TRAVEL SLEUTH

What’s your camp­ing per­son­al­ity?

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - Table Of Contents - BY JANE STOKES

Most of us are drawn to the en­ergy, in­no­cence and mys­ter­ies of na­ture, soothed by its rhythm, of­ten hum­bled by its power. We’d like to get closer but, hey, it’s wild out there and we’re not.

Camp­ing of­fers great pos­si­bil­i­ties. Plan it out on your terms—with mod­ern com­forts to boot—and watch how the idea of this es­cape be­comes al­lur­ing to even those who say they don’t think so.

It’s use­ful how­ever to pin­point each other’s ap­pre­hen­sions. En­thu­si­asts agree it does in­deed take vig­i­lance to keep safe among the laws of na­ture, so mak­ing ad­just­ments for new­com­ers is a timely re­minder to re­view your safety check­list.

First-timers need to be re­al­is­tic as well. In a tent or in a recre­ational ve­hi­cle (RV) most camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ences en­tail nearby wood­lands in which snakes, ro­dents and big­ger crea­tures live; con­stant calls-of-thewild through­out the night; in­sects sleep­ing where you sleep; blue sky then black sky, down­pours and thun­der­storms; hurry-up toi­let time, come-what-may groom­ing time, plus the joys of throw­ing most pri­vacy to the wind. This is pure adrenalin for some, but a non-starter for oth­ers.

But then again, you might. If so, camp­ing will surely em­brace your per­son­al­ity be it hes­i­tant, care­ful, turned on or wild. Whether you want a tent or an RV, here’s how oth­ers like you have done it.

HES­I­TANT

But you’re also a good sport, so fol­low the lead of the en­thu­si­asts and tap your own re­source­ful­ness as well:

Tent­ing: Ex­pect cool nights of in­ter­rupted sleep im­proved by ex­tra blan­kets and the best in­su­lated sleep­ing bag you can af­ford; ex­tra com­fort with your own (not shared) high-qual­ity air mattress; and ex­tra sooth­ing with noise-block­ing earplugs.

RV: Co­coon­ing in a fully-equipped recre­ational ve­hi­cle re­solves many be­gin­ner anx­i­eties as it pro­vides a real bed, a shield from an­i­mals and thun­der­storms, lava­tory pri­vacy and more. Ex­tra blan­kets, warm clothes and earplugs are also fine ideas.

Gad­gets and Gear: Bring items to keep in­sects, bears and other an­i­mals away. This starts with a ded­i­cated plan for food and garbage con­trol. As well, cer­tain noise­mak­ers may de­ter an­i­mals and spe­cial light­ing can re­pel in­sects. From Cogh­lan’s, con­sider plac­ing the Bear Bell with Mag­netic Si­lencer on your belt. And to light your camp­site, the Trail­blazer Camp Lan­tern (from Ther­ma­cell) ef­fec­tively dis­cour­ages mos­qui­toes, black flies and other bit­ing in­sects.

CARE­FUL

This is the trait of par­ents, eco-hawks and those who are look­ing to im­prove the glitches ex­pe­ri­enced last time, such as:

Tent­ing: To in­crease warmth, some tents of­fer op­tional in­su­la­tion—and for fam­i­lies, a multi-room tent al­lows for in­creased pri­vacy. Or, some campers add a pop-up tent nearby as a ded­i­cated “bath­room.”

RV: Map out your trip, pin­point camp­ground pos­si­bil­i­ties (pri­vate and pub­lic), and book ahead dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods. Parks Canada at pc.gc.ca is an au­thor­i­ta­tive guide and, if you’re go­ing to the United States, so is the site Visit­theusa.ca.

Gad­gets and Gear: Cer­ti­fied biodegrad­able soaps re­duce the grey wa­ter caused by wash­ing up; dis­pose of it at least 60 me­tres away from wa­ter­ways. Camp­sites are equipped with porta-pot­ties, but tent campers of­ten bring their own ef­fi­cient mod­els. To add some bath­room pri­vacy, take a look at pop-up ca­banas like those by Ancheer or Gi­ga­tent.

