We went camping for the first time last summer, and had to go back this year! This time, we went to Bass Lake Provincial Park, only an hour away from Toronto.
Ontario Parks’ Learn to Camp Program makes it easy for first-time campers and regular visitors to learn from Park Ambassadors. You can book a Learn to Camp ambassador for a 30-minute workshop right at your campsite! There’s different skills you can choose from – Camp kitchen, How to build a campfire, Campsite clean-up, How to keep a clean campsite, and more!
We booked an ambassador to help us set up camp, and it was very helpful! They helped with the tent setup, and taught us the basics of how to use a campsite. 🙂
To book a Learn to Camp Ambassador, do it here.
- Tent – our 8-people tent was more than big enough, but it’d be perfect for the 3 of us, including our luggage etc.
- Sleeping set up – to avoid a super hard bed, use an air mattress with a sleeping bag. Pack a few bed sheets or blankets depending on how cold it gets at night (and it can be chilly even on hot summer days).
- Flashlight – This isn’t even for outdoor use, even to make your way around your tent or a trip to the bathroom at night. Maybe a ghost story or two…
- Camping stove – you don’t need half your kitchen, just a portable stove with a tank of gas. Grab a cast iron or a versatile non-stick pan.
- Plates and cutlery – just the basics, keep it lightweight.
- Adventure pack – plan your activities in advance so you’ll pack a towel for the beach, shoes for the hike, and a first aid kit for any minor issues.
- Water bottles – you’ll usually have access to clean drinking water, but I like to take a big bottle or a 24-pack.
- Hat – You’ll want to spend a lot of time outside, so it makes sense to protect your head.
- Sunscreen – protect your skin since you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors
- Insect repellent – I’m still surprised at how quickly bugs and mosquitos surround you, use a repellent to keep them away!
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Toilet paper – It’s there in the washroom, but I like to keep a backup
- Portable fan – for when you want some relief from the sun
Food at Camp
Of course you’ll want to enjoy some delicious meals on your camping trip! You can cook directly on the campfire, or use a portable propane stove. We did both!
Pack your food:
We pre-planned our meals and cut the veggies from home, pack them in ziplock bags. The spices I took in little jars. Meat, eggs and coffee cream were all in the cooler with plenty of ice. You can refill the ice from the camp store. We also froze a bottle of water, so it served as ice, and a cold drink we can enjoy. Store condiments and dry food in separate bags so it’s easier to find.
What gear did we use to cook?
- Portable propane stove
- Propane tank (a small one that’s easy to carry)
- Cast iron skillet and a non-stick pan
- Basic Utensils
- Oven mitts
- S’mores skewers
What can you make at the campfire?
- Marshmallow + skewers or sticks to hold them over the fire
- Corn – you can put it directly on the grill, we wrapped it in aluminum foil
- Tea – we put our little kettle on the grill
- Burgers – we took frozen patties, dropped them on a skillet over the fire, and toasted the buns as well
What can you make on the stove?
Anytime and everything you would at home! With the right prep, you can make all your favourite recipes while camping. This year, my experiment was to make shakshuka at camp! 🍳 It’s one of my favourite recipes, and tastes extra delicious when made outdoors.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 6 large eggs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat olive oil in a large pan and add onion and bell pepper for cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until onion becomes translucent.
- Add all the spices and stir for 1 minute.
- Add canned tomatoes and let the sauce simmer for 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Use your spoon to make wells in the sauce and crack the eggs into each well. Season the eggs with some salt. Cover the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, until the eggs are cooked (I prefer runny yolks!)
- Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and enjoy with a side of bread!
We’re getting more comfortable with camping and I can see us exploring more parks next year. I’m definitely open to any advice, recommendations, or questions you may have.
Thanks for reading, bye!
PS: To see more from our camping trip, check my story highlights called “Camping” on @ibake_memories 🙂