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.
Winter home maintenance tasks are sometimes neglected, partly because – understandably – many Canadians prefer to bundle up during the winter weather and await the spring.
But as tempting as such behaviour is, doing so can create safety hazards, cause lasting damage to your home, and potentially even void your home insurance.
Responsible homeowners know home maintenance is required all year-round. Here, we’ve included a few hopefully helpful reminders on winter home care.
Let’s start with an obvious one: you must clear your driveway and sidewalk, then coat both with enough salt or de-icer to keep them from becoming slippery.
We say it’s obvious – but you wouldn’t know it by looking at all the white walkways out there, especially in areas less prone to heavy snow. But a slippery driveway or sidewalk is a hazard to you, your friends and family, and even strangers. So this one is truly a must.
If shovelling is difficult for you, consider buying an ergonomic or improved snow shovel, upgrading to a snow blower, shovelling during (not only after) heavy snowfalls, or using the classic Canadian technique of hiring the neighbour’s kid (or a reputable local business) to keep your walkways clear.
Many of us spend more time thinking about interior decoration and yard maintenance than the very structure our homes rest on: the foundation.
Our indifference can cause trouble because foundations are not as solid as we like to believe. They can be damaged by the elements, especially during winter. The main threat is melting snow and ice that seeps into, alongside, or under the foundation. As it re-freezes, the water expands, creating immense pressure that can crack even the thickest cement.
To prevent this, as well as get ahead of spring flooding issues, walk often around your home to ensure snow and ice are not collecting alongside it. If you see any, shovel it away.
Bonus Tip: In the spring, look for pooling water near the foundation. That’s where it’s most threatened and where drainage should be improved.
Remember the rickety handrail, the loose stair, the step without traction? Yes, that one. Last summer it was not as big a deal, though still a concern. But in the winter, it can mean the difference between catching yourself mid-slip or bumping your way down to the landing.
Those aren’t tough options to choose between, and neither is the decision about whether to fix and weather-proof your steps. Just do it. Your tailbone, or someone else’s, will thank you later.
A good place to start is by laying traction tape on all your stairs to give boots extra grip. Other repairs may require more work, but most can largely be done with simple tools like a hammer, nails, a circular saw, screws, and a drill. If in doubt, give a handyman a ring.
Of course, you’ll also want to keep all stairs and steps free of snow and ice.
The rows of glistening icicles dangling from your home’s gutters are beautiful to look at. But they’re also a sure sign you’re developing an ice dam that could prevent water from flowing through the downspout.
Don’t let ice dams cause flooding, a damaged gutter system, or even injuries from falling ice. Instead, stay on top of the situation. Luckily, there are two main ways to deal with ice dams.
The first and easiest way is by installing de-icing wires in your gutters that can be used as needed to melt away ice dams as they develop. If winter has already started, it may be too late to install the wires.
In this case, the main approach is to chip the ice away by hand. Just be sure your ladder is secure and strongly consider having a spotter present to help you.
During summer in Canada, an air conditioner is nice. But a heater in winter? That’s a necessity. Depending on the heating system you have, there is plenty to consider.
One of the first is ensuring all exterior vents are flowing freely and do not become clogged with snow or ice. Otherwise, the added pressure could damage your entire HVAC system. Also, always leave your heat on and set to at least 12 degrees, especially if you leave for a trip. Otherwise, your indoor pipes can freeze!
Beyond that, an annual check of your heating system and any necessary maintenance or cleaning must be done during winter, if not sooner. This may include having your chimney swept or changing your furnace filter.
These tips are intended to provide a nudge toward protecting your property and everyone in or around it this winter. But you can never be 100% risk-free.
Stay safe and enjoy our amazing winters, Canada.
Despite complaints of how it “lasts half the year,” we Canadians love our winters. In fact, we’re proud of them. They’re wonderful for curling up at home, visiting family and friends, and playing in the snow.
But our winter has a dark side with the risk of power outs, frostbite, vehicle mishaps, and more. As with any danger, the key is good preparation. Here are some helpful checklists for winter safety indoors, outdoors, and on the road. They’ll help you survive a Canadian winter in style:
√ Blackout Basics: Home is the coziest place to be during winter. Until there’s a power outage, that is. That’s when you’ll need three days of food and water, a first-aid kit, a battery-powered radio, candles, flashlights, and a few board games, too.
√ Fire Logs: When waiting out cold snaps and nasty colds alike, a roaring fire makes your home into a sanctuary. But maintaining a woodpile can be impractical. Luckily, artificial logs burn for hours. No fireplace? Grab a space heater, instead.
√ A Generator: During prolonged blackouts, a generator can power all your survival essentials, like the heaters we mentioned before and so much more. Just keep it full of fuel and stored away. Even if you never need to use it, it’s great to know it’s there.
√ Large Flashlight: If your car is stuck or can’t be driven safely, you might need to flag down assistance or head for nearby help on foot. In those cases, you’ll be glad to have a large, very bright flashlight to ensure you’re easily seen.
√ Quality Scraper & Shovel: Don’t be forced to push snow around with your boot or use the old credit card window-cleaning trick this winter. Get a full-sized shovel and a quality scraper, instead. You’ll thank yourself later.
√ A GPS Tracker: Planning a long winter car trip? There’s a good chance you’ll leave cellular reception far behind. So it’s always smart to let someone know where you’re headed. Even better? Give them the ability to track you via satellite.
√ Warming Pads: Being outdoors is exhilarating in the wintertime. But before long, your fingers and toes will start smarting. Or worse, they’ll become numb. Keep the fun going with heating pads for your hands and feet.
√ Insulated Drink Container: Canadians know the only thing better than a warm drink at home is one outdoors. If you’re headed out beyond the coffee shops (difficult in Canada, we know), a quality insulated container, like this one from Thermos, will save the day.
√ Phone Charger: You’ve been out all day taking and sharing pictures of your winter fun when you suddenly realize your battery is getting low. Sound familiar? For safety and convenience, carry a pocket-sized phone charger wherever you go.
Stay safe and enjoy the winter, everyone.
The end of summer is a sad time – farewell to warm sun, blue skies, and bare feet. Many Canadians wait all year for the summer months, and quick as a flash, it’s over. But don’t worry! Before winter descends, we’ve got fall – the most beautiful, colourful season of them all. There’s lots to look forward to – here are our favourites.
Rake all the leaves!!!
“It’s as big as my head!”
Whether it’s a pumpkin-spice something or a steaming cup of chai, hot drinks are everything in the fall.
Bye bye flip flops, helloooo slippers.
Come on, you totally went out of your way to squash that particularly crisp leaf.
There’s nothing like that mix of blue, green, and orange.
Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween!
You’ve waited all summer for this. Enjoy.
When we launched our #LDOutside contest, partnered with Coleman Canada’s Get Outside Day, we had no idea it would take off like it did. A simple request for your favourite photos of outdoor Canadian destinations created a wave of submissions. Photos were submitted from every corner of our beautiful country. Did you enter? If so, your shot might be featured below!
Big congratulations to our grand prize winner, NS N.! She’s taking home a killer prize pack, including a Coleman Sundome tent, two Palmetto sleeping bags, a cooler, and a Roadtrip grill!
Enjoy this list of our favourite #LDOutside photos!
Long summer days and the freedom of the open road – it doesn’t get much better than that. However, like so many Instagram-worthy vacation ideas, pulling off the perfect summer road trip can take a little planning. That’s why we’ve pulled together this guide of summer roadtrip essentials to keep you on track for fun and adventure – and out of the ditch.
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.