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Staying Healthy in the Backcountry

Personal Safety in the Backcountry

​​​There are a few important things you need to do before you head into the backcountry.

  • Learn to read a map before you go and always take one with you.
  • Take a first aid course and always carry a first aid kit with you. To learn about what other equipment you should bring, see the Parks Canada Backpacking Equipment Checklist.​
  • ​Let a responsible person know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Make sure you let the person know when you get back.
  • Make sure you check the weather for the backcountry area you’ll be travelling in. Wear the right clothes and shoes, and bring the right equipment (e.g., tents, tarps) for the conditions.
  • Make sure there are no restrictions for the area you’ll be in (e.g., no open fires, area closures for wildlife).
  • To learn about bear safety in the backcountry, go to the Parks Canada Backpacking Safety page.
  • Avalanches are a risk when you go winter hiking. Avalanche conditions are available from your local Parks Canada​ Office or the Mountain Safety website for Parks Canada.
  • Remember that river crossings, difficult terrain, and bad weather will all add time to a trip.
  • Don't forget to allow extra time for rest and meal breaks.

Current as of: July 12, 2019

Author: Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services