Trip Planning and Gear Info
Winter camping can seem intimidating, but with the right planning, preparation and gear it can be the best time of the year for tripping! This is where we come in. With many years of experience we can assist in shaping a great winter adventure for you and your group. We have many different systems for the new winter tripper to the experienced.
Where Do I Start?
There are many different options and considerations when it comes to planning a winter trip. The first is to have your group collectively decide what they would like out of the trip based on the group experience. If this is your first winter trip then it is important to not over estimate experience and keep things simple and fun.
*Note – if you are entering Algonquin Park you will require permits. For the most part you can just show up at East/West gate during business hours and get your permit no problem. If you are not able to physically pick up permits at the gate, then you can call the Algonquin Info line in the winter to get permits. You will need a credit card. They will give you a permit number and that must be shown in the dash of your vehicle as well as your name and date of the trip.
Here are some great locations to start from:
- Mew Lake – Algonquin Park (Winter Car Camping)
This is an excellent location for the first-timer, as this park has all the conveniences. You can either rent an empty site and set up your own tent or rent a heated yurt that sleeps four. With both options you have the luxury of washrooms with hot showers. This is a great and safe place for to learn and experiment with new systems and you can rent whatever gear you need to accompany this option from us.
- Western Uplands or Highland Backpacking Trail
Great Algonquin Park backpacking trails that are used by many for winter camping. Most access both from Hwy 60 but the Western Uplands trail can be accessed at Rain Lake as well. This access is limited however because there is no snow removal. It is a 12km hike just to get to the park from your car and then it can be very difficult to stay on the trail in the winter. We are hoping to use this trail more in the future.
- Crown Land
There are many options near us when it comes to crown land and winter tripping. Contact us for planning a crown land trip.
Base Camp or Moving Trip?
This all depends on experience, trip duration and weather. If this is your first time, you are best to start by setting up a base camp and doing day trips. This will ensure that you have a good trip and a safe set-up with lots of firewood. Summer wilderness experience is completely different than winter wilderness experience.
How to Carry it All?
- Loading Gear
Generally each member of your group will have a sleigh, pulk or toboggan. It is sometimes possible based on group size to have a float. The float will carry a pack and break trail to assist the other members with pulling the gear. Winter gear does add up in size and weight very quickly and it is always better to have enough gear and clothing to adapt to changing temperatures, etc. A hot tent system will typically fill one pulk/sleigh. Toboggans will hold a bit more.
This is possible for cold camping trips (four season tent) or with an ultralight system. It is much easier to bushwhack with only a pack!
What Do I Need?
We have options to fit everyone from beginners to veteran winter campers. It’s important that you pick the gear that is right for you to ensure a smooth trip.
This is a very simple cold system that gets the job done and works great for a moving trip because you have less to deal with. Great choice for backpacking.
- Four Season Tents
These are designed with ventilation to deal with moisture control and are designed strong for snow load and wind. Again, they are a great choice for backpacking. We rent the North Face Mountain 25 (9lbs, 15oz) and the Eureka A-Frame 4 person (10lbs, 6oz)
Pulks and Toboggans:
When you arrive we will help you choose the right size sled based on the amount of gear you have and the vehicles that the sleds will loaded in to. Roof racks are helpful but not necessary.
- Era Pro Pulk
60″ and weighs only 9lbs. This pulk is very versatile for most trips. They are also easy to load into vehicles. They have a hip belt and ridged poles that are 5′ long which suitable for skiing.
- Military Pulk
48″ long and weigh 19lbs. They have a very ridged steel pole/harness system which gives you full control of your load.
6 & 8′ long with a rope harness. Made from HDPE plastic, they are a very simple, traditional method of pulling gear. They are longer than pulks keeping your load longer and lower to avoid tipping. These will roll up so that you can fit them in you vehicle or tie them to your roof rack.
Skis or Snowshoes?
Generally, it is much easier to have a successful trip with snowshoes. There is less to worry about with only one boot system and if snow conditions are deep and you are breaking trail than you will appreciate snowshoes. Also for those of you who have never pulled a loaded pulk on skis before, it is not recommended to start that way.
What do I Sleep in?
What you sleep in and on is as important as the shelter covering you! We use a closed cell pad with a ploy tarp beneath and a minimum of a -18 sleeping bag combined with a liner and a bivy or over bag. For extremely cold trips we have modified ground sheets that will add additional R-value. We generally use synthetic bags as they are more economical and robust for everyday use.
