People are getting outdoors and camping more than ever this year. For me, this has been one of the silver linings of the past year and a half – getting out into nature more and discovering this beautiful country we live in. In a statement several weeks ago, Parks Canada mentioned that the “demand has been even higher this year, as [we] look to get outdoors and stay closer to home for their vacation plans”. Now, more than ever, we are exploring our own backyards and connecting with the great outdoors.
I recently got a new Ford Bronco Sport SUV. When looking at the different accessory options, I stumbled upon the Napier Backroadz SUV tent and knew I had to get one for some off-road car camping adventures. I was so excited to break it in on my last camping adventure and it did not disappoint. If you’re planning to head out car camping this summer, here are my top 10 tips to consider:
- Pick the right tent: Consider using a tent designed to fit your needs and your vehicle. I love the Napier Backroadz SUV Tent. It has an innovative vehicle sleeve that connects the tent to the trunk of your car, creating more sleeping and storage space than a traditional tent. Plus, a tree is planted with every Backroadz Tent purchase through their partnership with Trees for the Future, and that’s an initiative I can totally stand behind!
- Choose the perfect site: We are pretty spoiled in Canada, with a wide selection of camping locations. I love being fully immersed in nature, and the Baptiste Lake campsite hosted on Airbnb was the perfect option. The north facing views of Algonquin Park were absolutely incredible. This site is only available by rough road access, so I needed a 4X4 to get there (thank you Bronco Sport!). It’s important to know whether you can drive in to the camping site so make sure you choose a site accordingly.
- Choose the perfect spot to pitch your tent: This one is super important. While the above tip focuses on the right site, consider finding the right spot on that site. Keep things in mind such as which way the wind is blowing and finding flat and soft ground without any debris like sticks and stones. One important lesson I learned was ensuring that my tent was not too close to the campfire. I had to move the tent when I saw a few fire sparks flying towards the tent. Luckily, I avoided any damage to my tent but it was a close call!
- Setup your tent as soon as you arrive on site:I assure you, setting up in the dark with a flashlight is not fun. Set up your tent as soon as you arrive so that you have plenty of daylight to problem solve if you run into any issues. During my most recent camping trip, there was very heavy wind, which slowed us down significantly. You never know what kind of weather you will encounter so it’s best to set up right away to give you plenty of time. Thankfully, the Napier Backroadz SUV Tent is easy to set up and has useful step-by-step instructions sewn to the case.
- Plan your meals ahead of time: There’s no store to run to in the wilderness, so plan carefully! Also, keep in mind the resources you will have. At the Baptise Lake site, I only had a fire to cook over – no stove, BBQ, nothing. So with that in mind, I made one of my favourite campfire burrito recipes in advance, wrapped them in tinfoil and cooked them over the fire. Perfection.
- Use the back of your car as your staging area: You’ll need an area to use to get ready for the day or change clothes. Using the back of your car as a staging area really helps with convenience and privacy. My Bronco Sport has a cargo area partition that can fold out to form a table, and it also has LED camping lights built into the door – super convenient. Because of the Napier SUV tent’s vehicle sleeve, this whole area is enclosed and protected from the elements.
- Keep everything organized for easy access: Keeping everything organized makes your whole trip go a lot smoother. It is also useful in the event of an emergency or accident to know where everything is! The Napier Backroadz Tent makes it super easy to get organized with all the extra room it creates as well as its internal gear pocket and lantern holder.
- Dress for success: Make sure you check the weather forecast before heading out and pack appropriately! Even in the middle of summer, you’ll want to throw in a rain jacket, sweater, and long pants just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate! Make sure you have a few back-ups, too, as they’re bound to get dirty or wet while camping!
- Get lost… but not that lost (bring a map!): If you plan on hiking while camping, make sure you have a downloaded trail map on your phone, or even better, a real map. You’re unlikely to have full service, or even electricity, so make sure you have a way to navigate when you stray outside the campground.
- Leave the site just like you found it, if not better! Mother nature is always there for us when we need an adventure, so let’s give back to her by making sure we leave the campsite how we found it. I’m talking about litter, firewood, food scraps… What you bring in, bring it back out!
So there you have it, 10 things to consider for your next off-road car camping adventure. Make sure you use these tips to ensure you have a smooth experience. And me? I’m just going to go pack up my Bronco Sport and Napier Backroadz Tent and head out on another adventure. Be safe and have a great vacation everyone!
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Author – Luis Cabrera