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Seven myths about rustic and wilderness camping

Definition: The term rustic and wilderness camping refers to campsites in remote areas, accessible on foot, by bike, or even by canoe. They offer basic amenities: tent platforms, fire pits, and grills (sometimes to be shared with the neighbours), as well as a water source and dry toilets, a few metres from the sites. Far from overcrowded and also cheaper than serviced campsites, these treasured places are renowned for being genuine little corners of paradise.

The words rustic and wilderness can sound like they’re reserved for seasoned adventurers who crave an exciting getaway, where they’ll have to concoct dinner from wild plants, in the middle of the forest, by lighting a fire using a friction technique with dried grasses and fire stones. Well that’s not quite it! There's really no need to have completed forest survival courses to be able to enjoy a rustic and wilderness stay.

This type of accommodation is especially intended for whoever wants to enjoy nature to its fullest, in its purest state, falling asleep at the foot of big fir trees lulled by the wind and the smells of the forest. You’ll see, it's much more accessible than you think! You just have to be open to new sensations and concentrate on what's essential, namely elements bringing us closer to nature.

Mikaël Rondeau | © Sépaq

By deconstructing certain myths about rustic and wilderness camping, we quickly realize that the name sounds scarier than it really is. In fact, it’s not much more complex than a two or three service stay. And it's inexpensive to boot! We can't say it enough: happiness lies in simplicity, especially when camping.

Here are seven myths which have been busted to make you want to check out what we’ve dubbed “the room with unlimited stars.”

1. You have to walk for kilometres down challenging trails to reach campsites

False. Certain sites are only a few metres from parking lots, and their trails are very easy to negotiate. There’s no need to climb steep hills! Of course, if you want to, it's also possible to go on long hikes, stretching over a number of days. In this case, Sépaq offers a service for food and equipment delivery at different points along the way. The journey can be more pleasant with lighter shoulders! 

2. Bringing all your stuff is heavy and cumbersome

False. It’s possible that you’ve looked at your car, full to the brim, before setting off to camp and you’ve said to yourself that it would be totally unthinkable to fit all this in a backpack. And that’s very true indeed! When rustic camping, we learn to bring the bare minimum. We like to think of it as a stay that takes us back to the basics. A tent, a sleeping bag, a mattress, an inflatable pillow, and a few cooking items will be enough. The idea is not to try to recreate the comforts of home, but rather to do what’s needed to enjoy nature. If you’re used to bringing a sound system with you for example, you might want to put it aside this time to listen to the sounds of nature. Waves, the birds, and the flickering fire. Become one with nature, synchronizing your breathing with the wind. Total relaxation guaranteed!

Mikaël Rondeau | © Sépaq
Mikaël Rondeau | © Sépaq
Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq
Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq

3. When rustic camping, you have to do without

False. You have to bring fewer things, that’s true. But we strongly suggest that you bring a few “non-essential” elements as little treats for your nature stay. If they're well chosen, they won't add much weight to your luggage and will elevate the experience to a higher level. To inspire you, here are our team’s favourites, which you can slip into your backpack for an amazing camping stay.

“Coffee! It's light, you can enjoy it at any time of the day, and it instantaneously provides a wave of comfort. As a bonus, the sounds and smells when we prepare it on the fire are simply intoxicating!” – Lucas, content manager

“Candles! It's my friend Fred who introduced me to candles when camping. Just light up a few of them on the picnic table to create a truly warm and fuzzy vibe. You can even light them at breakfast! I often bring small lamps, because they don’t take up much space and they do the trick, in a rustic shelter as well as at the cabin.” – Karina, content strategy and social media manager

“My hammock! Ideal to doze off to the sounds of nature whether you’re deep in the forest or at the edge of the water. Also, honestly, even when camping, an afternoon nap is a must.” – Marie-Julie, marketing technician

4. Cooking over the fire is a real headache

False. If you're trying to replicate the same recipes as at home, yes, it can be complex. But truth be known, cooking in nature means discovering a whole new world of taste. You just have to revise your methods. Sunday brunch is always a must and a moment of great comfort. But have you ever thought about trying Sunday brunch in the forest, prepared over the open fire? The smells of the fire mix with the flavours of the ingredients to awaken your senses. To begin, ideally, you should consider dishes which can be cooked in a single pot. And by this, we mean something as gastronomic as an asparagus and parmesan risotto. Let yourself be inspired by these recipes which can be cooked alfresco

Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq
Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq
Mikaël Rondeau | © Sépaq
Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq

5. It’s complex (even impossible) to do the dishes in the middle of the forest

True... and false. Yes, it's more complex than at home. But we’re willing to bet that when you get home after your nature stay, you'll have developed new cooking methods so as to use as few dishes as possible. Because to be honest, whether camping or at home, cleaning up isn’t exactly a blast! In the forest, dare to eat straight from the dish, or else consider recipes that can be eaten with your hands, like tacos or a full meal dip. In any case, campsites are always close to a water source so you can wash the only mess kit you’ll have used. 

6. Insects are even more invasive

False. If there's one thing that doesn't change according to the number of services chosen, it's insects. Whether you’re at a full-comfort campground or a rustic one, if it's the season, insects will be on hand. However, in wilderness mode, insects are in fact generally less attracted by campers since the zone is darker and less busy. In any case, consider bringing a citronella candle to keep them at bay. These candles are efficient, and you can include them among the little goodies you bring for atmosphere!

7. There are no toilets

False. Toilets are accessible in rustic areas, only they’re dry. And in reality, you’ll find more comfort, because there’s more privacy. That's right, these types of campsites are less busy, so their toilets are too! 

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In spite of all the advantages, taking up the rustic stay challenge may seem like a very big step indeed. And we completely understand. In this case, consider a gradual approach. If you’re used to two or three service camping, you can gradually reduce the comforts one by one. Otherwise, you can also bring small devices, such as a power bank as a form of compensation if you need it. Using these tricks, maybe by the end of the season you’ll feel ready to dare to try some genuine rustic camping. And once you’re all set, we promise one thing: you'll never want to trade your room with unlimited stars for anything in the world!

Ready for adventure? Have a look at our favourite spots for camping at its purest.

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