Backcountry for Beginners & Car Camping Clothing

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Pamela: Hello, and good day a welcome to the Super Good Camping podcast. My name is Pamela.

Tim: And I’m Tim.

Pamela: And we’re from We’re here because we wanted to inspire other families to enjoy camping adventures such as we have with our kids. Today, we wanted to talk about a couple of things – backcountry for beginners is one and the other was essential clothing for car camping. And I’ll take it over to Tim so he can talk about backcountry for beginners.

Tim: Ok, so I think of it as an introduction to what I think of as true backcountry, although there are people that make what I think of as true backcountry look quite pedestrian. There’s a number of, and again, sticking with the whole Ontario Parks theme, there’s a number of different parks that have easy-to-get-to type sites. So for instance, Grundy has at least one, but I think they have three or maybe four sites that are just a little bit away from the main Park. They’re a paddle away you are jumping in a canoe but you’re paddling for seven minutes kind of a deal, and it’s generally it’s a nice calm area. You happen to be loading your stuff into a canoe and you can’t walk there. That’s a perfect way to do it.

Grundy Lake Provincial Park has backcountry sites that are reasonable for beginner backcountry campers

You know, you’re in close if there’s any sort of medical emergency or you get there and you go “doh! I forgot…” whatever. Right? That kind of thing. At Balsam, I’ve actually gone into these sites. They have walk-in sites, and I believe there are four of them. It’s a bit of a hike. It’s not crazy. But when you’re dragging all your car camping stuff, including that big, heavy, cooler, and food, you might reconsider how much you’re taking with you. It’ll let you learn to not have access to everything all the time. You do want to pare down some or get a pack. They’re great sites. They’re away from everybody. They’re accessible. The roadway, you could bike along it, and get to the campgrounds. If you wanted to bike in, you don’t have to spend all your time away from it. They are Radio-Free. They’re far away from everybody else. I believe they’re also pet-free, unfortunately, at least at Balsam. Frontenac has sort of beginner hike-in sites. It’s a longer trek than the Balsam ones and you do book specific sites along the way. They’re very well-marked. The hike-in trail, the distances are well-marked on the map that you want to buy. When you’re booking the park, you’ll know what distances you’re getting into and you can do a rough estimate as to how long it’ll take you to get there. So it is very beginner’ish. Bon Echo also has some canoe-in sites. Just a quick list of ones that are listed as beginner level, they have beginner backcountry sites at Charleston Lake, Esker Lakes, Fushimi Lake, Halfway Lake, Massasauga, and Murphy’s point. I would highly recommend trying backcountry camping. If we haven’t figured it out by now I’m a huge fan of doing backcountry camping! I absolutely love that I spend, man, I spent a whole year planning my trip really maybe a bit more, it seems to be constant. I love doing it. I’m looking at how it’s going as far as booking backcountry stuff this year. I’m absolutely terrified that there are going to be so many injuries and lost people and just people that are out of their depth that have gone “Yeah, how hard can it be?” I got news for you, it can be really hard! It’s totally worth it, but man experience is worth its weight in gold. So if you haven’t done it before, by all means I highly recommend trying out Grundy, Bon Echo, or Balsam, or Frontenac. Those four in particular I know are pretty easy in the grand scheme of things and you get to see whether having all that solitude works for you.

Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park

Pamela: That’s great and also just be safe people and then we also want to talk about essential clothing for when you’re camping.

Tim: Specifically speak to car camping on this count, although a lot of it does apply to both. Just last week when you’re backcountry camping footwear man like four or five different pairs of things. So assuming you’re not just going to be a lump like me and sit around and read a book the entire week. Good sturdy hiking boots, that’s a piece of equipment that applies to both whether it’s backcountry in a canoe backcountry with a backpack and doing the hiking trails or your front country and you’re going to do some hiking or even if you’re going to do some biking or something you’re just going to trip through the bush and check out that moose over there whatever. Don’t spend the $42 at Walmart and get whatever’s on sale. I’ve had hiking boots that were north of $400 but I had them for six or seven years and they were absolutely just just the best thing since sliced bread. They were amazing boots. Right now I have a almost $200 pair of Keenes that I have two seasons on and they still look brand new they’re totally worth it. I’ve had you know $130 ones from from Mark’s that were good too. They lasted me like two years. It’s something that usually the money you spend on them generally works out in the wash. You want some flip flops, if you’re car camping because if they ever open the showers again, hopefully you’re going to go have a shower at some point or you’re on the beach or you’re mucking about in some wet stuff and you want to easily be able to rinse your feet off.

Pamela: Or you get up in the middle of the night to the washroom you can slip your feet into your flip flops

Tim: Without having to strain your brain and wake up too much, sandals are great. Those play both front country and backcountry. I have closed-toe sandals but there’s lots of holes in them. They work well on the front country for me they work fairly well in the back country because you’re in and out of the canoe for portages. So I’m in up to my knees, my hiking boots aren’t going to work out well at that point. But I don’t necessarily want to step on something and have it slice my foot or whatever. I suppose you want running shoes, a lot of people get out and get their morning run. They keep their training programme going when their car camping, so running shoes, and they also if you’re biking, maybe your sandals will play, maybe they won’t, that kind of a deal. Other things just sort of off the top of my head, a hat. It doesn’t matter where you are, unless you’re on a completely shaded site and that’s where you stay. Even still, you’re still going to get far more light than you anticipate. If you’re an urbanite, lots of times you get away with a ball cap. I have two, I’ve got that and I’ve got an outdoor research full brim that I can snap up the sides or leave them down. It also works well if it’s pouring rain and you’re stuck outside. Swim shorts, again, doesn’t matter where you are. Well, you don’t necessarily have to have them in the backcountry. Make sure that nobody’s around, just saying, pasty white butt. Swim shorts because you’re in Ontario, and it has something ridiculous like 130,000 lakes or something crazy like that. [edit: Ontario has 250 000 lakes]. So chances are you’re going to be near water that’s probably the essentials. I do like to have a pair of long pants or track pants just for, you know, if we are going to do a hike and you’re getting whacked in the legs. I don’t want to come back all bleeding from raspberry bushes and thorns or or what have you. There are very cool ones they sell at Outfitters. Though, I can assure you my mother has bought some for me from Costco before. They’re a pant but you can zip off three quarters of the pant leg and they turn into shorts, which is quite cool. I have a penchant for for many pockets on cargo type pants because I like to carry lots of crap around with me.

Pamela: Well, and long pants are good when the bugs start coming out at dusk.

Tim: Very true. I don’t notice these things.

Pamela: Lucky you! We’ve got our dad joke, you want to stick around for that.

Tim: So my friend comes up and says hey, what rhymes with orange? I say No, it doesn’t.

Pamela: Groan.

Tim: That’s good. I like that.

Pamela: That’s it for us for today. Thanks for tuning in. And we’ll be here again next week. My name is Pamela

Tim: and I’m Tim

Pamela: and we’re from Please feel free to visit our website. You can also reach us by email anytime our email address is that’s Take care and talk to you soon.

Tim: Bye

Pamela: Bye

This is the transcript from our podcast, you can listen to it here.