A Beginner’s Guide to Camping in Alberta (Where to Camp, What to Bring, Food to Make)

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I’m a little ashamed to say that despite having been born and raised in Alberta, I had never gone camping until this summer (July 2021). I know, the shame! 

Alberta is home to SO many campgrounds and “heading out camping for the long weekend” is such a common pastime, in fact, for many, a cherished tradition, so it really did feel like a long-time coming (something like an Alberta rite of passage in a way) to finally camp myself!

Now, why it took me so long to try camping in Alberta is likely because of my preferred style of vacation—comfortable. lol and for the longest time I did not equate camping with comfort.

I’ve talked to many people who expressed having no interest in camping for this very reason.

“It’s not my thing” they say, and if I’m being really honest, I would never consider camping as my preferred or first choice for adventure even now (lol), but I have quickly learned that if you’re comfortable (and comfort will vary depending on the camper), then camping is actually a really fun, enjoyable and memorable experience that I’m definitely doing again, and would recommend others try (especially if you’ve never done it!) In fact, as I write this, I am thinking back fondly to moments and memories we had in the great outdoors, that are bringing a big, big smile to my face! 

All of that to say, if you’re a beginner camper, someone who hasn’t done it before, or maybe did it once a long time ago and didn’t love it so you haven’t gone since, I hope this Beginner’s Guide to Camping in Alberta helps you plan a comfortable camping trip that you really enjoy (and maybe fall in love with!)

I’ll also list other camping resources at the bottom of the post so you can get more perspectives beyond my own.

I partnered with Alberta camping experts Campers Village for my first camping experience, and highly recommend you head to Campers Village for all of your camping needs! If you shop online or in-store by Sept. 30, 2021, using my code LINDORK, you’ll get 10% off your purchase!

I do recommend shopping Campers Village in-store though so you can talk to their amazing staff (who all love the great outdoors and have lots of great advice to share), plus browse a wider selection!

A Beginner’s Guide to Camping in Alberta

and tips for a comfortable camping experience!

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Use and share my Beginner's Guide to Camping in Alberta (Where to Camp, What to Bring, Food to Make)

Where to Camp in Alberta

You’ve got a lot of different options for campsites and campgrounds in Alberta.

Some require some serious pre-planning and advance booking. Others is first come first serve.

This is the breakdown: 

  • Provincial parks and campgrounds are where you’ll find the most amenities (this helps with the comfort)—things like bathrooms or showers, plug-ins, proper fire pits, even playgrounds. These areas are generally very popular, very busy, and require advance booking to secure a spot.
  • There is also something called Crown Land, which is where anyone can just sort of pitch a tent and stay there if you can find a spot. There are less amenities here (so potentially, less comfortable), but it’s less pressure to book in advance as no one can “book it”—it’s first come first serve. 
  • There are also private campgrounds, which are privately owned camping or glamping (glamour / comfort camping) sites that you can also book, but may not “sell out” as quickly as the provincial park campgrounds. 
  • Then there are campsites in national parks, which would be similar to provincial parks in terms of having a lot of amenities and also generally requiring advance booking. 
  • Any of the above would typically be considered “frontcountry camping” versus another option, “backcountry camping.” Backcountry camping  is defined as when you have to travel “on foot, bike, horse or by boat at least 1 km to a campground inaccessible to motorized vehicles.” Just like all the frontcountry camping options, there are still backcountry camping sites that you need to book, or other sites that may just be first come first serve, pitch a tent. Backcountry camping would be (from my perspective) the least comfortable lol with the least amenities, but often, the greatest views and most outdoorsy experience. 

The fact that all of these options are actually on stolen, Indigenous land is another story, but definitely worth mentioning and keeping in mind as you experience camping in Alberta. 

My friends at Campers Village summarized the comfort pieces for booking versus non-booking, which is that usually if you’re having to book a campsite, you can expect a range of amenities, from outhouses to showers to bear bin/garbage bins, sometimes even a storefront in case you forgot some items. 

If you’re not booking a campsite, you should expect much less amenities. Maybe no outhouse, definitely no storefront, probably no garbage bins (it’s a good idea to bring garbage bags for any kind of camping anyway!) 

