Don't forget duck tape. Gear & packing list essentials For Canada Road Trips
Updated: Mar 14, 2019
Ready to head out on a Canadian adventure. Sweeeeet! Time to get packing! We get excited about gear. Please find our pseudo organized gear list recommendations. Keep in mind that some items will depend on the type of adventure trip you are embarking on as well as the season. We include some links here to help you out (these are not affiliate links).
General Gear Essentials For Exploring Canada
Duct/Duck tape. Use it to fix about everything. It is the best. THE BEST! Always have a roll of duct/duck tape. (link)
Head Lamp. Get a decent one that is weatherproof (raining!), uses LEDs and has decent lumens. Don’t bring a regular flashlight that requires your hands at the same time. Want to go for an evening stroll outside (outside of the city)? What happens if you are hiking at night? Well you SHOULD do that for some specific hikes, and this way you can find your way back. When out there, make sure to turn off all lights, and let your eyes adjust to completely experience the stars. (link)
Extra batteries. For your head lamp. They tend to always stop working when you need them most. Keep them in a ziplock bag in your day pack.
Rain Jacket. One that packs up small and breathes. NOT a poncho. You get wet from your sweat which will get trapped inside if it isn't breathable. A good jacket is also a windbreakers when walking around cities and it isn’t too chilly. It's a 2in1 situation. (link to guide about how to choose one)
Day hiking bag. Great for snacks, camera gear, extra water, clothing layers, safety stuff, and duct tape! This way you have all the necessary stuff and you can use your hands while walking around a city or a hike. (lots of options at mec, link)
Nalgene Water Bottle. The wide mouth version so that you can clean it and sand/dirt doesn't get trapped. Don’t have this brand in your country - get it in Canada. They are the BEST water bottles. Full stop. The only issue is if they fit in your cup holder in the car. Even if they don’t, have them for hikes and city exploration. Best to have two if you enjoy long hikes. (link)
Penaten. It can be a lifesaver. If you get rashes easily or or anything from chafing, apply this magical baby rash cream. No joke. It is available at outdoor stores all over the place. You know marathon runners lather themselves with vaseline? This is nothing compared to that, and so useful. (link)
Cell Phones & SIM details are coming soon, stay tuned. One tip. Turn the devices off for awhile.
Small reusable plastic bag to put your dirty clothing, wet bathing suit in. Great for storing when you don't have time to dry items during the day as well.
Shampoo / Soap. Dr. Bronners - 100% biodegradable castile soap. Great for everything (except toothpaste), super dense so you only need a few drops. Tough to find, but usually at health stores. Scents such as eucalyptus are awesome. Oh - we also use the peppermint for dishes, it burns a bit for other uses, aye! Available at health food stores across Canada. (link)
The other standard stuff including. Passport. License. Money & credit/debit cards. Chargers. Sun tan lotion. Toothpaste & toothbrush. Nail clipper. Quick-dry towel. Pen and paper.
Toilet paper. Sometimes you gotta go and you are in the middle of nowhere.
Pack light. You don’t need to bring too much. Actually, much less than most of you are thinking. We have laundry machines - not all hostels/lodges, but many, including campgrounds. If you have lots of layers then it reduces the amount you need. You can also re-wear wool a lot more as well. Or let everyone bask in your natural smell.
Underwear. Grab some merino wool underwear if you can afford it (long term you will save). This means less laundry, less stink, and less chafing. They are magical. Bring a fair number as this dictates for most when you have to do laundry. (link)
Socks. 100% get merino wool socks. As above, they smell less (natural odor resistance), last much longer. Also, they prevent athletes food and help regulate temperature. Get medium thickness. (link)
Toque. This is the classic Canadian hat. Sort of like a beanie. It is a knitted winter hat, or watch cap. Even in the summer, when you are near the coast or up a peak, it can get a little chilly and this makes all the difference. Oh, and make sure that it is merino wool. No acrylic plastic on your head. (link)
Bathing suit. People always forget one for some reason. There are lots of places to go for a quick dip from pristine lakes to natural hot spring or a river. Quick dry ones are great.
The other stuff. Make sure you are layering.
2X pants. One for hiking, one for the city, like jeans. OR Leggings as an alternative to hiking pants (feel free to bring many given how they pack down).
2X shorts. One for hiking (or get the pants that convert to shorts - ideally can be used for other active stuff!). One for city exploration.
5X T-shirts. No cotton for hiking. Never wear cotton hiking. A synthetic will do here.
2X sweaters/sweatshirts. We like the pullover or zip-up kinds to put over our t-shirts (layers!)
1X Rain Jacket that also acts as a windbreaker (also mentioned above).
1X pair of hiking style shoes
1X pair of city walking shoes
1X pair of shoes that are a bit nicer for the cities1.5X nicer outfit for the cities
Sleeping gear / pyjamas. Yep, makes the hostel life a little nicer for everyone around you.
Ear plugs! Then you won’t complain about neighbours or noise.
Eye mask! Then you won’t wake up when you don’t want to.
Cooking & Kitchen Gear
About every hostel has a kitchen and decent enough gear. They may be a little bent out of shape, but they will work.
Spices! Many hostels tend to not have lots of great spices, and some are known to even run out of pepper and/or salt ALL the time (do they even replace it or is it just stolen?). So bring your staples with you.
Campfire Cooking. We recommend bringing a little metal grill and pots/pans if you plan on campfire cooking. You can also only get a wok which is great for stir fries and more, a good knife, cutting board and the standard stuff. We will share more about this later for those interested.
You can bring an emergency stove and fuel if you would like to do it that way. Be careful with storage in a car if compressed gas - amongst other worries. Read safety labels. (link)
Have a little plastic box or container in your vehicle to store lots of these goodies in an organized way. Camping gear separate. Food separate. Having a little cloth style cooler bag is great for moving things into/out of the car to hostel fridges.
Happy gear shopping, packing and the great adventure. Want more details about a specific item, let us know.
Stay tuned and will share more gear for camping in national parks, outdoorsy spots, car tools and more.
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