During the summer months, many of us long to be outside and escape to somewhere quiet, close to nature, with the ability to relax and unwind.
Camping is often viewed as a simple way to feed that need. To some, taking their kids on their first camping trip is even considered a rite of passage. Most importantly, it’s family bonding at its best — who can fight when roasting hotdogs over the campfire, making s’mores, telling ghost stories or chasing fireflies, right?
Spending the night in a tent, under the stars, with nothing but sleeping bags and the warmth of a fire is what some would define as the only “authentic” camping experience, and really is there any other kind? Luckily for the rest of us the answer is yes. In fact, camping has recently undergone a makeover, giving us another option referred to as “glamping”. Glamping, a fusion of glamour and camping, has become the hottest summer trend with vacation spots popping up across Canada dedicated to providing you with the ultimate experience in luxury camping, including spacious canvas tents, private washrooms and even catered meals.
Regardless of whether you’re a hard-core camper, glamper, or somewhere in between, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help make your summer escape that much more enjoyable.
Where to camp?
Not sure where to go camping? You can find campgrounds just about anywhere across the country and with such a great selection, you’re sure to find one to suit the experience you’re looking for. There are many private campgrounds that offer extra amenities such as indoor washrooms or scheduled social activities like volleyball or canoeing. If you’d prefer a quieter setting you can opt for a national park or forest campground. Not sure where to start? Camping Canada has a great list of sites all across the country that fit a variety of needs. Campgrounds can be broken into the following categories:
- Glamping: spacious canvas tents, hot showers, private washrooms and electricity.
- Modern: electricity, outlets, hot showers and indoor washrooms and flush toilets.
- Semi modern: showers, flush toilets and usually electricity as an option.
- Rustic: only the basics – picnic tables, fire pit, outhouses and hand pumps for water.
What to bring?
In addition to the obvious – a tent, sleeping bags and food – it’s helpful to a have a few other necessities on hand, including:
- A cooler, portable cook stove, ice, water container and reusable plates, cups and cutlery.
- When it comes to clothes, a good rule of thumb is to pack two of everything. Two pairs of shoes, including a pair that can get wet and a pair that are good for walking long distances; a light weight, waterproof rain jacket; a sweater and pair of long pants for nighttime when the temperatures tend to drop; shorts; t-shirts; bathing suits; and a hat to protect you from the sun.
- Always bring extra toiletries. There’s a good chance someone will forget their tooth brush, or drop it on the ground. Other items to remember are toothpaste, soap, sunscreen, band aids, bug spray and aloe. Toilet paper may also be a necessity depending on the type of camping you intend on doing!
- Don’t forget to pack flashlights, extra batteries, matches, firewood, tarps, rope and garbage bags. You never know what might come up and it’s always best to be prepared.
- Lastly, don’t forget to bring activities for you and your family to do together, as well as alone, like board games, books, a soccer ball, Frisbee or deck of cards.
Safety and first aid
Keeping your family safe and protected is always number one and camping shouldn’t be any different. Things to keep in mind:
- Leave all flammable objects outside your tent. Never cook, store fuel, or refuel lamps, heaters or stoves inside your tent. Even if your tent is fire-resistant, it is not fire-proof.
- Keep campfires safe. Avoid building your campfire too close to your tent or any trees. Remember to keep sand or water nearby to put out the fire quickly if necessary.
- Keep wildlife away. Lock food in your cooler, or tie it up in tree and be sure to keep it well away from your tent.
- Always make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand, in addition to allergy medicine, hydrocortisone cream for bug bites and aloe for sunburns. Bonus tip: If your family members are susceptible to bug bites, add some sage to your campfire to help keep those pesky mosquitos away.
- Make sure to educate yourself and your children on what poisonous plants such as poison ivy, sumac and oak look like.
- Dress appropriately when heading out on hikes, with long socks, closed toed shoes and a repellent with DEET. Ticks can often be found hiding in long grass and wooded areas.
- When you get back to your camp site, always make sure to check one another for ticks, they can usually be found hiding under the arms, back of the knees, in and around the hair and around ears.
Are you a camper, or a glamper? Let us know in the comments.