Beachside Camping [1/2]

camping in tofino[trip style = camping & glamping + weekend getaway]

When: July 29th - August 1st Where: Tofino, BC Why: Brush up on trip style = camping with camp-savvy friends How: From Vancouver, 1h 40min ferry to Nanaimo + 3-hour drive

{Editor's Note: This summer we're publishing Monday - Thursday since most people are taking off early for the weekends---if not physically, then mentally. But Monday was a BC provincial holiday, so we wanted to make sure you collected enough trip style miles this week! PS - Have you entered this week's petite porta-perfume giveaway? It takes 20 seconds or less, and all you have to do is comment on any TS post.}

Even getting up at 4:30am, I wasn't sure if we'd catch the 6:20am ferry. Miraculously we did by only a few cars, which made the earlier than thou wake-up just a little more bearable, perhaps even slightly satisfying. We were headed to Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island to trip style = camping. At our beachside campsite {see my review here}, there was nothing between us and Hawaii but a beach, the Pacific Ocean and a 6-hour flight.

Packing... Not-So Light In the past few years, we've done more glamping {in Africa, Australia, the US and Canada} than camping. Our skills were rusty to say the least; partly evidenced by an SUV filled to the brim with everything from extraneous gear to our dog Nacho. Honestly, it was humbling. How is it I'm able to bring a carry-on with me to Australia for 3 weeks, yet I can't go camping for the weekend without the entire contents of my condo? {Trip Styler Tip :: Resist the urge to bring everything. Warm clothes and earplugs are a must for any campsite. Even in the summer, a toque helps your head stay warm in your sleeping bag.}

The Camping Trip That Couldn't I had high hopes for this seaside camping trip. Given my love of home decor, I wanted to turn my campsite into a glampsite, take pictures and then write about it. My goal was to spend no more than $20, plus with a few things from home, decorate my tree-covered plot into a Moroccan-inspired beach retreat. Sadly, even with all the accoutrements---solar-powered lanterns, velvety pillows with tassels and plush blankets---I failed miserably, mostly due to time constraints, a full day of tent-leaking rain and a violent, in-tent, 3am vomiting episode with my dog. After 2 loads of laundry and 50+ disinfectant wipes, all I can do is laugh about it now. {Trip Styler Tip :: I can't stress enough the importance of disinfectant wipes while camping. They are helpful for cleaning your tablecloth or knife in a jiffy, and great for cleaning dirty hands!}

The Camping Trip That Could While my Saturday circumstances on the front steps of the Pacific Ocean were not looking so bright, Friday, Sunday and Monday sparkled. Friday night we started cooking beer can chicken on the hibachi at 5pm---my first experience cooking a whole chicken! At first there were some significant flames, causing me to think the bird was going to be a bust, but two hours later we pulled away the foil tent placed around the bbq---apparently even our chicken was tenting---set the picnic table with a wipeable red and white checked tablecloth and dined on the tender white meat with the slightest hint of brew. Friday's cooking adventures aside, Sunday was the day, both for me and my friends. After surfing at Cox Bay, beach walking with his gal and spending a lengthy sundown toast atop blankets on the beach Sunday night, my friend's boyfriend from Australia mentioned it was one of his best days in Canada. For some reason, I took it as a compliment on behalf of the natural beauty of my country. {Trip Styler Tip :: The ultra easy beer can chicken recipe can be found in Coleman's Camping Cookbook iPhone app, along with other campsite delicacies such as bocconcini s’mores.}

One Step Forward Two Steps Back Needing more than a tent and campfire for a successful camping trip, I suggest venturing into the outdoors with a fun group of people, the right gear and a fisherman! Saturday's deluge sent any affinity I have for "roughing it" two steps back, yet the 20+ pound Spring salmon my friend's husband caught and she seasoned and barbecued for dinner, redeemed it with one big step forward. Hoping to even out my camping experience with an additional step forward, I'm going to monitor the weather like a hawk, pack less, and do a "Beachside Camping 2/2" continuation at some point over the next two months. Who knows, hopefully my Moroccan beachside retreat won't be just a figment of my imagination! {Trip Styler Tip :: If there's even a 10% chance of rain, don't chance it. Set up a tarp over your tent in such a way that no part of it might cause water to run off and pool near your tent. PS - lots of rope, likely more than you think you'll need, is helpful too.}

If you have camping tips, send them along by commenting below, I'm sure all part- and full-time campers could use a refresher, about as much as sunny skies!

[photos by nstoik, @tripstyler & @nate_fri]