Considerations for the West Coast TrailThe West Coast Trail is a very tough hike. About one out of one hundred hikers don't make it, they need to be rescued. That's why there are so many fees. By the time you are done preparing and registering, you laugh at how hiking got so expensive. Isn't hiking usually free?  All the costs are for saving people that don't make it, and for all the trail construction. And there is a lot. A lot of both.

Consider the one in one hundred statistic. It's really bad. Think of it, every day 75 people enter and every two days someone has to be rescued. To be rescued requires no little effort. The place is a jungle. It's no wonder that there is supposed cell phone coverage all the way (though there isn't). Still you feel comforted, sitting on the beach, in the middle of the West Coast Trail, marvelling at the serenity of such a remote place, then a coast guard helicopter, combing the coast, swoops past.

The comfort and serenity soon pass as you notice two boats, out past the kelp beds, shadowing you as you now walk along the otherwise perfect beach.  It's eerie, they move in perfect time with you walking. Then you realize, they are fishing, or sightseeing. Either way, they are not concerned with you, but also oblivious to spoiling the supposed serenity of the West Coast Trail. It's hard to feel like you are days away from civilization, when boats follow you along the coast.

It's hard to get reliable information on injuries and fatalities on the West Coast Trail. You might as well start calling it that as it's a hike that requires a lot of studying beforehand.  Whenever you hike a long trail in British Columbia and the danger of bears is so overshadowed by other dangers as to be insignificant, you'd better worry. You need to examine tide charts to determine your route. Most beach routes have parallel forest trails. For the most part you can walk the beach sections pretty care free, however there are a couple areas where you could find yourself blocked by the rising tide. Or worse, trapped by it. If you don't put your tent above the high tide mark, you may become engulfed in water as you sleep. In the summer months you can find lots of nice sand above the high tide mark, close to the rainforest wall. Imagine waking up to ocean waves soaking into your tent. To be safe from high tide, look for grass and weeds in the sand, camp there. Grass tends to not grow if the tide reaches them.

You wonder why the ocean battered beach extends past these patches of green if this is true. Evidently, in the winter, stormy weather batters the beach further up. Up where you now safely put up your tent. This is one of the ironies of the West Coast Trail. When they drill into you the need for waterproof this and waterproof that. You assume, it's because of the constant rainforest rain.  That's only part of it. There is the engulfing white wall every morning of mist. Cold, wet and ever-present, mist. Damping everything. Be careful with your sleeping bag. A down bag will soak up moisture quickly if you let it. If you catch a few days in a row of rain, you will have moisture creep into everything. It is a constant battle, but maybe you'll get lucky and it will be sunny everyday!

Anyway, on to the considerations...

