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Deuter Futura 28 AC Daypack

Deuter Futura 28 AC Daypack

With the 2011 Hike the Highlands festival starting in less than a week, it is important to have your checklist ready for hiking so you pack your daypack  and enjoy the day hiking,

1) Weather reports – always check the weather reports before you start out hiking for the day. You can then pack & dress according – ie rain gear, suncreen, etc.

2)  Equipment for daypack  – sunscreen, sunglasses,  digital camera with extra batteries and card, whistle, hat,  jacket, water (2 bottles), snacks, lunch, extra pair of hiking socks, ziplock bags for garbage, insect repellent, small first aid kit, maps of trail(s). For day hikes, 4-6 hours long, you should have a daypack that is 20 plus litres.

3) Other equipment – hiking boots, hiking/trekking poles, gaiters,  watch, temperature gauge, baselayer, midlayer -fleece jacket.

Hiking Tip – A friend of mine takes a cold facecloth with her on those hot days to wipe her forehead and cool her down. She keeps the facecloth in a ziplock bag.

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Hiking in the Rain

Despite some hot weather recently, the 2011 summer, has been a mixture of rain, showers, drizzle and fog. Here are 5 tips to help you hike in the rain :

1)  Equipment – a) daypack with a rain cover. If your daypack doesn’t
have one, invest in one,  b) rain gear – pants & jacket, c) gaiters – great for
keeping grass and branches from scratching or irritating your legs plus
water from entering your boots after the rain stops, d) goretex or
waterproof hiking boots to keep your feet dry, e) Poles – trekking or hiking poles will help you with your balance in wet conditions and cross in
streams or wet areas. They will also be great in ascending and descenting
hills or mountains.

2)  To be on the safe side put all your items in your daypack in clear       ziplock  bags or different colored small drybags. 

3) Clothes –  a) wear a base layer – merino wool or polyster – it wicks the
moisture away from your skin. Do not wear cotton,  b) Have a mid-    layer with you – polyster or fleece jacket. Put on for any long stops or    breaks especially on high elevation.  ie. lunch or snacks.  c) wear smart    wool socks or liners with other socks on top. They will wick the     moisture away from your skin …helps avoid any blisters or hotspots.   Always carry an extra pair of socks in your daypack and blister kit, d) wear waterproof or water resistant  gloves to keep your hands warm.

4) Ventilation – Rain gear is not always breathable even though it says so
on the label. . Often you get wet from condensation inside the jacket.  Important to open zippers under armpits for ventilation as well open the
zipper on the front. b) Important  to open t and zippers on your base-
layer and mid-layer to allow you to cool-down.

5)  Drink water and eat food ….you will need your energy while hiking in
the rain.,. Body & outside temperatures changes require more energy
while hiking and staying warm.

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Taking a break with Hiking Gear on Franey

With just 5 weeks away, it is time to start planning and preparing for the Hike the Highlands Festival, Sept. 9-18, 2011.  Here are some tips:

1) Determine your Hikes  – Review the list of hikes scheduled ie. trail description, photos & map. Determine the ones you would like to do and how many days you would be staying.  Registration is a 2 step process. First register for your hikes online and second –  determine pass, then pay on-line.

2) Book your Accommodations –  Once you have determine the hikes you want  to do and the days you are staying. now it is time to book your accommodations. An accommodation  list  is provided on each of the communities..Check out their websites and tripadvisor reviews to help you with your decision-making.  Please note  September is a busy time around the Cabot Trail.

3) Develop & Prepare your Equipment List –  Daypack, poles, hiking boots, water bottle(s), hat, sun glasses, sunscreen, insect repellent,  extra hiking socks,  jacket,  rain gear, extra layers, extra hiking shorts/pants,  digital camera with extra cards & batteries

4) Start Hiking or Continue – is important to be in shape for this festival…If you haven’t started hiking yet, please do so ..starting with a short hikes -2-4 kms, then work you way up to 5-8km and then a long hike 10-15 km.  You have time to get in shape.  Build up your hiking kms each week . Hikers at the Festival have options to hike 1-2 hikes a day or one longer hike.

Hope these tips have been helpful in planning and preparing for the upcoming Hike the Highlands Festival.

