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Tenting is the most popular form of camping in Canada, and can be more economical than camping with a tent trailer or recreational vehicle (RV). Whether it is more economical depends on both the camping location and type of tent chosen. A wide variety of services and rentals are available to tent campers, whether choosing to stay at a location that offers a fixed tent rental or bringing a tent and other associated equipment.
Most campers go on vacation to the Canadian wilderness in the summer, but camping in a tent is also a year-round hobby for a number of people too. An enjoyable camping trip takes adequate preparation, but that is a separate article in itself. NOTE: If you're planning on a summer sojourn to any particular location in the Canadian Rockies, book well ahead. The campgrounds in the mountains, i.e. national parks like Banff, Jasper and Waterton, and in Alberta's Kananaskis Country are full to capacity on the summer long weekends. Usually, the last campsite gets taken on the preceding Thursday night. The summer long weekends in Alberta and British Columbia are Victoria Day (Monday on or before May 24), Canada Day (July 1), Heritage Day / BC Day (first Monday in August), and Labour Day (first Monday in September). Last minute arrangments can be both a positive and negative experience, depending on the experience sought.Renting Tents and Camping Equipment
A number of places in Alberta and BC rent modern nylon tents and camping equipment. Some will even pitch the tent for you before you arrive!
For a number of intrepid souls, bringing their own camping gear, including a tent, is an adventure in itself. The tent may have been purchased from an outfitter or a department store. Outfitters abound in Alberta and British Columbia, such as Mountain Equipment Co-op, Atmosphere (formerly Coast Mountain Sports), and Campers Village. Department stores like Sears, Walmart, or Canadian Tire can provide basic (low quality) tents at reasonable prices. However, you can also rent tents and camping equipment from some outfitters, if necessary. The decision to rent a tent (and gear) may arise if you are arriving by plane and like to camp comfortably with all handy camping equipment for car camping. Also, a number of people like the "trying before buying" approach to selecting camping gear. For others, it's necessity as they lack storage space for camping equipment that just gets used a few times each year.
Well, no matter whether the tent is purchased or rented. The best tips and advice are found from the seasoned tent campers, and also from quality store sales staff. Sometimes this advice can be found online. But sometimes it pays to visit your local outfitter. It's likely that your average Canadian Tire or Walmart sales staff is not going to be too helpful here. However, talking to sales staff in outfitters' stores will likely yield better results. Note that the low cost tents you can buy at your local Canadian Tire or Walmart may not keep you dry in the seasonal heavy rain in the Canadian Rockies.
If intending on back-country backpacking, i.e. overnight hiking, on the beautiful trails in the Canadian Rockies, other than pre-arranging a back-country campsite reservation, choosing a very good tent is essential. Why? Backpackers need tents that are light to carry, durable, set up quickly & easily, and also break down with little hassle for easy packing.
|Calgary||Mountain Equipment Co-op (Calgary)||Members only; lifetime membership is $5. Daily rental.|
|Banff/Canmore/vancouver||Rent-a-Tent Canada ||Premier camping rental specialist. Good prices. Set up tent in Banff or Vancouver.|
|Calgary||University of Calgary Outdoor Centre||Discount for U of C students|
|Edmonton||Rent Eh Tent Canada||Also offers guided camping tours|
|Edmonton||Mountain Equipment Co-op (Edmonton)||Members only; lifetime membership is $5. Renting equipment per day. If you rent for longer periods it may be somewhat less economical to rent.|
|Vancouver||Canadian Adventure Rentals||Daily tent and car rental in Greater Vancouver Area. Delivery.|
|Vancouver||Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver)||Backcountry camping. Members only; lifetime membership is $5. Renting equipment per day. If you rent for longer periods it may be somewhat less economical to rent.|
|Banff||Snowtips- Backtrax||Rents tents, packs, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camping stoves, backpacks, etc.|
|SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE FOR INFORMATION ON FIXED TENTS THAT ARE ALREADY SET UP IN A CAMPGROUND|
Camping in a large tent that is pitched in the same spot all summer can be a very pleasant introduction to tent camping. There are four main styles of fixed tents: platform tents, wall tents, tipis and yurts.
A platform tent is a tent erected over a permanent or semi-permanent elevated floor, usually made of wood, to keep sleepers off the cold ground. Platform tents often include wood stoves or tent heaters for additional warmth at night, and may also include cots or even beds for additional comfort. A number of campgrounds have platform tents available for rent.
Wall tents, also called trappers' tents or cottage tents, are large square or rectangular tents with high side walls.
A tipi, or teepee, is the traditional conical aboriginal tent. This is the only tent design that can safely accommodate an open campfire inside the tent. Although not all tipi facilities are set up to permit this. Plus, seasonal fire restrictions may also come into play.
Yurts are circular tents with high side walls modelled on the felt tents used in Central Asia.
|Sundance Lodges, Kananaskis Country, Alberta||Wall tents, tipis||Kerosene heater, basic beds; tipis & tents are on platforms|
|Whistler Campground, Jasper National Park, Alberta||Wall tents||Electric baseboard heater, electricity, cooking equipment|
|Crandell Campground, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta||Tipis||Synthetic turf floor, sleeping mats, fire pit (fire permit must be purchased separately)|
|Two Jack Lakeside, Banff National Park, Alberta||Wall tents||
Heater, lighting, electrical outlets, barbecue, fire pit (fire permit must be purchased separately). No food preparation, food or drink storage, eating, drinking, or cooking is allowed inside the tent. Food storage lockers are provided.
|Quantum Leaps Lodge, near Golden, BC||Tipis||Fire pit, firewood, basic beds, cooking equipment; bedding available|
|Old Entrance B&B, near Hinton, Alberta||Tipis||Sleeping bags, sleeping mats available|
|Golden Adventure Ranch, near Golden, BC||Yurts||On platforms|
|Blue River Campground, Blue River, BC||Tipis||Sleeping mats|
|Goldenwood Lodge, near Golden, BC||Tipis||Beds. Tipi camp also has a day lodge with showers, electrive stove & oven, etc.|
|Beaverfoot Lodge, near Golden, BC||Covered wagons||A circle of covered wagons around a central campfire. Each "wagon" (wagon-style platform tent) has two single beds or one double bed. Bedding available. Day lodge.|
|CrossRiver Wilderness Centre, near Radium Hot Springs, BC||Tipis||2 tipis with fir bough floors, 2 tipis with wooden platforms and carpeting|