpods: so you can look out the window of the plane or car and pretend you’re in a music video
- Chargers/batteries: If you don’t want your stuff dying on you within a day bring your chargers for all electronics. Also, bring extra batteries for your camera.
- Adapters: Canada’s standard voltage is 120 V (standard Hz of 60), which is the same as the United States. North America uses plug types: A & B. If travelling within North America to these Canadian destinations, you will not need an adapter. If coming from any other continents, bring appropriate adapters for North American plugs.
- Smart watch: I don’t exercise without my apple watch counting my calories/steps/movements (all of the above), because I am a freak. So if you’re like me this is a must. Think of all of the rings you will close with your hikes!!!!!
- Phone App: I would download the “AllTrails” app. This app lets you download all of the hikes you would like to do. You can read reviews, see approximate length of hike and check out some pictures to see if this is the type of hike you want to do.
Personal Note: I tend to overpack and end up freaking out at the check in counter when my luggage weighs a little bit extra (weigh your luggage before you leave home please). Keep the above mentioned in mind when reading my packing lists. Use them as a very detailed guide and make them your own!
Joanna Neander is the author and creator of Plan Before Land. She is dedicated to creating detailed travel itineraries from around the world. Joanna’s most visited continents include, North America, Central America & Europe. Asia coming soon! Join along on Joanna’s travels!