Luggage and bags:
Though I am sure Alberta is great for backpacking, I have not done any yet. In Banff National Park, unless you like paying C$20 per day each, you can leave your backpack at home but a day pack is essential in this hiking paradise.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring good sturdy hiking boots and comfy socks to handle the rocky trails of Banff. Bring synthetic clothing which is lighter per warmth factor and dries more quickly if it gets wet. Rain gear is essential and being prepared for snow at all times is a good move.
Photo Equipment: A wide angle lens is best for capturing landscapes, helping to bring the foreground into photos to make them more interesting. A good zoom is essential for capturing wildlife photos.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you want to stay in the park and not pay an arm and a leg, bring your tent, sleeping bags, and mats. A stove will save you heaps in eating out costs too. Campgrounds are gorgeous so take advantage of them.
Miscellaneous: Actually you could put this tip into the shopping catergory because I doubt you would be able to find it much outside of the the province. The book Diving Southern Alberta written by William M. Hall and published by Murray Hall Publications. It helps bring some light on to diving in Alberta which is not tradionally known for its diving. It has quite a bit of information on the dive sites from locations to experience levels, where to enter and exit, elevations (which is a concern for diving in Alberta) and depths, what to expect to see and more. There is a lot of coloured maps and pictures to give you an idea of the dive. In total the book is 180 pages long. The book costs about $30 Canadian. You should be able to get it at most dive shops in Alberta.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you are in Alberta during the summer you should definetly have some strong mosquito protection especially if you go outside of the cities. In the forests the mosquitos are rentless even with bug juice, some will still get at you. Also bring something to relieve the itching. You can by bug juice at just about any gas station or convient store.
Miscellaneous: Even up here you will need some strong sunscreen. Alberta gets some really hot summers with a strong sun. What most people don't realize is the Alberta is a fairly high in elevation. Edmonton is at 670m (2198 feet), Calgary is at 1,048m (3437 feet) and Lloydminster which is at the far eastren side of the province which is on the otherside of the province from the mountains is at 669m (2194 feet) above sea level. This helps people burn a lot quicker than they realize.
The Alberta Road Atlas by MapArt Publishing is great if you plan to spend anytime or get off the beaten path in Alberta. Besides the huge index of citys and town there are indexs that cover:
National and provincial historic sites, points of interest, museums, oil fields, airports, higher learning, skiing, bird sanctuaries, county parks, district parks, national parks, provincial parks and more.
It misses a few towns here and there and can be improved in some ways but it is probaly the most detailed map you can get easily. The price is $19.95 and you can buy at most larger gas stations and various other stores.
If you go to Alberta in Edmonton in October, be sure to bring cold weather gear.
Photo Equipment: If you go to a national park in Alberta, be sure to bring lots of film or spare compact flash for your digital camera.
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