How to Keep Track of Your Gear!

So it’s fall and with it comes the crazy business that is back to school, Thanksgiving, and Christmas preparation. For some of us (like me) it means back to the daily grind. Still that doesn’t mean that you have to “vacate” the camping mood. For some of you, it could mean going for a trip this winter down south or some of you might even give winter camping a try! The big thing is though that even in this “off-season” you should know where each piece of your gear is so that you have easy access if you quickly decide to take a trip.

This is where a gear inventory comes in handy. This is especially important if you are like me and you have gear in two different homes. Part of my gear is up north and the other part is here in the city. So how do I keep track?

I write down every piece of gear I purchase on a spreadsheet. This way every year I can check off that I have put it away or I can state that it got damaged or sold. This makes my life so much easier! We have a large number of tents, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and Thermarests. Each sleeping bag is rated for a different temperature, the Thermarests vary in thickness, and our tents vary in sizes. I want to know that I’m using the right gear at the right time of year.

How you set up your inventory is up to you. I have it saved on my computer but I know someone who has it laminated so that they can easily write down which trip dates they took the gear. All you need to do is make it work for you!

I apologize for being absent on the blog lately but this is always a busy time of year for me as I change my schedule from 1 day a week in the summer to 5/6 days a week during the school year.

~Enjoy your trip!

Thinking Outside with #TedxAlgonquinPark

This week marked the return of TedxAlgonquinPark at the Algonquin Visitor’s Center.  I was thrilled to be able to attend this year!  As I posted on Tuesday some of the speakers included Kevin Callan, Preston Ciere, and Jeff McMurtrie.  The visitor’s center’s theatre was full and decorated really cool!  As you can see in the pic above they had a canoe and the Tedx logo on the stage.  To the right of the stage behind the speakers was a map made by Jamie McCrae from McCrae Lumber in Whitney!

As I said the theatre was full!  As was the lobby!

The theme was Think Outside.  From the very first speaker (Kevin Callan)  right to the very last (Preston Ciere) we were inspired and encouraged to get outside.  Some of the memorable quotes from the day are below!

“One month in the wilderness can change your life!” – Kevin Callan

“To reconnect with yourself, you need to reconnect with nature” – Kevin Callan

“Bears can’t help themselves. If natural food sources fail, they will look for other alternatives. They have no choice.” – Martyn Obbard

“It’s important to be still, be silent!  I get my best ideas that way” – Lyndsey Mask

“If kids are having fun, they’ll get something out if it. (Silly nature songs ) open up doors for questions.” – Lyndsey Mask

“A map is a lens that shines perspective on the world around you.” – Jeff McMurtrie

“Context can enliven the world around you.” – Jeff McMurtrie (Knowing what’s there is important!)

“64% of Toronto’s tree species are non-native and about half of the once native tree species are gone.” – Eric Davies

“Find a tree, get some seeds and plant a new tree!” – Eric Davies

“Barriers to camping: no experience, need comfort, no equipment, no transportation, no interest.” – Boris Issaev

“We need to refocus our message about our parks to get more people to embrace the opportunities out there.” – Boris Issaev

“Want to talk to aliens? The radio telescope in #AlgonquinPark will soon be able to let you do that” – Chris Soucy

“Get outside. It’s good for you! (And encourage other people to get outside, too!)” – Preston Ciere

It was great to rub shoulders and converse with fellow outdoors people!  The highlight for me was meeting people that I’ve admired for years like Kevin Callan, Preston Ciere, and Jeff McMurtrie.  During the breaks and evening reception we all got the chance to talk, mingle, and share ideas!

For those of you who went I’d love to hear from you your thoughts!  Thanks to the organizers for a great day and I look forward to next year!

~Enjoy your trip!

Pre Planning Pt 1

Good Morning!

The sun this morning is deceiving…but nice anyways :).  Going on a canoe trip or camping trip is great and very relaxing.  However there is a lot of work that goes into a trip and usually I start in January.

Planning for a trip consists of a number of things.  Step one is typically done at the end of the season which is to take an inventory of all your gear.  This is so that during the off season you can repair what needs to be repaired and stock up on gear that needs to be replaced or any new gear you wish to purchase.  Step two is planning when you are going to take your trips and start planning your route/base camp.  Step three is to finalize your route/base camp and reserve.  Step four is to organize your gear, food, and anything else you need for your trip.  On a side note: everyone plans their trips differently.  This is how I plan my trips and you yourself needs to find your own method.  I’m planning my first trip of the season which is looking like it will be on Mother’s Day weekend.

So let’s get to planning.  My family is in the process of moving so we’ve already taken an indepth inventory of what we have.  Closer to the beginning of the season it will be leaving the boxes and stored where I have quick access to it.  I suggest maybe making an excel spreadsheet of your gear so that you can quickly pull it up anytime.  This is really important if you have people coming with you that have never camped before so you can make sure you have enough gear for everyone.  This spreadsheet can then be printed if you like or emailed to people in your family so everyone has a copy on their computer.

Step 2…choosing the date and location of your trip.  This is going to be my first trip of the season so I’m looking at May 10-13th.  Because I’m camping on a Friday and Monday…I’m going to have to make sure I book the time off of work.  This is where a planning binder can come in handy.  Typically I’m a very spontaneous person in the fact that my trips are booked and planned within a week or so but I do like to be organized when it comes to trips that I plan well in advance.  You can get some handy printables from A Daily Dose of Davis.  Or search on Pinterest.com.  I will post some planning templates later today on my pinterest site.

So we have the dates – May 10-13th.  Now we need a site or route in mind.  Because it is early in the season…there are only a few campgrounds open along the HWY 60 corridor in Algonquin Park.  This is a very important part of planning as it can make or break your trip.  You need to take into account that your favorite site may not be available yet.  Let’s go onto Ontarioparks.com to check availability

So for the dates in question this is the availability:

As you can see…the only campgrounds open/available are Tea Lake, Mew Lake, and Rock/Coon Lake along the HWY 60 Corridor.  There are other campgrounds up north and to the east as well.  For all intents and purposes we are going with HWY 60.  Part of your decision in picking a place to camp requires you to find out information about the campground you want to choose.  All three campgrounds here are great..however they do have some con’s as well.  For example, Mew Lake has a great location with the airfield behind it and access to the Track and Tower or Highland Backpacking Trail.  However, a bunch of the sites back onto the hwy and can be quite noisy.  Rock Lake is fairly secluded from the main road however the sites are fairly open to each other.  So you need to decide what is right for you and your family.

This afternoon I’m going to walk you through choosing a site using Ontarioparks.com and making sure you choose the right site for your needs!

~Enjoy your trip!