Remember this is a beginner’s summary of camping options so I am sure there are some nuances or more specific details I’m missing but as a beginner, this information would be a suitable enough breakdown for me so it hope it works for you lol.

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Morning mist over the Red Deer River in Central Alberta during our first camping trip!
Alberta Campgrounds
Screenshot of Alberta Campgrounds directory (so um, you could say there's a lot of campgrounds in Alberta)

One of my biggest questions about camping this summer was “whether it was too late” to camp because I had seen so many people posting about how they were in the queue to book a campground in May. Do you really have to know your summer camping schedule before the summer in order to camp? (is what I wondered). Now I know that’s not true. Your options may be more limited but you can definitely still book a multitude of campgrounds even if you’re not booking months in advance! 

Also, I asked some of my followers what their favourite Alberta camping locations were and wanted to share some of those with you to help you plan! 

If you’re curious, Mike and I went camping in a private area near Alix, Alberta in Central Alberta, not too far from the Red Deer River. It’s not a bookable site as a friend’s family owns the land. Because it’s not a bookable site I would say amenities were 50/50. 

I would say it is typical for people looking to camp, to find campgrounds near bodies of water, or specific natural areas that they want to spend time at (or take photos of). In this case, I was excited to be so close to the Red Deer River, a river I hadn’t recreated on before. We had to do a bit of a forest hike to get to the river from our location, but the water was quite nice when we got there. If you are hanging out in the Central Alberta area and were looking for water activities, it is quite common to kayak, float, canoe, etc. down the Red Deer River too!

The Alix Lake Campground was also not far from us.

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Mike and I were *very* prepared for our first camping experience together, thanks to Campers Village!

Camping Essentials

My friends at Campers Village helped set Mike and I up with some camping essentials, but I do want to stress that you don’t need to have the fanciest, or priciest gadgets or equipment to have a good camping experience. That’s where that varying comfort levels comes in. Some people are going to value or prioritize certain things over others. And there are a lot of DIY versions of fancier items, or things you’re fine without, whereas others may absolutely require it. 

That said, it is generally agreed that having a waterproof tent and sleeping bag is really important for camping. You need to have a shelter and be warm, dry, and keeping the bugs away when sleeping in the great outdoors. 

During our camping trip, our group made jokes about each other’s sleeping set-ups and compared them to flight classes, where single, cot style tents were like economy, regular tents was business class, tent with a covered vestibule ‘lobby’ area was premium, and an RV was first class. 

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Setting up our camp!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
It was really quick and easy to set up the tent!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Our tent set-up for our first camping trip together!

Mike’s Columbia shirt and my tentree shorts were gifted by SportChek!

We loved our Kuma Outdoor BEAR DEN 5 tent  (and learned that Kuma is an Edmonton-based outdoor adventure / gear company! so awesome). This tent technically sleeps five (or two plus our dog Olive plus bags and other stuff) comfortably, and features a stretched dome style and a weatherproof vestibule for even more storage (and kicking off shoes before entering the tent).

It was quite quick to set up and the tent includes a screen zipper so you can see out into the vestibule area, get a bit of air flow going, while still keeping bugs out. 

We also got an awesome Kuma Outdoor Gear Bear Buddy Heated Chair!! This was the star around the fire pit—everyone wanted to sit or lie down on it, it was so comfy (heater not needed during our trip but would really come in handy during cooler days!) 

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Our lil camping family!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Olive loved sitting on our Kuma chair from Campers Village!

We also got Mountain Hardwear sleeping bags which is designed to eliminate cold spots and thermally maps insulation to areas where you need the most warmth! We were totally cozy in these sleeping bags (though admittedly, it wasn’t really too cold during our late July camping trip during a heat wave lol but I’m glad we have something that will keep us warm for camping trips during colder seasons). And we brought our own pillows from home (this was REALLY nice!), along with an extra blanket. Definitely recommend bringing your own pillow from home for that comfort feel. 

We also got a double air sleeping pad which helped keep us from sleeping right on the hard ground, but this is where I learned that my preferred camping comfort for future trips will include a proper air mattress with some serious height off the ground (it does make a difference!!)

