Parks Canada is now offering “learn to camp” lessons for wilderness newbies

Family setting up tents

Getting to go camping in Canada’s beautiful national parks is one of the perks of living here, but for some, it’s a bit of a foreign concept. There are some Canadians who, for various reasons, have never been camping—they may not have grown up in “camping families,” or have moved here from countries where camping isn’t the norm, or have simply been living under a rock—or perhaps far away from all rocks.

Whatever the reason, Parks Canada has a plan to get everyone up to speed and into the outdoors this summer. The Learn to Camp program—informally known as Camping 101 — is an educational camping trip with gear provided by Mountain Equipment Co-op and workshops conducted by experts teaching everything from how to put up a tent to how to cook a meal over a fire.

“Often there are barriers that stop people from just giving it a shot,” Parks Canada spokesperson Laura Judson told Global News. “When they do [the Learn to Camp program], people get more comfortable with the outdoors, they get curious about camping, and they gain that confidence to give it another shot on their own.”

Nadji Yazdi moved to Canada from Iran, and he and his family participated in the Learn to Camp program last year—and plan to again this coming summer. “I think the best thing about the program is you have a fear about doing something for the first time, and it breaks that fear because there are experts around…They help you if you have questions,” Yazdi told Global.

Parks Canada has also put out an app for new campers, which is full of tips, checklists, and information on parks where you can pitch a tent.

So if you’ve always wanted to camp but been too afraid to strike out on your own, this is your chance to get a crash course. Class will be in session this summer.