Even if you’re just heading out for a short day hike, the West Kootenay is a special place with some special safety considerations. Most trails are remote: up challenging access roads, with few (if any) other hikers, and no cell phone coverage.

Having the right gear in your backpack (and vehicle) will help you be prepared and stay safe. In the event of an emergency, you must be prepared to spend a night in the wilderness and self-rescue when possible.

Looking down along the Kootenay River on the Flagpole Trail

Before you go

  • Did you tell someone your plans and what time to expect you back?
  • Have you researched your route?
  • Are you aware of the most recent trail and road conditions?
  • Have you checked the weather report?

Vehicle Checklist

  • Do you have enough gas to get to the trailhead and back?
  • Is your spare tire in good condition?
  • Do you have a saw to deal with any deadfall on the road?
  • For overnight trips, did you bring chicken-wire to protect your car?

Daypack Checklist

Your daypack should include the following items/systems:

  • Navigation – map/compass or GPS
  • Sun protection – hat, sunscreen, protective clothing
  • Insulation – warm layers and rain gear, including a toque and gloves
  • Illumination – headlamp/flashlight and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Fire – lighter/matches and firestarter
  • Repair kit – pocketknife, duct tape
  • Nutrition – extra emergency food
  • Hydration – extra water and purification method
  • Emergency shelter – bivvy sack, space blanket, or giant orange garbage bag
  • Communication – whistle, cell phone (if there is coverage), or locator beacon
  • Bear spray

For more information on being prepared, check out the following links:

Approaching Gimli