Our backs weren’t in pain or anything with the sleeping pad (so again, the pad may totally be enough for your needs), but it wasn’t obviously as comfy as sleeping in our own bed at home, which is why I think that’s an area where I’ll spring for a a bit more comfort next time. 

My friend Janis really put the whole comfort camping into perspective when she told me: 

“A few years ago I had a total epiphany around why I didn’t like camping and it was because I just was never totally comfortable. Once I accepted that I am just a little “extra” and I can make a tent palace if I want to, I started enjoying camping! I bring a super thick air mattress, proper bed sheets and a giant white duvet! I also bring no-flame tea light candles and place them inside my tent in the evening to make it super cozy with all the vibezzzzz. 💁🏻‍♀️ A hot water bottle placed inside your sleeping bag a few hours before you plan to go to sleep is also a game changer!” – my friend Janis, a comfort camper. 

There was also someone in our camping group that brought a giant air mattress and we were really jealous and already imagining the extra comfort we will achieve with that next time lol. 

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Hello, it's very cozy in here!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Good morning from our cozy tent.
Now food is also a big camping essential, but we’ll get into that section below. 

First I wanted to share a few other thoughts on what I personally deem as a camping ‘essential’ (that will likely vary, but things to consider certainly for your camping experience!)

Using a bathroom (slash hygiene considerations) in the great outdoors
  • I found that my most uncomfortable moment camping was realizing that the only available outhouse was covered in spider webs (and you can therefore assume, lots of spiders and bugs), and hadn’t been cleaned in gosh knows how long. Thinking about where you’re going to use the bathroom outside can be a little stressful. I used the outhouse once, peed in the bush several times, and then thankfully was able to use my friend’s RV for some bathroom trips, but you may not be camping with someone with an RV, or allowed to use their RV bathroom, or maybe you won’t have an outhouse nearby, or it will be really gross, lol. Planning how you’re going to comfortably relieve yourself while camping is ESSENTIAL to your experience! So some considerations for camping bathroom essentials:
    • Bring toilet paper 
    • Bring paper towels 
    • Bring garbage bags
    • Bring soap / hand sanitizer
    • Bring a dedicated bucket or toilet-like seat (I’ve since learned there’s literally buckets with toilet seats you place on top of the bucket for easier camping bathroom experiences)
    • Bring head lights (this is good for anything you plan to do in the darkness—remember, you’re outside, there aren’t lights like at home!—but headlights are  especially necessary to navigate if you have to use the bathroom outside or walk to a bathroom in the middle of the night lol)
    • Bring dry shampoo (especially if your campground has no shower—I get REALLY uncomfortable if my hair feels greasy) 
    • Bring a water container (for various reasons, both from a hygiene as well as a food perspective). If you look at the federal government’s recommendation on how much stored water to have on hand for an emergency, it’s at least four litres of water per person per day, for drinking, food prep, personal hygiene and dishwashing, lol, so I would take this emergency recommendation and apply it for camping as well, LOL (also extra if you’re bringing animals with you camping). 
    • There were also little things, like I think having something to hang garbage bags up (off the ground), or something to keep our bags in the vestibule area off the ground too, would make me feel a bit more comfy too. Just whatever helps keep your items less dirty or easy for bugs to access lol.
Bring a generator and/or portable batteries and charging packs 
  • Now this ‘essential’ will depend on whether you’re truly “unplugging” during your camping trip, as well as what you’re comfortable eating, lol, but if you’re like me, ensuring your phone can stay fully charged, or you’ve got some back-up power options for lights or cooking equipment, is considered essential
    • We brought two portable phone chargers 
    • We brought a back-up battery (though you have to watch the voltage / power of these as our battery wasn’t strong enough to run our rice cooker that we brought—we ended up plugging into the friend’s RV) 
    • My friend brought portable Wi-Fi! 
Consider your sleeping arrangements
  • I referenced this above, but how comfortable you are sleeping at night outside will really make or break your experience. 
  • So don’t feel any shame, as Janis said, in doing what you need to do to make your sleeping arrangement comfortable! Air mattresses, pillows, things to keep you warm, things to make the space look and feel super cozy. This is going to look different for everyone but honestly even just having one of our pillows with us made me feel really good at night. 
Consider your camping crowd and your campsite crowd 
  • I’ve heard a few horror stories of people who have gone camping to experience the quiet of the great outdoors, only to have the group in the next campsite throwing a rager into the wee hours of morning, lol. Even during our trip, where we were on a private location owned by a friend’s family, one of the evenings was pretty raucous when I was quite ready to sleep (lol if anyone we went with is reading this, we obviously still had fun and we were celebrating a friend’s birthday on a private plot of land so obviously some loud shenanigans are to be expected but loud music and yelling is not my ideal sleeping environment lol). So, I think that could certainly be a camping turn-off for people, and it unfortunately might not be something you know will happen or not (how can you know or control nearby campers behaviour? lol) but there’s probably some specific campgrounds you can pick that outline maybe quiet time, or are a bit more secluded, or sites are farther away from other sites, that could help solve this issue. 
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
First night fire.

