5 things I wish I knew before I went Camping for the first time.

The warm weather is finally arriving and that means only one thing….camping season can’t be far away. I’ve been camping a number of times now but there are a few things that I wish I knew before I went the first time. These may seem really basic to those that are regular campers but we all start somewhere.

1. Less Food is more. My first time in the woods I was really concerned that I was going to run out of food for the 4 days of our trip. So what did I do? I loaded up on junk food and I specifically remember me wanting to make smores. So my solution was to bring an entire bag of marshmellows. I also had a heavy bag of popcorn kernels. The problem was that all of that weight was going into my backpack and taking up valuable room and energy. When you are in the woods you don’t eat as much as you think you will and it is better to bring healthier stuff like trail mix and fruit.

Sunset at Algonquin Park

Sunset at Algonquin Park

2. Waste. This ties in with tip #1. We had an abundance of food, we had so much bacon. It gets better, we tried to burn the bacon but couldn’t get a good fire going at the time. If you want to invite the woodland animals over for a late night snack this is great way to do it but you won’t sleep well. So don’t leave food laying around your campsite or you will probably attract the neighbourhood bear. And don’t bring items into your tent that have an odour. We only bring our sleeping bags, lights with us into the tent.
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3. The Bug bites. Depending on the time of the year the bugs in northern Ontario have the potential to be really bad. Black flies and Mosquitoes. They tend to die off as the summer drags on. But be prepared. They become especially problematic during portages and in swampy areas. I remember Charlene going to the store to get bug spray, she was going to get the family picnic bug spray. I was like no we will get eaten alive. Get the DEEP WOODS bugspray. One time it got so bad that she woke up and her eye was swollen like she had been in a fight. Dress appropriately and bring the powerful bug spray if you don’t want to be eaten alive.

Nasty bug bites. Look closely.

Nasty bug bites. Look closely.

4. Travel early in the morning. When we go camping we are usually doing multi-day canoe trips into the deep parts of the park. We arrive first thing in the morning and do a lot of our traveling early in the day. The water tends to be calmer in the morning and by leaving early you leave yourself plenty of time in case the weather changes and the water becomes rough. The bugs are also not as bad in the morning.
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5. Seeing Animals in the woods. We lucked out the first time we did a canoe trip and saw a large moose in a swampy marsh. We have seen plenty of smaller animals but no other large ones. The best time of day to see animals in their habitat is in the morning and evening during feeding times. There is actually nothing more exciting.

A moose

A moose

 

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