Your clothing system plays a vital role in your sleeping system. It is important to maintain a dry base layer plus a hat, neck warmer, and a thin balaclava. It is also important to never sleep with you head under inside the sleeping bag as it will trap a lot of moisture.
On a multi-day or moving trip it is really important to keep manage this gear and clothing and keep it dry! Having a morning fire will allow to dry gear before packing it. You will appreciate taking the extra effort with your sleeping gear!
- Step 1
Give us a call and we will review your trip and gear needs.
- Step 2
We will send you off a clothing list, gear lists and logistic notes about the rental system you have chosen. We will assist in customizing your gear requirements and make sure it is ready when you arrive.
- Step 3
When you arrive we will spend a minimum of an hour to review how it all works, adjust gear and make sure it is all going to fit, and make sure that you feel comfortable before you leave the shop!
What Will It Cost?
For winter rentals call us at 705-783-2005. Please book in advance, winter rentals require much more work and planning which make it difficult for last minute requests. Tents are a minimum 3 day rental. DISCOUNTS 5+ days are 25% off
Hot Tents and 4 Season Tents (See specs below)
Snowtrekker (2 person) with stove (34.5 lbs total)
Snowtrekker (4 person) with stove (44.9 lbs total)
North Face Mountain 25 (4 season tent)
Eureka Timberline ( A-frame) 4 person
100L Expedition Duffel
Waterproof 115L Canoe Pack (Sealine)
Expedition Backpack (80L)
Sleigh/Toboggan Duffle (Mec xl)
HDPE Toboggan 6 or 8′ with rope harness
Guide Tarp 12×14
Aluminum pack shovel
Mec/North Face -18 sleeping bag
Mtn Hardware Lamina -30 sleeping bag
Arctic down -30 sleeping bag waterproof bottom
Gortex bivy bag
Over bag with waterproof bottom with insulated liner
Winter sleeping pad (evazote)
Ridge Rest SOlite pad
Single Burner Stove (Primus/MSR)
Mess Kit (per person)
Lantern (Candalier) + candles
Satellite Phone (Usage extra)
Expedition snowshoes (Aluminum)
Magnesium traditional snowshoes
Hot Tents / Outposts
We use SnowTrekker Tents as they are the best “hot tents” that we have used. They are light, easy to set-up and designed well for moving trips. With a portable wood stove you stay nice a cosy. Hot tenting and using wood stoves is a safe activity when used properly and with caution. When using the wood stove it must be supervised at all times, so when your group tucks into bed for the night the fire must be out. If the temperatures become extremely cold than your group can do a rotational awake shift and keep the fire burning.
There is nothing like sitting back after a day of snowshoeing and collecting wood, in your base layer and sipping a hot chocolate with friends around a warm fire!
- Our Outpost Tent is a winter wilderness basecamp. We set up a prospector canvass tent with a wood stove. Set up on a private crown land lake about 6 kms from the parking area (approx. 3hr hike)
- $150 for the first night and $100 for each additional night.
- 15 minute drive from our Store/Lodge
- Accommodates 6 people
- Generally set up mid February- mid March depending on winter conditions.
Outpost Tent Custom Dates
If you would like an Outpost Tent set up specifically for your group/dates, the same nightly rates apply as well as and additional $150 for set up/take down.
Outpost Support Kit
We will deliver some of the heavier items out to your tent the night before you arrive. 20L water jugs, shovel, axe/saw, cooking grate, large tarp, foam for seats, and bagged dry firewood ($8/ bag). $50
Outpost Tent with Complete Outfitting
$125/pp/day (3 day minimum)
You will meet us at Algonquin Basecamp early on the day of arrival or stay at our Lodge the night before. We will review all of the gear/ systems together and then we will head out with you to assist with general winter camping/ travel practices. We stay with your group long enough to help set up the tent and stove, while teaching you safe practices and general guidelines around winter camping. We then leave and let you enjoy your adventure, and we will return on the last day to assist with the tear down of the tent and hauling all of the gear out.
You bring your own food system
Included in the package: Orientation and guide with setup for day one, SPOT or SAT phone, tent and stove, toboggan/ pulk, packs,snowshoes and poles, sleeping system, cook kit, axe or saw, shovel, fire kit, potable water, fire wood, tarps, repair kit/ first aid kit, map and compass.