Do and Don’ts of Car Camping

Today is the last of a three-part posting on our adventures in Bon Echo Provincial Park. Thanks for reading!


In terms of camping experience, P is very experienced and I would say I have some experience having both car and canoe camped. P is a former ‘tripper’ meaning that he was in charge of taking people out on trips.

There are some big differences between car and canoe camping. Car camping = a car (duh), flush toilets, showers and the ability to get food pretty much whenever. Canoe camping = canoe (again, duh), having to bring everything (including food) with you, going to the bathroom in nature or in a thunderbox, and some wildlife issues (sometimes).

Car camping is pretty easy for us. We have tons of gear lying around the house and we were pretty relaxed in terms of our prep. Because Northbrook grocery store is only a 15 minute drive away, we did not bring all the food we needed up from Ottawa. We also wore normal clothes for the most part. I wouldn’t be wearing my Nike shorts/Team Canada wear out on ‘trip’ (I get filthy).

While we were camping, we noticed a few things and took note of a few funny happenings around the camp. So to close off the last of three posts on camping:

The Do’s and Dont’s of Car Camping


1) Make sure you know how to set up your tent before hand and that it is big enough for you and whoever you are camping with. We tested out some tents last week to make sure Max would be easily accomdated.

2) Bring a camp stove!  It makes making food so much easier and besides there was a fire ban on at camp (no fire until 7pm).

3) Plan meals that are easy to make both in terms of prep and cooking. It takes longer to make things at camp, so don’t be trying to roast a chicken or something while camping. Stick to simple, basic, filling meals (pasta, steak/potatoes, BBQ’d chicken).

4) Bring lots of tarps and string – tarps come in usual for protecting your non-tent area from rain (especially the picnic table) and can be used in front of your tent as a ‘shoes off’ area so you don’t track in mud/dirt into your sleeping quarters.

5) Bring a cheap pair of flip flops for the beach and more importantly, for the communal shower. The floor gets NASTY

and finally, the more entertaining: The Don’ts

1) Do not come to camp, open up your massive vehicle and then blast club music so that you and every site around you can hear ‘da beats’. If I wanted to go to the club, I would have stayed at home.

2) Don’t dump kerosene or any other flammable object on a fire, especially during a fire ban. Don’t throw paper objects like cardboard over the raging fire. The tiny pieces on fire WILL travel with a gust of wind. This is how fires get started. Learn to make a fire before coming to camp. It isn’t that hard, and there are probably Youtube videos.

3) When camping, it is obvious that you are going to get dirty. Nobody cares if you smell a little and wearing the same shirt for two days. Therefore when it is 7pm and everyone wants to take a shower – don’t take a 15 minute long shower! What the hell are you doing in there? Shampoo, use some soap, rinse and DONE. What you are doing for 15 minutes, I don’t know: Remember tip #5?….right.

4) Don’t leave your cooler out after sunset. You can bet those raccoons are hanging out in the trees just waiting for the sun to go down so they can raid your snacks and beer. Next time I will not be chasing away the giant dog-sized raccoon from your site when you are off visiting your buddies.

5) Don’t dump your garbage in the outhouses. You don’t need a paper plate to go potty, so why is it in the loo? There are garbage bins everywhere. On that note: clean up your site before you leave. There should be zero litter on your site when you leave. Clean it up!

Any tips you wish to leave?

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  1. Misty Pratt

    lol…my hubby used to be a backcountry camper as well. We do the car camping thing now with the little one. Definitely no garbage in outhouses – last year we had a lovely midnight visit from a bear, who was breaking into the outhouses to see what the smell was! This year we are heading up to Achray, and we’ll need a bit more preparation. It’s slightly more remote than the campsites along Hwy60 in Algonquin, so I’m meal planning (obviously we could drive into Pembroke/Petawawa if need be, but it’s a pretty far drive when you’re busy swimming, canoeing and exploring!)

  2. Pingback: Running.Food.Baby. – Friday Ramblings

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