TURNED ON

You feel that tug of the wilder­ness ev­ery spring and each time you crave to stay out longer and go far­ther afield. If you plan to camp over­seas or across the bor­der, be sure to learn the camp­ing reg­u­la­tions in your des­ti­na­tion, es­pe­cially the al­low­able places to park an RV or to pitch a tent. Other fine­tun­ing pre­cau­tions might in­clude:

Tent­ing: Pre­vent flood­ing. Rain­storms could cause it and so could the over­flow of nearby wa­ter­ways. Be sure to pitch your tent on a flat-ground clear­ing at least 30 me­tres from any shore­line, and in­side, lay a wa­ter­proof ground cloth. Dur­ing thun­der­storms, the safest place is in your car.

RV: It’s easy to over­load the big rig, so for

road safety do keep weight, balanc­ing and height reg­u­la­tions in mind and check the tire pres­sure fre­quently. If you don’t want to be tied to any sched­ule, find out if and where you can stop overnight with­out a camp­site. For ex­am­ple, with prior per­mis­sion some Wal­mart re­tail­ers in North Amer­ica al­low RVS to park on their lots.

Gad­gets and Gear: In case of leaky seams in the tent, bring a quick-fix wa­ter sealer like Outwell Seam Guard. And, pre­pare for mishaps or emer­gen­cies by wear­ing a wa­ter­proof, mul­ti­func­tional sur­vival bracelet. Com­pare makes and mod­els on­line. Worn upon your wrist, many mil­i­tary-style bracelets of­fer a com­pass, knife, fire starter, an LED light and more.

WILD

If you crave all the chal­lenges of shar­ing the land and test­ing your sur­vival skills, you might con­sider “wild camp­ing,” an ad­ven­ture for the min­i­mal­ist. En­thu­si­asts of­ten in­clude back­pack­ing, ca­noe­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, cy­cling or mo­tor bik­ing. Rough­ing it can be the ul­ti­mate free­dom as long as you ad­here to pri­vate prop­erty and en­vi­ron­men­tal laws. Tent­ing: Your sleep­ing pro­tec­tion needs to be light­weight, durable and wa­ter­proof, so money spent on this is a wise in­vest­ment. Off-the-ground “ham­mock” tents hung from tree to tree are invit­ing for the coura­geous and the new­est mod­els fo­cus on body er­gonomics for sleep-com­fort im­prove­ment.

RV: Your per­son­al­ity may pre­fer the free­dom of boon­dock­ing in which you lo­cate per­mis­si­ble places to park overnight with no cost, no hookups, nor as­sis­tance. It re­quires care­ful con­sump­tion of your wa­ter and en­ergy re­sources and fel­low boon­dock­ers reg­u­larly share tips and ex­pe­ri­ences on web­sites like your-rv-life­style.com.

Gad­gets and Gear: For ex­tra safety, think ahead about con­trol­ling your camp­fire es­pe­cially dur­ing sud­den winds, a task made eas­ier with kits like Camp­fire De­fender Pro. And, you may be wild but you’re not nat­u­rally im­mune to the con­se­quences of get­ting (and stay­ing) soaked. Im­prove your de­fences with up­graded cloth­ing and gear, all of which is dis­cussed on sites such as allth­ingswa­ter­proof.com and my.scout­ing.org.

TOP: RV campers re­lax at the Prior Cen­ten­nial Camp­ground on Pen­der Is­land, B.C. © Parks Canada/fritz Mueller ABOVE: Campers can ex­pect wildlife en­coun­ters. Brand USA

OP­PO­SITE LEFT: En­joy­ing a camp­fire at sun­set at the Cavendish Camp­ground in Prince Ed­ward Is­land Na­tional Park. © Parks Canada/scott Munn

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