The Bruce is filled with hundreds of kilometers of amazing hiking trails. Most notably is the world famous Bruce Trail - extending from Queenston in the Niagara region 890Km and ending at the very tip of the Peninsula at Little Tub Harbour in Tobermory.
Trails in Bruce and Grey are phenomenal and have garnered impressive support of volunteers, local community, nature activists and outdoors enthusiasts alike. It’s clear to see why - from ventures on top of rugged cliffs and bluffs, to hidden gem waterfalls and trails that hug the shoreline of beautiful Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Any enthusiast will tell you - preparation is the key to enjoying the great outdoors.
Preparation comes in the form of understanding your surroundings, understanding the terrain, and being prepared to take on any challenges that may occur. This means you should hike with a basic level of equipment to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Below is a list of basic essentials that we recommend you bring on a hiking day trip. Overnight trips will require a much more robust set of equipment - but this is what we recommend for preparedness on a hike of more than a few hours. Any outdoor supply store is capable of supplying anything on this list.
We recommend great local outfitters like Suntrail Outfitters in Hepworth, or Thorncrest Outfitters in Southampton and Tobermory.
We have heard it before - but it stands especially true while hiking. You are exerting energy, sweating, and working up a thirst. Be sure you are prepared. One of the scariest feelings can be being extremely thirsty without access to clean water. It’s better to carry too much rather than too little. Hi Bruce! Recommends bringing multiple bottles - avoid glass for hikes as it can be less durable than alternatives, and avoid one time use bottles as we would all love to see a reduction in wasteful products. Other than that there are hundreds of options from BPA free plastics to aluminum bottles with excellent insulation properties.
Day Pack/Back Pack
A good day pack is essential for keeping yourself comfortable while carrying your necessities. Aim for something that is durable, light, and has enough internal storage for your needs. A bag specific to outdoor activities will go beyond your average day to day bag in its ability to disperse heat, absorb sweat and support the added weight comfortably. Hi Bruce! Prefers a bag with multiple compartments including an external sleeve for water bottles. Over time organizing your bag in the same fashion, finding what you’re looking for will become second nature. Quick snack? It’s right there. Check the GPS? Easy peasy.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
The demands on a hiking shoe are drastically different from that of a sneaker or sandal. Each year amatuer hikers are in need of rescue or assistance from tricky situations simply because they didn’t have the correct footwear. When you are miles from your car in the forests of the Bruce, function definitely triumphs over form. While I (The writer) prefer a higher collared boot for most activities, many adventurers will find all the support they need in a hiking shoe. This will come down to the types of hikes you enjoy, the seasons you intend on using them in, and your own personal comfort. We recommend going to a proper outfitter store to ensure best performance. They will have the inventory, experience, and knowledge to make sure that you get exactly what is needed. This is certainly an item that we do not recommend buying off of the internet.
Food or snacks
Aim for high in protein, high in nutrients and high in natural sugars. Trail mixes, protein bars, dried fruits and hard boiled eggs are all good choices to keep your energy levels on peak during your adventure. Pack extra as you work up an appetite, and of course ensure you pack out whatever you pack in.
GPS or Cell Phone Navigation App
A digital map in some form is a great idea when hiking anywhere. It is surprisingly easy to find yourself disorientated and in the wrong moment that can be a dangerous mistake. A digital map makes it easy to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. They can be found in many forms including mobile phone apps and stand alone GPS devices. Hiking GPS might be required if you are an avid hiker. Many areas of the Bruce Peninsula have low signal, or no signal for cell phones. In that case a GPS will continue to work as it operates off of satellite signal rather than cell phone antenna. They start in outfitters from as low as $120 from brands like Magellan and Garmin.
Basic First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is like a plunger - always buy one before you need it! It can be easy to not consider injuries to yourself or others around you prior to hiking, but it is a reality of being in the rugged wilderness. An item as simple as tweezers to remove a splinter can make the difference between a ruined day and a great adventure. You should ensure that your kit has at minimum antiseptic, bandages of various sizes, a tourniquet, tweezers and gauze. Camera So you can share photos to your friends and family promoting the amazing time you had on the Bruce!