Here are 6 ways to camp without buying a tent
More and more people are flocking to the great outdoors for so many reasons, and they are all good. But it has turned global supply chains on their collective ear, and it's not always easy to get that perfect tent. Or, maybe condo living, the added expense or a minimalist philosophy means you need an alternative. No problem.
There are options across Canada that will allow outdoors-embracing folks to camp sans tent, and here we outline a handful of these options in a variety of geographic locations.
Here are a few of our favourites.
The whole glamping trend is showcasing the flexibility and enduring quality of a good yurt. These are rugged and wood-framed shelters traditionally used by nomadic societies in places like Mongolia. They don’t use animal skin these days, but yurts have been popping up at private campgrounds and public parks from sea to sea to sea.
For instance, there is yurt camping at Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario. At the Bruce, 10 yurts line the shore of Cyprus Lake. The yurts at the Bruce at 20 feet in diameter and include a wood stove, beds, large deck, and propane BBQ. They even have locks! Swanky.
In Alberta, check out the yurts at Pigeon Lake Provincial Park.
One outdoor sleeping trend growing in popularity is the humble hammock. Now, they aren’t just for napping while listening to Blue Jays games. Top outdoor brands are crafted durable sleeping hammocks that are fully enclosed shelters hanging between trees.
If you’ve ever slept like a baby in a hammock, you’ll know why this is a camping trend with legs. Check out our review of the new Sea To Summit Jungle Hammock for a taste of what we are talking about. Hammocks are extremely light and portable and make for great options when fastpacking or bike camping, or just for something different. Of course, make sure you find a spot with some good trees and weather, or else.
Call them tent cabins, prospector tents, and glamping tents, these little gems are similar to yurts but shaped and function like a traditional one-room cabin, but constructed of canvas with a wood frame. These tent cabins are glamping gold and can be found in fantastic private campgrounds throughout the country including on the Sunshine Coast of BC at Rockwater Secret Cove Resort.
This gorgeous seaside retreat offers several of what they dub tenthouse suites in a forest of arbutus trees with views out over the Pacific Ocean.
Parks Canada is opening up these A-frame tents in many of the best locations across the country. oTENTiks structures include raised floors, beds, other furniture, and come with a deck and outdoor chairs, barbecue, and fire pit. There is even electricity and heating in most units, which is a great way to extend the camping season into fall and even winter for those who are still nervous about winter tent camping.
Prince Edward Island National Park offers oTENTiks accommodations in a gorgeous location overlooking Cavendish Beach. And there are even oTENTiks in Banff National Park at two campgrounds: Two Jack Lakeside and Tunnel Mtn. Village.
Yes, we have images of this lustrous accommodation from the movies where framed structures are draped with fabrics to keep the killer insects at bay but keep that connection with nature. In Canada, this style of tent was made for luxurious glamping experiences as it just looks fancy, and those who use them can peel back the fabric in the morning and the tents open up to the world when the coffee is ready.
For experiences like this, it is hard to top Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on Vancouver Island, BC where 25 luxurious white tents sit in an old-growth temperate rainforest. In Ontario, Whispering Springs, 90 minutes east of Toronto offers a luxurious spa and wellness retreat with picture-perfect prospector tent accommodations.
For something completely different, try a night in an Oasis. These new tiny accommodations in Parks Canada parks are inspired by and shaped like water droplets. They come with a platform bed and mattress, which transforms into a table with benches during the day. No heat, or any of those fancy options.
This is a great option for campers heading to the beautiful Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, home to the world's highest tides.
Now get out there and enjoy!