For the past 8 years I have really become a lover of the wilderness! That was the time I went on my first backcountry canoe trip. I came from knowing very little about camping to being the person responsible for planning and preparing for my family and friends.
Backcountry camping is a very different from camping at a campground as you have no access to any facilities and you are completely off grid and must survive on your own.
Over these years, I have complied my own list of camping preparations that will surely make for a good trip. With the help of social media and internet, all the best information can be found in various blogs. It is always best to do some research and prepare yourself for camping beforehand. Take a first aid course and most of the Ontario parks give a “Learn to Camp” workshop, which is fantastic for newbies. My suggestion is once you are prepared to go through with your adventure, choose websites and blogs that work for you, and through trial and error you will determine your own preferences for camping in the wilderness. I have never been on a disastrous camping trip but have been on a few rather dangerous adventures at times. There are always many things that can go wrong and it is how well prepared you are, that will make all the difference.
This is me, unwinding after a long trip to our camp spot and rescuing our friends who over turned their canoe in the middle of white fish lake in Quebec last year:
- Find a backcountry camping location and reserve your spot, as well as your canoe rental if you do not have your own. The last thing you want to do is drive 3-4 hours with a car full of people and camp gear, just to find out your favorite spot has no availability. My favorite place to camp is Algonquin Park, Lake Opeongo. Going back 5 or 6 years, we never even thought of reserving a spot. There was always availability, but now thanks to social media my favorite spot has become more and more popular. I was planning a trip to Algonquin Park a few years ago and came across the parks twitter post stating that there was limited space available for that weekend. I thought, oh no, I better see how I can reserve a spot. Once getting to their website, I was informed all spots were unavailable. A very disappointed me, had to find an alternate quickly.
- Plan out your trip at least two weeks before you leave. This will allow you to have enough time to dig up your camping gear and get anything you may need to replace. I like to make a list of everything I need for shelter, fire, meals and activities. While packing, I will go through these lists to make sure nothing gets left behind. Remember not to over pack! You have limited space and weight restrictions on your canoe, it is important to bring only the necessities.
- Always remember the rules of 3 for survival:
- You can survive 3 minutes without oxygen.
- You can survive 3 hours without shelter (in a harsh environment)
- You can survive 3 days without water.
- You can survive 3 weeks without edibles food.
- Once arriving at your camp location. The first thing to do is find a nice flat area to set up your tent, then seek enough firewood for the evening and ensure you have a water source and food. This is especially important if you are arriving late.
- Enjoy your time unwinding from every day routines. Camping brings great health benefits. It helps relieve stress, you breathe cleaner air which instantly makes you happier and the intake of Vitamin D from the sun helps you give your body a healthier glow…to name a few.
There are many advantages to being out in the wilderness and it is definitely something you must try if you haven’t already. In my opinion, I find an immense feeling of calmness and it is a great way to relieve the stress of every day living.
What are your camping secrets? What adventures do you have?
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