Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Canada
Reload this Page > What is your favorite item in your backpack?

What is your favorite item in your backpack?

Reply

Jun 6th, 2001, 09:46 AM
  #1
Sheri
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
What is your favorite item in your backpack?

We just purchased our first backpack for our trip to Alberta in July. Being first time users, what shouldn't I forget to pack in this backpack? All you seasoned hikers out there must have a favorite thing or two that you won't leave home without. Please share...Thanks
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 6th, 2001, 12:09 PM
  #2
dnorrie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
A small first aid kit is a must and insect repellent. We use the packets with deet (like wet ones) that you can purchase at any outdoors or hunting store. Granola bars or trail mix. A candle and waterproof matches.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 6th, 2001, 03:10 PM
  #3
Sandy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Bring clothing that you can wear in layers--it could be hot and sunny or it could snow or rain. And I second the insect repellant idea.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 7th, 2001, 05:20 AM
  #4
Sheri
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thank you Denise and Sandy. I will try to locate a hunting or outdoors store in our area. I was thinking of a small first aid kit but didn't know for sure. Do you take a cell phone with you? Who would you call for help in a remote area?
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 7th, 2001, 06:12 AM
  #5
dnorrie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I don't carry a cell phone but 911 is pretty universal - in some areas the call won't go through. Too remote. Depending on where you are hiking, there are generally quite a # of other hikers. There was a bear mauling in Northern Alberta this last weekend. And beware of cougars - in my opinion, far more dangerous than bears. Just "bone" up on general safety rules. In any of the parks, they have pamphlets and such that tell you these rules.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 7th, 2001, 06:53 AM
  #6
Sheri
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Cougars! I thought I had enough to worry about with the bears! My main concern is my two adult daughters who will be getting up early to go on long hikes alone. Daughters who are "fearless" if you know what I mean. I told Renee that I was going to take something along for noise to scare the bears away and she laughed and said their talking would scare the bears away. I'm going to show her your comments about cougars.
Thanks for the warning.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 7th, 2001, 07:02 AM
  #7
dnorrie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Do show her the warning Sheri, there was a woman killed by a cougar in Banff not all that long ago. There are different rules with cougars than with bears. We have an acreage in the Rockies and are always on the lookout. The plus of this is I have never seen one but I know they are there. Normally they are pretty shy and attacks are extremely rare considering the huge numbers of people hiking and skiing etc. but they still happen. I don't mean to scare you as there are so many people hiking and skiing etc. and as I said, attacks are very very rare. But it pays to be informed.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 7th, 2001, 09:13 AM
  #8
Sandy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Do you know where you will be backpacking? I know many of the trails around Banff and Kananaskis. If you're sticking to the trails published in any of the hiking books, you won't be too "remote," i.e., there will be other people in the area. Don't keep food, coffee, gum, anything at all in or near your tent. Pack food, utensils, garbage, etc., in stuff sacs and hang them from trees at night. I hang my backpack too. I've never used bear bells or other noisemakers, but many experienced hikers do. I've come across bear tracks and droppings on trails, but have never seen a bear. Obviously, though, they're there. Staying in groups will make you look larger and more intimidating to them. Also, check with the park service before you depart--they list bear sightings and often close areas where there has been recent bear activity. With so many trails to choose from, I'd rather go where no bear has gone before

Also, don't forget water, t.p., and ziplock bags, which are great for trash. If the weather seems iffy when you depart, you might want to bring gloves and a hat too.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 7th, 2001, 06:01 PM
  #9
bb
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Read a "boy scout handbook" at your local library and it will give you a good list of what you should keep in a backpack. It also lists what to put in a first aid kit. Take a whistle...if you're lost and your mouth becomes dry, you can always "blow" if rescuers are near, even if you lost your voice and can't call. Helps scare bears too.