  1. Decide where you want to start and finish. It is remarkably convenient and inexpensive to park at one side and bus or boat to the other. Which one to choose is a flip of a coin.  Driving or bussing from Victoria to Port Renfrew, parking, then bussing to Bamfield is cheap and easy.  And you have your vehicle waiting for you at the end.  The bus is only $75 and departs daily. The main consideration it seems is that the Port Renfrew side of the trail is the most gruelling, and therefore good to get over with first.  But then, others say that your pack is lighter and your legs stronger at this part if you start from Bamfield.  One important consideration seems to be forgotten.  The fact that starting from the Port Renfrew side is not only tough with constant ups and downs, but it's dark and relentless in the jungle.  You don't see the beach for hours, and when you do they are not terribly pretty, rocky beaches.  Instead if you start at Bamfield, you see immediately spectacular sandy beaches, breathtaking views and mild, though interesting terrain.  It's a worthy consideration to consider your level of excitement after the first day on the trail.  From Port Renfrew, tough, ugly and boring, or from Bamfield, breathtaking and spectacular. The quality of campsites is also a consideration.
  2. You must harden yourself to a lot of hard, uncomfortable and difficult hiking.  That's both the expected and unexpected requirement of the West Coast Trail.  It's tough, everyone knows that.  But it's tough in a way that expectations realize and don't understand.  It's wet.  Wet all the time.  Wet in a way that saps enthusiasm.  Tires you quickly.  Makes you rush, slip on stairs, jump onto a wet rock that will break your leg.  You will cover yourself in a hood and move faster.  This is the thing you must brace yourself for.  It will be wet a lot.  When you are on the trail and it's raining, you are waking up in a damp tent in a fogged in beach.  Your stove won't start and you feel heavy before moving.  Remember, you have to have true grit.  It's wet and cold and miserable all around.  But you are full of excitement and strength.  Of course it's raining today.  If it wasn't it wouldn't be the West Coast Trail.  Make sure you wake up to this mindset.  Because if you don't, well...
  3. The other considerations wane in importance. Good hiking boots. Winter ones. Ones that are not mid or low cut. Gaiters, make sure they are removable without having to take off your boots, so velcro or zippered. Combine them with good waterproof, Gore-Tex boots, and waterproof pants or shorts, and a Gore-Tex jacket, and pack with a secure, waterproof cover and you will be good. One important thing will happen to you. It is something easy to avoid and care for, blisters. Bring duct tape or whatever you have to combat blisters. No matter how tough you are you will get them. If you feel a blister coming on, just put a small strip of duct tape over it as you would with a bandage. The duct tape will shield the blister from whatever is rubbing against it and whatever pain you were getting should not increase. A painful blister can ruin your hike, but a bit of duct tape can prevent them easily. 

West Coast Trail Packing List


PURPOSE: A 50 to 75 litre backpack is needed for the West Coast Trail. If you get expensive, ultralight and ultra-compact gear to put in it a 50 litre pack should work for you. For most hikers a 65 litre pack is ideal. 

HOW IMPORTANT: Essential. You can easily get away with a $180 pack from MEC. It will work well for you, but it will likely be much less comfortable, awkward to adjust and soak up water like a sponge. After a dozen kilometres on the West Coast Trail you will appreciate a higher quality pack. A $340 pack will feel great on your back, be simple to adjust for comfort and repel water reasonably well.

LOOK FOR: A good fit and correct size. If you buy in a store, you can try several on and get an accurate fit. If you buy online you can find a few sites on google that will help you measure your pack size. You want to get as correct a fit as possible, but if you miss a bit you can correct by adjusting the straps. The Osprey AG packs are amazing in all respects and they have a size adjustment as well. You still have to aim for a correct size, but this adjustment gives you quite a range of fine tuning.

PRICE: $180 – $400 There are a wide range of prices for backpacks on the market. Budget ones are under $200 and high quality ones are closer to $400.

WE LOVE: We absolutely love the Osprey Atmos AG 65 Backpack(for him) & Osprey Aura AG 65 Backpack(for her). Be warned though, after you try one of these you will be ruined for every other pack. When you put one on, it wraps around your body with its contoured design. The straps to cinch the belt are extraordinarily effortless in use. The AG stands for Anti-Gravity, and it seems to accurately describe the feeling when you wear it. Because it clings to your body like a glove, it feels lighter on your back. The comfort is just the first of many characteristics that are amazing. Backpacks usually fit tight against your back causing sweat to soak into your pack. These packs have a mesh shield that your back touches, then a gap between this and the pack. You don't see it when the pack is on, but you quickly appreciate that it's there. The pockets are numerous, perfectly placed and very functional and useful. Osprey put a tremendous amount of thought into this pack and it shows. The pack also repels water extremely well, something you will appreciate on the West Coast Trail! The mesh pocket on the back isn't water resistant of course, but the rest is. These packs come in a 50 litre size as well!

Osprey Atmos and Aura AG 65 Packs


PURPOSE: a good, solid tent will keep the elements out. The West Coast Trail is often wet and windy, so sleeping under the stars is often not possible.

HOW IMPORTANT: A tent is essential on the West Coast Trail. Though it is moderately important to have a high quality tent, you can get away with a cheap, heavy and bulky tent, but a high quality tent will weigh a lot less and take up far less room in your pack.

