Do Some Good
Do Some Good
Why not do some good while you travel? We at GravelTravel are proud to help support the Muskoka Foundation. A company that provides overland travellers a means to help folks out while they are on their travels. If you have't heard of them before please check out their web site.
Helping the less fortunate while on your travels can and will enrichen the experience for you. It is our belief at GravelTravel that we should give thanks for being as fortunate as we are to spend our freetime exploring the world, to donate your time and energy to those who are less fortunate is a great thing to do. From small to large, every act of kindness is appreciated by someone.
Gasoline is readily available in most towns in Canada. Octane levels of 87, 91 and 94 are usually what most service stations offer in the bigger towns and cities. In many northern towns gas is only available with an 87 or slightly lower rating.
Gas prices increase the further away from a major city you get and can be quite expense in some of the remote areas you may travel too. Along with increasing prices also comes the time of day that gas is available in the smaller towns. It is not uncommon for many remote towns to close their service stations at 8 or 9 pm at night or to open later than some folks may be used. In some of the very remote areas gas may only be available until 5 pm and may not open until 9 am the next morning.
For all of the routes provided there are no stretches between locations with available gasoline of more than 400 kilometres. In the few instances where this rule is broken it is noted in the route description. A rule of thumb is that stretches between available gasoline locations is usually about 200 kilometres.
Most service stations offer diesel fuel. In the cities and larger towns some service stations may not offer diesel but as a rule of thumb, any service stations in a small town will. In Canada diesel fuel is typically a bit less money per litre than gasoline.
Prices fluctuate based on the world economy so we will not provide any pricing but typically the gas prices in Canada are 40% more than in the United States. Prices in the major urban areas are usually cheaper than in the more remote areas. Most folks will save a few dollars by filling up their vehicles when in larger towns as opposed to waiting and filling up in the small towns.
Filling up in Kapaskasking, Ontario. Photo By Eric Roehl
Getting out into the wilderness is the draw for the routes we provide and there is no better way to experience it than to sleep under the stars. Camping is a required perk or a needed evil depending on who you are and how well you are equipped. Even if you don’t plan to camp we highly suggest that you pack the required equipment to spend a few nights out in case of an emergency.
For many camping involves having all the latest gear and the creature comforts of home, for some it’s about getting by on the bare minimum of equipment. Either way there are a few items that everyone will need.
Shelter & Equipment
You’ll need some form of a shelter, whether that is a bivy sac, hammock, tent, tarp, roof top tent, tow behind popup trailer or anything else. Getting out of the elements is a must. Keeping yourself dry and warm is the end goal, how you choose to achieve this is up to you. The length of a trip you are taking and the amount of nights you plan to camp will make a difference is what form of shelter you choose to bring along. The type of vehicle you are travelling in/on will also have an impact on what you choose.
Some sort of sleeping bag and something to keep you off the ground are suggested. Keep in mind that the weather in some parts of Canada can be quite cold during the nights. We recommend checking the areas you plan to travel to and understanding what variations in night temps can be expected for the time of year you will be there. Being warm at night provides much more rest than shivering away while wishing you had a warmer sleeping bag.
Having a means to cook food and boil water is the third item that we feel is needed and not a luxury. If you have shelter, can stay warm and dry and can feed yourself you are covered in case you need to ride out some bad weather, deal with a breakdown or any other unexpected delay where the emaneities of home are not available.
Everything else is bells and whistles in our opinion. Of course the bells and whistles can make camping much more comfortable and in turn more enjoyable. Some form light (headlamp, flashlight or lantern) is important to have. A nice mattress can make all the difference in a good night’s sleep. A few freeze dried food packages to use in case of emergency is a smart idea. A laptop to watch TV and keep a journal on is a nice luxury....the list could go on and on. In the end we suggest bringing what you need and what you think will make your camping experience more enjoyable. Restrictions will be placed on your budget, the space and weight you can pack and your personnel opinions.
Where to Camp
In Canada camping is quite popular and most areas outside of the cities have commercial campgrounds. For a small fee you get a designated spot to setup your camp site, use of facilities like washrooms and fresh water. Some even have laundry facilities and convenience stores and many offer pre split firewood. In some provinces (BC for example) there are campsites called recreation sites. Most are minimalistic camp sites in remote areas (see our links page for web links to different resources to locate camp sites in Canada). Many folks will choose to “cowboy camp”,that is camping in the wild. In many places in Canada this is allowed. Where the government owns the land (called Crown land) you are allowed to camp in the bush. That being said there are many places where this could get you into a lot of trouble, any of the national or provincial parks have made this illegal. Camping on someone’s private land is also very frowned upon and could get you into a world of hurt depending on who the land owner is.
Unlike most countries in the world, Canada is very clean. This didn’t happen by accident, Canadians, as a whole, are very conscience of the environment and do their best to keep things clean. Littering will bring you a fine by the police! We encourage anyone camping, whether its cowboy camping or in a campground, to please be considerate and to leave your campsite cleaner then when you got there. This means packing out all of your garbage. This is the right thing to do for a multitude of reasons but the two most important are that the next person to come along doesn’t have to sleep in your waste and leaving garbage attracts animals. Animals (bears, raccoons, etc) become habituated to garbage and will learn to use it as a means for survival. This is a bad thing as when the garbage (food) disappears the animals can become quite aggressive at times. We could go on and on about this topic, if you are not familiar with good camping and environmental etiquette we encourage you to educate yourself on the topic.
Camping in the wilderness means living with the animals. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on the animal and the circumstance. Bugs and insects can be a nuisance but can be dealt with. Bears and cougars can be outright dangerous. Raccoons and other small animals can be a bloody nuisance. If you are not familiar with these topics we highly recommend (for your safety) that you educate yourself. There is a wealth of information available on the internet that will help you make the right decisions on how to camp with the animals without having them wreck your experience.