Camping Food Essentials (and Food Ideas)

A big part of making my camping experience (and really, any travel-related experience I have), a happy one, is ensuring there’s good and ample food options! I thought Mike and I did pretty well food-wise for our first camping trip together but there are SO many more food ideas I’d like to implement for future trips, and so many great suggestions I got from Instagram followers that I had to share them ALL here with you!!

Check out what Mike and ate on our camping trip and then find a list of amazing suggestions from some awesome Alberta campers! (lol honestly our camping food looks pretty plain compared to what regular campers get up to with their meals—wow!!)

Depending on which ingredients you choose to pack, or how you choose to food prep of course, you may need different camping essentials and equipment. If you have camp food favourites that aren’t listed here, leave a comment with your favourite camping food! 

  • In terms of camping food equipment essentials, make sure if you’re not confident starting your own fire, that you bring fire starter, a portable stove with its own gas, induction top (knowing you have somewhere to plug in), or other fire starting gadgets to help make the process easier because you definitely need to be able to have heat to cook comfortably while camping! 
  • You should also be thinking about bringing coolers and ice, or icepacks, to ensure your camping food ingredients stay fresh!
  • And you need pots, pans, utensils, dishes, etc., for all the food you have to cook and eat!!!

What Mike and I ate on our first Camping Trip together:

1. A BBQ Picnic from Chef Table Living

The timing of our camping trip worked out so that Edmonton company Chef Table Living asked if I wanted to try one of their new Local Picnic BBQ Kits just before we left, so we decided, heck, let’s bring it to try as one of our camping meals! 

This (gifted) kit comes with a biodegradable, compostable Casusgrill (portable grill), plus a ton of food from various local vendors—Popular Bakery buns, Otto sausages, Chocorrant croissants, The Art of Cake lemon tarts, striploin, vegetable kabobs, baby potatoes, cheese, fruits, dips, and more. 

Everyone camping with us popped over to see what we were cooking up—it definitely felt like an elevated meal, and fun to do over the portable grill (especially if you don’t have access to a fire pit or after having trouble lighting your fire!) It’s definitely an attention-grabbing, not your typical camping meal set-up, and fun that you can bring a bunch of local ingredients with you on your adventure. As a side note, Chef Table Living is giving anyone who uses code LINDORK10, 10% off!

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Getting our Chef Table Living BBQ Picnic Kit ready!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Salt bae, Mike!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Mains and desserts in view on the biodegradable grill!
2. Easy Pour-over Coffee from Drip & Sip To Go

Mike and I bought these “anywhere” pour-over coffees from local company Drip & Sip To Go at the Callingwood Farmers Market this summer and were excited to put it to good use during the camping trip. It’s super convenient and delicious. Coffee is an essential for many (including Mike) so it’s nice you don’t have to sacrifice that while camping!

We boiled water and cooked over dishes using a Pocketrocket Backcountry Stove from Campers Village that burns super hot and fast. It’s nice to have a heat / cooking option that doesn’t require chopping wood and lighting fire.

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Easy camp pour-over!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Coffee and quiet.
3. Eggs, French Toast and Deli Meat

We didn’t go too fancy for breakfast, just some eggs, french toast, add deli meat! I think even making rice or fried rice at home and bringing it along to have with meals would be an excellent addition (eggs and rice baby!) 