Best Tent for the West Coast TrailLOOK FOR: Tents usually come in 1 person, 2 person, 3 person and 4 person sizes. Some hikers complain that a two person tent is too small for two people, but a three person tent is considerably heavier and bulkier than a two. You should try to get a tent to match the number of occupants. Tent qualities range quite a bit. For 2 person tents you tend to find the price range to be $240 for cheaper models to $440 for better, lighter and more compact models. You can even get higher price and quality tents that go into the $500+ range. 

PRICE: MSR make a lot of gear that are amazing and reasonably well priced, and their range of tents are a good example of this and the prices give you an excellent idea on what you will be spending. Our favourite is the MSR Hubba Hubba 2 person tent that sells for $440. It is extremely good quality, solid, well designed and roomy. It has won awards for design and functionality. It is that good! MSR also has a less expensive model the MSR Elixer 2 for $285. Similar looking to the Hubba Hubba, but heavier and bulkier. Both would be excellent for the West Coast Trail.

WE LOVE: We love the MSR Hubba Hubba 2 person tent. The one person model is the MSR Hubba Tent. Reinvented as the most livable tent available for its ultralight weight, the bestselling MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person backpacking tent now weighs in at a trim 1.54 kg / 3 lb 7 oz. Ultra-compact and precision-engineered, the tent feels as light and efficient to use as it does to carry. From its optimized, symmetrical geometry and non-tapered floor that maximize space, down to its integrated, adjustable stake-out loops that speed setup, this tent redefines livability. Whether you're setting out to climb the Sawatch Range or circumnavigate Mount Rainier along the Wonderland Trail, the freestanding, 3-season Hubba Hubba tent lets you enjoy the full backcountry experience including time spent in the tent. Ultralight: Minimum weight is 1.54 kg / 3 lb 7 oz; two Fast & Light® options from .97 kg /2 lb 2 oz. Maximum Space: Head and elbow room throughout tent; two large side-entry vestibules to store gear. Livable: Two large StayDry doors with built-in rain gutters; adaptable, cross-ventilating rainfly. Easy Setup & Packing: Unified hub-and-pole system with color-coded clips; ultra-compact compression stuff sack


PURPOSE: The West Coast Trail is often rainy and having a tarp can be well worth having. In pouring rain on an unsheltered beach you can string up a tarp and set up your tent under a bit of shelter. Also, cooking dinner can be done under some cover out of the rain. You should assume you will get at least one day of pouring rain.West Coast Trail Tarp

HOW IMPORTANT: Not essential. You can survive without one, but may regret not having one if it rains.

LOOK FOR: quality and prices range quite a bit. You can get a low quality, heavy tarp for $14 or get a proper, designed for hiking tarp for $100. This will be a lot lighter, more compact and have a good size and shape for hiking. They have various sizes, but 3 x 4 metres is good for the West Coast Trail. It will add about 1.2 kilograms to your pack, whereas a cheap one will be about 2kg. A higher quality tarp will be lighter still at about 800 grams, but run you $135.

PRICE: Prices range from $10 for cheap and bulky, to $135 for light and compact. A $65 tarp would work great for the West Coast Trail.

WE LIKE: An excellent and inexpensive tarp is the All Weather Tent Tarp at just $35. It packs small and compact. The MSR Silicone Scout Tarp for $129 is another good tarp. It is big(3x4 metres) but packs down very small and weighs just 866 grams. 

Sleeping Bag

PURPOSE: To keep you warm and comfortable at night after a hard day hiking the West Coast Trail. Summer weather on the trail will generally be fairly warm at lows of about 10c-15c at night, so a 3 season sleeping bag is more than adequate.

Best Sleeping Bag for the West Coast TrailHOW IMPORTANT: A sleeping bag is essential on the West Coast Trail.

