Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
5 things you should know before your first camping trip

You did it!

You booked your first camping trip… now what?

Here’s how you can prepare for your first night out outdoors:

1. Keep it fresh

Storing food is one of the most important aspects of camping, especially if you are going on a longer trip.

family eating food

A large, well-insulated cooler with a lid and drain plug will come in handy while camping.

Before you leave, pack your cooler responsibly.

Prepare your food and freeze what you can (meat, sauces, soups, etc.). Your frozen foods will help keep your cooler colder! Pack ice at the bottom, followed by meat and dairy, then pack the rest of the cooler in the order you use the foods.

Remember to keep your food in tightly sealed bags and containers so they don’t get soggy with melted ice!

2. Keep it in your stove

Before you think about starting a fire, check the Ontario Parks alert page for possible fire bans in your park.

Firewood is sold in most parks. Please do not bring wood from home. If you do, you could be spreading insects and plant diseases that threaten the health of our forests.


Keep your campfire in the designated pit located at your site. Remove any pine needles, leaves, or grass around the hole and keep the heat small!

A fire larger than one meter has the potential to cause serious damage. Did you know that recreational forest users are responsible for 200 forest fires a year?

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Once you’ve enjoyed your campfire and are ready to call it a night, follow these steps to put out the fire:

  • Pour a lot of water on the campfire.
  • Stir the ashes with a stick.
  • Pour more water on top.

Repeat these steps until the ashes stop hissing and everything appears moist.

3. Prepare for mistakes

There are countless positive aspects to spending time outdoors. With those positives come the inevitable negatives. Namely: mosquitoes and black flies.

group at camping

Baggy pants and long-sleeved shirts will create a barrier between the bugs and your skin. If they persist, keep the bugs at bay with insect repellent.

Remember to close the tent behind you when entering and exiting. No one likes buzzing insects interrupting their peaceful sleep.

If you shudder at the thought of encountering stinging insects outdoors, try camping later in the summer and into fall. Spring is considered “bug season” in Ontario.

4. Prepare meals

Whether on the stove or over the fire, most of your favorite foods can be cooked and enjoyed in the middle of the forest!

cooking in a group

If you’ve invested in a camping stove, practice lighting it once or twice before venturing out. If you’re feeling especially keen, try cooking a meal on your new stove before you leave.

Camp stoves tend to be hotter than regular stoves, so keep the flame low and stir the food frequently.

Once you have reached your location, place your stove on a flat surface away from flammable materials, including the tablecloth.

Did you decide to give fire a chance?

Wait for the fire to go out and take advantage of the embers for even cooking. Use the built-in grill found in your pit for balance.

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Be patient. Cooking over the campfire usually takes longer than cooking on the stove.

5. Set up your tent

Take time and consideration when choosing your home away from home!

Like the rest of your new gear, practice setting up and taking down your tent before you arrive at the park.

This is the best time to check for rips or tears and make sure all pieces are present. You don’t want to find a hole in your tent in the middle of a downpour!

Once you get to your camp, do some research. Find a nice, flat spot for your tent. Avoid roots or rocks (your back will thank you) and plan for your tent to be AT LEAST six feet away from your fire pit.

family setting up tent

Once the tent is set up, secure it with a mallet. The mallets will prevent the pegs from bending or warping and allow you to reuse them over and over again.

We wish you a wonderful first camping experience!