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Backcountry Camping in Canada

Backcountry camping in Canada is a challenging experience you won't soon forget. The vast wilderness, extreme temperatures, and variety of terrain combine to give you Canadian backcountry camping memories that will last a lifetime. From the Atlantic to Pacific, and even up to the Artic, you'll find wilderness camping spots with truly magnificent scenery and abundant wildlife. And while you're here, pick up some new strategies on survival camping at one of the wilderness schools.

History of Canadian Backcountry Camping

It wasn't all that long ago that all of Canada was backcountry. A few centuries ago all the inhabitants of this country were backcountry camping in Canada. Scientists and historians believe that humans migrated across a land or ice bridge over the Bering Strait from Siberia over 12,000 years ago. They followed caribou, musk oxen, bison, horse, and woolly mammoth that were looking for fertile feeding grounds.

These newly arrived humans established settlements and began hunting in Canada. They followed the herds as they moved to better grazing areas and began winter camping in Canada to keep up with the food supply.

When the Europeans arrived, the natives taught them the ways of backcountry camping in Canada. As they became accustomed to the Canadian wilderness, the Europeans soon set out to establish trading posts across the country. Today, some of those trails and campsites are still in use for those wanting to experience traditional Canadian backcountry camping.

Popularity of Survival Camping

As our society has become more urbanized it would seem probable that survival camping would be decreasing in popularity. That doesn't seem to be the case as more people are "escaping" the city to participate in "back to nature" activities. There are wilderness camping schools that educate and guide participants in the unique aspects of backcountry camping in Canada.

"Back to nature" means different things to different people. For some, RVing in Canada is considered to be "roughing it". For others, setting up a tent close to an amusement park and family camping in Canada is the way to go. These are fun activities and I've participated in them myself. However, there are a "core" group of people, like you, that enjoy testing and stretching their limits when survival camping. Canadian backcountry camping offers you the challenges you seek.

You can test your survival camping skills in the barren wilds of Newfoundland and Labrador...follow caribou herds through Quebec...enjoy canoeing in Canada along the lakes and rivers of Northern Ontario...cross the Prairies while backpacking in Canada...or venture into the wilds of the Rockies while mountaineering in Canada.

Wilderness Camping Survival Tips

Staying safe and protecting the environment are two keys for a successful wilderness camping trip. As the saying goes in Canadian backcountry camping circles "Leave only footprints, take only pictures".
  • Always check the weather forecast. Obtain a quality weather radio to take on your trip.
  • Hypothermia is a real danger. Ensure that everything possible is kept in waterproof bags or containers. Never leave plastic or garbage behind, take it with you.
  • Use waterproof spray on your boots, jacket, and tent as part of your pre-trip preparations.
  • Stay well hydrated. Fill your water bottles at every opportunity.
  • Be well-versed in first aid and be sure to bring a first aid kit
  • Know the territory you are camping in. Bring a map, compass, and/or a GPS. Speak to the Park Ranger for advice on the area.
  • Always bring a few different forms of fire starters such as waterproof matches, weatherproof lighter, and a magnesium fire starter.
  • Learn what plants are edible and the most nutritious in the area you will be backcountry camping in Canada.
  • Learn hunting and trapping techniques for the animals that inhabit the area.
  • Learn to build shelters and windbreaks for your tent in case a severe storm makes its presence.
  • Let people know where you are going and what your schedule is going to be.
Popular Wilderness Camping Spots
  • The Canol Heritage Trail is a 320 km (200 mile) advanced hiking trail that begins at Macmillan Pass in the Yukon and winds its way through to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories. You can do some Canadian backcountry camping in the Mackenzie River valley or in the barrens of the Mackenzie Mountains. Considered one of the most challenging trails for backcountry camping in Canada, you'll want to allow yourself at least 22 days to complete the whole length.
  • Banff National Park offers an array of backpacking trails including wilderness camping and even some backcountry huts of the Alpine Club of Canada. These hiking trail systems connect with the trails of Jasper, Yoho, Mount Robson, and Kootenay National Parks.
  • The Voyageur Trail winds through sparsely populated Northern Ontario along the upper Great Lakes region. You'll see lumber and mining camps along the way and is a great way to experience wilderness camping in Canada. Follow the trail that the first European settlers used to expand their settlements.
  • Canada West Mountain School offers survival camping and mountain safety training from their Squamish, B.C. headquarters. Take the training, study the course material, and then venture out with your instructors for a "hands on" adventure into mountain backcountry.
  • Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland & Labrador has been declared an UNESCO heritage site due to its geological spectacle and amazing scenery. Wilderness camping in the artic-alpine barrens will challenge you on a whole new level. Follow in the footsteps of the Vikings that landed here 4,500 years ago.
  • Ontario's Bruce Trail stretches 770 km (475 miles) along the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara Falls to Tobemory on the Bruce Peninsula. The Niagara Escarpment is an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
  • The International Appalachian Trail extends 1,045 km (650 miles) from the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula in New Brunswick to Maine, U.S.A.'s Mt. Katahdin.
Where else can you hike through mountain wilderness and set up camp in the shadows of an ancient glacier from the ice age? Canadian backcountry camping offers some of the most amazing sights you'll ever encounter. You can watch grazing herds of caribou, encounter a Grizzly fishing for salmon (from a distance), and watch birds of prey high overhead when backcountry camping in Canada. You can combine your survival camping with various other activities such as white-water rafting, canoeing, or snowshoeing in Canada. Wilderness camping is an excellent way to experience the true beauty of nature in Canada.
 
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