LOOK FOR: There are two main types of sleeping bag, bulky, heavy and inexpensive synthetic bags and compact, light and expensive down sleeping bags. Your tent will take up the most room in your pack, however your sleeping bag will be a close second. A synthetic sleeping bag will be large, heavy and bulky and take up the entire bottom(sleeping bag) section of your backpack. A down sleeping bag, however, will take up half this large compartment and be almost insignificant in terms of weight and bulk in your pack. Once you get a nice down sleeping bag, you will wonder how you hiked without one. They are super warm, super compact, and amazingly lightweight.

PRICE: $300-$500

WE LIKE: We like RAB sleeping bags.  They are high quality hiking bags, synthetic and very light and compact. They only cost $300, pretty reasonable considering other comparable brands are often closer to $500. A -3c sleeping bag is more than adequate for the West Coast Trail. You could easily go up to a +5c sleeping bag and be comfortable. 

Sleeping Pad

PURPOSE: a soft layer between you and the ground that will help you stay warm and comfortable.

Best Sleeping Pad for the West Coast TrailHOW IMPORTANT: Pretty important to have on the West Coast Trail. You will sleep a couple nights on nice, smooth sand, but some nights on rocky beaches or uneven ground.

LOOK FOR: Compact and light. Nearly all types of sleeping pad are light, but many are absurdly bulky. Foam pads are inexpensive and very light, however they roll up a half metre wide! This means they end up strapped to the outside of your pack. They get wet, dirty and snag on trees and ladders on the West Coast Trail. The less you have on the outside of your pack the better as you will have to crawl under or over trees across the trail for time to time. Foam pads range from about $20 to $60. They are pretty comfortable and are a nice warm barrier from the ground. If you are hiking with a partner you can roll up two of these foam pads together and have just one person carry it. It is only a bit thicker, rolled up than one pad and saves the other person carry such a big item. More modern, self-inflating sleeping pads are more comfortable and astoundingly compact. So you can easily fit it inside your pack, away from the elements. They are very tough, partially blow up themselves and amazingly comfortable.

PRICE: Cheap foam pads are $20-$60 and self-inflating pads are $50-$300. 

WE LOVE: We love the Thermarest Xtherm and NEoAir Xlite, however you can easily get away with a more affordable option with the Thermarest Prolite at just $115, compared with the Xlite at $250 and Xtherm at over $300.

Sleeping Pillow

PURPOSE: More comfortable sleep than with bunched up clothes.

HOW IMPORTANT: Not essential but nice to have and they pack down very small.

LOOK FOR: Super compact and inflatable.

PRICE: You can find these on Amazon for under $20 or at hiking stores/websites for $70.

WE LIKE: Inflating Pillow Portable, compact and lightweight, and comfortable to lay on. Super-fast inflation and deflation with multi-functional convenient patent valve. Curved vertical lining inside generates ergonomic profile. Multi-purpose air valve. Filled with gas simply by several blows.

Hiking Stove & Fuel

PURPOSE: To boil water and cook meals.

HOW IMPORTANT: Essential on the West Coast Trail. You could cook by an open fire, but you would need to bring a metal pot. The orientation session before you start the trail tries to discourage this however, and urges the use of camp stoves.

Best Cook Stove for the West Coast TrailLOOK FOR: The innovation in such a simple device as a hiking stove is pretty impressive over the last decade. Stoves nowadays are ultra compact, light, very fuel efficient and all the pieces nest together in a small container. The MSR Windburner Stove is the best on the market these days. It has a 1 litre pot that attaches to the burner which attaches to the fuel and stand. It is windproof, which is astounding.. and you will be thankful for it on the West Coast Trail on windy days. You can even buy a coffee press attachment that nests inside making the pot into a coffee press, fantastic! You also get a nested bowl and everything fits together and so small as to disappear into your pack.

PRICE: The MSR Windburner Personal Stove System can be found online for about $140 and the larger 1.8 litre version is $174.