Swiss army-type knife or leatherman tool is a must. Open your backpack, insert large plastic trash bag and fill with your stuff. The plastic bag will keep everything dry, even if the pack gets wet. Put the stuff inside ziploc bags and protect even better. Layers are a must. Polartec works great with a windbreaker over it. Some kind of poncho or waterproof jacket/pants. "Emergency" blanket made of a shiny polymer that was developed for the space program and designed to weigh about 3 oz and keep body heat in.
Take "coolmax" clothing to wick away perspiration. Extra socks. Bug spray definitely! Water and a water purifier. Gorp for snacks. Dried food packs that can be hydrated with boiling water, cooked in the package, eaten out of the package, and then you have little trash to dispose of. (However, my son said that the serving size isn't appropriate. He'll eat one of those by himself after trekking all day...and it says it feeds 5-6!)
I've helped by boy scout pack for several of his camping trips and he's always had a great time. Have fun!
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 8th, 2001, 05:35 AM
  #10
Sheri
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks again for the warning Denise. I will definately tell my daughters. I am taking a noise maker along, but I am now going to buy a couple of whistles...per BB's advice. Sandy, we will check the notices for bear sightings. We probably will not stray too far into the remote areas. Thanks to everyone for their advice and suggestions.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 8th, 2001, 09:00 AM
  #11
Marilyn Rice Davies
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Regarding cougars, I wouldn't be overly concerned. Be aware, yes, but keep it in perspective. You have far mor to worry about on the highway from other drivers than you do from cougars or bears.
Of the two, bears are more dangerous, especially blackbears. Cougars and grizzleys need a reason to attack you. Blackbears are unpredictable and might attack for the fun of it or because they are having a bad fur day. They are the most human of the Canadian animal kingdom.
Mandy
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 8th, 2001, 09:26 AM
  #12
Sheri
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
From the response I've received, I guess the favorite item for a backpack should be a can of "BEAR SPRAY"! I called the Sporting Store and yes..they do carry Bear Spray for $49.00. Sounds like a lot of money, but then again, life is worth more than $49.00. Its like mace and you have to be careful of how the wind is blowing or you can end up spraying it in your own face. I should have titled my question "what is your best defense against bear attacks" since more people are responding to that subject. Thanks for all of your warnings and advice.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 8th, 2001, 09:34 AM
  #13
dnorrie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
LOL Sheri - I guess we have been a bit scary but we are just trying to warn you. The chances of you seeing a bear, cougar etc. are very, very slim. As I said before, there are thousands of hikers, skiiers, etc. and the risk of attack is so small. It just pays to be careful, that's all. I know that you and your children will greatly enjoy your time here. The whistles were a good idea but the T.P. was the best yet.

Have fun! Denise
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 9th, 2001, 11:57 PM
  #14
lindsay
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
It is my understanding that the only time you would actually use bear spray would be if all else fails and now you find yourself standing a foot away from one. In other words, while your life is flashing before your eyes!!!
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 10th, 2001, 03:48 PM
  #15
bb
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've heard that if a bear attacks, you roll into a ball and play dead. If a cougar attacks, you fight back. Hopefully, no one will have to observe this first hand.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 11th, 2001, 05:32 AM
  #16
Sheri
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks again for the advice about bear attacks. I checked out the bear spray at the store. It is like mace..it can cause permanent damage to eyes. If the wind is blowing toward you and you spray it, it will come back in your own eyes. I decided not to buy it. I wouldn't want to become blind by using it or cause any bear to be blind by our using it. My daughter heard that if you use firecrackers, you can scare a bear away. I told her, you better have a reliable lighter that will light that firecracker in a hurry. Does anyone know if its legal to use firecrackers in Canada?
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 11th, 2001, 06:35 AM
  #17
dnorrie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Sheri - Firecrackers for the most part are not legal but I wouldn't worry about it too much. As was said before, the wardens keep a pretty close watch on things and just have your daughters check in with them as to where they are hiking. My kids have both been hiking every weekend this spring and have had no problems. They just check out the area first.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 11th, 2001, 01:16 PM
  #18
Peter Stanley
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I think you are wise to not bother with bear spray. Contrary to what was said above, it does not cause permanent injury. All it is is pepper spray. I was sprayed in training and while it stings, the effects only last about twenty minutes and it tastes a little like Louisianna hot sauce.
The trouble with using it on bears, is like humans, it doesn't affect every individual.
Don't even think of firecrackers. You'll end up burning the place down around your ears and endangering everyone else around you.
Your best defence is prevention. Carry a can with a couple of pebbles to make noise as you walk. This lets mommy bear know you are coming and she can hide the kids.
The other precaution is to never leave food, dirty dishes or anything like that out. If you have a base camp, store your food well away from your camp (and anyone else's) and dangling in a tree or from a pole so it is inaccessable to the bear... but well away from your camp.
Bears are lazy, hungry and very smart.
On the other hand, as somebody else mentioned, the most dangerous part of your trip will be driving on the highway.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 12th, 2001, 11:53 AM
  #19
Sheri
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thank you Denise and Peter about the firecracker advice. My biggest concern is for when my two daughters go off alone on their early morning hikes before the rest of us join them. They have adventurous spirits and do not want to take anything with them except to make their own noise by talking. I know my one daughter said she is more afraid of cougars than bears. I have a plastic device that makes a lot of noise and is very lightweight. I'm taking it on the trip and hoping Joy will use it on their morning hikes. No firecrackers and no bear spray and No worrying from now on. I realize many, many tourists explore these regions every year. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness. May only good things follow us all the days of our lives.
 
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:02 AM.