Camping is a past-time that has quickly come back to popularity here in Edmonton. Easily accessible weekend trips to the mountains or lakes in Alberta and it's low cost makes weekend getaways far more enticing. But how do you get started without breaking the bank on equipment like high quality tents, sleeping bags, and stoves? Here are some tips that I talked about on Edmonton AM CBC:
1) Ask a friend who has camping experience:
Asking friends who have camping experience is one of the easiest ways of starting up. They can provide tips and tricks that work well. They can advise you on gear that you NEED and equipment that is more for comfort. There is only so much you can learn from websites and manuals before having to go out and experience something first hand so having someone that can help smooth the first experience is great.
If you need a bit more guidance: The University of Alberta Campus and Recreation has an overnight camping trip on July 28 that still has spots. The group will be going to Elk Island for a day hike and then in the evening you can learn more since they have a course about Camping and Outdoor survival. Register here: https://www.activityreg.ualberta.ca/UOFA/public/booking/CourseDetails/5433
2) Rent or Borrow first:
One of the worst things that can happen is spending far too much money on equipment that you may not need. Camping is not for everyone so test it out before committing your hard earned money. If you can ask a friend to borrow equipment like tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and stoves for the first few trips that give you the opportunity to try it before you buy it. If you are looking to rent equipment these companies rent equipment in Edmonton:
Rent eh Tent: http://www.rentehtent.com/camping-equipment.php
Travel Alberta has a great list of motor home and camper van rentals here: https://www.travelalberta.com/ca/things-to-do/summer-outdoor-activities/camping/rentals/
3) Start small and pick a single over-night trip for your first time:
The tendency is to over-reach during the first trip so pick one or two nights stay at a camp site. Pick camp sites that you can bring your vehicle with you or camp coser to towns so that you can grab something if you need it. We have a lot of great camping sites that are 1-2 hours away from Edmonton so check them out before going too far.
4) Pick easier day-hikes and activities for your first few trips:
Sleeping over-night in tents has it's challenges including potentially rough nights sleeps. Asking your body to perform more intense hikes and activities while low energy can be a bit much so plan for short trips and fun excursions for the first few trips.