I also brought a giant bottle of soy sauce (remember to bring your favourite condiments! lol)

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Some French Toast for breakfast using our portable stove!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Does food taste better outside?
4. Beef and Broccoli with Cucumbers on Rice

Our other “fancy” dinner was supposed to be a Lemongrass Beef and Broccoli dish with  Cucumbers on Rice, but I sadly forgot the lemongrass, lol. It is inevitable that you will forget something on your camping trip, so I still obviously made the best of it and this ended up smelling and tasting SO good, I wish there. was more meal opportunities in the day to try more fun camping food creations, lol. 

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
We made beef and broccoli rice! I forgot the lemongrass lol
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Happy to have included Asian dishes during our trip.
5. Cheeseburgers, smokies, chips, “the usual!”
When camping, you really can’t go wrong with a bag of smokies, and ingredients for burgers, in fact, this is probably the most popular  (and easiest) camping meal to make. It’s definitely good for something quick and quintessential, but I can see myself camping for the challenge of seeing what different kinds of meals I can cook while outside. 
 
Also something we didn’t get to try (another thing we forgot to bring lol), was pie iron and hot dog cookers which definitely fall under the “fun gadgets” (not necessary but convenient and awesome that can add to your camping experience). There’s literally a whole whack of gadgets, tools, really an entire camp cooking section you can spend forever browsing at the store if you wanted to!
Camping in Alberta - Food - Cheeseburger
And of course, we had your classic camping foods—burgers, smokies, chips!
Amazing Camping Food Suggestions from YOU!

Now I’m excited to share a whole bunch of camping food suggestions YOU shared on my Instagram Stories. I am super grateful for all for your great ideas and so eager to make these!!

If you have camping food suggestions, leave them in the comments!

  • “BBQ’d pizza, tacos and foil packet nachos” – @kjewellwrites
  • “I make Nasi Goreng at home and then warm up while camping and add a fresh egg and peanuts” – @michelledro
  • “Bagged Korean stews from A-Mart” – @fiklpikl
  • “Nachos!!!! and I’m actually ordering skewers from Filistix for my next camping trip!” – @_.liezel._
  • “Shakshuka! Fry up anything you like in the pan, add saucy tomatoes, poach eggs. Best!” – @regularflavelle
  • “Tacos in a bag or ramen noods with all the fixings” – @gdiannel
  • “Eggs, Sunworks sausage, steak” – @salimabandali
  • “Hot dogs and ramen” – @la.is.grateful
  • “Steak wraps with onions, peppers, baba ganoush, pita, tomato, and onion!” – @rebecca.gram
  • “Taco in a bag, burgers.” – @vmoorgen
  • “Fire-roasted smokies for the first night because we always get in late!” – @sc_palmer
  • “Taco in a bag!” – @dearkirstyy
  • “Pre-cut veggies for your fajitas!” – @jazkitten
  • “Instant tonkatsu ramen bowl” – @yabbaadee
  • “We are going to try a bunch of pie iron recipes. You can do pizza, dessert, sandwiches.” – @liannward
  • “Steaks because if the fire doesn’t get hot enough you get beef tataki with no food poisoning” – @halfeatenyeg
  • “Easy, ready-made foods! Cup of noodle soups, sandwiches over fire, eggs, bacon, hash browns” – @shari.i.am
  • “Taco in a bag!!!” – @aepaterson
  • “Instant noodle bowls, especially if it’s cold out and of course rice and fried egg.” – @vic.long
  • “Pork chile verde tacos! Pre-made in the pressure cooker and frozen.” – @hairbychelseakerr
  • “Hot dogs infinity!” – @carillonjane
  • “Salmon and/or shrimp marinated in whatever sauce you want. Wrap it up in tinfoil and it cooks super fast. Also LA galbi or bulgogi beef. Marinate and freeze at home. Easy and quick to cook up.” – @j_essyc
Lamb Chop and Vegetables - regularflavelle
@regularflavelle on Instagram's amazing lamb camping meal!
@regularflavelle on Instagram's steak and mushrooms!

Alberta camper @regularflavelle shared these awesome camping meal photos with me! 

