So You Camp eh!? Good for you!

No I am not being sassy with my title! I am legitimately, whole heartedly saying “GOOD FOR YOU!”

It is that time of year – CAMPING SEASON! It is near – VERY NEAR! And where I am in Alberta some people have already been out pulling or building their wilderness forts! And when this time of year draws near, I also start seeing a lot of blogs posting various informative bits on best places to camp, amenities of campgrounds and so on and so forth. This had me thinking last night and I started to wonder about camping styles. There are so many camping styles out there. And they all rock! Here is how I roll….

The Swiss Alps and my tent by a lake. 1998

I have camped all four seasons. I have backpacked up a mountain in Switzerland with all my gear and tented by a lake in the middle of the Alps. I have also stayed in other people’s campers on wheels usually for reunions or um…..stagettes. I have casually plunked down a pop up family tent in a rented spaces at various campgrounds all over the country over the years. I have toured into cabins, shivered in shacks, I have slept in a car, in a teepee, in a tree, on a bench (& that is a totally unrelated experience) and lately I have been experiencing what I call the “Pioneer Pop-Up!”

Pioneer Pop-Up is what I have defined as the process of setting up of our trappers tent in the middle of no where for days on end. No where in particular {we have a few secret off grid locations} just generally a glorious yet basic place with trees, a river, a great view, ready to make firewood, no toilet, no electricity, nothing but us joining forces with sky, water, and land. It is pure bliss. We set up the tent, the wood stove pops in nicely, I make up the beds, create my kitchen, Trevor cuts and stacks some firewood, but not enough to fill up all the days since we enjoy having “chores” to do in the day. 

We gather water, boil it and store it for certain tasks from use in the kitchen area to the wash stand I insist on bringing not just because it looks pretty – it has a function too. We explore the area and designate the best place to do “business.” We have essentially now set up a pretty efficient home in the woods. We have bunkered down – pioneer style. We fish, sometimes hunt, cook, hike, explore, dip ourselves in the river, play games, roast mallows, sing songs – we camp.


Summerland, BC – We camped for a wedding. The wedding of Tim Hus, Canadian Campfire Singer / Songwriter / Story Teller to beautiful Janelle Baker, Anthropologist Extraordinaire. Basically your perfect Canadian Camping Couple!

Some say we glamp. Perhaps that is true. There are many forms of glamping in my opinion. We have useful camping gear that falls on the vintage side of things. I have secured my “Pioneer Pop-Up ” camping collection over several years by hunting through many, many thrift stores. Pretty floral sheets, warm plaid flannels, aqua blue Coleman coolers, wicker picnic baskets and worn thermos, my favourite apron – you get the picture. So I guess it tends to look styled or too glamorous for the woods. Pretty Pioneer Pop-Up!

Ah – yes – that is a movie projector and screen you see there (at a campground with electrical outlets!) Note we did downsize to the family sized pop up tent.
We are known to have brought a hot tub once, pumped water from the Old Man River in the Crowsnest Pass into it and heated it with a propane heater. We have occasionally brought a generator with us simply because back then we didn’t have the ease and size of IPhones that could play music on a tiny packable and portable speaker and I really liked having patio lanterns sometimes! Now they are solar powered or LED battery operated.

Just backing up to the hot tub – why a hot tub!?
Because I am fun. No lie! Ask Jen. Pure and simple. I thought it would be a hoot and Soft Tub offered one up and Ski Canada Magazine set it up as a promo gig when I was testing skis for the magazine.

Side note: The bummer part of that deal – none of the photos turned out for them to use in any of the marketing materials or write ups. Pre digital world for most of us – 2003. I have always felt awful for that and I knew they were disappointed and I absolutely hate disappointing people. I know it had damaged my relationship with the magazine too so here is my chance – THANK YOU SOFT TUB AND THANK YOU SKI CANADA MAGAZINE for allowing us to set up what was hands down the best and most memorable camping trip ever!

That trip is still talked about to this day like some urban myth and ALWAYS with ear to ear grins, even if we don’t have awesome photos from it – ahem – well there are amazing photos in fact, but none that we can share publicly. And my roommate did go buy a soft tub soooo…..redeemed?

Ridiculously old camping photo – first camping trip with my lumberjack!

In any case, what I am trying to say is, it doesn’t matter your style, nor does mine. I am not judging – merely admiring your ability to minimize and streamline, maximize and go big (or go home!) and in general, I am just plain old happy to see people enjoying a little piece of the woods. If you want to pack one pair of underwear and a one person tent and slay trails – give’r. If you want a pop up tent trailer with mosquito netting – I think that’s kinda smart. Suppose you are an RV’er? As long as we can sit by the fire, have a beer and tell a yarn – I don’t care how you arrived and what you are sleeping in! And if I want to hang my lace chandelier from a tree because it gives me joy and do fun camping fashion photo shoots with my daughter – so be it!

I look forward to hearing about your styles, your camping adventures, fun stories, mishaps and any ideas you can share to enhance all of our camping trips!

Happy CAMPING SEASON! Now hit the road – the woods are calling! #thecampsiteadventures

Old Cheeky Camper
Old Cheeky Camper ~ Muaw! Till next time!

0 Responses

  1. Brenda Varnam

    We are headed out tomorrow! Truck and camper are almost packed up… just need some food and my essentials (the knitting pack) and we’ll be off like herd of turtles!

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      So wish I could join you guys!! Have Fun! Take photos and share #thecampsiteadventures πŸ™‚

  2. ShannonS

    love this. exactly how i like to camp, anywhere and anyhow….

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      We will have to look for your anywhere someday!!

  3. Aaron

    The best type of camping is camping! Just get out there and do it, enjoy the world. I’m really hoping this year is the year I force myself to do it more often. I miss being outside!

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      EXACTLY! Do we need to find a way to force you!? Let us know!! πŸ™‚

  4. George Evans

    Great article!! Really inspirational stuff!! πŸ™‚ Looks like a great time as well, got to get out there more often!!

    I also thought you might be interested in the new video I made in reply to your comment on my last one! Here’s the link if you wanted to check it out!

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      WE LOVE this!! You have good music choices!!

  5. William Wolski

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I just posted a blog on the same topic. β€œRV vs. Tent” at and basically said it doesn’t matter what to sleep in, it the enjoying the outdoors that matters. Great Blog I love this site.

  6. Tarah Hogue

    Instead of glamping I like to think of myself as a “blue collar camper.” I don’t have too many gadgets but we do camp in our conversion van, Rose and live in a 1979 17 foot Boler trailer, which we named The Rambler! You can check out our adventures in urban camping and wilderness living on our blog. I love creating a tarp tent around the van, getting the kitchen set up, putting a tablecloth on the picnic bench and having a brew or doing a little fishing. Nothing fancy, just some good ol’ comfy camping. I’m a comfy camper!

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      I would LOVE to have an old trailer to fix up cute and cozy! Some day! I went to follow your blog, but says it is private!

      • Tarah Hogue

        Try, I think it’s sending you to my old site for some reason!

  7. Thomas

    Great post. I am an avid reader of your blog!

    We go camping frequently, but prefer to keep things simple and try to stay close to nature without any gadgets to distract us.