WE LOVE: We absolutely love the MSR Windburner Personal Stove System, Red, 1 L because of its compactness, durability and functionality. Everything on it just works perfectly. The base stand is solid, the pot attaches easily and solidly to the stove and fuel canister. The pot has a lid with a melt proof cover that you can sip through. The nesting bowl is a good size and of course nests with the rest. We especially love the coffee press. If you want coffee on the trail you often have to bring extra, bulky and heavy things to make it with. With the Windburner you have it nested with the rest all the time and don't have to worry about extra coffee making bits rolling around in your pack.

Bowl/Plate & Utensils

PURPOSE: Eating and storing food.

Meal Kit for the West Coast TrailHOW IMPORTANT: Moderately important as you have to have some reasonable way to serve up food. You can eat right out of your cooking pot, but with hiking partners you need extra plates, bowls and cutlery. 

LOOK FOR: There are dozens of variations of plates, bowls and cutlery combos you can get. Often a couple thin, hiker bowls or plates in your pack will do. It all depends on what you are eating. Most hikers on the West Coast Trail eat the packaged, dried meals. These you can eat right out of the packaging as you simply add boiling water to the bag and it cooks in 10 minutes. If this is how you are eating, you just need a bowl or two. Preparing for the West Coast Trail you definitely want to minimize what you put in your pack, so unnecessary bowls and plates may just be a luxury you don't need.

PRICE: Single plates and bowls can be found for a couple bucks each or you can get a decent set with bowls, plates, cups, cutlery nested together in a very small package. These are usually about $20-$30.

WE LIKE: We like the Light My Fire 8-Piece BPA-Free Meal Kit 2.0 with Plate, Bowl, Cup, Cutting Board, Spork. Super compact, pretty light and very functional. It all seems very easy to clean, possibly because of the nice contoured shapes of everything. Sporks are a very useful item in your pack. Make sure you get one. They cost about $3 and have a spoon head at one end and a fork on the other. They are nearly unbreakable unlike cheap plastic cutlery which breaks after a day or two on the trail.

Food and Drink

PURPOSE: Light, compact, yet delicious food and drinks will make you happy and energetic for the trail.

HOW IMPORTANT: Essential unless you are able to live off the land/ocean. For most of us we need to bring everything we need to eat. There are two places on the trail you can get ready made meals. The short ferry crossing at Nitinaht Narrows has a very inviting dock with tables and they usually have a couple great meal options. Often chicken and potatoes, which is a real treat. Alternatively you can get a crab dinner. They literally pull up a crab trap next to you and pull out a crab and you can watch the whole process. It ends up on your plate nearly whole. The crab Camp Food for the West Coast Traildinner is nice for the novelty, but you quickly find out that there is not a whole lot to eat on a crab and you leave hungry. You can also get chips, chocolate bars and drinks there. You almost always have a few locals sitting around a wood stove on the dock having an interesting conversation. These folks can trace their ancestors back for many generations and they live an interesting life deep in the Canadian wilderness. You find yourself hypnotized at how wonderful it must be to live in this spectacular place. Hard so say, maybe you'd get sick of it after a few weeks, but sitting on the dock eating crab on the West Coast Trail, the place feels just right! There is another place you can get food on the trail called Chez Monique's. It is located at about the 45 kilometre mark near the Carmanah Lighthouse. Located on the Indian Reserve adjacent to the beach Chez Monique's is an inviting, cafeteria of sorts where you can get all sorts of cooked meals. Burgers in the daytime and in the morning bacon, eggs and coffee. You can even get a beer and other drinks here.

LOOK FOR: Compact and delicious. Fortunately there are no shortage of brands to choose from and after sampling several brands and dozens of different types of meals, I've found them all amazing. Maybe things taste better after a hard days hiking. But they are always delicious, easy to make and the garbage left over can be rolled into the size of a pen. All you have to do to prepare dinner is boil some water, pour it in the bag, reseal and wait about 10 minutes. Then you have an amazing beef stew, spaghetti, lasagnia, tikka masala, chicken stir fry, beef stir fry, or dozens of other flavours. Amazing!

PRICE: They are a bit expensive, but the cost is definitely balanced with the convenience and pack saving size. The prices range from about $12-$25 for an amazing meal.

