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Camping 101

 

 

 
Picking your Campground
 
Tips for picking the campground perfect for you!
  1. Determine how far you want to drive and the direction you wish to go in.
  2. Determine what activities you want to do and campground amenities you wish to have (example: lake, comfort station, playground).
  3. Visit the Search Campgrounds page, select the type of site, region and amenities you are looking for and click search.  Look through the campgrounds that fit your criteria and narrow down your top choices. The listing may also have a link to the campground's website which may provide more information.
  4. Phone the campground if you have any questions. Make your reservation by phone or internet. 
Lastly, watch the following YouTube video for more helpful hints.
 
 
 
 
Camping Terms
 
Here are some definitions for common camping terms:
 
Overnight Campsite – this is a campsite that is used for short stay.
Seasonal Campsite – this is a campsite that you rent for the season.
Cottage Rental – generally have a kitchen with pots, pans and dishes and washroom in the unit. Please check the campground for specifics.
Cabin Rentals – generally have a basic kitchen with water and beds. It may also come with an outdoor barbeque.
Trailer Rentals – many campgrounds have RV trailers for rent in their campgrounds. This provides a wonderful opportunity to try camping in an RV. Comfort Station – Comfort Stations are washrooms located throughout campgrounds. A comfort station contains washrooms and shower facilities. The shower facilities normally have a place to change your clothes.
 
 
Things to Bring
 
Please click here to view a list of things to pack. If you are renting a cottage or cabin, please check with the owners to see what items are included to determine what you need to bring from home. Most campgrounds have these lists on their websites. Below please find a useful video on how to pack an RV.


  
Campfires and Firewood

Campfires
 
When arriving at the campground, find out if there are any fire bans or restrictions at the park. 
 
Do not bring firewood with you to the park.  Buy firewood from the campground directly. Moving firewood  can spread invasive species to our forests. Bringing your own firewood when you travel to or from your favourite campsite could threaten and destroy thousands, even millions of trees.
 
Firewood sold at campgrounds may be slightly more expensive, but the campground will ensure that the wood is safe and conveniently available for campers.  
 
How to Safely Build a Campfire
Most campgrounds will have a fire pit available at each site.  Please use this designated fire pit.
 
What you need:
•    Tinder (shredded newspaper, cardboard, small sticks)
•    Kindling (sticks smaller than 1" around)
•    Larger pieces of wood
•    Matches/lighter
Loosely pile a few handfuls of tinder in the center of the fire ring/pit.
Add kindling in one of these methods:
 
 
Tepee - Lay the kindling over the tinder like you're building a tent. Light the centre.
 
 
Lean-to - Drive a long piece of kindling into the ground at an angle over the tinder. Lean smaller pieces of kindling against the longer piece.
 
 
 
Log Cabin - Surround your pile of tinder with kindling, stacking pieces in a square formation. Top the "cabin" with the smallest kindling.
 
 
Once you have built your fire: 
  • Ignite the tinder with a match or lighter
  • Add more tinder as the fire grows
  • Blow lightly at the base of the fire
  • Add kindling and firewood to keep the fire going
  • Keep the fire small and under control
Fire Safety
  • Never leave the fire unattended.  Before you go to bed or leave your site, you must put the fire out with a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water nearby just case you need to put the fire out.
  • Make sure children and pets are supervised when near the fire.
  • Never burn pressurized cans, glass or aluminum cans.

 
For more information please visit www.mnr.gov.on.ca 
 
Firewood

Buy firewood directly from the campground. Pests in your firewood can destroy our forests.
 
Invasive insects and diseases can exist in firewood. Moving untreated firewood, even just a few kilometres to or from a campground or a cottage, is a common way for invasive insects and diseases to spread. You can help us protect our environment from the spread of destructive pests. Don't move firewood or other types of wood from regulated areas. This includes trees, nursery stock, pruned branches, and logs.
 
Moving firewood from places where invasive insects and diseases have been found can be a violation of the Plant Protection Act, with penalties up to $50,000 and/or prosecution.

The Asian Long-horned Beetle is a destructive pest which attacks hardwood trees, including maple, elm, poplars, birch, and willow. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is killing ash trees in Ontario, and control measures are in place to prevent its spread. Native to Asia, these beetles have no natural predators in Canada. If allowed to spread, they have the potential to kill millions of trees across Canada in our cities, parks and forests.

Potential Impact
These pests can cause trees to disappear from our forests, cities, streets and parks. This can affect air and water quality, as well as natural food sources. It can deprive citizens of shade and animals of habitat while damaging private property and reducing land value.

