May 24: A Guide to Last Minute Camping Plans

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It’s almost May 2-4 (a.k.a. Victoria Day, a.k.a. Monday, May 22, 2017), why don’t you purify yourself in the waters of Three Arm Pond? Summer here is fleeting, so if you spend too much time planning, it’ll be September before you set down tent pegs.

So, where do experts recommend for a last-minute camp-out? “Locally, Pippy Park campground for those who are still getting the hang of it,” says Mike Alison of Outfitters (220 Water Street).

“If you want to get a little further out of town for the weekend, Northern Bay Sands is a lovely spot just north of Carbonear,” says Emily Ferren of Outfitters.“There’s a large beach, multiple campsite options, and lots of hiking trails nearby. As well, Terra Nova National Park has a good variety of camping options, and this year you can order a pass through Parks Canada for free admission to all National Parks.” 

“The East Coast Trail is one of my absolute favourite spots to go backpacking!” says Ferren. Thousands use the trail each year, so camp only at designated campsites, if possible. “It’s so much easier to pick a site then trying to clear an area in the woods,” says Alison.

Visit the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Parks Reservation Service (nlcamping.ca) to claim a spot at one of the fully-serviced campsites. But, you’re reading an article about hauling a camping trip together at the last minute, so planning ahead might be out the window.

It’s “no RSVP required” at the non-serviced campsites with tent platforms, levelled sites, and pit toilets near the mid-point of five of the longest East Coast Trail paths: Motion Path, The Spout, Flamber Head, Cape Broyle Head, and Spurwink Island. These five established wilderness campsites along the trail system are identified on their corresponding East Coast Trail path maps and accessible only by hiking.

So, what items are essential? “Shelter, sleep system, cooking system, food and water… all other items are luxuries,” says Alison. “Sleep systems (sleeping bags, pads, pillows and liners) is one of the places I don’t cut costs, personally. A good night’s sleep is an energy booster on trail, no matter how grey the day is and it’s also a nice place to stay when it really gets too inclement to move camp.”

For outdoor equipment, you can hit up The Outfitters, The Travel Bug, The Birdhouse and Binocular Shop, and Arthur James Clothing Company. Alpine Country Lodge has secured a temporary location at 155 Water Street, following the flooding in Churchill Square.

Outfitters offers a “rent to buy” program, where people can use credit from their rentals towards purchases, equivalent to the value of three 1-day rentals towards purchase of the same type of equipment, in case your last minute trip turns into your new summertime obsession.

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Lauren Power

Lauren Power is a writer from St. John's

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