WE LIKE: Mountain House and AlpineFaire but we haven't encountered a brand yet that we didn't love.  

Water Purification

PURPOSE: To purify water to prevent waterborne illness.

Water Treatment for the West Coast TrailHOW IMPORTANT: Very important to ensure that you don't get sick on the trail from the water. The chances of getting sick are low, but the consequences if you do are high.

LOOK FOR: Aquatabs are a quick, easy, effective method to treat water. Just drop a small tab in a bottle of water and wait a couple minutes. It is tasteless and kills anything that may get you sick. They are very inexpensive and weigh next to nothing. Water filters are quite bulky and added weight in your pack you don't need.

PRICE: $25 for 100 tabs, which purifies up to 200 litres of water. Water filters range from $100-$400 and add a lot of bulk to your pack.

WE LIKE: Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets 100/pack


Headlight for the West Coast TrailPURPOSE: For emergency and non emergency lighting

HOW IMPORTANT: Essential on any hiking/camping trip.

LOOK FOR: Comfort, reliability, good battery life and good illumination.

PRICE: $40-$200

WE LIKE: Petzl TIKKINA Headlamp, Black

Power Bank

Power for the West Coast TrailPURPOSE: To recharge all your gadgets.

HOW IMPORTANT: Important to keep your phone alive.

LOOK FOR: Compact and powerful

PRICE: $40

WE LIKE: Intocircuit Power Castle

First Aid Kit

PURPOSE: To equip you for minor first aid. You should have a variety of bandages, tweezers, blister treatment eg: moleskin or duct tape, gauze bandages, wound closure strips, antiseptic wipes, tylenol, etc

HOW IMPORTANT: Important to have the ability to deal with minor injuries.First Aid Kit for the West Coast Trail

LOOK FOR: Compact and a good variety of first aid supplies.

PRICE: $40

WE LIKE: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight and Watertight .7 First Aid Kit It contains: Wound Closure Strips, Pkg./10, 1" x 10 yds. Tape,1" x 3" Easy Access Bandages, Knuckle Easy Access Bandages, 3" Conforming Gauze Bandage, 3" x 3" Sterile Gauze Dressing Pad, Pkg./2, (2) 2" x 2" Sterile Gauze Dressing Pad, Pkg./2, (2) 3" x 4" Sterile Non-Adherent Dressing, 2" Elastic Bandage with Hook & Loop Closure^5" x 9" Trauma Pad, Skin Tac Topical Adhesive Wipe, Antiseptic Wipe, After Bite Bite & Sting Relief Wipe, Irrigation Syringe, 10cc. with 18 Gauge Tip ,Pair Nitrile Gloves, Pre Cut & Shaped Moleskin, 28 Pieces, GlacierGel Blister & Burn Dressing, Splinter Picker/Tick remover tweezers Safety Pin, Duct Tape.

All Weather Clothing

Long Sleeve Moisture Wicking Shirts is a very important item on the West Coast Trail. First they are very comfortable and when you sweat on the trail, which you will do a lot, these wick the moisture away from your body. They work incredibly well at this and because the fabric is so light and doesn't hold moisture like a cotton shirt, you can wash it and dry it on the trail incredibly fast. You effectively only need a couple of these and rotate them everyday after you wash the other. Having a long sleeve shirt while hiking is another minor detail that is surprisingly beneficial. Slide the sleeves up and you have a short sleeve shirt. Slide them down to protect your skin from sunburn. Once you hike with one of these, you will never go back to old school, cotton shirts.

Hiking Shorts or Hiking Pants Good, durable shorts or hiking pants are highly recommended on the trail. You want something that repels water and/or dries fast. Keep in mind that you will be getting fairly dirty, so a dark coloured fabric will not look as dirty as lighter colours.

Fleece sweater. A nice, warm fleece sweater is great to have on the West Coast Trail. Easy to dry if it gets wet and packs away very small.

