The call to restrict foreign travel in order to limit the impacts of COVID-19 is prompting many Quebecers to stay in our beautiful province once again during their summer vacation time. To take advantage of the attractions and get closer to nature, many people are turning to camping. If this is your case, Entraide diabétique du Québec has a few tips to help you plan your trip well and get the most out of your camping experience, whether as a family, a couple or with friends.
You don’t need the latest equipment to enjoy nature while camping, but you still need to bring the necessary equipment to give you shelter, prepare meals and protect yourself. For your first camping outing, you can even borrow equipment from a friend or family member!
Here is a partial list to help you pack and travel light. This Parks Canada website also serves as a wonderful checklist.
For a good night’s sleep
• Waterproof, breathable tent, chosen according to the number of people to be accommodated
• Hammer to drive the tent stakes into the ground
• Ground mattress
• Sleeping bags
• Blankets, depending on the weather
• Warm socks and tuques, if needed
For shelter from the rain
• Elastic straps
• Waterproof coat
• A change of shoes
For evenings around the campfire
• Kindling wood (can be purchased at most campgrounds)
• Fire starter
• Camping chairs
• Marshmallows and hot dogs!
For preparing meals
• Seasoning essentials: salt, pepper, spices, oil, vinegar, etc.
• Drinking water
• Stove with canisters.
• Pot and pan
• Cooler with ice bags
• Cutlery for each person
• Cooking and cutting utensils
• Cutting board
• Bottle and can openers
• Containers for leftovers
• Garbage bags
• Biodegradable soap, tub, wipes and dish cloths
For personal care
• Mosquito repellent and cream to relieve bites
• First aid kit
• Painkillers (Advil or Tylenol)
• Flashlight or lantern with batteries
• Rope and clothes pins
• Biodegradable soap and shampoo
• Toilet tissue
Equally important preparations
Once you’ve gathered all your camping gear together, it’s time to plan your trip. Reserve your campground by taking into account the services offered at the sites you’re interested in. Some even offer fully-equipped tents!
If you have never used your equipment (tent, burner, etc.), test it a few days before your departure to make sure it works properly and avoid unpleasant surprises. Have a maintenance check done on your vehicle, including the oil level, tire pressure and windshield washer fluid level.
Plan your route and print it out so you have a paper copy in areas without Internet service.
Rules of good practice
When traveling, it’s important to show respect for the facilities you visit, and this rule of ethics is especially important when camping, since you are out in the wilderness. Make sure you reduce your environmental footprint by choosing biodegradable products and by not leaving any garbage behind.
Also, show your respect for the neighbourhood by following the campsite rules, such as curfews and no campfires, if that’s the case. Keep your radio volume down and avoid encroaching on other campers’ property.
Don’t forget to put your garbage in the waste receptacles and close the lid tightly to avoid attracting animals!
Expertise comes with time
As with any recreational activity, you will become more and more comfortable camping with each experience. Don’t worry if everything isn’t perfect on your first camping trip! The important thing is to change your routine and enjoy every moment.
If you eventually find that camping is not for you, you can give Entraide diabétique du Québec the camping items or sports clothes that are in good condition and that you are no longer using. Just drop them off in the donation bins or call to request home pick-up.
On the other hand, if you love camping and want to equip yourself at a low cost for your next getaway, you can buy second-hand outdoor clothing and camping equipment at thrift stores, at the Village des valeurs or on online platforms like Marketplace.
Have a wonderful vacation!