Friday, May 22, 2015

A Beginner's Guide to Family Camping

For many families, the word ‘camping’ evokes memories of their childhood spent at a lake learning to swim, riding bikes around a campground chasing cousins and friends, going on family nature hikes or catching that first fish with Grandpa.

Meanwhile, many of us (myself included) didn’t grow up camping and it can be very intimidating to get started. You may have questions like:
“How much gear do we have to purchase if we want to just try camping one time?”
“What if a bear tries to get into our tent?”
“What if the baby wakes up at 2am and won’t go back to sleep?”
“What if our toddler screams the whole night?”

Before you know it, you may have a very long list of questions.

Camping - when everything goes right

My family has grown to love camping over the past several years, and I can assure you that every trip gets a little bit easier. First though, you have to get started.

In my newest story for Calgary's Child Magazine, I cover my top 5 suggestions for families wanting to try camping and who may be looking for practical tips on how to get started or how to make it a pleasant experience for everybody involved.

In my story:  Camp Dazed? A Beginner's Guide to Getting it Right,  I talk about comfort camping, equipped camping  in campsites that are already set up for you (yep, that exists,) choosing the right kind of weather and location, gathering the gear that you'll need, and making it FUN (something that should be a primary goal if you are going to go camping!)

Camping when you've finally figured it all out

Here's a preview from the story:

Tip #1:  Try comfort camping or book an "equipped" campsite. Parks Canada has started placing tent style cabins called O’TENTiks in some of their more popular campgrounds. These small cabins offer sleeping for up to six people, comfortable mattresses and a heater to ensure your first camping experience is a pleasant one. Two Jack Lakeside in Banff is the closest location where you can try comfort camping, and it’s one of the best campgrounds in Banff with lakefront camping, showers and nearby amenities in the Town of Banff. While you’ll still need to bring sleeping bags and food, you won’t need much else, so this is a great way to ease into camping without investing in a lot of equipment.

Parks Canada also offers a new service called "Equipped Camping." Together with Mountain Equipment COOP, Parks Canada has equipped 22 campsites at the Two Jack Main Campground in Banff. Each site comes with a six-person tent fully set up, sleeping pads, a stove with propane and a lantern. Bring your sleeping bags with food for the weekend and you’re ready to go!

Comfort Camping in Banff

Read the rest of the story here at Camp Dazed? A Beginner's Guide to Getting it Right.

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