  • Pan fried veggies and lamb chops (from Lady’s Hat Farms, nearby!). Throw them all in pat with butter and cook it covered until the veg is done. The chops have butter on them to baste while the who pan steams. Flip them to sear and serve. Take whatever finished first in the pan and continue cooking until it’s all finished.
  • Rib steak, sautéed oyster mushrooms (Gruger Family Fungi) and onion, with kimchi (always with us, but keep extra cool or don’t pack tight in a camp cooler… to avoid explosions), and a cucumber and shallot salad dressing in a blue cheese ranch, which we had for dipping for just about anything that we fancied.

He also added this:

“We…. might go a little hard when it comes to camp food… but ultimately its just a lot of simple versatile ingredients that you can repurpose over and over again, or just whip out for a charcuterie board. Easy peasy! And lots of local businesses to support in doing it too.”

  • “Campfire nachos, breakfast for dinner, and hot dogs!” – @shawnahf
  • “Steaks, hot dogs, frozen vegetable bag that I cook, chicken.” – @from_tunis_to_edmonton
  • “Foil wrapped in fire: sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, mushrooms (all together)” – @jesstenove
  • “Taco salad. All ingredients in bag of crushed doritos.” – @alwaysaggravated
  • “Taco in the bag! Also vermicelli bowls.” – @mlechalifoux
  • “Obviously instant noodles! and S’mores always! Also the best tasting shrimp balls, meatballs, roasting over fire.” – @beyondumami
  • “Instant noodles” – @shiropup
  • “Chili on a sweet potato. Pasta is surprisingly easy too!” – @fiafriskie
  • “Lipton sidekicks are easy and tasty!” – @phiiiillll
  • “Quesadilla! Prep filling beforehand, add cheese and melt between tortillas!” – @meeshelle32
  • “BLTs and Sidekicks” – @michaelaalyssa
  • “Tacos or steak!” – @saamia__
  • “Golden Grill hash brown potatoes from Costco – dehydrated, add water and fry!” – @mkostiukphoto
  • “Roast chicken with pasta salad or potato, or both lol and vermicelli noodle bowls! Prep before you go. Super easy to assemble.” – @leannemichelle77
Roast - Alberta Camping - greatgramsofgary
A roast inside @greatgramsofgary's wood burning fireplace (camping van).
Thanksgiving Dinner - Alberta Camping - greatgramsofgary
Thanksgiving Camping Dinner from @greatgramsofgary!
  • “Frozen homemade chili, helps keep coolers cold for the first day!” – @katrinakloster
  • “Spicy cup of noodles to warm you up before bed!” – @iggypuffygirl
  • “Smokies, bagged salads, potato/corn wrapped in tinfoil and thrown in fire coals.” – @trekcic
  • “Anything in foil packets! Salmon and potatoes, sausage and veg, etc. Just pop it near some coals and cook.” – @thesosomom
  • “Pasta!!” – @christinastg31
  • “Fajitas, taco in a bag, Sidekicks, campfire lasagna!” – @kaelle_bee
  • “Walker Meats has AMAZING marinated chicken!” – @she.chases.joy
  • “Souptacular soup mixes!” – @debra.mclennan
  • “Hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks.” – @3littleks
  • “Bring toil foil pans and invest in a cast iron skillet. You can cook pretty much anything. Also potatoes and veggies wrapped in tin foil over the fire. Bring lots of butter and spices.” – @amandy_jb
  • “Charcuterie!” – @miss_erin
  • “Bush pies! So easy and super versatile. Endless possibilities.” – @coffee.cats.chaos
  • “You can buy pre-packed rice from Asian grocery stores.” – @importbible
  • “Anything that works on a BBQ.” – @shelby_lou_who
  • “One pot dishes are best. We make all kinds of “fancy” things, it just takes planning!” – @meganbertagnolli
  • “Salmon, potatoes, and asparagus!” – @natalie.mw
  • “Paisley Notebook has campire daal!” – @kitvoth
CAMP HOT POT! AMAZING. (via @wendolynlambchops)
Hot Pot 2 - Alberta Camping - wendolynlambchops
I *definitely* want to do camp hot pot!
Orzo with shrimp, salon and asapargus from @j_essyc!

