What do I need for hiking on Vancouver Island?

Camping gear rental for the west coast

Adventure Ready!


One day hike or multiple days hiking/backpacking, these are basic things you need…

Vancouver Island is a hiker/backpacker’s heaven. Multiple trails, awesome nature, versatile wildlife ( guide and resources here) and mild weather are sure to tempt many people, both local and international, to enjoy outdoor activities. For some you will need a permit, but many are free.

The two main trails are the West Coast trail and Juan de Fuca trail. But there are plenty of shorter trails more suitable for beginners and even trails specific for running if you prefer.

Depending on your physical condition, free time, and the equipment you have on hand choose the best trail for you.

We have put together this handy checklist, have a look before you leave;


For one day hike we recommend:
(What we rent at time of writing is in green)

  • Backpack,

  • Weather-appropriate clothing,

  • Suitable shoes/ boots (when muddy and wet, gaiters are recommended),

  • Food,

  • Plenty of drinking water,

  • Navigation tools (map, compass, full battery on your cell phone J),

  • First aid kit,

  • Knife or a multi tool.

For multiple days hiking we recommend:

  • Big backpack,

  • Trekking poles,

  • Tent (preferable with footprint for under the tent),

  • Sleeping bag,

  • Sleeping pad,

  • Navigation tools (map, compass, GPS device or similar),

  • Fuel and a stove,

  • Cookware set,

  • Something for ignition (lighter, matches…)

  • Dinnerware and utensils,

  • Dishwashing kit,

  • Food, snacks,

  • Water and/or water treating system,

  • Appropriate clothing and shoes,

  • Head-lamp, flashlight

  • Multi tool,

  • Hat,

  • Towel,

  • Sanitary kit, toilet paper

  • Personal hygiene stuff (soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer),

  • Bear spray,

No worries if you miss any items/equipment from this checklist, you can always rent it here https://westcoastgear.ca/gear-rental/

Before you pack everything, study the trail carefully and make an itinerary.

Share your plan with someone else, someone who is not going with you. Also, give them start and finish dates just to be sure that if something happens and you do not return at the scheduled time, they can sound the alarm.

For some trails you have to make a reservation and/or pay a camping fee. Transportation to and from the trail is also one of the important things you have to think about ahead of time.


We would suggest to do the following before departure:

  • Check with your doctor (especially if you plan to go far outside from your comfort level and usual routine),
  • Train for your trip (you might not be as fit as you think),
  • Prepare an emergency plan,
  • Choose clothes and shoes wisely,
  • Check your gear. Follow a checklist (see above or check out our packing list resources ) and make sure everything is in good condition and you are not missing something,
  • Security in the nature is a must. Wilderness situations can be unpredictable and require attention to safety. Study what you need to be safe and how to behave if meeting wildlife of any kind. ( see our bear acnd cogar resources here)

Have a safe and enjoyable hiking trip. See you on the trail!


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