Going on an adventure in the Pacific Northwest is unlike any other place in the world. From the rustic, natural beauty of the San Juan Islands to the Olympic National Park, full of luscious rainforest and shimmering mountains, it really is a place of wonder. And this is why I always recommend to people to get out and see it on foot. It’s the only way to experience the place in all its glory. The best way to see the PNW is to start hiking and camping. There are many seasoned professionals in camping and hiking, and then there are some that need a little guidance. Here are some essentials you will need to get an amazing experience up in the mountains.
Get A Map
If you are going hiking in a region you’ve never been in before and you’re not able to rely on your smartphone, mainly because there will be no signal, you will need to get a topographic map of the area. Before you start off, study the route. Be sure to keep it safe in your backpack, preferably in a zip lock that is waterproof. You can get some good maps for PNW trails, like Green Trails Maps.
If you are planning on spending the night in a camping area or off the trail, then you need to be packing the correct camping equipment. The rainy weather conditions mean you will need to pack waterproof clothing, preferably wool and many layers; and buy sturdy footwear with good grips on the sole. You can look at http://tentsandcampgear.com/ for inspiration on camping gear and what items you will need to pack. The best method is to pack light but with the essentials. You will likely need extra food if you are really pushing yourself, so pack easy to eat items like energy bars and nuts that you can grab a handful of as you go.
First Aid Supplies
This is a must! You can buy a hiker first aid kit or put your own together if you would rather. Being out in the elements means you could be hit with anything, bee stings, migraines, or twisted ankles being just a few examples. If you use medication, take it with you as it could mean a difference between safety and injury if you are up a high mountain without your meds.
The PNW has so much fresh water, but you need to purify it before drinking because of the risk of getting sick from giardia, which is an infection caused by contaminated water. As well as carrying extra water, pack some purification tablets or a water filter with you. A good water filter will last you years.
A Swiss Army Knife
The great multi-purpose tool for getting around in the backcountry! Where would we be without it? Get yourself a multi-purpose tool, and it can be used to repair your gear, clip your bandages, or slice some cheese! Just be sure to keep it on your person, folded away, and clean in between each use.