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Few Questions on Cross Canada tour

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Few Questions on Cross Canada tour

Old 03-09-11, 09:25 AM
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Few Questions on Cross Canada tour

Hey everyone,

My girlfriend and I are planning a cross Canada tour this summer. We will be leaving Vancouver on May 4th and heading east. I just had a few quick questions about the trip that I can't seem to find answers to anywhere else.

First, since we are leaving pretty early in May we are worried about the temperatures we're going to encounter while going through the Rockies. Does anybody have any experience in this area at this time of year? How cold does it get at night? Our current plan is to pack extra clothes and maybe an extra sleeping bag to be prepared for some cold rides and below freezing nights. Then we will ship the extra cold weather gear home once it warms up. However, I am only guessing that it will get this cold and would rather not bring the extra gear in the first place if we don't have to.

Second, can anyone calm our fears of wild animals? Our plan is to keep all food and smelly items isolated to one pannier and hang this in a tree as far away from our campsite as possible. But this means we'd have to make dinner before we are done riding each day and not have any snacks at our campsite We are also strongly considering bringing a can of bear mace just so we can sleep easy - although it won't do much good if our tent is mauled while we're sleeping. Also, are we more at risk if we stealth camp in a city park or on the side of the highway?

Any input would be greatly appreciated and I'm sure we'll have a few more questions closer to our departure date.

Thanks!

Chris.

Oh, and we have a blog if anyone wants to follow our trip but its not complete yet as we've been pretty busy with school lately.
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Old 03-09-11, 10:40 AM
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It can get pretty cold at night, so a good sleeping bag is a must. You may also see some snow in the passes, which can really slow you down. On the other hand, you might get lucky and see great weather, it is pretty unpredictable. Be prepared for anything between -20 and +20

As for the food issue, you should be concerned about bears. Do not eat or store food in your tent, and store your food in a bear locker or up a tree at night. It's ok to eat at the campsite but be sure to clean up good before turning in for the night. A can of bear spray (and possibly a set of bear 'bangers') is good for peace of mind. I carry it but have never had to use it.

Have a great trip!
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Old 03-09-11, 01:54 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Gotta say I definitely wasn't going to be prepared for temperatures as low as -20. Maybe a few degrees below freezing was what we were going to be prepared for. So, it looks like I might have to rethink some of our gear and you may have saved us from some very unpleasant nights.
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Old 03-09-11, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by chris_aug18
Thanks for the reply. Gotta say I definitely wasn't going to be prepared for temperatures as low as -20. Maybe a few degrees below freezing was what we were going to be prepared for. So, it looks like I might have to rethink some of our gear and you may have saved us from some very unpleasant nights.
I don't think you need to get too worked up about extreme temps. Just be prepared to stay in the valleys when the weather turns to crap. The worst case scenario would be getting snowed in at the top of a pass.
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Old 03-11-11, 10:20 AM
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You can use Environment Canada's website to see what the weather was like in previous years.
For example, Banff, May 2010:
https://www.climate.weatheroffice.gc....=2010&cmdB1=Go
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Old 03-18-11, 10:38 PM
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I've ridden in the rockies on the May day weekends about 3 times, ( Golden Triangle tour ) never camped in the mountain passes, just at Golden and Radium. It can be wildly different, sunny and warm or sleet and hail or snow. -20C is unlikely, even at the top, but it can happen. Forecasts should give you some idea, but they can get it somewhat wrong, if they talk about about precipitation below 5C, you should be at least prepared for freezing temps. As long as you don't try camping in the peaks, you shouldn't need anything seriously heavy duty. Stealth camping is going to increase the risk of wild animals, any food stuff, cooking equipment or scented items near your tent are not a good idea.
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Old 03-24-11, 11:56 PM
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I've done multi-day rides in the mountains a couple times now, with a 3 day trip this May planned for the kootenays. We've camped it before, but now we stay in hostels. They are not that expensive and the peace of mind about what mother nature may throw your way is priceless. If hostels are an option I'd highly recommend it at least to get you thru BC. if you must stay outdoors, the above advice is good. I like back-country camping to but I've never gotten into mixing it with my riding mostly because I pack for everything and I have trouble whittling a 55lb backpack down to what fits in a couple of panniers. 8)
What ever happens, enjoy your trip
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Old 04-11-11, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for all the advice everyone! And, sorry it took so long to respond...been pretty busy lately. Our bus tickets are booked and we picked up our bike this weekend so we're starting to get a little excited .

I just went through all of the weather data for last year in all of the major towns we're going through and it looks like it won't be below freezing very often at all. And the averages seem to hover around ten degrees. So, it looks like it won't be as bad as we thought.

Good idea with the hostels I'm sure they will give us a nice break from the tent when we can find one and they line up with our schedule. I plan on mapping out the hostels along our route when I get a chance.

And, as for wild animals it sounds like our ideas were pretty well aligned with what we need to do to keep safe. Still, I don't anticipate sleeping well in bear country...I've got a creative imagination.

Thanks again!
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