Here’s how to explore the Canadian outdoors on a budget

Exploring the great Canadian outdoors can be costly, but there are many ways to go camping without breaking the bank.

Before heading out on an outdoor adventure, Zwena Gray, an avid hiker and environmentalist, suggests making a list of what you need.

“What I always do is create a list, and then with the things I don’t have, I always reach out to family and friends,” Gray told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.

If there’s any gear that your friends and family don’t have, Gray said some communities have a “gear library” that can fill in the gaps. She pointed to the BIPOC Outdoor Gear Library in Guelph, Ont., as one example where Black, Indigenous and other people of colour can turn to rent gear at a low cost.

In some communities without designated camping libraries, regular public libraries are also starting to rent out gear.

Depending on the type of camping, Gray recommends using items from around the house to cut down on costs.

“If you’re doing front country (car camping), you actually don’t need to buy a sleeping bag, I would just recommend bringing the blankets and comforters from your house,” she said.

Although people like the “luxury” of a mattress, bringing one camping is not always possible or necessary, Gray said.

Instead, she suggests people stack yoga mats or sleeping pads. Gray said this is important because when sleeping on the ground, a person can lose at least 10 degrees (Celsius) of body heat.

When camping in heat, food can spoil quickly in the cooler, Gray noted. In that case, she recommends people dehydrate some meals.

Her favourite meal to dehydrate while camping is chili.

“People think that you need to go and buy a dehydrator but you can also dehydrate using your oven,” she said. “Or if you’re in a sunny place, you could actually dehydrate (some of) your food outside.”


To watch the full interview and hear all of Gray’s tips, click the video at the top of this article. 


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