Highlights along the Trans Canada TrailLearn More

How to Prepare for Your Hike

Equipment and Clothing

Garments should all be interchangeable for efficiency and effectiveness within the range of climates you’ll encounter in the wilderness. We recommend a layering system, which consists of a base layer, mid layer, and outer layer, applied from head to toe.

Base Layer
A base layer is designed to wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable when you’re working hard, and warm when temperatures drop. Most common base layer materials are synthetics such as polypropylene and polyester or merino wool, technical fabrics that absorb minimal moisture and are quick drying, lightweight and durable. Base layers come in light, medium, and heavy weight, some with a half zipper and collar that protects from sun or chill.

Mid Layer
A mid layer provides insulation, retaining your body warmth. Wool, fleece and synthetics work best. Zippers enable you to vent and avoid overheating. The fit should not be constrictive. A mid layer can be in the form of a “softshell” or full-sleeved fleece jacket.

Outer Layer
An outer layer is a fully waterproof layer with high breathability. The most widely known fabric is Gore-Tex, however there are other high performing technical fabrics available which are both waterproof and breathable. The waterproof qualities of the fabric will keep out the wind and rain, whilst the breathability allows perspiration to escape.

Wool versus synthetics
Merino wool has become popular and many people use it in different thicknesses as base layers. While wool is soft and comfortable, keep in mind that it is not as quick-drying as synthetics and polypropylenes. It is far more ‘odour-free’ over extended periods but it can also be slightly heavier. You can also combine layers together dependent on the conditions.

Softshell versus fleece versus synthetic fill
Softshell is a very versatile fabric and can be used as a mid-layer, as well as an outer layer in dry conditions. While it is not a waterproof layer, it can be used in very windy and slightly wet conditions without having to add your outer shell. Synthetic fill nylon jackets are popular because of its superior warmth, lightness, compactability and water resistance. Fleece is less expensive, but is not windproof and is bulkier than softshell or nylon/synthetic fill jackets.


Packing List

Essential  HIKING BOOTS: You will need suitable footwear with good support to avoid rolling ankles or encountering blisters. This is not a trip for breaking in new hiking boots! Be sure you have tried and tested your boots beforehand in wet conditions and over uneven terrain. Boots should be robust, high cut ankle covering, fully waterproof (Gore-Tex equivalent and or full leather) with a good quality sole and breathable. 

 Essential WALKING SHOES: or close-toed hiking sandals, are handy as a backup pair of footwear, for outings in St John’s, and to wear around accommodation in the evenings.

 Essential SOCKS: Good quality wool blend are recommended. Please do not wear cotton socks as they absorb moisture and are more likely to cause blisters. Liner socks are recommended as they reduce moisture and friction.

 Essential WATERPROOF JACKET: Breathable windbreaker, which can be comfortably worn and folded into a backpack. Gore-Tex or similar.

 Essential POLARTEC JUMPER: Good quality long sleeve thermal synthetic fleece or a good quality wool jumper will act as a mid-layer, and perfect for cooler mornings and evenings.


 Essential T-SHIRTS: At least one t-shirt should be a wickable material (wool or technical) which is fast-drying and will keep moisture away from your skin.

 Essential UNDERWEAR: normal amount for daily wear


 Essential SUN HAT: Preferably broad rimmed for full face and neck sun protection

 Essential SLEEPWEAR

Highly Recommended

SHORTS/SKIRT/CONVERTIBLE HIKING PANTS: Quick drying, breathable fabric for hiking in hot summer months.

Highly Recommended

SANDALS: Useful for beach time, evenings in the lodges or downtime in the summer.

Highly Recommended

LIGHTWEIGHT HOODIE OR JUMPER: For cooler mornings and evenings.

Highly Recommended

GLOVES/MITTENS: A warm pair of fleece or wind stopper gloves.

Highly Recommended

BUFF/BANDANA/NECK SCARF: For windy/cold days, or to cover your neck and protect from the sun.

Recommended SWIMSUIT

Essential  LUGGAGE: Ideally one soft-sided bag per person, weighing a maximum of 15kg / 33lbs for the luggage transfers. Carry-on roller suitcases are also acceptable.

 Essential DAYPACK: This is a small backpack of around 30-35 litres to carry your personal requirements for each day's activity. Preferably waterproof.

 Essential WATER BOTTLES: 1 litre wide leakproof bottles and/or water bladder (such as Camelbak).

 Essential SUNGLASSES WITH NECK STRAP: dark lenses with 100% UV protection.

 Essential WATERPROOF PACK LINER/STUFF SACK: to pack your clothes and as as additional protection from rain.




 Highly Recommended


 Highly Recommended


 Highly Recommended


 Highly Recommended

CAMERA: plus memory cards, spare batteries and/or charger with cable.

 Highly Recommended

EXTERNAL BATTERY PACK: For use in charging your cellphone as a backup during the day.