Alberta camper @j_essyc shared these awesome camping meal photos with me, and this information about the delicious orzo dish pictured above!

  • The orzo was made at home and mixed with lemon garlic pesto from the farmer’s market. The shrimp and salmon was  marinated in a lemon dill vinaigrette. We cooked the asparagus with salt and pepper and butter.
  • “For dessert, campfire banana boats!” – @garlicandchocolate
  • “Perogies wrapped in tin foil over the fire with butter and green onions. Roast sausage! Pie iron anything. Grilled cheese, pizza-wiches, s’mores. Also put a length-wise cut banana in tin foil, stuff it with chocolate and marshmallows and roast it.” – @briannacaspara_
  • “Burritos pre-made at home and wrapped in foil!” – @deepdishlisa
  • “REIs campfire paella” – @shareplates
  • “Chili! Make it ahead of time and warm it over the fire.” – @genevieveshylo
  • “Pre-cooked frozen chili and cornbread, pre-made taco meat for taco in a bag.” – @elsa_leone
  • “We do butter chicken, jambalaya, donairs!” – @sloanezw
  • “S’mores!” – @jealesdm
  • “Bring strawberries / raspberries for s’mores it’s a GAME CHANGER. Slice ’em on top. Tart and sweet! Kabobs are also easy and fun.” – @jenmadole
  • “Pre-make most things at home! Like a soba/noodle salad with steak.” – @theuncool
  • “Orzo pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and balsamic. No cooler needed. Cooks up fast!” – @jeisenkr
  • “Foil packets you can just throw on the fire. Last time I made ahead salmon, sweet potato and vegetables.” – @_chantelleamanda_
  • “Paninis over fire, Campers Village sells panini makers!” – @rocketwatt
  • “Top tip is to make one pot meals at home and re-heat, stews, pasta, chana masala, etc. Aero presses are pretty good for camping coffee too.” – @greatgramsofgary
  • “Taco in a bag!” – @jackey_emily_
  • “Taco in a bag!” – @cmsaul
  • “Work Week Lunch has awesome camping meal ideas!” – @janislgalloway
  • “Instant potatoes and smokies from Costco” – @shanniecamille
  • “Quesadillas!” – @saskia_2007_
  • “Tomatoes in a pot until they’re blistered, take them out, throw in a wheel of Brie til it’s melty, add tomatoes back on top and eat eat with cut up baguette!!” – @asamariehagel
  • “Grilled cheese!” – @p.sotohua
  • “Bring an instant pot and air fryer, it’s a game changer.” – @princesspeeps
  • “Portable stove and you can get butane canisters at T&T in packs of 3.” – @kaelle_bee
  • “I always love foil pocket meals during camping. There’s a shrimp boil recipe I highly recommend!” – @racdgray
  • “Steak and cornbread and chicken fajitas!” – @shanniecamille
Asian Food - Alberta Camping - freeyaaf
You can get self-heating / cooking rice bowls (via @freeyaa.f)
Check out Asian grocers for fun camping food options (via @freeyaa.f)

Pre-cutting, pre-marinading appears to be a top tip to make camp cooking easier. You definitely need to do something of a meal prep before you go camping! 

As you can see from the sample camping food photos some of you shared with me, you can create some super exciting and/or comforting dishes outdoors. 

Or hey, maybe you don’t care about the food, the food is not going to make a difference for your camping experience,  and you’re good with just smokies for all meals during your trip, that is fine too! lol.

But regardless, expect to create lists and pack, prep, quite a bit if you’re hoping to have a comfortable camping trip. 

And remember to bring ample garbage bags and other trash-collecting items so that you leave the area the way you found it! (hopefully, clean and tidy). 

Butter Chicken Naan - Alberta Camping - sloanezw
Indian restaurant or camping meal? Amazing butter chicken with naan and rice! (via @sloanezw)
Chicken Tacos - Alberta Camping - sloanezw
These chicken tacos look amazing! (via @sloanezw)

What about wildlife safety?!

I’ve talked a bit about bringing garbage bags and camping hygiene, but it is worth noting that a big reason you want to keep your campsite clean is because that keeps it free of “bear-attracting” items! Even if you’re going on daytime adventures, make sure you haven’t left food or ingredients out at your campsite. 

