There’s nothing worse than a rescue situation that could have been easily avoided with a few simple precautions. This fall, North Shore Rescue volunteers have been especially frustrated with ill-prepared hikers, and we can all take our personal responsibility seriously to make their job WAY easier.

I’ve had experience with both being under- and over-prepared, and I can tell you from firsthand experience, that being over-prepared is much more rewarding and enjoyable, and usually results in having an extra sandwich left over at the end–bonus!!! Here’s a list of things NOT to do, and things to do, so that you can get the most out of your winter adventure game:

Here’s what NOT to do:

  • Fail to look up trail conditions
  • Pack for the expected seasonal conditions (weather conditions in the mountains can change in minutes)
  • Continue on a trail that is too difficult
  • Continue on a trail that has conditions that you didn’t prepare for ie. snow, ice etc.

Here’s what to do:

  • Check the trail conditions before you leave
  • Call someone and tell them where you’re going and when you’re going to be back
  • Set up a hike tracker on your phone so you can see how far you’ve gone, and how many calories you’ve burned (Runkeeper is a good one) – This is more for fun than anything else
  • Make sure you pack properly for a wide range of conditions.

Here’s what I recommend as a packing list for winter hiking, but by all means, if you think I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments section below!

If you pack these things, and do your pre-hike due diligence, your hike will not only be way more awesome, but infinitely more safe. Listen to your body, and your instincts, because if something feels off, it probably is.