Add BOAT CAMPING
TO YOUR RV ADVENTURE
An early morning coffee warms your body as the sun bathes the western hills in a golden glow. Your boat rocks almost imperceptibly on a mirror-like lake, reflecting the warm glow back at you through the cool air, beckoning you for the first waterski or wakeboard of the day. Boating and camping go together like peanut butter and chocolate. It can get a little messy but it is always going to be great. Many lakes have campsites with beaches where you can moor your boat in a sheltered bay. If you RV with your boat, consider a little rustic boat camping to add spice and adventure to your RV vacation.
Wilderness boat camping is a step between hiking into the backcountry and car camping. You can take more gear with you similar to car camping, including small children. But often amenities can be farther away than the camp store at the entrance to the RV Park.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO ENJOYING BOAT CAMPING; 1. Plan for an extra day
at either end of your trip to allow for poor weather. Weather can be a fickle mistress; the clouds and rain on Sunday often give way to blue skies and sunshine on Monday. Give yourself an extra day to enjoy what’s coming. Boating in July and August is exceptionally popular so it helps to get a good spot by getting there before the crowds. That means Wednesday before a long weekend, not Friday night.
2. Be prepared for bad neighbours.
It happens. It’s virtually impossible to pack up and find a new campsite at night and there aren’t any park rangers or campground managers to get the rowdies to settle down. Which could also be why you are there, to party likes it’s 1999. You can make enough noise to drown out a Metallica concert without getting busted. But if you’re out to unplug and enjoy the serenity of pristine forests, you may be disheartened to discover your newly arrived neighbours have come to party and unleash months of job stress. Or vice versa. Music should get turned off at 10pm, and it’s smart to pack earplugs or earphones with some white noise loaded on to your phone – the sound of rain or waves on the beach. Talk to your neighbours before someone is ready to blow a gasket. If you are getting ready to party hard on the beach and family pulls up next to you – let them know before they set up camp. And if you see a family on the beach, travel a little farther to find your perfect party headquarters.
3. Like a hike and camp trip,
tell someone where you are going. Let’s call it a float plan. Tell someone responsible that is. Tell them where you are going and when you expect to return. If something goes sideways you can expect a rescue. We camped off Rattlesnake point in Lake Okanagan one weekend and although the sun was shining, a wind in blew in from the southwest. We decided to leave and slogged through 1.5 metre swells with a boatload of kids and camping gear. Not the highlight of the trip. Many lakes can go from calm to dangerous inside of thirty minutes. Make yourself aware of the weather and remember what ever comes, typically doesn’t last. We would have been better off to storm watch from the campsite for a few hours than attempt the cruise home.
5. Which brings me to the next point that you should always securely moor your boat - especially if you’re going to leave it alone for more than an hour to go for a hike, or boating/sightseeing with someone else. The wind can blow up and sink or beach a poorly moored boat in less than fifteen minutes. “It’ll be fine” are always the last words before “holy crap” and “I hope you have insurance”.
6. Follow the typical wilderness rules
for camping including food storage. Most of the Canadian wilderness is populated with everything from timid deer and big horn sheep, to pesky raccoons and hungry bears, and I’ve seen them all while RVing – these animals are not just on road signs and in brochures.
Typically we camp on the eastern shore, and at the end of the day, as the sun sets, it causes scattered clouds to glow from underneath with pinks and purples. We’re all a little sunburnt from hiking, waterskiing, and wake surfing, and there are more spectacular images and video on our phones than anyone has a right to own. Laughter from the campfire washes over us and then dances across the lake as the day’s gaffs are relived and embellished. The boat is covered, and waits patiently for the dawn and another day just like today.
Follow these suggestions and preparations and you will enjoy your RV vacation more than ever with a little bonus of boat camping.