Outdoor Trails: Latest Bug Report and Camping Insights

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For the most part, the year hasn’t been too bad so far. That said, the cooler, wetter weather we’ve had since Canada Day has brought new outbreaks of mosquitoes and deer flies, and if you do venture outside, insect control is a must.

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High tick populations can also be a concern, so check your pets, as well as yourself, if you are near tall grass, shrubs or trees.

Camping is fun and a really profitable way to enjoy and get the most out of your summer vacation or weekend adventure. And different strokes for different people apply here too, in that many will choose an organized campground such as a provincial park or independent campground. These offer amenities, such as showers and toilets, and most have drinking water. Then there are more adventurous people like me, who much prefer remote camping experiences. Either way, part of the fun is getting together with like-minded campers and planning your trips – which is very important, especially for remote campers.

I have found over the years that most tents are overrated in the sense that if they are classed as, say, a three person tent, to cram all three people into the tent is to overcrowd it. As a general rule I like to choose a tent that is double what it is designed for and when you have more than three campers I like to have a second smaller tent just for gear. I would never even consider a tent that doesn’t come with a fly, which is a second piece of tent material that covers the outside, making a tent much more waterproof in wet weather.

An inflatable mattress is a must in my books because it protects you from the cold ground and allows you to sleep comfortably on hard, bumpy terrain. You can get inexpensive floor pumps to fill them with air. If you prefer to sleep with someone, get a double mattress, because trying to put two single beds together just doesn’t work very well. Most rectangular sleeping bags can be unzipped and zipped with another sleeping bag, one on top and one on the bottom to sleep together, if desired.

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I’ve never set up camp on a beaver pond, but even a small lake is fine with me. Beaver ponds often become stagnant in the summer and harbor harmful agents such as E. coli and the bacteria that give us swimmers itch and beaver fever. Lakes and rivers are better oxygenated and less likely to have such concentrations of said organisms. For drinking water, I prefer the modern technology of a hand pump through a ceramic filter, available at the best outdoor stores.

If you have enough room and weight for a cooler, I prefer dry cold to ice cubes or ice blocks which last longer. I will use both dry frozen cold packs or frozen water bottles, which you can also drink once thawed. Dry cold is much better because it doesn’t make meat wrappers or egg cartons soggy and damp.

Always store your toilet paper in a thick ziplock bag.

I rarely take my dog ​​camping. Some dogs are fine and some don’t like going into tents. It is better to know in advance how your dog will react. Dogs can also be a bit troublesome in nature. If inclined to hunt game, a moose, deer, fox and coyote will run for miles – and let’s not forget the dangers of porcupines.

If you go remote camping a bit further south, arbitrarily from Burwash and south to the Muskoka region, be aware that there are rattlesnakes which I believe are not as rare as our MRNF let us believe it. If you go to these areas, do an internet search and familiarize yourself with basic first aid.

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If you spend a lot of time in remote areas, I highly recommend taking a first aid course in the fall and putting together a first aid kit. Of course, the usual bandages should be included, but also gauze and medical tape, antihistamines in case you are infested with wasps, and at least three 40-inch triangular bandages. There are many resources on the web showing how to use these devices. For broken or sprained parts of the anatomy, it is good to know how to apply them in particularly remote situations.

Need more discussion? What do you see when you go out? Email me – I love chatting with like-minded outdoor people.

Outdoor Trails takes place every two weeks. Contact John Vance at [email protected]


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