Camping for newcomers to Canada
Camping is a huge part of the Canadian outdoor lifestyle. Honestly, I didn’t realize how popular it would be until I got here.
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of it – it’s really a fun way to spend a long weekend, especially in beautiful British Columbia.
I’m going to focus my attention on BC for the purpose of this blog because that’s all I’ve experienced – but really it will relate to camping all over Canada.
Leave work early on a Friday, and get back on a Sunday. 2 nights camping is perfect, and it’s a great weekend away.
There are so many places to go too – some of the best ones are Alice Lake, Sasquatch provincial park, Cultus Lake, Birkenhead Lake, Joffre Lakes, Cat Lake, and Porpoise bay … make sure there’s water! You’ll need it in the summer.
Book well in advance. It’s only May and 80% of camping sites have been already booked up for the summer.
Rule of thumb is to be prepared, do your research and just book a campsite (best to do this for each long weekend plus a few random weekends in between).
You can always get a refund if you cancel with 7 days notice.
Try to leave as early as possible on a Friday evening to get set up by sunset. This way you’ll get the most out of your weekend!
Camping gear – you’re gonna need some essentials to really make the most of your camping trip. But you’ll be surprised at how affordable camping can be once you have the gear. Craigslist is always a great start, but if you’re not up for using second hand, here are some more ideas…
- Tent – watch out for sales in the summer – Canadian tire is great for this. Prices range from $15 & up.
- Sleeping bags – Canadian tire / Amazon
- Mat – are you a Yogi? Bring your yoga matt to save some change. Otherwise, you could grab a blow-up mattress (I’ve seen them go for about $35 for a double) and then you could reuse this if you have friends coming over to stay – Army & Navy)
- Chairs – this is absolutely a must. There’s nothing better than sitting around the campfire at night time with your mates. Check out Canadian tire for $20 camping chairs.
- A torch is essential. It’s going to be pitch black at night time – unless you’re lucky enough to have the Northern lights illuminating the sky.
- Summer – shorts, t-shirts, sweaters for night time, toques, yoga pants (just exercise gear in general), and swimming gear too!
- Winter – toques, sweaters, scarves, warm boots, socks, rain gear. It’s a good idea to layer your clothes so you can adjust based on the weather.
- A portable BBQ is always a great option, but if your campsite has a fire pit – buy some aluminium tins in the dollar store and this can be used on the fire. It’s a good idea to have 2 per cooking session and to use one as a lid to stop anything from falling on your food.
Bringing regular pots and pans isn’t a great idea unless you have a portable stove. It’s best to use cast iron pans for cooking if you have them, however, I don’t think they’re absolutely necessary.
Aluminium tins will work just as well & they can be thrown out after. Less cleaning = winning!
- Utensils to cook with – can be found at any dollar store. Avoid plastic though, it will melt!
- Food-wise – burgers are always a great idea, sausages, baked potatoes, eggs, corn, granola bars, chips… the list goes on.
If you’re lucky – there’ll be a flushing toilet. If you’re unlucky, there’ll be a bush. The standard is having an outhouse.
In fairness to the Canadians, they’re normally really well looked after and some even have some hand sanitizer.
But it’s also a good idea to bring your own toilet paper, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, etc.
It’s a good idea to bring 2 big bowls/ buckets – one to wash dishes/one to rinse dishes, plus some washing up liquid.
- SUP – Paddleboards – the inflatable type! This is one of the best things you can bring camping. They’ll take up some space but it’s totally worth it. You can rent them at MEC or ShareShed.
- Football, frisbee, hiking equipment (runners, poles, etc)
- Kayaks – you’ll need a roof-rack for this!
- Biking (depending on the campsite, there may be some cool cross country biking available).
Happy Camping!! 🙂