With the kids out of school and summer in full swing, many Canadians are hearing the call of the great outdoors. And 2017 is the perfect year for it since all National Parks and Historic Sites have free admission as part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebration.
Maybe you made your camping or RV reservations months ago. Or perhaps you’re headed to a family cabin or that perfect, last-minute spot. Regardless, you’ll need to bring plenty with you. That includes camping essentials, food, and probably a few luxuries and toys. [If luxury camping is really your thing, also check out our Ultimate Glamping Guide]
For all your camping stock-up needs, London Drugs is here to help with this Ultimate Canadian Camping Shopping List.
What could be more essential than protecting your skin from outdoor dangers? During the day, that means the sun’s harmful UV rays. Start with limiting exposure and wearing a hat. Of course, you should also apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Just in case that’s not enough to prevent a sunburn, pack some after-sun salve with aloe vera.
In the evening and at night, you’ll want to be on guard to prevent insect bites. Keep them at bay with insect repellant, (we have a wide selection of lotions and sprays with varying active ingredients; find the one that’s right for you and your family). There are also nets, clip-ons, and candles that offer additional protection.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at a campsite without a key piece of gear. Chances are you won’t forget your tent, but it’s worth checking to ensure you have enough sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets. It never hurts to pack one or two extras, just in case. Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than a very cold night in a tent.
Another essential category of gear for your Canadian Camping Shopping List is cookware. This starts with sturdy pots and pans, but also includes plates, utensils, and drinkware. The best cookware for camping is light, durable, and easy to clean. Also, make sure you have enough coolers to keep all your supplies the right temperature in the woods. Finally, don’t get caught in the dark: be sure to bring enough lanterns and flashlights for everyone.
One way to help make the outdoors cozier and more like home is to bring your own generator. Sure, skeptics might say this goes against the main benefit of camping–escaping civilization. But sometimes it’s nice to take a brief break from roughing it to blow dry your hair or watch a movie with the family. Another must-have for many is a small camping stove or grill. Yes, you can cook over an open fire. But it’s not always convenient, particularly for making coffee or toast. Fire bans should also be strictly adhered to, so a camp stove might be your best option. Also be sure to bring enough propane to run your stove during your trip. Pro tip: don’t be afraid to go big. There’s nothing worse than running out of fuel on day 3 of 5.
Even when roughing it, it’s okay to bring more than the bare essentials. For example, you’ll need enough camping chairs (since no one wants to stand around a campfire for hours). But you’ll get so much use out of it, why not spring for a deluxe model? Like one that literally rocks, one made for a baby, or one that has extra support and a built-in table. Another way to elevate your campsite is with a hand pump for a standard water cooler jug. That way, you won’t need to run to a tap or river for water, or worry about what might be in it. Fill-ups for these bottles are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than single-use bottled water. too. Finally, whether for appreciating wildlife and nature views, or keeping an eye on the little ones, a good pair of binoculars is an amazing camping extra to have around.
The most important thing to do when camping is staying comfy and well-fed. The second is to have fun. Okay, the order here might be debatable. The point is, having a few extra toys around is nice, especially in the water. One incredibly popular activity on local lakes is stand-up paddle boarding. But if you prefer inflatables designed to be pulled around the lake by a boat (the old fashioned way) we’re with you too! There are also lounge and group floaties for those who prefer to just hang out. They even come in some pretty entertaining designs. If you have any inflatables, consider also grabbing an automatic inflator. Trust us, your lungs will thank you. For times when you’re not in the water, be sure to stock up on other classic camping games like badminton, bocce, or ladder toss.
The most important part of your Canadian Camping Shopping List should include lots of great food. Really, it’s one of the best parts about camping. Doing some basic meal prepping in advance, and shopping for fresh local produce, will help make sure you don’t end up eating only hot dogs. Plan accordingly! The real draw of camping food is the snacks, and the main event is always the s’mores. At London Drugs we carry the three basic ingredients of the perfect s’more, including a hearty selection of the keystone ingredient: chocolate. Raise your snacking game to a pro level with anything from dried fruit, nuts and meat snacks to chips, crackers, cookies, and candy. Honestly, we have so many perfect camping snacks, we couldn’t begin to list them all here. You’ll just have to come look for yourself in-store or online.
No matter what you bring along, the most important part of camping is who you share it with. London Drugs wishes you, your friends, and family the best camping season ever. Keep safe, and have a blast.
London Drugs also knows not everyone is lucky enough to only worry about camping supplies this summer. To donate to the Red Cross to support the ongoing BC forest fire relief effort: click here.
As Canadians, we are pretty darn proud of our culinary contributions to the world. We’re the nation that created poutine, Nanaimo bars, butter tarts, and maple syrup, so yeah, we take our food pretty seriously. Snacking is no different. What follows is an ode to these Quintessentially Canadian Snacks. Happy Canada Day!