For more information please visit the CFIA's website at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/ or contact the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342.

For more information please click on the links below:
How to Identify the Emerald Ash Borer - English
How to Identify the Emerald Ash Borer - French
Emerald Ash Borer Information - English
Emerald Ash Borer Information - French
 
 
Camping Etiquette
 
How To Ensure You and Other Campers Have a Great Experience
 
Here are some simple guidelines to ensure that everyone has a great camping trip:
  • Do not walk through other campsites, even if it would make it easier to get to washrooms or other park locations.
  • Keep your pet on a leash at all times.
  • Pick up after your dog. Bring a scoop or plastic bag to pick up and dispose of properly.
  • Always fully extinguish your campfire when sleeping or leaving your campsite. Not only is it dangerous and against most park regulations, but the smoke can become overwhelming when a campfire is not maintained properly.
  • Be thoughtful when using a radio, observe radio-free zones and take the time to ask if the radio is too loud for your campsite neighbours.
  • Minimize noise around the campfire late at night. Although everyone loves sitting around the campfire, be courteous to other campers who may be sleeping.
  • Don't leave trash at your campsite. The smell attracts wildlife while you sleep or leave your site. Raccoons or other critters, can be very noisy and will make a mess dragging the trash throughout the park.
  • Dispose of trash in the park provided garbage bins and recycling containers.
  • Wash dishes at your campsite (not at the water tap) and dump any remaining waste in the waste vault or park provided location.
  • Keep your fire under control for safety and to comply with park regulations.
  • Introduce yourself to your campsite neighbours. Knowing your neighbours helps with campsite security while you are away from your site, and may come in handy if you forgot any items at home like sugar or sunblock.
  • Advise the campground if it is your first time camping. They can give you some quick tips to help you during your stay.
  • When you are making your reservation, tell the owner how many campers are in your group. This helps ensure that you are put you in a section of the campground that will accommodate the size of your party.
  • If you are not familiar with the campground rules and regulations – please ask the owner/front desk to explain them to you. Campground rules and regulations are there so that each guest has an enjoyable stay at the campground.
  • Please do not bring your own firewood or go into the woods to gather twigs and fallen trees. Breaking branches damages the trees, and fallen trees must be allowed to decay naturally.
  • Please remember that you are a guest in the woods and that you are in the native animal's homes. Respect the animals and do not feed them or approach any wild animals.
  • Lastly at the end of your camping vacation, please clean up your campsite. Pick up garbage, make sure the fire pit area is tidy and stacking any left-over firewood. The next guest deserves to have a clean campsite. All campgrounds have places to dispose of your garbage.
 
Favourite Campground Recipes
 
Campfire S’Mores

You will need:
  • Graham Crackers
  • Plain Chocolate
  • Large Marshmallows (not expired or they will not melt well)
  • Campfire
  • Skewers or sticks
- Break apart graham crackers, so that you have one top cracker and one bottom cracker for each s'more.
- Break apart chocolate, placing one square a half of your graham cracker.
- Skewer the marshmallow on a stick or campfire skewer and slowly roast over the fire, turning the stick until golden brown – this tends to work best over the heat of the embers or the top of the fire. Others prefer their marshmallow charred – it is up to you!
- Without removing the marshmallow from the skewer, place it on the chocolate. To avoid burning yourself with the marshmallow which can be quite hot, take your other cracker and place over the top of the marshmallow, creating a sandwich, and pull the skewer out.
- Allow the chocolate to melt slightly. Enjoy and repeat!

For an interesting change, substitute other chocolate, flavoured marshmallows, pop tarts or chocolate graham crackers.

Here is a link to a great video on how to make S’Mores: http://video.about.com/camping/How-to-Make-Campfire-S-mores.htm

Spider Dogs

You will need:
  • Hot dogs
  • Campfire
  • Skewers or sticks
  • Condiments (optional)
Take your hot dog and cut an x into the end about a quarter of the way into the hot dog. Do this on both sides. Skewer the hot dog preferably through the middle. Roast over the fire to perfection and enjoy with your favourite condiments.
 
Easy Hobo Tin Foil Dinner
 
(Makes dinner for 4)
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce
Directions:
Use a large square piece of heavy duty aluminum foil for each dinner and spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.  Separate ground beef into 4 equal patties and place in the center of each piece of foil.  Divide potatoes, carrots, and onion evenly between all 4 dinners and place on top of meat.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add Worcestershire sauce on top of each dinner,  to taste.  Fold foil up tightly around the entire meal.  Cook on a grill on medium-high heat or an open fire for 25-30 minutes (until vegetables and meat are cooked through).