Camping in Canada we said. It will be sunny she said. It will be fiiiiiineeeee.
Haha, well! It WAS fine, but rather than the idyllic road trip we had planned, with lakeside camping and the beaming sunshine we had in our minds; the reality was somewhat different to our expectations!
We ended up adjusting our route to avoid a scheduled tornado, adding 8hrs on to our trip that we hadn’t scheduled for.
THEN having to outrun a storm to get to our next campsite. We endured having our campsite completely rained out, our tent collapsing on us in the middle of the night. Which resulted in us sleeping the rest of the night in the F150 truck we’d rented for the adventure and all of our bedding and tent completely drenched.
BUT, all in good fun, right?!
Needless to say, that we learned a lot from this experience and also put into practice our ˜thinking on our feet” skills!
So we decided to give you a run down of our top tips and lessons taken from the experience, should you ever find yourself in a similar situation. (However, we tend to wing most of the things we do “cowboy style” and the fact you are reading this blog already puts you as more organised and most probably more responsible than we were!)
Camping in Canada – Summer Essentials
1/. Know where your nearest Laundromat is – even Summer has its surprises!
This was our number one life saver on our camping adventure, having been caught in two rainstorms back to back!! ALL of our tent, bedding, mattress, pillows and even clothes (I’ll explain that in the second tip!) got totally soaked.
We googled laundromats and actually found a really adorable one just outside of Algonquin Provincial Park called Mayflower Laundromat and Internet Cafe where they had all day breakfast, a garden centre, WiFi AND washing machines with dryers. We actually had a really lovely day there, and they even let us air out our tent!!
2/. If travelling with all you gear in an open back F150 or similar vehicle, you will need some form of extra large, waterproof ground sheet and some bungees to wrap and tie all of your stuff.
We happened to have a military ground sheet, and bungees with us to do just this, BUT after our lovely day at the laundrette, we didn’t think we would get stuck in another storm and didn’t include our suitcases in the wrap up.
This led to all of our clothes getting soaked and having to allocate the whole morning of the following day at a different laundromat. This one wasn’t as cute, but was in a retail park with plenty of food options so it was still a win in our eyes.
3/. Blow-up mattress AND hand pump.
Hand pump because you never know whether you will be able to have access to electricity so it just makes sense. Then the blow up bed because, well, comfort.
But also, we had to adjust our route and ended up having no campsite so had to sleep in the bed of the truck one night with the ground sheet suspended with bungees for cover, and the blow up mattress means you do not compromise comfort or, indeed, a nights sleep. If you partially blow up the mattress it actually wedges in perfectly with all of the wheel arches, nooks and crannies and provides good support.
4/. A key for road trips and camping in Canada – Walmart lets you stay overnight in their car parks!!! Most Americans partial to a road trip will know this, yet the memo may have missed many of us Europeans/Brits (We are still European at heart <3). America is SO vast that often you end up in a nowhere town that you maybe can’t find a campsite, but Walmart got you covered for two nights in their car park! Plus you have all the supplies you need at your doorstep, what more could you want!?
5/. I’ll tell you what more you could want! A body pillow!!! Courtesy of Walmart! (they are not sponsoring this post I swear, although they should be haha!!) I still stand by that it’s the best $20 I’ve ever spent!
I travel on long haul flights with it, it makes any kind of car camping or camping period infinitely more comfortable, and is genuinely one of my favourite purchases. Don’t get picky with the colours though, while functional, they don’t always have the best selection of colours or designs so treat it like a novelty item and be open minded with the aesthetic.
You will thank me when you’re sleeping in the back of your truck in a Walmart carpark because you got stormed on!!
6/. SOME form of hot water boiler you can use for hot drinks in the morning. Nothing goes down better than a hot cup of tea or coffee when you’ve woken up in a collapsed tent and soaking wet.
Now I know it’s still a tad wintery at the moment, so camping in Canada may not be on your to do list right now. However, if you’re planning one for the Summer then I hope this blog post will help you be more prepared than I was!!
Until next time!