Equipment

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Basic recommended equipment

• boots or walking shoes
• walking poles
• backpack
• first aid kit
• Trail Map
• water and food
• sunglasses
• sunscreen
• mosquito repellent
• garbage bags
• Headlamp
• cell phone
• whistle
• pocket knife
• Emergency blanket
• camera
• rainwear
• a change of clothing

Footwear

During a day of hiking, you will take about 10,000 steps! Your shoes will absorb your weight and the weight of the backpack. To enjoy your hike and avoid injury and use appropriate footwear!

Types of shoes

The light hiking shoe is suitable for gentle hiking trails. It is lightweight, flexible and low and does not protect the ankle. Boots for short hikes (mid height) partially protects the ankle and the weight and flexibility are between a shoe and a regular hiking boot. Both these are suitable for hiking on the Par Monts and Vals trail. Regular hiking boots are more rigid and protect the ankles best, and are recommended for long hikes, uneven terrain and when carrying a heavily loaded backpack. Boots and shoes should be waterproof and “breathable” with anti-skid soles.

Sox

To reduce sweating, avoid cotton socks and use synthetic or wool socks.  To reduce the risk of foot blisters, wear a pair of thick socks or even better, a thick pair on top of a thin pair inside. Any friction will be absorbed by the two layers instead of the feet.

 

Clothing

Comfortable hiking depends in part on the choice of clothes you wear, and depends on the time of year and weather conditions during your hike. If you leave for the day, remember that the weather can change quickly and temperatures will vary from cold to warm during the day. A multilayer clothing system is the most comfortable and permits quick adjustments for changing temperatures.

The first layer is in contact with the skin, wicks away the perspiration and is made of synthetic material. Cotton is not recommended as it retains moisture and dries very slowly. The second layer acts as a thermal insulator and could be a fleece or other material. The third layer is durable, breathable and protects against the elements. Bring a change of clothes if you leave for the day. Also consider a raincoat or poncho, hat, scarf and depending on the season, a tuque and down jacket.

Hiking poles

Hiking poles help maintaining balance, and are useful when the ground is slippery or to test the softness of the ground. Walking poles provide for a more complete exercise. It helps supporting the upper body, facilitates easier breathing and reduces muscle fatigue and impact on joints by up to 30%. However, walking with only one pole may affect your balance. Most hiking poles are telescopic, permitting adjustment when going uphill, downhill or along the flat ground, in addition to making storage easier.

Price

Prices range from $40 to $200 depending on the material, locking system (screw or fasteners / clips) and the presence of a shock absorbing element.

Adjustment

Standing on a level surface hold the pole at a 90 degree angle with your elbow. Reduce the length of the pole a few centimeters when you are climbing continually, and lengthen it when when you are descending. Using larger rings in the winter will keep it from sinking in the snow.

Backpack

Before buying a pack, consider your needs: short or long trips, and all year long or only three seasons? There are verities of backpacks on the market with capacities ranging from 15 to 35 liters. For short trips, you might consider replacing the backpack with a bum bag. The bag should be big enough to carry food, water, clothing and accessories (raincoat, sweater, sunglasses, camera), and a first aid kit, etc. There are backpacks for women and men, depending on body length and chest size. A belt is not essential; however chest straps will prevent the shoulder straps from slipping. Some bags have a frame which permits air circulation between it and your back. The shoulder straps should be wide, padded and adjustable. Bags with inner pockets are handy for storing smaller items such as keys, wallet, cards and papers. Some bags have mesh pockets on the sides for water bottles, while others are designed as water bags. A rain cape is very handy.

The first aid kit

• plastic band aids
• antiseptic wipes
• triangular bandage
• stretchy bandage
• antibiotic ointment
• gauze
• cotton adhesive tape
• pressure bandage
• safety pins
• q-tips
• scissors
• wet compresses
• tweezers