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Hike Smart

Whether you’re out for a leisurely day-hike on a multi-use recreational trail or a strenuous multi-day trek through Ontario’s magnificent wilds, ensure your trip is a safe one:

Hike Smart Tips

  • Check the weather before you leave and be prepared for it to change.
  • Carry extra food & clothing – a good rule of thumb for day-trippers is to be able to stay out overnight, in case of trouble.

10 Wilderness Essentials

  1. Flashlight, spare batteries and bulb
  2. Fire-making kit (waterproof matches/lighter, fire-starter/candle)
  3. Signalling device (whistle or mirror to signal searchers if you become lost)
  4. Extra food and water (1 litre/person)
  5. Extra clothing (rain, wind, water protection and toque)
  6. Navigational/Communication Aids (maps, compass, GPS, charts, cellular phone, hand-held radio with fully charged battery)
  7. First Aid kit
  8. Emergency shelter – orange tarp or large orange garbage bag (can also be used as signaling devices)
  9. Pocket knife
  10. Sun protection (glasses, sunscreen, hat)


  • Comfortable, warm clothing
  • A second layer for warmth on colder days
  • Wool socks plus extras
  • Hiking Boots
  • Small backpack/camel back water system
  • Bug spray
  • Moleskin for blisters

Extras for Overnights

  • Proper backpack with good support
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and pad
  • Stove and fuel
  • Food/Scented items bag
  • Gear repair kit

Hike Smart Etiquette

  • Don't leave your manners at the campsite:
    You've likely already been told when hiking the trails to “take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints”. This is great advice; knowing what to share and what to keep to yourself can have a big impact on everyone's experience on the trail.
  • Share the trail:
    In general, ascending climbers have the right of way over hikers descending a trail.
  • Respect the trail:
    It's not uncommon to encounter areas that are criss-crossed with paths where other hikers have taken short-cuts down inclines or around obstacles. This practice quickly leads to environmental damage and excessively complicated trail systems. It takes very few footsteps to create a new path in a fragile wooded area but many years for the environment to recover from the erosion, loss of vegetation, and compacting of the soil that this causes. Such problems are easily avoided but very difficult to rectify.
  • Share the view:
    If your trail leads you to a panoramic outlook, take a minute to appreciate the scenery, take some photos, then move over to let others enjoy the view.
  • Keep it small:
    Hiking in small groups makes it easier to share the trail and stay safe and organized. If your group is large, split up into smaller ones of four or six.
  • Keep your distance:
    Unless you're passing a slower group, try to stay a respectful distance from other hikers.
  • Keep it down:
    Whenever possible, hike in silence and enjoy the sounds of nature.

Video Vignette

A summer hike along Spruce Avenue Beach in Elliot Lake, Ontario.