A photo of a tent a sunrise.
Photo credit: Moritz Jäger

Wilderness Camping

Discipline: Camping Stream: Skills Development

Wilderness Camping is an intermediate camping course for those with some camping and paddling experience but would like to learn the skills necessary for wilderness travel as well as develop basic leadership and risk management skills.


Throughout the course, students will be expected to lead the group in various activities including navigation, meals, and camp set-up and take-down.

At the end of this course the successful student will have a strong camping skill set and can plan and participate in camping trips up to a week long in a wilderness setting.

They will be able to provide peer leadership and navigation skills while on trip.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

If this course is offered as a stand-alone program, then the course length will be a minimum of 24 hours of instruction (3 days) including a 2-night camping trip.

If this course is offered in conjunction with another Paddle Canada paddling course (e.g. Stand Up Paddleboard Advanced Flatwater skills) then the course length will be the total length of the two courses combined. For example, if the other paddling skills course is normally 2 days long then the total teaching days would be 5 days.

Course Topics

Kitchen & Cooking
  • Wilderness Cooking
  • Safe Drinking Water
  • Campfires
  • Personal and Camp Hygiene
  • Management of Trip Garbage
  • Food Preparation and Packing for Trips
  • Menu Design for Longer Trips
Campsite & Gear
  • Campsite Selection and Set-up
  • Tent & Tarp Set-up
  • Choosing Camping Gear and Clothing
  • Field Repairs and Maintenance for Gear and Vessels
  • First Aid Kits
Camping Skills
  • Packing a Vessel
  • Vehicle Vessel Tie-down
  • Knots
  • Portaging Techniques
  • Trip Logs
Theory Topics
  • Navigation Skills (Maps and Charts, Navigation Techniques)
  • Trip and Route Planning
  • Impact of Camping on the Environment
  • Weather Interpretation & Basic Forecasting
  • Heat and Cold Issues
  • Leadership and Decision Making
  • Risk Assessment, Management and Evacuation
  • Camping Locations and Resources
  • Respect for Wildlife
  • Regional Travel Knowledge (Lake, River and Ocean Travel)
Course Prerequisites
  • Camping Skills Certification
    • Camping Basics certification or equivalent skill and knowledge at the discretion of the course director.
  • Paddling Skills Certification
    • A Paddle Canada skills course appropriate to the vessels used and conditions on which the camping course takes place, as outlined by the course director, or equivalent skills and knowledge at the discretion of the course director.
  • Other Training
    • Wilderness first aid (minimum 16 hours) is strongly recommended.
  • Camping Experience
    • A log demonstrating a minimum of 4 camping trips with a total combination of 8 nights or more camping. It is not necessary that these trips involve paddling.
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