You should also research what kind of wildlife you might encounter in the area you’ve picked to camp, and of course, it’s never a bad idea to carry bear spray just in case. 

Campers Village also told me that if it’s never a bad idea to take a wildlife safety course too! 

So, why camp?

At this point, you should have a pretty good sense of where to camp and what to bring to camp, and hopefully are feeling REALLY hungry and inspired by all the great camping food, but maybe you’re still wondering why should you even do it if there’s a perfectly fine hotel in a city or town you can book for a guaranteed comfortable getaway instead? 

Here’s a few reasons you should camp, that Campers Village shared with me (and I totally agree!):

Everyone gets outside for a different reason.

Many people camp because they want to disconnect. They want to unplug. They want to get away from the busy. The sounds and the smells are different. You can see the stars. 

Some people camp for the incredible views that you’re definitely not getting from a hotel room. Knowing that not everyone has been here or seen this particular view. To. be able to watch nature do it’s thing without too much human interference.

Camping can be an incredible mental health break and reset. It can be so calm. And some find camping the perfect getaway to connect with family or friends. Many camp because they grew up camping and want to pass on that love of camping with their kids. 

Some people camp because they want to see if they can build a fire, cook over a fire, sit still. A unique challenge. Can you do this? Can you exist? Can you survive? (lol) 

Inevitably, you will forget to bring something camping, lol. Sorry, it just happens. 

But if something goes wrong, that’s part of the experience too! Challenges are often part of the camping experience and camping story. It’s part of the cherished memories you’ll make outside. 

But also, I can’t stress the importance of properly preparing for camping to ensure it’s a COMFORTABLE experience, no matter what the reason is for your adventure!

Well, unless your goal is to see how uncomfortable you can get and if you can manage without regular comforts lol. But you should definitely have a camping list and double check you have everything before you head out!

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Our camping trip included fishing and swimming in the Red Deer River!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Fishing and swimming in the Red Deer River was a highlight!
Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
I even tried fishing! (we caught nothing lol)

Thanks so much to the pros at Campers Village for preparing me for my first camping experience!

I definitely “get” why people love camping now, and am eager and excited to get out and do more camping!! For me, it is a fun challenge to see what kind of delicious food I can make while camping, and also to see how comfortable I can get while still being out in nature, lol! 

One of my biggest tips would really be to make sure you have developed a list of all the things you want to bring, and have done proper prep and packing! Someone told me in many ways they feel like when they camp they pack for a second home—especially that bedroom and kitchen. (You may not require as much—but I definitely lean towards the bring lots end of the camping spectrum). 

But a good thing to consider is, if you haven’t packed a lot of things for your camping trip, then I think you’re not going to be as comfortable as you can be, or the trip not as enjoyable as it can be lol.

I’d love to hear about your camping experiences, food you make, tips on how you make it comfortable, what your essentials are, or recommended campgrounds! Let me (and others reading this blog post) know in the comments below.

Stay tuned for more camping (and other adventures) on my social media and future blog posts!

And don’t forget to use my code LINDORK for 10% off your purchase at Campers Village online or in-store by Sept. 30, 2021.

You can also follow Carrie on Instagram for more camping content! Carrie was one of the camping experts from Campers Village who helped me prepare for my trip! James from Campers Village was a huge help and expert resource as well, but no personal Instagram for you to follow. Follow Campers Village though if you want more adventure inspiration!!

Disclaimer: I partnered with Campers Village to share my beginner camping experience. This does not impact the opinions or statements in this post. Campers Village is an amazing, Alberta-based outdoor adventure store and obvious experts when it comes to camping, so it was awesome to get their expertise and shop their products for this experience. I also truly enjoyed camping (though definitely need to make some comfort upgrades for my next trip!)

Beginner Camping in Alberta - Explore Edmonton - Campers Village - How to Camp - Camping Essentials
Go to Campers Village for everything you need to camp!!

Linda

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Beginners Guide - Camping in Alberta - Travel - Explore Alberta - Tips - campgrounds - camp food - Campers Village Partner
Use and share my Beginner's Guide to Camping in Alberta (Where to Camp, What to Bring, Food to Make)

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