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Gear-less Camping. The Best Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors Without Owning a Tent

So you want to take your family out camping but haven’t attempted it before? Wanting to test the waters before taking the plunge to purchase expensive gear? No room in your car to haul a ton of stuff? There’s lots of great options in Alberta for camping without actually buying a tent or a camp stove (or having any previous knowledge about the outdoors!). ¬†Bring your own bedding, pack some hot dogs and away you go.

Here’s a few ideas for those of you who have kids who are begging to go camping but you’re not sure if it’s a good fit for your family (just yet ūüėČ ).


Yurting at Pigeon Lake.¬† I’ve previously blogged about them HERE ¬†and I’ll rave again about how pretty they are. Definitely an easy way to ease into camping as a family. Alberta Parks has made it easy to try something new with the family and have all the details about booking on their website.


Equipped Camping at Elk Island National Park. For about $60 dollars a night you can have a campsite set up for you complete with all the gear you need to give your kids the experience of sleeping in a tent.  You can enjoy the beauty of sitting around the fire as a family with out all the packing and worrying. This fee also includes someone to come out and show you the basics of camp life, and it includes all the cooking gear and necessities. And because you are in the National Park there are a ton of activities for your family to enjoy (as per my blog post ). Check out the details HERE.

There is also Equipped Camping at Two Jack Lake in Banff  (this is such a great campground!). They also offer Camping 101 classes at Two Jack to teach your family all the basics.




Comfort Camping through Alberta Parks. ¬†We recently stayed at the Canvas wall tents at Miquelon Lake just 40 minutes outside Edmonton. They are simple white canvas structures ¬†with wooden floors, power and basic amenities. These Canvas Tents also include bedding and have hot running water just steps away for washing dishes and cooking. It’s simple and you don’t really need to bring a thing- they even include roasting sticks and flashlights. ¬†Other comfort camping sites in Alberta include the gorgeous “glamping” canvas tents at Dinosaur Provincial Park ( we are¬†headed back there in September, it is a fantastic trip and well worth the drive. These tents have air conditioning and heaters!). There’s also¬†Canvas Tents at Writing-on-Stone and Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park (30 minutes outside Calgary). ¬†Each comfort camping site has different amenities included, so read the posted information for each specific venue for more information. They also book up quickly for the year, so it’s best to book on opening day. ¬†Check out the parks website for more info.




Go Rv-ing with a rental from My family has never tried RVing, but it’s definitely on our radar for a future fun summer trip as the girls grow up. There are so many places I’d like to take a¬†road trip to and having a home base that you can actually drive around sounds like it could be a lot of fun. The price tag seems like a splurge…but it’s still a lot cheaper then buying a RV!

(image from the go rv-ing website)




oTENTiks at Whistler’s Campground in Jasper. ¬†These half-cabin-half tents are so popular that Park Canada just added another 10 units available for overnight visits. They book up quickly, but at $70 a night they are a great way to see Jasper. It’s almost like you are staying in a mini hotel but you get to cook your own food, have a nightly fire, enjoy the amenities of the park, ¬†and have nature right outside your door. The oTentiks also have bunkbeds making them a super fun choice for kids.

(images from the Parks Canada Website)



Try out the new cabins along Lac La Biche at Wintson Churchill Park. We are heading there in the beginning of October, so I’ll give a full review then, but these new lake front cabins are fully equipped and are situated on an island. Sir Winston Churchill ¬†is the only¬†Provincial Park located on a island and Alberta Parks has done a beautiful job of building some really awesome new accommodations for those of us who want to explore parks without having to sleep on the ground. It’s a great way to ease into the outdoors with the family. These cabins are available (nearly) year round, so if you are into winter camping or ice fishing they can be a great option.¬†

(images from the Alberta Parks website)

Rent your own gear from Rent Eh Tent and choose your own adventure (I also appreciate this witty and all Canadian name). This local Edmonton camping rental location has everything you could need to do your own exploring. They even rent bike racks, travel trailers, backpacking gear, and fishing equipment if you are needed extra gear for a weekend.

Happy Camping!

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  • September 1, 2015 - 4:31 pm

    Stephanie - Such a good write up, I didn’t know about half of these. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2016 - 5:08 am

    Lace Thomas - I have a Serac Hammock, and it’s fine to be in it like that of being inside a tent. More of it, I don’t find them hard to set up and they are also cheaper. You should’ve also included them.ReplyCancel

    • January 7, 2016 - 5:10 pm

      Kelsy - That sounds really fun! I would love to try one out! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2016 - 1:54 am

    Trish Rattray - Love the outdoors and didn’t know about some of these either, so awesome!!ReplyCancel

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