Summer is almost here, and hiking season has arrived! If you’re new to hiking and want to prepare yourself for the amazing adventures that the Prince George area offers, then you need to hit up some of the great local spots for stocking up on gear to get you ready for the trails and keep you safe. Here are some tips on hiking basics, and where to grab each piece of gear.
Get yourself some boots and socks
What is the most important piece of gear for hiking? Boots! Making sure that you buy hiking boots that are comfortable and fit well will make the difference between enjoying your hike and suffering. Having a boot that offers good ankle support and is waterproof will help prevent injuries and keep your feet dry. Whether it’s the middle of summer or winter, wearing a good wool sock is pertinent. Timberline Footfitters is locally owned and has been operating in Prince George for over 25 years. They are professional and have a good selection of boots. Another option is Atmosphere.
Grab a well-fitting backpack
Get yourself a backpack that fits well and doesn’t pull on your shoulders. Who knew the size of the pack doesn’t just refer to how much you can put in it, but also difference size packs to fit peoples frames. Whether you’re looking for just a day pack for a trip up Teapot Mountain, or a multi-day pack, make sure you do some research, try a variety of packs, and assess your budget. A good pack is probably the most expensive item for hiking. Head down to Atmosphere in Prince George for a good selection of packs, and good advice from the staff. I personally use Osprey packs for the quality and the lifetime warranty, but it’s an initial investment that will lighten your wallet! Make sure to get a rain cover if your new pack doesn’t come with one.
Stock up on bear spray
Bear spray in an absolute must-have safety item when hiking in and around Prince George. A healthy black bear and grizzly population roams the area, and besides being bear aware, hiking in groups and speaking loudly, bear spray is your best defense against a charging bear. Be sure you know how to use your spray. The last thing you want is to accidently spray yourself or your hiking buddy and become a spicy bear treat. I am a fan of Surplus Herby’s. They have tons of little gems for hiking at some of the best prices in town, like gators, poles, and camp dishes, and it’s the cheapest place to pick up your bear spray.
Additional emergency items
If you are hiking outside the parks, K.K.S Tactical Supplies offers PAL, gun safety and survival courses. They also have outdoor items geared toward hunting. I also hike with an emergency locator. You never know when a slip and fall turns into a medical emergency, or you get just plain lost. A great place to get your hands on one of these in town is BK Two-Way Radio. I hope I never have to use mine, but I’ve got it if we need it.
If the “wait 10 minutes and the weather changes” spring and summer in Prince George is any indication, you must be prepared for all weather conditions…all in the same day. I have layers, a raincoat, and extra socks in my pack at all times, as well as a toque, hat and mitts. Watching the forecast will help you decide whether the trail you’re taking is in safe condition. We’re lucky to have all four seasons in Prince George but be weather aware and stay safe! You don’t need to have the best of best and all the fancy gadgets all at once. Get the basics and work your way up. Atmosphere and Sport Chek are good spots to pick up clothing basics. Remember to always let someone know where you are going, and when you can be expected back.
Stay Wild PG,
Pretty Wild Adventure Co.
About the author: Cherrie Cloarec was born and raised in Prince George. She moved away to Calgary for 15 years but returned to the city she loves to raise her daughters. Cherrie is a full-time ER nurse at UHNBC, and owner of Pretty Wild Adventure Co., an outdoor adventure group for women. Her spouse is a paramedic and a world champion arm wrestler. Her adventure pups Telsa and Bugatti, and her three horses love PG life.