Camping, hiking, canoeing and other outdoor activities are a fun and exciting form of recreation. When done in the backcountry, away from highly populated areas, the experience can be unforgettable. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced camper here are just a few tips to make sure your experience is memorable:
Plan Ahead & Prepare
Plan Ahead! Backcountry camping is camping in its purest form. Aside from the closeness with unspoiled nature, its main attraction is the experience we call “roughing it.” No hydro and no running water, that is if you don’t count the streams! This doesn’t mean you have to be completely uncomfortable. Plan ahead so you don’t forget the things that make your trip enjoyable even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, such as:
- Sunglasses & Sunscreen;
- Extra Clothing;
- Headlamp and/or flashlight;
- Firestarter and/or matches;
- Bug Repellant;
- Bear Whistle or Bear Bells;
- Nylon cord for hanging food.
Meals are another element to trip planning — don’t wait until the last minute to shop and pack. Make up a menu for meals and remember you have to cook over an open fire or portable stove. Freeze-dried and other non-perishable foods last, don’t take up much space and are light weight – remember that whatever you take, you have to carry!
First Aid — always take a well equipped First Aid Kit. An antiseptic, gauze, band-aids, medical tape and tweezers are a few of the essentials.
Safety on the Water
On the Water — most campsites are accessible only by water. It’s the law to have one, but it’s common sense to always wear a lifejacket when on the water — especially when traveling by canoe or kayak. Some lakes are large and long and can get quite rough. In rough waters stick close to shore and never travel completely parallel to bigger waves when canoeing. Mandatory safety equipment is specified by Transport Canada, click here for a list.
Safety in the Wild
The North Frontenac Parklands is home to abundant wildlife from raccoons, deer, beavers to moose and bears. When backcountry camping you are sharing their habitat! Always follow these safety guidelines:
- Eliminate odours, as much as possible, including food and garbage, cosmetics, sunscreen, toothpaste and insect repellent;
- Separate your tent from the cooking area and food supply, which should be downwind from the tent;
- Store your food supplies in a sturdy bag 5 meters off the ground, 2 meters from the trunk and 1 meter below the branches. Never store or leave food in your tent;
- Be sure to pack all your garbage with you when you leave, Leave No Trace Seven Principles; and
- Never bury or burn your garbage.
For information on the province’s Bear Wise program click here.