 Highly Recommended


 Optional EAR PLUGS: useful if you are sharing with a snorer





 Optional SEWING KIT


Tips for the Trail

  • Lunch break with a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i>
  • Surprises and obstacles at every turn on the Long Range Traverse
  • Hiking poles really help on slippery terrain along the trail |  <i>Julie Demers</i>
  • Hiker in the Bruce Peninsula National Park |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i>
  • Drink Bottle |  <i>Alan Carrillo</i>
  • There's No Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothes! |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i>

Pre and Post Hike Exercises

Stretching only adds 5 to 10 minutes of time, but does wonders preparing your body for the hike, and helping it recover once you’re done. It helps prevent injuries, warms you up, and keeps your muscles fresh and ready for a multi-day adventure.  

Squirrel Stretching


The goal is to warm up the lower body, where most of our movement will take place, and put the rest of our muscles on notice that they’re about to get some action. The best way to do this is with dynamic stretches: active motions that will increase our range of movement, and lubricate our joints.   

Hamstring Kicks
Let’s start with leg strength, flexibility and stability, targeting muscles that extend the knee and extend the hip. Stand tall, step your right leg back, and kick it forward and up, keeping the left leg straight. Repeat the motion for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch legs. 

Ankle Circles
Remain standing, and make clockwise and counter-clockwise motions with your foot, rotating your ankle. Do ten rotations of each, then switch legs.   This simple exercise just might save you a sprained ankle.

Calf Stretch
Stand about an arm's length from a car, tree or fence, placing your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and heel on the ground. 15-30 seconds should adequately stretch the calf of the back leg, then switch legs.

High Knees
Now lift your knees one at a time as high as possible, as if in a marching motion, warming up your hips, hamstrings, calves, glutes and quadriceps.  This will get the blood flowing, and assist with balance and endurance as well. Ten repetitions on each side should do it.

Shoulder Rolls
Don’t shrug it off, make it a shoulder roll! Roll your shoulders backward and forward in a circular motion to loosen up the joints, alleviate shoulder pain, open your chest, and relieve neck tension. It’s recommended to do 15 second rolls in each direction.

Walking Lunges
Step forward with your right leg, bending the knee so that it is parallel to the ground, keeping your left leg straight, and hold it for a few seconds. Without moving your left leg, stand up, and lunge backwards, bending your left leg and keeping your right leg straight. Make sure your front knee is aligned with your ankle and not beyond your toes. Do 10 to 12 reps on each leg, repeating if necessary.

Leg Swings
Let’s get hip: swing your leg forward and back for 10 reps, then to the side for 10 more. Switch legs and repeat. This stretch works on your hamstrings, calf, quadriceps, and also loosens up your ankles and feet. Maintain control of your motions and make sure you’re not flinging or throwing your legs about.

Inviting seating area with a beautiful waterfront view |  <i>Robin Esrock</i>Before settling into those chairs to relax and enjoy the ocean view, be sure to stretch out. | Photo ©Robin Esrock


Holding a stretch is recommended when concluding a hike, which lengthen the muscles, prevent stiffness and muscle pain, improves overall flexibility and prepares you for another successful day on the trails. Stretch immediately after the hike to take advantage of your warm muscles. Hold for about 20-30 seconds in each pose, and repeat each stretch 3-4 times. 

Standing Saddle Stretch
Let’s start with your lower back, inner thighs and hamstrings. Stand with your legs spread apart, toes forward, and bend at the waist towards one leg.  Hold the stretch, then switch to the other leg.

Runner’s Lunge
Step one foot forward into a lunge position, bending on your front knee, keeping the back leg straight and heel off the ground. Lean into the stretch to open up the hips. 

Rag Doll Pose
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend at the waist, and let your upper body hang loose, reaching towards the ground to stretch your back and hamstrings. You can also try this with your feet together. Hey, you’re doing yoga! 

Quadriceps Stretch
While standing, bend one leg back, holding the ankle to stretch the front of the thigh. Keep your knees together and push your hips forward for a deeper stretch.

Glute Stretch
If the ground isn’t too muddy or crawling with bullet ants (don’t worry, there’s no bullet ants in Canada), sit on the ground, cross one leg over the other with the foot flat on the floor, and hug the knee to your chest to really stretch those glutes.

Calf Stretch
Let’s return to those calf stretches, since you’ve just put them through a grinder and you want them to work tomorrow.  Once again, place your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and heel on the ground. Use a tree, car, fence or fellow hiker for balance support if necessary.

Shoulder Stretch
If you’ve been carrying a backpack all day, give some stretch love to your shoulders, back and neck.  With your feet hip-width apart, back straight and shoulders back, raise one arm overhead and drop your forearm down your back.  Use the opposite hand to grab your elbow and gently pull it behind your head. 

Additional Tips

  • Hydrate before and after your hike to aid with muscle function and recovery.
  • Hiking poles really help distribute weight and can reduce joint strain.
  • Listen to your body and never stretch to the point of pain!
  • Make it a habit: incorporate stretching into your regular hiking routine.


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