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Plan your camping vacation!

12 June 2017 by National Bank
camping tips

Whether to save a little or simply to enjoy everything nature has to offer, many Canadians go camping. To accommodate them, camping grounds are popping up more and more across the country and the sophisticated gear now sold in outdoor stores can entice even the most reticent campers to embark on this adventure. The perfect escape from the stress of the city and the everyday life, and a guaranteed change of scenery at low cost!

Back to nature

“I love camping to fall asleep to the sounds of crickets and to wake up to birds chirping. It’s extremely satisfying and makes me feel like I’m taking full advantage of nature!” shares Gabrielle Asselin, author of the blog Vagabondeuse. If, like her, numerous vacationers enjoy camping to recharge, many also see an opportunity for a change at little cost. In fact, for a site to pitch your tent, this type of tourist accommodation is by far the cheapest.

Pesky bugs and weather Bad weather, lack of comfort, and mosquitoes

are among camping sceptics’ main concerns. “That time has passed!” says Nicholas Courval, sales associate at MEC, a sporting goods and outdoor equipment store. “There is now sophisticated gear available so you can stay dry and cook good meals.” As for bugs, he advises packing a stocked first aid kit and some insect repellent. 

To each their own camping adventure!

Canada counts 4,231 campgrounds that can be searched by municipality on the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC) website. These destinations, where you can set up your tent completely legally are divided into two categories: - Private campgrounds that offer, among other amenities, sanitary facilities, a grocery store, and recreational activities with prices ranging from $38 to $45 a night. - More rustic campgrounds in national parks costing, on average, between only $16 and $35 a night. It is also possible to go wild camping for free, on the condition of getting the owner’s permission if the land is private, or of the appropriate municipality if the land is public. “You should choose your campsite according to your interests and desires so it corresponds well to your criteria,” says Gabrielle Asselin. “Rustic camping will probably require more planning for a family with young children, but it’s important to choose the option that simply makes you happy!” The multitude of amazing places where you canset up a tent makes Canada the destination of the year according to Lonely Planet. No matter your vacation destination, the CCRVC recommends reserving your campsite at least four weeks in advance.

Budget friendly

In addition to campground fees, it is important to plan for travel expenses, food costs, and the price of on-site activities and essential camping gear. “The price of a complete camping kit is less than $1,000,” estimates Nicholas Courval. “You need to factor in that this gear is an investment, since you will use it for several years, especially if you buy quality equipment!” Those who prefer not to invest can also borrow certain camping items from friends or family or rent them. Some companies, such as Go Camping Now, rent full service camping packages starting at $440 a week for 4 people. It is also possible to elevate your stay with technological gadgets such as a tent with built-in LED lighting or solar-powered appliances. 

Camping essentials

Nicholas Courval suggests a list of must-have items before going camping:

- A tent adapted to the number of campers

- One sleeping bag per camper

- One foam mat per camper

- A camp stove and cooking utensils

- A cooler

- Drinking water and food, to plan according to the amenities in proximity to the campgrounds

He cautions to remember a safety kit that includes:

- A first aid kit with first aid essentials, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent

- A flashlight

- Matches or a lighter

- A whistle or other means of communication

- A map, a compass, or a GPS

- A repair kit with adhesive tape, metal wire, glue, and basic tools

And suggests some additional items for comfort:

- Pillows

- Folding chairs

- A waterproof tarp in case it rains

Ready for the adventure? All that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy your camping getaway which, as long as common sense and respect for nature and others prevails, should go off without a hitch.

5 photos that will make you want to camp in Canada this summer

img-camping-parc-national-iles-golf-1540x866.jpg

Credits: Two campers relax at Arbutus Point Campground at Princess Margaret (Portland Island), which offers a view of the waterfront, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. © Parks Canada / Fritz Mueller 

img-camping-parc-national-terra-nova-1540x866.jpg

Credits: A couple is camping in the backcountry at sunset, on Seal Island, in Terra Nova National Park. © Parks Canada / Dale Wilson

img-parc-national-des-milles-iles-1540x866.jpg

Credits: A young couple in sea kayaking in the Thousand Islands, goes to their camping site, Thousand Islands National Park. © Parks Canada / Tim Forbes

img-camping-reserve-parc-national-mingan-1540x866.jpg
Credits: A family camping on the island of Le Havre, in the boreal forest, Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. © Parks Canada / Éric Lajeunesse
img-camping-parc-national-des-prairies-1540x866.jpg

Credits: A group of people are picnicking near a teepee, Prairie National Park. © Parks Canada / Kevin Hogarth 

Cover image credits: A group of friends enjoy a sunrise café at Cavendish Campground, Prince Edward Island National Park. © Parks Canada / Scott Munn

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