photos supplied by dave norona/for metro vancouver


Dave enjoys some of British Columbia’s amazing terrain.


Jon Rutledge enjoys the beauty of the mountains. Being prepared is all part of getting outdoors.

The Gorgeous summer weather is upon us and it is time to head off into the backcountry to explore our amazing terrain and incredible vistas.

The one thing we all need to ask ourselves before we head off is: Are we prepared?

Living this close to so many trails and waterways allows us quick and easy access. However, this also makes it easy for people to decide to go on a last minute trip. Improper planning can turn a simple mistake into a full-blown emergency, and as we all know and see each year, can be fatal.

The North Shore Rescue and other search and rescue teams around the province are there if you need them, but they are not a babysitting service. All too often their efforts are exhausted on people who head off without the proper gear and don’t have enough skill to survive a night out.

If you’re into hiking the Grouse Grind, mountain biking on the North Shore mountains, or paddling any of our awesome rivers and oceans, then take the time to learn the proper gear.

There are 10 essentials that anyone heading off into our backcountry should have: extra food and clothing, compass, whistle, signal device, flashlight, fire-making kit, first-aid kit, emergency shelter, knife and sun protection. These are the bare minimum that you should have in your pack. It sounds like a lot of gear, but I pride myself on creating the smallest lightest pack, which carries all these items. This way you are guaranteed to survive a night out or if you stumble upon an injured person you can help them.

Cellphones are always a great thing to carry but do not count on service.

Proper footwear should also be a priority when heading off-road. I like a good stable running shoe although some may prefer a full-blown hiker that provides more stability. Unfortunately we see too many people out there with sandals and other footwear that is meant for the beach, not our trails.

And finally, always leave a trip planner or note with a friend. This way if you do not show up when expected, search and rescue teams can head out to the right area.

Being prepared for the worst scenarios allows you to head off with total confidence to help yourself and others if the crap hits the fan. Get informed and go outdoors!

gear guide

Asics Gel-Trail Sensor WR Shoe

Description: Protect your feet and tackle any terrain with Asics’ new Gel-Trail Sensor WR shoe. Forefoot rock protection, breathable Nano-Tech water-resistant upper, and Gel cushioning for a comfortable ride.

Price range: $139.99

Where to find it:

Motorola SX800R Radios

Description: These Motorola two-way radios are perfect for any outdoor adventure. With 25-kilometre range you can keep in contact if you get lost. Hands-free feature, backlit display for nighttime use, and NiMH rechargeable batteries for long-lasting performance.

Price range:$69.99

Where to find it:

Garmin 60CX GPS

Description: Garmin’s 60CX is perfect for any outdoor enthusiast. Waterproof, rugged housing, colour screen and highly sensitive GPS receiver acquires satellites faster and keeps that signal even in dense canopy cover.

Price range:$419

Where to find it:

Helly Hansen Lifa

Description: Helly Hansen’s Lifa product is the best thing to wear and to have as extra clothing in your pack when you head off into the backcountry. It does not hold moisture, is super light and packs up small.

Price range:$49

Where to find it: