Camping tips for beginners

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Camping can be a new adventure for you and your family this summer. Spending time outdoors will be a welcome change after staying at home the last few months. Parks and campgrounds are now open in the province (Phase 2). Know and follow the guidelines to stay safe.

To prepare for camping, here are some basics you should know:

Types of camping

There are two types of camping in Canada, Frontcountry and Backcountry camping:

  1. Frontcountry camping or “car camping” is when you bring your car to the site and camp where you park. Campsites have showers, flush toilets, playgrounds, snack bars and theatres. Some have swimming pools. There are different kinds of frontcountry campsites:
    • Serviced campsites – This is for recreational vehicles (RVs), trailers and tent trailers. They have water, sewer or electrical hook-ups. Not ideal for setting up a tent.
    • Unserviced campsites – These are good for tenting. They have tent pads and flush toilets, showers and potable water. They also accept RVs and tent trailers that do not need service hook-ups.
    • Pull-through campsites or drive-through campsites – These are for vehicles towing larger trailers or RVs.
    • Walk-in campsites – These places are more rough as they have less facilities. You would have to park your vehicle outside and walk to reach the campgrounds.
    • Group campsites – These accept bigger groups who reserve areas for organized activities.
  2. Backcountry camping is done in the wilderness. There are no facilities and amenities. You will need to hike, ski, canoe or kayak to reach your camp site.

How to not fail at camping, CBC

Planning for your first camping trip

  1. Reserve ahead of time – Camping is a popular activity in Canada so reserve early. Go early in May or June or in September to avoid crowds. Go to the Manitoba Parks website for more information. Find out:
    • Camp regulations (e.g. what you’re allowed to bring or use)
      • Physical distancing protocols
      • Sanitation and infection prevention guidelines
    • Rules on changing or cancelling a reservation
    • Facilities (e.g. washrooms, grills, fire pits, etc.)
    • Rules for bringing pets
    • Activities or events

    Go to this websites for good campsites:


  2. Make a checklist – Make a list of things your need to bring. The province’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin recommends that you bring everything you need to minimize contact with others. Here is an example: camping checklist (available in various languages).

  4. Get the right gear– Get a tent and other gear to make camping comfortable. Get an inflated mattress, thick blankets or sleeping bags. You can also borrow a tent from a friend or rent camping equipment.
    Check the weather forecast before you leave and be prepared for colder weather. Wear warm, comfortable clothes. Wear layers that you can remove when it gets warm. Bring a hat, extra socks and rain gear in case it rains.

  6. Learn how to pitch a tent – Read the Camper’s Guide. to learn basic camping skills. Practise in your backyard and sleep outdoors overnight to see how you like it. Learn safe camping practices. Know what to do if you encounter a wild animal or recognize plants and insects that are harmful. Read the suggested resources below.

  8. Be prepared for emergencies – The first thing you should pack is a first aid kit. Also bring extra batteries for your flashlight, matches and fuel for lamps or stoves, and extra water. Remember to bring medication if you or a family member has allergies (or other health conditions).

Article updated May 19, 2020.
Sources: Parks Canada site; Manitoba Parks and Protected Spaces. Both retrieved May 17, 2018.

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Community Resources

Read Learn how to camp: The basics from Parks Canada (with translations to Chinese, Punjabi, Tagalog, and Spanish).

Read Quick tips for staying outdoors in the summer for safety tips to protect your skin and health.

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