During each spring if you decide that a camping trip is in your list of activities to explore? And your new to the experience, Then there are a few things I believe to be important points to take into consideration when planning your voyage.
First off let’s explore the reasons to go camping? There are many different types of camping trips to consider and I could get into that which I will later on in this examination but for now I’ll ask the very basic question, why camp?
Camping is maybe one of the best ways I know how to get in touch with nature and the outdoors. It’s is a time to just take in the fresh air and let nature take its course. Camping is an activity where you can just let the fast pace of everyday life come to an almost stand still and take in the surroundings of nature and it’s raw beauty. If you just take the time to stop and listen you will hear birds, streams, maybe the soft sound of the waves of a lake curling and washing up on shore while a slight breeze rustles the leaves of the surrounding trees.
Now open your eyes and watch the Forrest come to life, with a couple squirrels scurrying up and down some nearby trees in search of foraging for nearby acorns and other nuts that have fallen from the trees. They compete with the chipmunks for food and shelter. Or the blue Jay squawking to warn the other Forrest animals of your presence. Maybe you’re lucky enough to witness a deer sauntering through the Forrest to get to its watering hole, or even a bear and her Cubs break out from the woods to the nearby lake for a morning dip and a drink. Or if your really lucky, possibly you’ll see a snowy owl while sipping your morning coffee coming back from her nightly hunt.
No matter what type of camping your looking for? weather it’s RV, tenting, survival, or a week long trek along the West Coast Trail? It’s all about getting outdoors and witnessing nature and it’s natural habitat. Trying to blend in the best we can.
Pre Planning Stage, Solo, couple, or family trips.
Weather you plan to do a solo, couples, or a family trip? The process in planning the different type of trip are very similar. Firstly of course you need to decide when you want to go? how long will your trip be for? How many people will be on the adventure? What type of shelter do you plan to use? What time of year is it? And finally (& my personal dreaded decision) the where to go portion? (I only dread this part because of how many places there are to explore and I want to go to all of them lol).
It’s really the “where to go portion” that will most likely be impacted by the first 5 questions in this equation. You will not want to drive for a full day just to get to a location if you only have 3 days total before you have to be back home. If that’s the case I would try to choose a location within a couple hours maximum of where you live.
This may seem obvious but I myself have made the bad decision to drive more than 4 hours to go camping when I only had 3 days off work & it ends up being too stressful. An hour drive or less is best. Of course if your going solo then you will be required to do everything yourself on your trip, which can have its benefits but will require extra time for absolutely every task at hand.
If you only have a couple -to- 3 days, and your new to the game? Then I would recommend a camp ground, (either private, or Provincial park). Regardless of these options or time of year, this option will require some research, and a reservation.
Campground camping has its benefits tho. They require much less planning in general and much less work overall. Because you are generally not allowed to gather your own wood from the natural Forrests and you are required to purchase park wood, then a large axe or larger saw is generally not required for this type of trip. A small hatchet and a decent bush knife however, ARE DEFINITELY REQUIRED.
Also another benefit is that the ground where you’ll be setting up your tent is already prepared for you. No work required to remove sticks, branches, logs, ect.. just so you may set up your tent. Maybe you like the idea that being around other campers is a good idea? Especially if your new to this (safety in numbers) not to mention the on-site amenities , showers, running water, & toilets. now in the winter these sites can be fairly empty for the most part, and if your looking for all those amenities? Then you’ll need to do your research on which parks are open for winter use?
Of course if you are RV camping then you do not have too much choice in Ontario anyway. You pretty much have to go to a campground of some sort. Weather it’s privately owned or provincially you are kind of limited to what type of camping your doing. Whereas if your backpacking in? Then your area of choice vastly opens up all kinds of possibilities.
So I have done many types of camping. RV, Trailer and tent trailer camping (which is similar to RV camping accept your vehicle detaches from your home base), tenting, crown land/wilderness , provincial parks, & river camping.
if you choose to go crown land or wilderness camping I find there to be even more solitude in these areas and if that’s what you are looking for then this type of camping is the way to go. I personally much prefer this type of camping, especially in the winter months. However because I have had children for the past 20 years and now a newborn at home I rarely get the chance anymore to do this type of camping, like I did when I was younger.
The “wilderness” type of outing requires quite a bit more work as well. Much of your day is spent collecting fire wood, and other camp chores, because you do not have a source of clean fresh water, you’ll find yourself boiling water while your making firewood, doing dishes, and local exploration of your area to get your bearings. Unlike provincial camp grounds where there is no need for anything like that. Wilderness camping will not leave you much time in the day to just relax. Accept maybe when the sun goes down and you can relax by the fire place and watch the stars. When Winter camping, maybe you’ll want to get inside your Hot tent if it gets too cold outside, read a book, or do some writing (like I do), or just sit and do some self reflection?
Remember that when you decide to hike into a spot, you are very limited to the amount of gear you can bring with you, so a very important step is to make a list of all your gear you will be needing & categorize your lists for your journey. In the winter it can be fairly easy to pull a sled on skis and you can put a fair amount of weight on it and it will pull on flat ground fairly easily. Allowing you to maybe bring a few extra items. Like a stove to put inside your tent? These items are bulky and heavy. So unless you have something to pull it with you might not be able to take one, & in winter, they are a necessity.
This is also important when vehicle camping accept you don’t have to be as diligent when selecting your must haves and wants when it comes to what to bring gear.
Refer to my blog about selecting the right gear to determine a good starting point on what gear to take with you if your back packing into a spot. Check out my link to how much gear is too much, & my BUG OUT BAG blog, AKA Camping bag/ survival kits.
Those 2 blogs will outline the basics for you.
What Should You Bring Hot Tent Camping?
When you go winter camping in a hot tent here are some items that are a must:
- Canvas Tent
- Portable wood stove and chimney
- Folding or full size Saw
- Or hatchet
- 100 feet of rope or cordage
- Fire Starting Kit
- Link to fire starting video. https://mathiasoutdoors.ca/2022/01/01/fire-in-the-woods-with-my-family/
- First Aid kit
- Extra clothing
- LED Lamps
- Fuel or batteries for lamp
- Good Food
- Cutting boards
- pots and pans for cooking
- Winter sleeping pads (extra insulation if you’ll be sleeping on the floor) or cots
- 3-season sleeping bags — a 20 degree bag is plenty
- Winter clothing, including base layers, gloves or mittens, outerwear and other winter accessories.
Spring weather patterns
Just a quick note to look out for spring weather patterns! If you plan on going for a camp out in the spring? Check the weather every day for a week leading up to the day. It’s rainy season after all and if you don’t mind sitting under a tarp for a few days then by all means head on out and don’t bother looking at the weather. However if you want to go with the best weather to do lots of activities? Then O would keep a close eye on the weather. This hoses for any time of year really. It’s just it tends to rain more between March and the end of May. (Generally speaking)
Remember your emergency plan.
Let someone know where you plan to go, and for how long you plan to be away. Write them a note or text them. Tell them who your with and all that person/S information as well. If you really want to be proactive then once you get to your destination even send your emergency contact your GPS location. This information will help rescue crews with a starting point if something should happen to you.
I hope you enjoyed this and please feel free to comment below.
And remember, if your going to go play in the bush? Then please remember to leave nothing but footprints when you leave the bush!
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