Gaiters are an extremely important item to have on the West Coast Trail as it is your only defence against mud. Early in the season especially, you will encounter unavoidable and deep mud along the trail. Frequently you will plunge into mud and unexpectedly sink to your knees. Having good, waterproof gaiters will minimize the mud entering your shoes. Along with high cut, waterproof hiking shoes/boots you will ensure a considerably more enjoyable time on the West Coast Trail. Too often you encounter hikers on the trail in simple running shoes and no gaiters. The look in their eyes tells you that the trail is an endurance test with constantly soaking wet shoes. Prices and quality range a bit with gaiters, however the idea is quite simple so as long as they are waterproof, durable and fairly lightweight you will do well with a $20 set off Amazon.

Hiking Shoes are tremendously important on the West Coast Trail. Get something high or mid cut, gore-tex and lightweight. Salomon has been making incredibly good hiking shoes for quite some time now and they don't seem to have any decent competition in terms of quality and style. Salomon Men's X Ultra Mid GTX.

Hiking Socks, and lots of them are very important to keep your feet dry on the trail. Luckily socks are small and compact in your pack, so you can easily bring 8 pairs and hardly notice. There are lots of great brands out there. This is a good and affordable brand: YUEDGE 5 Pack Men's and Womans Wicking Hiking Socks 5Pack

Sandals are great to have at the end of the day when you are on the beach/campsite. They are lightweight and can slip in a side pocket of your pack for quick use if you have to wade through a river and prefer to not soak your boots. You can get away with any cheap sandal, but keep in mind that having ones that strap onto your foot will be much better on the West Coast Trail. The river crossings are over slippery rocks and cheap sandals slip off and shoot down the river. Water shoes are another good option and they are light, compact, durable and give you good traction and protection.  Check out water shoes here..

A toque(aka: winter hat, beanie) should go along with you on every hike. You lose a lot of heat from your head and a nice, warm toque will save you on a cold West Coast Trail evening. Toques take up little room in your pack and might prove to be very important.

Gloves are nice to have on the West Coast Trail when you are crawling through the forest, over trees and climbing ladders. The problem is that it seems impossible to find thin, breathable, waterproof gloves. A good alternative is Mechanix Wear Gloves. They are thin, very durable and help you grip the often slippery and always dirty ladders. These gloves aren't designed for warmth, but rather to protect your hands every time you stumble and fall over. Breaking your fall with a jagged rock is better handled with a light glove on.

A sun shielding hat, suntan lotion and sunglasses are very important on the West Coast Trail. You will find yourself hiking for hours on sunny beaches and if you forgot suntan lotion, sunglasses and a simple baseball hat will protect you from the sun. The sun reflecting of the sand and ocean is sometimes blinding on the trail and you want to be prepared for a beautiful walk on the beach.

Personal Items & Accessories

Camera and or phone, clothes for sleeping in, tooth brush/paste, soap, toilet paper(not provided in the outhouses on the trail), a camp towel. Regular towels take forever to dry and you are better off getting a proper, quick dry camp towel for the trail. Next: Campsites 

West Coast Trail Guide

West Coast Trail has a dizzying array of beautiful sights to see. Unfortunately due to the difficulty of the trail, weather, or just too much focus on finishing the trail, many amazing things are missed, or simply glossed over quickly. Darling Falls, for example, is a ...
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When shipping in and out of Juan de Fuca Strait rapidly increased in the mid 1800's and an alarming and costly number of ships were lost, the need for a inland trail was realized. It would take decades, and many more brutal and costly shipwrecks in the waters leading to
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The West Coast Trail hiking season is confined to just five months due to the dangerously stormy weather during the winter months. In the winter the days are short, tides are high and heavy rain and strong winds are frequent. Hiking the trail in the summer is tough ...
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The West Coast Trail is a very tough hike. About one out of one hundred hikers don't make it, they need to be rescued. That's why there are so many fees. By the time you are done preparing and registering, you laugh at how hiking got so expensive. Isn't hiking usually ...
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Amazing Whistler Hiking Trails

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