Is there anything more satisfying than polishing off a mini (or standard) bag of these almost too-red chips? Bonus, the stains on your fingers last for as long as the memory of that undefinably zingy and salty faux-ketchup taste.
A texture unlike any other cheez-infused snack food on the market. A bold, in-your-face flavour that says: “I dare you to question my origin”. A crunch that can be heard for miles. Hawkins Cheezies are one of a kind and quintessentially Canadian.
The hard candy shell on a Smarties offering is superior to the candy shell on an M&Ms. Phew. Someone finally said it. These truly snackable treats are ideal constituents of a homemade, not very healthy trail mix.
The existence of these chips demonstrates the principle that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. And greater, it is. The tang and zip of these vibrantly orange ridged chips keep Canadians coming back for just one more handful, until the bag holds nothing but fond, salty memories.
Lighter-than-air wafer surrounded by a cloud of coffee-flavoured cream makes the Coffee Crisp a delight to eat. Pro tip, for the best chocolate-to-filling ratio, go for the fun size.
A very hard, but somehow also crumbly biscuit base cut into a unique geometric form that can only be described as a wavy square. These Christie brand crackers offer a pleasurable snap when eating, and come in quintessentially Canadian chip flavours like Ketchup, All-Dressed, and Salt & Vinegar.
As you prepare to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, consider adding a quintessentially Canadian snack food to your barbecue spread, and remember that part of what makes Canada great is how strange we all are. Happy Canada Day!
Canadians love getting outside, marvelling at our country’s natural beauty, and spending time with family and friends. Camping is probably the best way to do all that at once.
But some of us find less joy in camping’s more challenging aspects like starting fires, sleeping on the ground, and giving up all the comforts of home.
For us? There’s “glamping.”
A portmanteau of ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping,’ the term “glamping” first gained popularity over the last decade in the United Kingdom, before quickly spreading to North America and beyond. Of course, similar outdoor activities, like luxury safaris, have been popular for over a century. But recently, there has been a clear surge of interest in making camping as elegant an experience as possible.
In its standard definition, glamping involves being in nature within outdoor living in structures that are more stable and permanent than fold-up tents. We’re talking military style canvas tents, yurts, teepees, trailers, or domes. Unlike in folding tents, there is room to stand up and walk in glamping “tents,” and often extra space for beds, chairs, dressers, and more.
Typically, these accommodations are rented nightly, just like hotel rooms. Depending on the operator, glamping getaways offer other comforts like fresh sheets, access to full kitchens or grills, and even prepared meals like at a B&B. Other perks might include private decks, electricity, cable & internet, and activity tours.
BUT…glamping is also a state of mind. You don’t need to stay in a designated glamping area or even in a typical glamping tent in order to “glamp.” All you need is a willingness to up your game and bring some style, refinement, and yes, a touch of opulence, to your camping experience.
This can be achieved in many ways by paying close attention to how you sleep, eat, drink, and play, as well as what you wear and where you stay. We’ve compiled a handy guide to all of it!
For traditional glamping accommodations, there are several fantastic options in Western Canada.
In British Columbia, there are the amazing coastal yurts at Wya Point Resort near Uculet; plush ‘tipis‘ in the Monashee at YD Guest Ranch; swanky Airstream trailers at WOODS on Pender Island; and the palatial tenthouse suites (including hydrotherapy tub) at the Sunshine Coast’s Rockwater Secret Cove Resort on the Sunshine coast.
In Alberta, there are the deluxe tipis and trapper’s tents in the Rockies at Sundance Lodges, massive canvas wall tents at Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park, comfort tents with handmade furnishings at Dinosaur Provincial Park, and the unforgettable rustic accommodations at The Nest near Slave Lake.
Another great option is searching for any provincial or national park offering oTENTiks. These tent-cabin hybrids have sprung up all across Canada in recent years and offer gorgeous glamping potential at very reasonable rates.
But again, glamping is not so much a place as a state of mind. Just remember, wherever you are, roughing it doesn’t need to be rough. Focus on the details, treat yourself to a few finer things, and, overall, just imagine any camping experience more like a retreat than an expedition.
The short answer is ‘the best.’ For example, instead of just throwing any old clothes in a bag, grab some casual-cool outfits to put you in a glamorous state of mind. Of course, this includes your favourite and most chic outdoor gear, including hats, shorts, and sunglasses. And don’t forget to bring the finest sunscreens and bug repellants. You know, the good stuff.
If you’re bringing your own bedding, try to make it as much like home as possible, with quilts, comforters, and blankets, instead of a simple sleeping bag. Also, do ANYTHING you must to stay off the ground. Whether it’s a cot, hammock, or air mattress, happy glampers have one firm and final rule: no sleeping on hard, uneven ground.
