What to Bring

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What To Pack

Prepare for Adventure

There are some journeys in this world that take time and advance preparation in order to fully experience. Our West Coast Trail expedition is one of those journeys. We’ve already told you it’s no average walk in the park and that you should prepare yourself physically and otherwise – here’s what we mean by that:

The Physical Part:

In order to hike the 75 km (47 mi) length of the trail you’ll need to be in top condition with enough physical fitness, strength and endurance to make hiking the trail enjoyable and safe, not only for you, but your fellow hikers as well. Weather and trail conditions require stamina, something most people don’t have unless they specifically trained for it.

Two of the most challenging aspects of the West Coast Trail are climbing ladders and hiking up and down rugged terrain with a 20-kg (45-lb) pack on your back. Factor in the ever-changing weather and trail conditions, and one misstep could lead to physical strain or even grave injury.

Reduce the risk of physical injury while on the trail and begin a training regimen well in advance to slowly build up strength and to get accustomed to hiking with significant weight on your back. Once you’ve booked your expedition with us, we will send you a recommended training program to help you prepare and make the most of your WCT experience.

The Otherwise Part:

As with being in good physical condition, you’ll need the appropriate clothing and equipment to make the most of your West Coast Trail expedition. The difference between having an enjoyable experience you’ll long remember or one you’d rather forget, can come down to something as simple as the right footwear, all-weather clothing and a good sense of humour.

The years of experience we have leading expeditions on the West Coast Trail have informed and influenced the recommended packing list. Take our word for it, you’re better off having enough of the “right” gear and clothing than too much of the “wrong” kind.

What to Pack:

  • 75 – 80 L backpack
  • Warm sleeping bag and thin liner (ideally silk or other breathable fabric – optional)
  • Water resistant and windproof jacket (with hood) and pants
  • Fleece jacket and pants
  • Shirt with long sleeves / T-shirt
  • Hiking pants / shorts
  • Poly-propylene underwear
  • 2 - 3 pairs of hiking socks
  • Toque and thin, light gloves
  • Hiking boots (plus spare laces) – well worn in!
  • Gaiters
  • Sandals for river crossings and around camp
  • Bathing suit and towel
  • Plastic bags to waterproof clothing in pack
  • Sun protection (glasses, hat or ball cap and sunscreen)
  • Insect repellent
  • 15 ft. of clothesline
  • Small personal first aid kit including blister treatment
  • Headlamp (with spare battery and bulb)
  • Pocketknife or multi-tool
  • Personal water bottle and water purifying tablets (optional)
  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • Toiletries* and personal medication
  • Camera, extra SD card and spare battery

A Note About Personal Grooming Supplies

Let’s face it, you’ll be spending your days hiking the West Coast Trail – this is no place for cosmetics and beauty supplies. But we know there are some things you just won’t be able to do without…here’s what you should know:

There are no sanitary facilities other than outhouses on the trail. No showers, no bathtubs – only fresh and saltwater pools where using soap and shampoo (even biodegradable products) is not appropriate. Please pack wet disinfecting and cleaning wipes that can be burned as garbage while you’re on the trail.

Of course you can bring toothbrushes and toothpaste, brushes and combs, contact lens kit and saline solution, nail scissors, disposable razors and such items on the trail.

When in Doubt

If you’re unsure about what to pack, how much you should bring, or whether or not your gear is suitable – contact our office – our travel counselors are standing by to help you sort it all out.