Newfangled Camping Adventures

Monday, 16 May 2016

I grew up camping.

My parents were big outdoor, we didn't have tons of money.  Summer vacation was usually a trip to "the mainland" on the ferry...where we camped our way through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Quebec, Ontario and the States.

The view from our Keji campsite
Last Labour day weekend, we went camping with friends, to Keji.

It had been a looong time since we had been camping.....we definitely hadn't been since Emma was born.

Our tent was moldy from living in the basement...the air mattresses questionable.

So we borrowed as much gear as we could...we did invest in three sleeping bags from MEC....and slept on foam "pads".  By "pads", I mean thin, hard strips, of hell.

Yes. Hell.

If there is something at this end of this life...and I have been judged to have been a miserable, horrible person with little humanity...I fear I shall see that our beds will be these foam pads we slept on for two nights, on a gravel campsite.

That and we only have soy milk to put in our coffee.

So we are going camping again this year (hopefully, more than once!).  I found some sweet self-inflating mattresses at Costco last time I was there (similar to the awesome Therm-a-rest products) and am expecting a much better sleeping experience this time 'round.

Next up....the tent.

We borrowed our tent last time...but this time our friend we borrowed from, is going with us!  It might be a bit cozy, so we are opting to purchase.

Tents are so confusing.

I grew up with the pyramid type ones that had stainless steel poles...where if your tent fell down, the poles might turn into weapons that could cause blunt force trauma.

Later on in my teenage camping years I discovered dome tents, that were easier to set up. Obviously, dome tent for the win.

Hot tip: If a tent says that it is a 2 person's really a 1 person tent....unless you are into spooning.  (And maybe you spoon away.)

So that means we would probably be looking for a 4-ish person tent.

Personally, I prefer tents that have a "fly" that creates a zip up vestibule to the tent entrance, itself.  It creates a barrier between weather, bugs...and gives you some extra privacy for when your child opens the tent door while you are changing out of your happens, right?

Where to shop?

Here's the part where I tell you I googled "best tent for the money canada" (cuz otherwise all these U.S. tent articles show up).

So of course, MEC shows up...where the cost of a tent is a healthy RRSP contribution and you would feel comfortable camping with their tents at some base camp of a mountain.

What you notice about the cheaper tents, is that they don't have much protection from weather and the fly is very skimpy....and a bigger tent is not always better. A tent can be roomy but not great quality. Who wants to buy a new tent every few years? (We are trying to be a "one and done" style of shopping fact I will save that topic for another day!)

Canadian Tire and Cabela's share some reputable name brands (Eureka!).

In the end..I think we are going to purchase a tent from Cabela's online store. The one we are looking at comes in 4 and 6 person sizes. The plan is to take the dimensions for each, go out in the back yard and map out the size difference...probably lie down in the grass side by side to get an opportunity to see how we would fit (plus or minus gear)...have the neighbours peek out to see what the heck we are up to....

One nice feature about the 6 person tent is that you can stand up, full height, if you are less than 6 feet tall...non essential...but a nice feature none the less.

Next up...a camp stove..cuz nothing is more important than food, while you are camping (is it just me, or does food taste exponentially better while camping?)

A truly happy camper

Stayed tuned...since our house planning is limping a long..I will have lots of time to think and research camping gear for families!!

Do you go camping, glamping, RV-ing or hotel hopping?

What gear is the must have?



  1. We are buying a trailer this year - crazy as I said I would never get a trailer.

  2. We had purchased a 6 man tent years ago, when we were only the 2 of us and I never regretted the extra space. Especially when it rained. It was nice to keep everything dry and not have to store stuff in the car.