Buy Nothing: Camping Canada

We finally made it to Canada. It’s only a couple hours to the border but it just didn’t work out until this month. Matt and I went camping with my parents in Banff and Jasper National Parks.

It’s Canada’s 150th year of being Canada. So, National Park entrance was free! Once we arrived at our campsite, it was time to try out all the stuff we bought that was definitely not used, but definitely adding to memory-making.

We bought everything over the course of a few months, so sorry if some of this is a repeat. Camping required a lot of things that we previously just borrowed from our Tucson-located families. Since that’s no longer an option, we shopped ’til we dropped! Or things dropped on us, as seen here:

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We managed to get most things on sale by patiently watching deals and shopping 24 hours before we left for the last-minute full price items. We also borrowed almost everything kitchen-related from my parents. And, even though we were getting lots of stuff, we tried to stick to the basics as much as possible. For example: our regular hammer traveled to Canada in place of a mallet. Not the easiest to get the stakes in the ground, but Matt made it work and that’s one less thing to clutter up our lives for now. We did keep a list as the trip went on of things we wished we had (like a mat in front of the tent).

2 camp chairs, 2 sleeping pads, 2 sporks, 1 knife, 2 plates, 2 bowls, 1 cooler, 1 solar lantern, 1 headlight, 1 tent footprint, 1 towel. We bought all of that brand new. It wasn’t super cheap, but we bought quality stuff and should be good to go for many years to come. We already had the tent (used from REI garage sale), sleeping bags, one headlight and a hammock. Unfortunately, pillows did not get packed… but Matt did make sure we were set up on the flattest ground possible.

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The difficulty of camping is that there is a lot of gear and all that gear requires a place to live while you’re not camping. The cooler is currently acting as a display for my shoes in the closet. Not sure it’s ever going to find a better home until we have a house, especially considering our bikes found their permanent home in the living room a long time ago.

While camping, we paid for entrance into a ski-lift ride that allowed us to see two mama bears and four cubs! We got stickers at both parks for our box. And I got a mug that had the Canada 150 logo on it. I think it’s the coolest!

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I also bought Matt his Christmas present that I desperately tried to find last year. That fully broke the rules I set for Buy Nothing, but I had planned to purchase it before all of this anyway. Also it was cheaper in Canada because the dollar is strong right now. So ha! It worked out better than I could’ve imagined. Except for the scenario where I imagined the jacket in the store in December and it was there and I bought it without any difficulty. But oh well.

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I think that Canada might be the prettiest place I’ve been. There are a few competing places, but man… it was so breath-taking. I love being awed and feeling wonder and witnessing majesty. Thanks to Canada and some new camping gear, that was possible.

As a final note, check out this sign. It says, “Spread your group out to reduce risk of multiple casualties.” Canada – saying it like it is for 150 years.

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