The Hiking Guide’s Equipment

We do not have a uniform for guides. This allows you to choose the equipment that works best for you. All that we ask is that it looks professional and appropriate for the activity. 

These are some of the equipment we find works well. You can use this as a starting point to find out what works best for you. The brands we recommend are the ones that we’ve found work well and that have been supportive in the past through pro-deals.

Hiking Boots or Shoes

The choice between shoes and boots is personal. We prefer footwear designed for hiking instead of trail running and in all cases they must have closed toes (i.e. no open sandals).

Keen and Merrell both offer a good pro-deal and great footwear options.

Gaiters are a great addition on muddy days and for early season hikes. The lower profile ones, like the Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters from Outdoor Research, seem to be more comfortable for what we do.

Clothing

There are a lot of great options for hiking clothes. These are some examples from Outdoor Research to give you an idea of the styles that we prefer.

For pants and shorts, anything from their Ferrosi or Voodoo collection works great.

We prefer a collared button-up shirt for guides. The Astroman collection works great in both short and long sleeves. The long sleeves are a great option since they layer well and provide added sun protection on hot summer days.

A lightweight fleece and windbreaker (e.g. the Ferrosi Hoodie) are great to have in our backpacks for those cooler days. A rain jacket is good to have while rain pants are more of a personal preference since we don’t typically run a lot of tours on days with hard rain.

Finally, a pair of fleece gloves are great on those colder days. A pair of shell mitts (e.g. the Revel Shell Mitts) are great to have in your backpack. They work over your regular gloves in all seasons to protect your hands from the elements, allowing you to warm up much faster.

Hat, Sunglasses and Sunscreen

We spend a lot of time in the sun and it’s good to protect ourselves. Trucker hats and wider brimmed hats (e.g. the Helios Sun Hat) work great for all of our tours.  Something that breathes well, can be thrown into your backpack, and can easily be washed is the best option.

We’re big fans of wearing sunglasses to protect our eyes while working outside. We prefer non-mirrored lenses but the rest is up to you. Companies like Spy Optics have pro-deals available through ExpertVoice.

There is usually some sunscreen in the guide’s bins but make sure to bring along your favourite type.

Backpack

You need a backpack that fits you well and that’s comfortable to wear all day. A few things to consider:

  • 40 to 45-litre capacity works well to throw in the safety gear, snacks and the random things we end up carrying as guides.
  • A single main compartment tends to work better than one divided into multiple pocket areas.
  • Top access combined with a side zipper makes finding things on the trail easier.
  • A backpack designed to handle a hydration sleeve is great for summer tours.

The Mission 45 from Black Diamond works well year-round but does get hot on your back in the summer.

Small pouches, like the Outdoor Reasearch PackOut Stuff Sacks or the NRS MightyLight Dry Sack, work great to organize things inside your backpack. The 3 litres to 15 litres seem to work best.

Inside your pack, small pouches like these 5 to 10 litres from Outdoor Research or these light dry bags from NRS work great to organize your gear.

If you’re bringing a larger camera with you, the Peak Design Capture is a great device to keep it within reach on the straps of your backpack.

We do have a couple of backpacks that guides can use but we do recommend purchasing one that fits you well.

Hiking Poles

We provide basic hiking poles for all the tours. If you prefer something a little sturdier or lighter, Black Diamond Equipment offers a great selection. These can be ordered through the pro-deal or as a wholesale order through Danielle (they shop from a different warehouse so availability is not always the same for both programs).

Remember that pro deals are a privilege offered to guides by outdoor companies. Always respect the guidelines of their program since abuse can result in all of our staff losing access to those deals.