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Jack Pine, Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Generally, the Victoria Day weekend is the start of the hiking season in the Cape Breton Highlands area for many hikers. You can expect wet conditions, some windfalls, cold temps, winds and much more. Here are some tips to get ready for the season:

1) develop a checklist for your hiking equipment, then review the condition of each item, make notes of what is needed to be replaced. Then make sure everything is packed before you go out hiking on the trail. The checklist should include the following – whistle, map,  rain gear, layers, trekking poles,  extra pair of smart wool socks,  gaiters, jacket, first aid kit, knife,  hat, sun glasses, bug spray, and a  camera with extra batteries etc.

2) Develop a training plan – a)  start your hiking season with short hikes, b) then move on to medium hikes and then c) longer hikes.  Build your strength up, get used to your equipment and then you are ready for some hiking challenges.

3)  Every hiking season brings many special moments and memories. Always bring your camera with you, bring extra batteries and memory card. You never know what you might run into or find yourself in the right place at right time. Below is a pick of a spruce grouse that I almost ran into on the Clyburn Valley hiking trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park on the long weekend in May.

Spruce Grouse, Clyburn Valley, CBHNP

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Christmas treeThe christmas trees are up in some homes and more are on its way. It is that time of the year again…I read the other day on Canadian Tire Flyer cover – just 3 weeks to go. Wow time is flying by….Here are some ideas for you to help you decide and pick out the right gift for your hiker friend(s).

Lets start with the small ones under $30.00 –  mesh bags,  a watch that clips on your daypack, a good whistle,  a compass,  a hat,  sunglasses pouch,  a memory card for the camera, re-chargeable batteries,  sunscreen, insect repellent,a  tree book, dry pouches or dry bags,  maps, a pair of smart wool socks, a small knife, waterproof matches, pack biners, pedometer,  a stainless steel waterbottle,  gloves,  DVD spindle,  Turtle Light (MEC), a first aid kit,  gaiters, a bird book,  a wool toque,  a one year subscription to Backpacker, Explore or Outside magazine, and a nature or landscape photography book.      

Some bigger and more expensive gifts ($40.00 & over) –  baselayer, mid-layer,  fleece jacket, rain jacket & pants, daypack,  headlamp, trekking poles,  gps, water filter,  photo organizer & editing program, a pair of hiking pants/shorts that you can zipper off the legs, hiking boots,  a $50.00 gift card and registration fee for a photography course.   

I hope this list provides you with some ideas to help you with your christmas shopping. Good Luck and Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas

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Hiking in the rain WHW

Hiking in the rain on the West Highland Way in Scotland

Hiking can be enjoyed in most types of weather but the key is to prepare with right type of equipment, clothes and gear. Here are some tips that I learned over the years hiking in the Cape Breton Highlands, Scotland and Ireland.

Tip # 1 – Rain gear is supposed to be breathable however most are not. Make sure you wear layers – a baselayer to absorb moisture from your skin and keep your warm, and a midlayer to absorb the condensation from the rain gear…

Tip #2  – Make sure your daypack has a rain cover….the cover will protect the front of the pack. Alot of packs come with a rain cover…if not purchase one..they are not expensive.

Tip#3  – Unfortunately rain will run between the back of your daypack and rainjacket. To help protect the items in the back of  your daypack – make sure your items are placed in ziplock bags, dry pouches or dry sacs.

Tip#4 – Hike with poles for safety – Better balance,  able to cross streams and rocks better, easier to climb hills and descent hills.

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With just two weeks before the Hike the Highlands festival, now is a great time to check your equipment out.  Here is a checklist of what you need for the festival : hiking boots,  hiking socks,  gaiters – protect your legs from branches, thorns etc along with keep your boots dry,  hiking pants/shorts,  daypack, water bottles,  hat,  trekking/hiking poles, insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, digital camera along with camera case, extra batteries, charger and memory cards, rain gear,  mid-layer (fleece), base layer, bear bell, …. 

One of the most important pieces of equipment when hiking today is trekking or hiking poles. Below is a short video to explain the benefits of using poles.

Deuter Futura 28 AC Daypack

Deuter Futura 28 AC Daypack

Hike the Highlands has a number of 3-6 hours hikes and a few longer…So it would be wise to have a daypack in the range of 20-20 litres as you will need extra food , water  and layers for longer hikes…. The pack to the left is a Deuter Futura 28 litre, a  popular pack that MEC sells that has a number of compartments- see the bottom compartment- not many have this as well this daypack has a rain cover.

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