Paddle Canada National Camping Program Skills Stream

Camping Basics

Camping Basics is an introduction to campcraft skills course aimed at those with minimal or no camping experience.

The intention of this 8-hour program is to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and skills necessary to safely enjoy camping in a campground or slightly remote setting. A short overnight camping trip is optional.

Upon completion of this course, the student will have basic knowledge of gear and outdoor skills required to plan and execute their own safe camping trip with a group of peers having similar knowledge in a non-wilderness or frontcounty setting (e.g. National or Provincial park).

Prerequisites

  • Certification:
    • None
  • Camping Experience:
    • None

Typical Course Length

A minimum of 8 hours of instruction and may include an overnight.

General Learning Topics

This course focuses on the basics of campcraft skills in a frontcountry setting and covers the following general topics:

Kitchen and Cooking

  • Kitchen Set-up and Safety
  • Cooking in the Outdoors
  • Portable Stove Use
  • Campfires
  • Safe Knife Use
  • Safe Drinking Water
  • Menu Planning
  • Food Preparation and Storage
  • Hygiene

Campsite & Gear

  • Campsite Set-up
  • Tent and Tarp Set-up
  • Choosing Camping Gear and Clothing
  • Knots

Theory

  • Trip Planning
  • Impact of Camping on the Environment
  • Risk Awareness & Management
  • Introduction to Weather
  • Heat and Cold Issues
  • Camping Locations and Resources
  • Respect for Wildlife
  • First Aid Training Awareness
  • Camping Comfort
  • Sun Sense

Wilderness Camping

Wilderness Camping is an intermediate camping program aimed at those who already have some frontcountry camping and paddling experience but would like to learn the competencies 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.

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.

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.

General Learning Topics

This course focuses on intermediate campcraft skills in a wilderness setting and covers the following general 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

  • 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 travel
    • River travel
    • Ocean travel
      • Introduction to Tides and Currents

Camping Leadership

Camping Leadership is an intermediate/advanced camping program for those who want to develop their leadership and group management skills. For example: leading groups of adults or children as a formal leader, or informally among friends and family.

At the end of this program, the successful student will be able to take a formal leadership role in the planning and execution of a recreational camping trip, provided the participant has also achieved the Paddle Canada certification appropriate to the vessels used and expected conditions of said trip.

Throughout the course, participants will be expected to take on leadership roles in various activities such as trip preparation, extended scenarios, group decision making, advanced navigation, meals, etc.

Prerequisites

  • At least 18 years of age.
  • Camping Skills Certification
    • Wilderness Camping certification, or equivalent experience and knowledge at the discretion of the course director.
  • Paddling Skills Certification
    • A Paddle Canada skills course appropriate to the vessel 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 Certifications:
    • Current certification in wilderness first aid (minimum 16 hours).
    • Leave No Trace training strongly recommended.
  • Camping Experience:
    • Minimum of 4 logged camping trips with a combined 12 nights or more of camping in a wilderness environment. Two of the logged trips need to be a minimum of 4 days each. It is not necessary that any of the logged trips involve paddling.

Certification Expiry

Upon successful completion, this certification is valid so long as the student also holds current certifications in wilderness first aid (minimum 16 hour) and the Paddle Canada skills certification appropriate to the vessels used and expected trip conditions.

Typical Course Length

If this course is offered as a stand-alone program, then the course length will be a minimum of 32 hours of instruction (4 days) including a 3-night camping trip. Due to the nature of this program and to provide ample opportunity for each student to practice leadership skills, this course might need to be extended for larger classes.

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 6 days.

General Learning Topics

This course focuses on outdoor leadership skills in a wilderness setting and covers the following general topics:

Kitchen & Cooking

  • Food Preparation and Packing for Trips
  • Strategies for Food Storage

Campsite & Gear

  • First Aid Kits
  • Equipment Repair (vessels, paddles, tents, packs, etc.).
  • Tarps and Shelters
  • Ditch Kits
  • Communication, Signalling & Technology

Camping Skills

  • Securing a Vessel on a Vehicle and Trailer
  • Trip Logs

Theory

  • Trip Planning
  • Navigation Skills and Techniques
  • Incident Management and Evacuation Options
  • Risk Assessment and Management
  • Leadership Skills and Group Decision Making
  • Expedition Behaviour and Group Dynamics
  • Self-Care
  • Group Care
  • Weather Interpretation & Forecasting
  • Transport Canada Small Vessel Regulations

Expedition Camping Module

This module can be appended to either a Wilderness Camping or Camping Leadership skills course.

Module Description

Expedition Camping adds expedition-specific knowledge and skills for those who want to participate in longer camping trips (for example 14 days or more). It is appropriate to add it to the Wilderness Camping skills or Camping Leadership skills courses.

General Learning Outcome

At the end of this program, the successful student will possess the skills and knowledge needed for longer camping trips.

Prerequisites

Refer to the prerequisites for the skills course to which this module is attached; either Wilderness Camping or Camping Leadership.

Typical Module Length

A minimum of 4 hours of instruction shall be added to the course length of the skills course to which this module is attached; either Wilderness Camping or Camping Leadership.

General Learning Topics

  • Food and Wilderness Cooking
  • Expedition Navigation Skills
  • Expedition Planning and Logistics
    • The student will demonstrate knowledge of:
      • working with and organizing unique transportation to the put-in including float planes or water taxis,
      • shipping boats, gear, and weapons including the potential logistical issues of firearms and ammunition,
      • use of archived trip logs or first-hand local information from a non-paddler as a source of information for research or lessons-learned,
      • methods for efficient information sharing among the group in relation to trip planning. These could include (but not limited to) the internet, Google Maps, weather forecasting services, etc., and
      • trip planning techniques where there is a lack of resources or knowledge including poor or outdated maps, limited online resources or local knowledge.
    • Leadership and Long-term Crisis Management