Canada is known for a lot of great things. We're friendly, tolerant of other people's cultures, and some say we sound funny and like to tag an 'Eh?' onto the end of most of our sentences. Regardless of Canadians feelings about those above stereotypes there is one that most Canadians rejoice in, and that is our love of nature. Canada has a lot of it to go around and the best way to really enjoy it as most Canadians do you'll need to camp!
If you've never camped before the cost of the supplies and the hassle of collecting them can seem daunting, but rest assured even if you're just visiting the country you can outfit yourself fairly cheaply and easily. Over the years we've discovered some great tips that we use to save us money and make our camping experience that much easier.
For the most part we'll be talking about camping in camp grounds not trekking through the wilderness, that requires much more preparation. Most camping by Canadians is done in our numerous National and Provincial Parks which offer campsite rentals with different price points depending on amenities as well as access to hiking trails, boat rentals, free activities and entertainment, and general stores to outfit yourself.
The easiest way to reach most campsites is to rent a car. There are bus services offered by Parkbus.ca from several different Canadian cities, but 'car camping' offers you a sturdy place to set up base camp as well as a mode of transportation to see various sites and knowing that you don't have to lug all of your supplies along with food and firewood to your campsite.
Camping supply stores are filled with lots of impressive looking gadgets that would be amazing to own and use if you have the cash, but if you have a more realistic budget our list below is filled with great budget saving tips plus most items can be picked up at a dollar store and at big box stores like Canadian Tire or Wal Mart.
Accommodation- The first thing we should address is where you're going to be spending the night, namely sleeping bags and tents. Normally you can find a tent that will comfortably sleep two for around $30 and sleeping bags for $25. When it does come to choosing a tent keep in mind that a tent sold as a two man tent means that technically two people can fit in the tent, we learned this the hard way on our first camping trip together. Now we have a three man tent that is nice and roomy allowing us to both be inside and actually move about.
Kitchen in a Box- Whether you plan on buying a portable propane bbq, renting a campsite with a charcoal grill, or cooking over a fire like our awesome caveman ancestors our kitchen in a box is a great way to take up less space and keep every thing organized and most everything in it can by bought at a dollar store! Here's what you'll need:
-big Tupperware container
- biodegradable soap in seal-able container
-aluminum serving trays
-zip lock bags
The serving trays can be used to either keep food warm or to cook it above or beside nice hot coals. Also if you visit a fast food restaurant that has things like straws, napkins, condiment packages, and salt and pepper, take a couple extra and slip them in your box. I promise you won't regret it!
Prepare Yourself For War- Nothing is without its potential drawbacks and camping is no exception, but if you prepare yourself none of these drawbacks are really anything you'll have to worry about.
The first thing is the sun. You're camping, you'll be outside a lot, have sunscreen.
The second is bugs. Depending on the location and the time of year Mosquito's and flies can be pretty annoying. Normally though they are only active during certain parts of the day or in particular locations like marshy or boggy areas and avoidance is really the best defense against bugs. When they come to us we have bug spray that contains the chemical DEET when we're away from our campsite, and have citronella candles on hand at our campsite especially at dawn and dusk, bug prime time!
Keep in mind that if you never have camped before nature should be respected. Canada has species of animals and plants that can be dangerous so only camp in approved sites stay on the trails, and listen to park staff. Most importantly have fun, learn, and appreciate what we have around us! Enjoy!