3 Must Have Items for Your Trip Up North
Visiting Northern Ontario? Here are some packing tips that are sure to prepare you for your stay. As a first time visitor to a remote community in Northern Ontario, there are sure to be many questions floating around in your head. I recently completed a 6-week placement as a speech-language pathology (SLP) student. The first of 6 weeks consisted of a trip up north to North Caribou Lake and Sioux Lookout. These communities are inhabited by the Anishinaabe groups who speak Cree, Ojibwa, and Oji-Cree. After reviewing the cultural sensitivity materials provided by S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks, I felt like I had a general idea of the cultural aspect of this trip. I had an understanding that we would be entering Indigenous communities to assist with access to services and to provide suggestions to support language development at home. However, when it came time to pack for my stay, I was at a loss. How could I be sure that I had everything that I could need? How could I ensure that I would not pack unnecessary items? Keep reading to learn more about key items for your trip up to Northern Ontario.
3 Must Have Items for Your Trip Up North
1. Hand warmers
In the winter months, the temperature can drop as low as -50 ºC up north! Hand warmers can be found in either manual or rechargeable electronic forms and they will be your best friend. In my time up north, the temperature averaged around -40 ºC to -50 ºC, meaning that I often felt very cold. Although I had brought many warm pieces of clothing and came prepared with hats, gloves, and a scarf, I struggled to keep my hands and feet warm throughout the day. Hand warmers such as Warm Hands or any rechargeable variation from an online store can offer a small, portable heat source for when you are walking – or flying – around.
2. Non-perishable food…LOTS of it
In Northern communities, it is common to have limited access to affordable groceries. An individual from the community reported that it is uncommon to find affordable vegetables and dairy products – things that are often taken for granted in Southern Ontario. Ensure you make room in your suitcase to pack adequate food for your stay. This can include soups, canned fish, microwaveable rice dishes, and more. As an added bonus, consider creating a meal plan for your trip to ensure that you only bring the necessary food items for the week. You will also have an opportunity to buy some groceries in the town prior to going to the community, so focus on your non-perishables!
3. Layers, layers, layers
Thermal layers were a lifesaver on this trip! As the temperature was so low, and there were the occasional gusts of wind, it was crucial that I had multiple layers covering every inch of my skin to stay protected. Consider investing in thermal layering pieces that are thin, but effective in retaining heat in your body. Companies such as Uniqlo offer a line of heat-tech pieces that are affordable, comfortable, and lightweight for optimal layers abilities. A great addition to layering is to invest in a pair of snow pants. If you are visiting in the winter months, as I was, a good pair of snow pants will be your best friend. Be aware, however, that you will either need to wear them for the duration of your flight or find space for them in your luggage. It is crucial that you pack ahead of time to account for this.
BONUS: Detailed clothing packing list
Up north, the temperature is quite variable depending on the time of year that you are visiting. As a result, it is not uncommon to pack as many clothes as possible to combat the extreme temperatures and to have options for daily wear. However, warmth and functionality should be of the utmost importance when creating your packing list. Consider packing clothing items that are thin, lightweight, and easy to layer. A short list of 2-3 of each item should be sufficient to allow for rotation of clothing items and adequate warmth when walking outside.
You are about to embark on an incredible journey. Take the time to learn about the cultural aspect of the trip (i.e. read books, seek out information about the communities you are visiting, etc.) and ensure that you create a detailed plan for packing. This can be a daunting task and it can be quite nerve racking to prepare for this endeavour. Trust me, I felt the same way! You will be with professionals who have been to these communities before and they can act as a guide for you during your first time there. Interested in learning more about S. L. Hunter SpeechWorks and their mission statement? Visit the S. L. Hunter SpeechWorks website to explore the services provided, access resources, and to meet the team members who you may be going up north with!
Interested in learning more about S. L. Hunter SpeechWorks and their mission statement? Visit the S. L. Hunter SpeechWorks website to explore the services provided, access resources, and to meet the team members who you may be going up north with!