Fjällräven Guides are more than just nature enthusiasts. They are story tellers and teachers across many activities and subjects. We asked Toronto Guide Diana Lee a few questions about her experiences with spending extended periods of time out in nature to help you plan and prepare for your next outdoor adventure. Here is what she shared with us.
What does your planning and preparation look like for overnighters?
Diana: I love planning adventures and do this all year round. Preparation for these adventures depends on things like; the season, winter camping versus summer camping, how long I'm going for, and the activities that are involved. For example, am I snowshoeing into the campsite, paddling in or hiking in, or am I going fishing or snorkeling?
A big help with my planning and preparation is that over the years I've kept 'things to pack' lists for different activities (e.g. backcountry canoe camping vs. trailer camping). I continue to build on these personalized lists with each adventure and keep up to date with the gear I've got in storage. This way I'm never starting from scratch and am able pack all my stuff when nature calls in short notice. I've even got a camping menu list and a packing list for my dogs, while the lists go on.
Photo Credit: Lindsey (@ellinds)
What “must-have” pieces or equipment do you take? Why?
- A pair of sunglasses. I'm good about applying sunscreen to protect my skin from sunburns, so I try to give my eyes the same level of protection with sunglasses. Overexposure to UV rays can cause photokeratitis, where the pain kicks in well after the damage is done. It also takes a while to heal, meaning limiting outdoor time (this happened to a number of my paddling and running friends), so it's something I try to prevent.
- A multi-tool. This always comes in handy! The multi-tool I use has the usual tools (e.g. knife, pliers), but also includes a whistle and fire starter.
- My Abisko Eco-Shell Jacket. I try not to let unpredictable weather affect my outdoor plans, so I always pack this lightweight, waterproof and windproof jacket.
- A mini first aid kit just in case.
- Extra water and treats for my dogs (my hiking buddies)
- And I never leave home without water/hydration.
What are your favorite snacks for the trail?
Diana: Depending on how long I plan to be out for, some of my favorite snacks for the trail include dried mango, almonds, and baby carrots. If I know there will be a sit-down break, I might even bring more added nourishment like dip for my fruits and veggies.
What advice or tips do you have for people who want to spend more time outside/longer hikes/treks?
If this is your first time don't be shy about checking in with friends who have the experience. Let them know you're interested in getting out there more and that you're just getting started. If you don't know anyone who actively hikes or camps, look into what your park systems offer. Where I live there is Learn to Backcountry Camp programs with Ontario Parks
(provincial-level) or Parks Canada
(national-level). These programs often include gear, and you can meet new people with similar interests. There's also a Park Bus
program that can help with transportation for scheduled trips.
If you are experienced with outdoor activity do some research online, ask the staff at your local Fjällräven Brand Store or favorite nearby outdoor retailer. Throughout North America, Fjällräven's Local Guides have a variety of different experiences you can connect with. Look for community groups and events like the Fjallraven Classic
- this is great if you're looking to adventure and explore somewhere outside of your usual go-to places. This goes for any activity you're hoping to get into, whether it's longer camping trips or stand up paddling.
For hyper-local activities, there are often groups that aim to help people spend more time in nature, for example, a Facebook community page (e.g. MEC Outdoor Nation
) or specific community organizations (e.g. the Lake Surfistas
for women who want to get into surfing or stand up paddling in the Great Lakes.) Take the time to introduce yourself and get out there, we all started somewhere. And don't be afraid to ask questions.
Diana Lee lives for adventure, the great outdoors and sunrise stand up paddling sessions. Born in Toronto, Diana has paddled canoes, kayaks, and dragonboats but finds stand up paddle boarding as her favorite way to enjoy the water. When Diana isn’t camping with her two German Shepherds or paddling, she’s a librarian where she connects with her Toronto community through public programming and a reporter for Get Out There Magazine
Diana's work as a Toronto Fjällräven Local Guide includes hosting events with the Lake Surfistas. She loves introducing people to water in hopes to raise awareness and spark interest in both protecting and enjoying the Great Lakes and beyond.