For half a year in Canada, campgrounds have become my home. Putting up a tent and organizing dinner after a long and exciting day was a small routine. Every thing in my backpack had its place. When we managed to find a campsite, the first thing we did, was pitch our portable homes.
It was either going fast, or I was struggling with the ground, which didn’t always make things easier for me, and sometimes it led to bending my stakes in every possible directions. Then I pump the self-inflating mat (I wasn’t very patient) and put everything in my mini tent. When the tent was done, it was time to prepare something to eat.
Every evening it looked similar. Just surroundings and atmospheric conditions have changed. Sometimes there were normal toilets, sometimes only a toilet in the middle of the forest, that it was scary to go there at night for a need. Due to the fact that the spaces in Canada are quite endless, the campsites were also quite big.
Types of campsites
When it comes to the types of campsites, there were backcountry that were accessible by various types of routes. People were enjoying the most in communing with nature. There were also frontcountry, which were available by car. For us, it didn’t matter, because in both cases we had to walk to our sites. Sometimes it took a long time.
There were also campsites in national parks, provincial parks, private ones, as well as RV parks with a separate small place for tents, which actually was always occupied only by us;) Of course, there were also wild places. We also slept in a tipi, a truck trailer, in someone’s garden (all with the agreement of the owner of course) and close to the cemetery (which we found out in the morning);)
There are various possibilities to camp for free in Canada. In Ontario, for example, you can ask about the so-called Crown Land, where it is possible to stay up to 21 days for free. You can read more here. A useful site to search for spots that are suitable for pitching a tent in the wild is freecampsites.net. Thanks to this site you can find both free and paid campsites. In addition, you can find on it user’s reviews and their ratings.
In Canada glamping is increasing in popularity. It combines communing with nature with hotel comforts. It can be a luxury yurt, a tree house, a tent or even an all-inclusive tipis. Parks Canada also offers the opportunity to sleep in oTENTik. It is a combination of a tent and a camping house. You can find more here.
How to store food on the camping
Actually all campgrounds have places where you can store food or cosmetics. These systems are very diverse. There are places with food shelves, masts for pulling out bags with food or closed rooms with shelves. In some cases, you had to have a special container which is needed to be left somewhere away from the tent. I also had a rope with me and I went through specialized training conducted by one of my hosts how to hang food on a tree. All these preventive measures are to protect us from the unexpected visit of the teddy bear.
I remember one situation when we cooked dinner — rice with beans and tuna (the first and last time). Suddenly, a bear appeared a few meters ahead of us. We jumped to our feet and began to clap and speak loudly. Generally brown bears are afraid of people just like us of them. Of course, unless we surprise them or meet a mother with cubs or on a teddy bear who is just eating blueberries. Returning to our unfortunate tuna. Bear, seeing us, two crazy, clapping and talking loud, escaped. I think, he didn’t want to deal with us just for the tuna. I was pretty scary meeting for us.
Canada — bear country
Canada is a country of bears and it is important of being careful. You can be punished if you do not follow the rules on some campgrounds. I spoke to the ranger of Algonquin Park about bears and problems with them. She told me that if a bear learns that he would find food in some place, he would come back there. Worse, mother bear will also bring her cubs there. That is why caution is so important. You do not leave food or cosmetics in or near the tent and the litter bins are closed in such a way that you have to, for example, pry the lever to open them. Apparently these preventive measures work, because in 2018 in Canada there were only two deadly bears attacks.
Canadians on campsites
As already I mentioned, there are different types of campgrounds and as well as different types of people who spend time there. There are those who really come to stay in nature. There are also those who prefer to sit in their trailer instead of enjoying the campfire and the stars. They start the generator and check what’s happening on TV. Who knows, maybe they find some nature programs.
There are those who live on trailers in RV parks for the season. Then it is important to feel like at home. The Canadian decorates a trailer, hangs a Canadian flag, put up the grill, chairs, opens the beer. In addition, he separates from the other with a screen. It feels cosy. What more do you need. The campsites are always full of people who want to feel close to nature even for the weekend. However, they are not always able to give up the car at this time. What amused me the most was that people often used to drive to the toilet and shower.
Why Canadians love camping
I have the impression that Canadians love the campsites atmosphere. When asked why they like to go camping, they answer:
It is very important to be prepared for a camping trip. Here you can find list of essential items according to Canadians:
- Tent or trailer — the bigger the better, it must be comfortable.
- Mattress — not just any, just to be pumped — for batteries, queen size.
- Blankets, sleeping bags — the nights can be very cold in Canada.
- Chairs — such with a place for a beer. In the dark you can not see your beer, which lies somewhere on the ground.
- A flashlight and other forms of lighting to get to the toilet — sometimes it is quite a long way.
- Stove and gas
- A lot of beer — because it is impossible to sit around campfire without a cold one.
- Marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate- there is no campfire without S’mores-Canadian treat.
- Axe — every Canadian loves to feel like a lumberjack.
- A lot of wood bought at the gas station or elsewhere.
- Warm clothes — layers are important — the more, the better. It must be comfortable and warm.
- Food — a lot, it does not matter, even it’s just for a weekend. What if there is something missing and what then?
- Spray for mosquitoes and small monsters, such as black flies, they can make every campsite miserable.
My essentials looked a little different, but I will write about that in a different time.
Half a year at camping in Canada
It was not always easy. Hitchhiking or all-day trekking was often very tiring. After all, it was nice at the end of the day to sit around the campfire, admire the stars, eat something warm and think about what it has happened and what will bring the next day. This camping atmosphere is unique. People do not care about how they look in the morning, they willingly talk and help if such help is needed. I’m happy that I decided to travel through Canada with a tent. Thanks to this I had the opportunity to reach magical places.
Would you go to Canada to experience such a camping life?