February 26, 2019
Backpacking in Kananaskis Country will take you on incredible journeys through valleys and meadows, over mountain passes, or down simple forested trails leading to stunning lakeside views. It’s a revitalizing activity that connects you with the wonder of nature, builds camaraderie with your companions, and creates memories that will last forever. Imagine waking up to the sun rising over the mountains, sitting beside a still alpine lake while drinking fresh camp coffee or telling ghost stories under a star studded sky, further from civilization than you’ve ever been.
When backpacking in the Rocky Mountains you’re at the mercy of the elements and often far from help, so you need to be prepared and self-sufficient. We’ve compiled a short guide of gear and skills you should have before embarking on your first backpacking adventure. Ensure you know your limits, and always start with an easy trip; you might be surprised to find that hiking with a heavy pack can make an easy trail more grueling than expected.
Before your Trip:
- Research the trail you’ve chosen. Browse our lists of campgrounds and suggested trips.
- Make an itinerary of where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Leave it with someone you trust who can initiate a search if you don’t return when scheduled.
- Test all your equipment and know how to use it before you’re in the backcountry.
Necessary Knowledge and Skills:
- Shelter (tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag)
- Cooking utensils (including a portable stove as most backcountry sites do not allow fires, or the weather can keep you from lighting one)
- Proper clothing and layers for sudden weather changes (including insulating layers and waterproof outer layers)
- Proper footwear (water resistant hiking boots or shoes that provide arch and ankle support, and don’t forget extra socks)
- Sufficient water or a water purification system
- Food for all meals, including yummy snacks to keep you energized on the trail
- Toiletries/ garbage bags to pack all garbage out with you
- Bear spray
- First aid kit
- A map and navigation equipment (carry and know how to use a compass, don’t rely solely on GPS as it can fail)
- A backpack that will fit all your equipment
- Extras: headlamp, multipurpose knife, insect repellent, sunscreen, and hand sanitizer.
We love to see your adventures. If you choose to try backpacking in our parks this year be sure to tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to share your experiences.
Mary Fitl (Parks Staff)