West Coast Trail Girl Tips7

5 Tips from a Girl on the West Coast Trail

Trolley crossing backpackingThe West Coast Trail in British Columbia, Canada was the longest trek I have done thus far and I really had a blast! I hiked the trail with Matt, his dad and his sister. I would definitely recommend this adventure for anyone who has a week off and would like to enjoy beach campsites, some good food (there are little “restaurants” along the way) and the amazing ocean views that this trail has to offer.

Here are five things that I learned hiking the West Coast Trail:


1) Bring your bathing suits boys and girls!

There is a waterfall on the beach that people like to take a dip in and a swimming hole along the route. It sure did feel nice to hop in after a few days without a shower ☺. Heck.. you may even want to brave a dip in the Pacific.

Beach hike

2) Pack as light as possible, but still have enough to be comfortable.

I got my pack down to 30 lbs and it really made going up all those ladders more enjoyable (that’s right the trail has ladders, bridges and even cable car crossings!). On the other hand, there were a few people on the trail with very small packs. One lady we spoke to was doing the trail in just 3 days and had a very light pack. I felt I had brought just enough for me to enjoy my time during the day and I wasn’t freezing at night because I didn’t pack enough either!

3) Layers, Layers, Layers!

I wore synthetic or wool base layers, like this Outdoor Research Women’s Astral Tank. My mid-layer was a MEC zip-up softshell. And, when it was windy, wet, or just a little cooler I through on my Outdoor Research Aspire hard shell. This clothing setup kept me comfortable as the weather and temperature changed throughout the day.Hiking backpacking clothes

4) Gaiters are both functional and kind of fashionable too!

West Coast Trail Girl Tips7I bought these Outdoor Research Crocodiles because I was told the West Coast Trail could get pretty mucky. But, I must admit we were really lucky because it hardly rained at all during the 5 days we were on the trail.

It wasn’t until the last day that I decided I would wear them to see how they worked and felt; I wished I would have been wearing them the whole time. Even if it isn’t raining or mucky it sure is nice to prevent scrapes and scratches from bushes or branches and help keep sand out of your boots.

5) Lastly, don’t forget to pack some cash.

There were actually two restaurants open while we were on the trail. One of which we went to about half way through the trip and they had crab fresh out of the sea! It was sooo good!!West Coast Trail Crab Shack

These are just a couple of quick tips that I learned. We had a lot of fun and I think it was enjoyable because we did our research before hand. It is a trail that you have to book a couple of months in advance and you have to make sure to plan your trip around some of mother nature’s forces such as tides.Blisters & Bliss: The Trekker's Guide to the West Coast Trail

We made sure to bring along David Foster and Wayne Aitken’s book Blisters & Bliss, an informative book with cute and funny illustrations by Nelson Dewey. I hope you enjoy your trip as much as I did if you decide to take the trek!!!Are you planning on doing the West Coast Trail? Have any more questions for me? Have you done the hike and have any more tips to share? Either way feel free to leave your comments below ☺

Beach Hiking Moon

3 thoughts on “5 Tips from a Girl on the West Coast Trail”

  1. So happy to read your blog! We are doing the wet in August this year. I have stupid girl questions because all I’ve ever done is 3 day treks before. How many pairs of undies and what kind? Same hiking outer socks and changed up the inners- I’m not sure what to do with socks for this long in August!? Any other girl specific help is appreciated! Thx.

    1. Hey Laura,

      Glad you liked the post :) We did the trail in 6 days and I brought 6 pairs. They pack down pretty small and they don’t weigh very much, so I didn’t mind packing one for each day. It was the longest trek I had done at that point too and I just wore regular cotton undies. However, now I would recommend Smartwool’s merino wool
      or some of ExOfficio’s options. The Smartwool’s are more comfy, but the ExOfficio’s are more durable and dry quicker (if you decide to swim in them or pack less and do laundry).

      For socks I wore one layer of Smartwool Women’s PhD Outdoor Light Crew Sock. I brought 4 pairs and alternated two throughout the day, keeping one of them as a dry spare. I would “air” them out by tying them to my backpack as I walked. We did the trail in July and the light weights were just fine for me. Dual layer may help to reduce the chance of blisters, but I prefer the breathability of one sock layer.

      Hope this helps, let me know if have any more questions. Enjoy the hike, I can’t wait to do it again one day!


  2. Thanks for the tips!! I was wondering more about what you brought for clothes…how many shirts, warmer layers, and shorts or pants. I heard leggings are actually really helpful on the trail, but I wonder what you thought. Any additional info is super helpful! Thanks so much!

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