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Best Hiking Gear for the Canadian Rockies

By Olivia Grecu

Weather can change drastically from trailhead to peak. We’ve found a few items to keep you comfy and safe:


Hydration Pack: For quick access to refreshment, Blair Timmins at Edge Control Outdoor Store in Jasper recommends the Platypus Duthie AM 10 with a three-litre reservoir and many convenient pockets.


Mid Layer: “One temperature-regulating mid layer will suffice,” says Helly Hansen Banff manager John Walters. Pace Half Zip Lifa Flow tops insulate when it’s chilly, and pull sweat from your body to keep you dry.


All Weather Shell: Patagonia’s Torrentshell Jacket is waterproof and breathable, notes Banff store manager Jenna Villemarie. Providing serious wet weather protection, its fleece lining keeps you warm. ‘Pit zips’ release heat and let in fresh air. 


Convertible Pants: Shawn Ramovic of The North Face Banff suggests Libertine Convertible Pants that zip into shorts for warm and cool weather versatility.


Merino Wool Socks: Stephanie Franzke at Wilson Mountain Sports in Lake Louise says SmartWool hiking socks prevent blisters by wicking moisture. Cushioning provides comfort during long walks.


Hiking Boots: For day hikes or multi-day backpacking, Toby Haywood of Canmore’s Valhalla Pure Outfitters suggests Salomon Comet 3D boots. The Gore-Tex layer keeps feet dry.


Hiking Poles: Leki poles take 20 per cent of your weight off knees, back and joints, notes Naomi Neville at Chateau Mountain Sports in Lake Louise. Shorten them on your way up; make them longer for the descent.


Sunscreen: Sun damage rises 5 per cent for every 1,000-foot elevation gain, so mountain hikers need to be vigilant. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends SPF 30+; remember those oft-neglected ears, lips and hands.


Bear Spray: Your canister might prevent an unfortunate encounter, says Victor Vasallo at Totem Ski Shop in Jasper. Less potent pepper spray is not an alternative to bear spray.


Camera: Hugh Lecky at Jasper’s Tekarra Color recommends the Canon SX610, a compact unit with a lot more features than your phone. The 18x zoom lets you capture critters without getting too close.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

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