A few other glamping essentials:
High-Capacity Charger: “Getting away from it all” doesn’t mean you need to be fully disconnected. Glamping, after all, is about having the best of all worlds.
“Luxury” Camping Chairs: Let’s face it, glamping is more about sitting in nature, and not so much about tearing up a hiking trail. You’ll want a great camping chair to sit in for hours and watch the world go by.
Shade On-Demand: Once again, when glamping, you want it all. And that includes sitting in the sun while still being able to escape to the shade. Ah, life’s good.
Fab Floaties: Floating on a tire’s inner tube, you might have a ball. But you’re definitely not glamping. For that, you’ll need a floaty with sleekness, style, panache, and above all: the ability to recline.
Chic Coolers: A fully-functional cooler needn’t be an eyesore. We’ve got great options for chic coolers that will keep your food fresh and totally up your campfire style.
There is no reason to completely avoid classic camping foods like hot dogs and s’mores while glamping, especially if you’re bringing kids. But! Part of the fun of a proper glamp experience is bringing a touch of elegance to everything you do. And that absolutely extends to the food.
Here are a couple deliciously classy options to get you started. Of course, as with all things, you’ll find many more incredible and ingenious options on Pinterest!
Full instructions at: DamnDelicious.net
Full instructions at: TheCookieRookie.com
Happy Glamping, Everyone!
Canadians love the outdoors. Winter through autumn (yes, that’s how we say it), we spend plenty of time among the woods, mountains and streams.
We love nature so much that to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, each citizen can request a free National Parks Pass.
We Canadians know about outdoor winter safety, emergency preparedness, and first aid. Still, there have been times when we wish we’d brought something else outdoors with us. The perfect tool, treat, or technology to make the day better. Yup, we’ve learned some mighty hard lessons.
9. Hand Warmers: We happily put up with a lot in Canada to enjoy time outside, but cold fingertips are not high on that list. Sometimes, gloves and mittens alone don’t cut it. And they aren’t practical for certain activities. For those times, we’re glad to have hand warmers. The heat is created by rapidly oxidizing iron inside the packs. But we mainly care about how great it is to have access to literal pockets of warmth all day.
8. A Can Opener: Some resourceful Canadians are able to open a can using a pocket knife or even a rock. But nothing opens cans quite like a can opener, and few forgotten items are more of a pain to do without. You can also take eating outdoors to the next level with the Eat’N Tool, an all-in-one cutlery tool that doubles as both a screwdriver and a wrench!
7. Portable Phone Charger: Some might wonder why you’d need a phone in the woods. There are at least two good reasons. The first is to keep your social media game on point. But the other, of course, is to use the phone in case of emergency. So make sure to bring backup power. That way, you won’t have to worry about using up battery life getting the perfect waterfall shot.
6. A Watch: While it’s true a phone can be great outdoors, for the reasons listed above and others, one thing we hate to be without in the woods is a plain old-fashioned wristwatch. You shouldn’t have to pull your phone out just to check the time. Plus, outdoor and adventure watches often have other handy functions. One of the best features is that they’re generally much more waterproof than a phone!
5. This Survival Bracelet: You can file this under ‘stuff we didn’t know we always wanted until we found out it exists.’ This simple looking bracelet, designed by Gerber with help from Bear Grylls, is more than a fashion statement. It contains 12 feet of incredibly strong nylon paracord. You can use it to get out of any number of scrapes, unless you leave it at home.
4. Adhesive Tensor: It goes without saying you should bring a first aid kit wherever you go. But one thing you’ll be glad to have in it is this adhesive bandage that attaches right to the skin to provide extra joint stability. Since you never know when you’ll twist an ankle, it’s better to just keep this around.
3. Calorie-Dense Snacks: When you’re exerting significant energy outdoors, whether you’re hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, or biking, a hunger-killing snack is just what you need. We’re talking energy bars, dried fruit, granola, that sort of thing. If you don’t pack such a snack, you could easily become fatigued. Or worse, you might get hangry.
2. Duct Tape: Is there a problem duct tape can’t help to solve? Probably. But we haven’t found very many so far. From fixing equipment to patching a tent, and so much more, duct tape absolutely has you covered. We never like to be caught without it in the great outdoors. Actually, we prefer not to be without it anywhere.
1. Fresh Dry Socks: There are so many threats to foot comfort in the Canadian outdoors. Cold weather, combined with more rivers and lakes than any country in the world, means your toes are likely to get wet and/or cold. So you’ll be glad to have an extra pair of socks in your backpack any time of year.
For many, roughing is just rough. They like the outdoors, but not being uncomfortable. And separation from technology sounds like the start of a spooky campfire story. For them, now there’s “glamping.” A combination of glamorous and camping, it’s pretty self-explanatory.