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One of the best things about living in Canada is that there is a lot of land, and we know how good being in nature is for us. It’s no wonder being in nature is an essential part of our lives. It’s at least part of the reason pretending to be into camping is damn near mandatory for any online dating profile. Although like many things in Nova Scotia, camping is hard to do without access to money or a car.
A brand-new set of camping gear from MEC or the Trail Shop will run anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more. The good news is that many wealthy people buy new stuff for new hobbies, use it once, then sell it on Kijiji. The cheapest way to get an idea if camping is for you—and the option to borrow equipment from a friend is not available—is to grab some cheap stuff on Kijiji or one of the discount department stores, like Canadian Tire. If you like camping, upgrade to higher-quality gear piecemeal. If you don’t like camping, sell your cheap things on the cheap online.
The other option, if you have a car and can make it to Kejimkujik, is to rent camping gear. MEC and the Trail Shop both used to rent camping gear before COVID and may again, but currently do not. Renting equipment is also an option for Dalhousie students.
There are also federal and provincial programs to help people learn how to camp. The federal program, Learn-to Camp, is a series of workshops introducing people to camping. In Nova Scotia, it’s offered to new immigrants through ISANS or the YMCA.
The province also had a program called Learn 2 Camp, which has been paused for the last three years due to COVID. That program will be starting up again in 2023. The link at the start of this paragraph has general information; when the new program details are announced, they should also go on that page.
The best way to see if you like camping is to gather the basics of what you need: a tent, something to sleep on like a yoga mat, a pillow, some blankets that can get dirty, a pot and something to cook with like this hanging grill or this propane canister element. And make sure you have some food and some entertainment. Then the question becomes, where to go?
The easiest answer is Keji. It’s the best place to see the stars; the backcountry campsites are easy to access and well organized with wood, tent pads, outhouses and bear rope. Also, it’s one of the few places with gear rental available.
Provincially, it’s Porters Lake. Porters Lake provincial park is mostly car camping with some “walk-in” sites. It requires a car and for people to bring their own gear, but its private waterfront walk-in sites are well worth the $26.70 a night.