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Basic Packing List For Wilderness Camping

What you will put on your packing list for your camping adventure depends on how much comfort and luxury you want, where you are going, for how long and the time of year. To have a list is a must for every backcountry camper.

wilderness camping - packing list

Many locals go on month-long camping trips across Canada with their luxury RVs, and so do our southern neighbours. For many, it is a retirement dream. I don’t blame them to take their whole household along and all the luxury items they own. It’s their home away from home and they all deserve it.

And I’m sure they don’t need my Packing List.

As a tourist, you can rent a Camper or RV in Canada for a big road trip and live in comfort like many locals do. Or maybe you just want to go camping for a couple of nights and take a tent and the basics, which is my favourite way to go into the wild.

Packing List for Backcountry Canada

Here I tell you what I load into my car for a weekend trip, and why.

Yrene’s Packing List:

  • Food – I plan what food I want to bring and how much of it. I know how to start a fire and how to catch a fish, which is useful when camping near a lake. I have my fishing license and find out about species and fishing rules before I leave home. Also, I look up what kind of plants are growing in the place I visit. It’ s good to know which plants are edible and which ones might give you a stomach ache, or much worse, poison you. I love foraging for wild food but won’t depend on this food source on my camping trip.
  • Medical Kit – I take a few basics, which can come useful in case I need medical attention. You can buy small medical kits which contain everything you need.
  • Shelter – A good quality tent keeps me dry. If you really want to rough it you can use just a tarp shelter instead.
  • Sleeping bag – for minus temperatures, even in the middle of summer. I was on a horse pack trip once in July, camping in the Chilcotin mountains, and I was freezing cold every night. To survive I had to wear my fur-lined riding jacket at night, mittens and a toque. The first thing I did when I got home from this trip, was buying myself the best and warmest sleeping bag I could afford. Since then I’ve been camping in the mountain many times and I was never cold again at night.
  • A mat – to sleep on and my bones are thankful for it in the morning.
  • A Coleman camp stove – is a must, even if I cook most of the time on the campfire. I never leave home without my Coleman stove.
  • Navigation – Maps + Compass + Knowing how to use them = knowing where I am. I also take my Garmin GPS and spare batteries. This is good to have along when I’m out on my own with no civilization around.
  • Bear spray – If you’re not in the city, you’re in bear country! Depending on where I go, I sometimes bring an air horn for noise and bear banger.
  • Plenty of water – unless I’m absolutely sure that I camp next to a river.
  • A rope – and I know how to tie knots, that doesn’t only come handy when camping with horses.
  • Enough fuel for the car
  • A shovel – to dig a hole for a backcountry toilet, which keeps the camp clean.
  • A leatherman – or some other multi-tool. I never go into the bush without my leatherman, which is a brand of multi-tools and knives.
  • Cooking utensils – Don’t forget a can opener if you take cans and a corkscrew for the wine.
  • Flashlight and lamp – I wouldn’t want to be in the backcountry without a flashlight and my Coleman lamp and I always bring plenty of spare batteries.
  • What else – insect repellent, matches, bowl or bucket for the dishes, dishwashing liquid, paper towels, kitchen towels, garbage bags, sealable plastic bags, cards and /or a board game
  • Camping apps – load them onto your cell phone if you think that you will have cell reception at the camp.

The packing list all depends on how long you go camping. You will find out soon enough what you are missing

Only going for a night? You won’t need a packing list… a sleeping bag, a tarp, a few beers, hot dogs, and ketchup will do it. And this will be an authentic Canadian Wilderness Camping night.

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