The Ultimate Guide to Pretending to be Outdoorsy

Here are a few examples of my questionable outfit choices for outdoor activities over the years:

Canmore with during June Dresses 2014. 10/10 do not recommend hiking in a skirt and blouse.

10/10 do not recommend hiking in a skirt and blouse. (Canmore 2014)

Flats, a purse, tight jeans, and a hip shirt? Not ideal for hiking up a mountain. My feet bled all day.

Flats, a purse, tight jeans, and a hip shirt? Not ideal for hiking up a mountain. My feet bled all day. (Banff 2013)

Aside from these embarrassing photos (which I still think are quite cute, by the way,) I have gotten it (kind of) right in the past:

I don't know if it counts when the White Water Rafting Company Provides acceptable wear. (Fernie 2014)

I don’t know if it counts when the White Water Rafting Company Provides acceptable wear. (Fernie 2014)

Bathing suits are acceptable for the ocean, right?

Bathing suits are acceptable for the ocean, right? (Los Cabos 2015)

Again, I think a bikini is an okay decision for beach-going. (Except for the whole boobs-prone-to-popping-out thing) Naramata and Epenticton 2015

Again, I think a bikini is an okay decision for beach-going. (Except for the whole boobs-prone-to-popping-out thing) Naramata and Penticton 2015

Shorts and a tank in the summer is a pretty decent strategy for a hike and a dip, right? (Silver Springs 2014)

Shorts and a tank in the summer is a pretty decent strategy for a hike and a dip, right? (Silver Springs 2014)

Yes, I look fabulous, but the Acropolis is no easy feat. Especially with your feet in sandals. (Athens 2013)

Yes, I look fabulous, but the Acropolis is no easy feat. Especially with your feet in sandals. (Athens 2013)

I might look outdoorsy hiking to the cave, but I was freezing. Definite upgrade from older attempts though. (Canmore 2013)

I might look outdoorsy hiking to the cave, but I was freezing. Definite upgrade from older attempts though. (Canmore 2013)

Again, is it truly a good decision if the caving company supplies proper gear? (Canmore 2013)

Again, is it truly a good decision if the caving company supplies proper gear? (Canmore 2013)

Notice something wrong in these photos? Sure, I might LOOK semi-outdoorsy. I look convincingly like someone who goes outside once in awhile. HOWEVER, where is the gear? The day pack? The safety equipment? The snacks? The WATER?

Hint: It’s not with Amar, behind the camera.

Recently, my friend Michelle and I discovered the key to pretending to be outdoorsy:
BE OUTDOORSY.
PLAN PROPERLY.
JUST GO FOR IT.

It doesn’t matter if you wheeze your way up the mountain, or if you turn back early. It doesn’t matter that you’re out of shape or feel like a fake.

If you plan for your excursion, think it through, and head out with purpose, you are doing it right.

Can't beat the view. With the proper gear, you can head out at times where there are less hikers and secure private views.

Can’t beat the view. With the proper gear, you can head out at times where there are less hikers and secure private views.

See? I can still look hot even with all the proper hiking gear!

See? I can still look hot even with all the proper hiking gear!

Nihahi Ridge 2015: In better shape, AND WITH PROPER GEAR

Nihahi Ridge 2015: In better shape, AND WITH PROPER GEAR

Why was this hike so much more successful than all of the other activities I’ve done?

Stable hiking shoes. I picked mine up at Value Village for 9.99. You NEED proper footwear- I learned this the hard way! Buy them with a bit of space for thick socks and try for waterproof shoes.

Hiking socks. You can get a decent pair for around 10.00! They will save your ass. You need to keep your extremities warm or risk frostbite. Also carry some smaller athletic socks (NOT COTTON) to add extra warmth and comfort. Always carry an extra pair or two in your day pack in the event your feet get wet.

A small day pack will allow you to carry all of the necessary equipment you need for your hike, without adding too much bulk. The straps will support your back and neck and allow you to support a heavier load than you otherwise might be able to.

Trekking Poles are not necessary for all outdoor activities, but on steep or unpredictable hikes they are a life-saver. Start off with cheap ones; they still work! Trekking poles collapse so they can be stored in your pack when you don’t need them.

Crag gloves are inexpensive, but offer a huge deal of support. They have a velcro strap, are sufficient for scrambles, and have room for a thin pair of fleece gloves underneath. They are also wind proof with enough stretch to climb, hold poles, eat, and take photos while wearing them.

Hiking sandals and a plastic bag to store them. I found mine for a dollar at a second hand store. These are great for summer, spring, and fall hikes. They are perfect and necessary if you need to cross a river or creek.

YakTraks are removable tread that attach to your hiking boots and shoes. They are invaluable when hiking in snow and ice, and in the rockies, it’s a good idea to keep them in your pack all the time; it snows in August here, remember!

Emergency and safety equipment:

  • Emergency blanket(s)
  • First aid kit
  • LED flashlight
  • Headlamp and backup batteries
  • Water purification tablets
  • Portable phone charger
  • Whistle
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Bear Bell
  • Bear Spray
  • Hand/ Glove warmers
  • Compass
  • Emergency poncho
  • Utility/ Swiss army knife
  • Folding scissors/ pliers
  • Lighter/ waterproof matches
  • Waterproof gear bags (you can put electronics and matches in these- they can be submerged and still protect your things)
  • Blister and burn dressings
  • Afterbite
  • Water bottle(s) or water systems for your day pack (can also get a water bottle with a built in filter!)
  • Advil, Pepto Bismol, necessary medications
  • Guide book to the area you are in
  • Caribeaners to keep everything together
  • Climbing grade rope (just in case)

CLOTHING. This is perhaps the most important aspect of your trek. Layers are key and cotton is deadly. 

  • Layer 1: Microfibre underwear and a non-cotton, supportive sports bra
  • Layer 2: Booty/Safety shorts and long-sleeve long underwear top (sweat-wicking)
  • Layer 3: Long underwear or spandex-y leggings, Long-sleeve athletic, sweat-wicking top
  • Layer 4: Trekking pants, thin fleece sweater
  • Layer 5: Waterproof or light snow pants (optional), Thicker fleece sweater
  • Layers 6, 7, 8: vest, thin down jacket (that is easily collapsible), compacted rain jacket
  • Flipbelt or thin fanny pack to keep valuable and essentials as close to on your person as possible

YOUR HEAD IS ALSO VITAL.You will need:

  • Ear warmers/ ear warming band
  • Skully (tight, thin cap)
  • Wool toque
  • Snow goggles
  • Sunglasses
  • Buff (long, tubular piece of cloth (usually microfibre) that can convert to bandana, hair band, head wrap,

FOOD: I always pack enough food for around 2 days, even i it is a 3 hour hike. Some ideas: 

  • Cliff/ Nutrition bars
  • Beef Jerky
  • Ensure
  • Energy Chews
  • Protein shots
  • Nuts
  • Granola bars
  • Dried fruit
  • Pepperoni
  • Sandwiches
  • Cheese snacks
  • Fruit snacks

**Always keep a ziploc for garbage in your pack.

___

Plan hikes and activities ahead of time! Bring a friend or two and prepare for the worst, while expecting the best.

We live in one of the most exquisite places on earth. 20-80 minutes outside of Calgary is a gigantic, magical playground. Take advantage of it, and have fun pretending to be outdoorsy!

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