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.
Camping Shopping List: The Essentials
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.
Camping Shopping List: The Extras
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.
Just for Fun
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.
Camping Shopping List: The Food
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.