Taryn Eyton has written the book she wished existed for her when she started overnight backpacking.
Eyton, who is also the president of the Friends of Garibaldi Park Society, is the author of Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia: The Essential Guide to Overnight Hiking Trails, which comes out on May 11.
"This is the first guidebook, as far as I know, that focuses on backpacking," she said.
There are 40 spots featured in the book and they are all overnight or multi-day trips, with options for extending trips with day hikes beyond the campsites.
Routes featured are from the North Shore up to Pemberton and Lytton, and from the Sunshine Coast out to the Similkameen Valley.
She includes information about how to book campsites, how many sites there are, where to source water, and how to store food.
"When I first started hiking and backpacking in B.C. about more than 15 years ago now, this is the book I wish had existed," she said. "I really didn't see a lot of information in guidebook form, for backpackers.”
Reflecting on when she got started backpacking, Eyton said she had a hard time figuring out where exactly to camp.
She would look up her questions on message boards, but it was conflicting or incomplete information.
The book is comprehensive and anything that does change after publication will be noted on its online update page.
Eyton said she knows there is concern about over-tourism, especially in the Sea to Sky Corridor, and about giving away local “secret spots,” and feels her book addresses those concerns.
"It was really important to me when I was choosing which hikes to put in the book that I chose ones that have a land manager. All the hikes in the book are in a B.C. Park or protected under Recreation Sites and Trails BC and have a volunteer steward club because I wanted to make sure that they were built to handle a little more traffic. And if they did attract more traffic — which is going to happen with a guidebook — that there would already be a land manager in place who could go through the proper channels to increase infrastructure."
She said the areas featured have the oversight in place to upgrade trails, install toilets, and put in bear caches, for example.
Eyton added she doesn't think certain locations should be hidden from the wider community.
"Everybody was a beginner once. Everybody learned about places for the first time... and I think there is enough room out there for all of us, if we learn to be respectful and we learn the most ethical way to treat our wilderness," she said.
If people are already going to some popular spots, she wants to ensure they are going with the right information that enables them to have a safe trip and respect the environment.
Eyton is a Leave No Trace Canada master educator and on the board of the organization;
she shares the principles in the book.
"There's a whole section at the beginning of Leave No Trace basics and for every single hike there are Leave No Trace tips woven into it," she said, adding some of this information includes where the most durable place is to put your tent if there isn't a designated tent pad, where to go to the bathroom if there isn't an outhouse and how to store your food.
The guide includes hikes for absolute beginners — less than an hour hike to a campsite where you could take a toddler — all the way up to three or four hikes that are very advanced.
"The majority are rated moderate," she said.
Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia: The Essential Guide to Overnight Hiking Trails, published by Vancouver's Greystone Books is available at online booksellers such as Amazon and through the publisher, but also in Squamish at Valhalla Pure Outfitters Inc.
Find out more on Eyton's website.