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  • Writer's pictureShubie Campground

Camping 101: A Beginners Guide

Are you new to camping? Have you been longing to roast marshmallows on a campfire and gaze at the stars like you did as a kid but haven’t had a chance yet to do it on your own? Shubie Campground is the perfect place for beginner campers!

Located in the heart of Dartmouth, in a city park and right on a convenient bus route, you can have the ultimate camping experience and get the benefits of camping without having to leave the city!

Camping is a fun and family friendly experience that allows you to unwind from the busy world and immerse yourself in nature while creating lifelong memories. It is essential to have a basic understanding of camping though to ensure that your stay with us is a successful, safe and enjoyable experience.

We will walk you through the essentials on what to pack, what to expect, some safety tips and even some equipment rental companies to help make your stay with us easier!

Essential Gear

Depending on what kind of camping experience you book for your stay, the gear you bring will differ. If you book one of our tent sites, a tent will be required. Decathlon is a great place to start - their outdoor adventure team is amazing and will answer any questions you might have about what you might need. You’ll also will find some fun and affordable options to enhance your stay (did you know they have inflatable tents??!! So cool!).

What should be on your camping gear packing list? We suggest the following to keep you comfortable during your stay:


Must Haves:

  • Tent

  • Sleeping bags/pillows/sheets or blankets

  • Sleeping mat

  • Ground sheet and/or fly to keep the rain out

Nice to Haves:

  • Small broom and dust pan

  • Extra tent pegs

  • Hammer/Axe

  • Air Mattress/pump

  • Entrance Mat

  • Camp Chairs

Remember, the Nova Scotia weather can be unpredictable so please ensure that you pack layers and appropriate clothing for all weather conditions, as well as proper footwear including running shoes, water shoes, and sandals.

Campfire Basics

Campfires are a camping classic and we want to make sure that you are able to fully enjoy that experience with us here at Shubie!

In order for you to have a safe campfire, it is important to understand the basics. First, use only designated fire rings or pits, and never leave your fire unattended.

At Shubie, all fires must be out by 11:00 pm, garbage and/or other flammable items are not permitted for use within your fire ring and to protect our amazing park no outside firewood is permitted. Please ensure that you build your fire safely and are aware of your surroundings during this time.

What should you pack for your campfire?

Must Haves:

  • Matches/lighter

  • Fire starters/newspaper

Nice to Haves:

  • Marshmallows or a S’mores Kit! Yum!

  • A guitar for campfire songs…

Again, please do not bring your own firewood. It might seem innocent enough, but moving firewood has the potential to destroy thousands of trees. Moving firewood is a common way for insects and diseases to spread into our forests and urban trees. Pests can live in it, on it, or under the bark of firewood. Moving firewood gives these hitchhikers a free ride!

Please follow the Nova Scotia Safe Firewood Practice and purchase your firewood onsite to stop the transference of pests to our forest.

Food Safety & Campfire Cooking

It is important to practice proper food safety guidelines while camping. A camping tip that we recommend is to freeze water bottles and use them as ice packs in your cooler. This will help keep your perishable items chilled, and serve as water once the ice has melted!

Looking for an easy camping hack for dinner? You can preplan your meals and bring them along - pour your favourite spaghetti bolognese sauce into a freezer bag and freeze it flat - you can put it on the bottom of your cooler and it will thaw while you are camping - it makes a great meal with simple pasta added. For breakfast, try premaking your favorite pancake mix and storing it in a water bottle or an old squeeze bottle - makes it easy to pour the mix onto the pan for a great camping breakfast.

Need more ice? We do sell ice onsite for our campers if needed.

There are animals that live in the park surrounding our campground, so this means we need to practice proper animal safety when it comes to food. To avoid any issues with animals, please throw out all garbage from your campsite in our designated garbage bins. Keep food in your car if possible when you are not around. If you plan to keep food in your tent, we recommend packing it in a hard sided cooler or dry bag for safe keeping. We’ve all heard that story about the racoon that ripped through a tent to get at the uneaten pizza - it wasn’t pretty!

Campfire Cooking is so much fun!

Must Haves:

  • Large water jug & water bucket

  • Coolers/ice

  • Stove with fuel/propane

  • Plates & bowls/paper plates & bowls

  • Silverware/plastic silverware/mugs/paper cups

  • Paper towels

  • Pots and frying pans with lids if you are cooking

  • Trash bags

  • Dish soap

Nice to Haves:

  • Tablecloth/thumb tacks/clips

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil

  • Cooking oil/Pam spray

  • Containers for food storage

  • Soap for outside of pots and pans

  • Cook utensils-spatula, knife, spoon, tongs/skewers/grill forks

  • Can opener/bottle opener

  • Folding table

  • Cutting board

  • Ziplock bags & napkins

  • Dish pan, dish rags/towels

  • Seasonings/sugar/condiments (and coffee - don’t forget the camping coffee!!)

Camping Safety Tips

Here at Shubie Campground your safety is our number one priority so here are a few safety tips to ensure you have a fun and safe stay with us!

  1. Follow all Rules and Regulations when on our campground.

  2. Please be aware of your surroundings. Even though you are surrounded by a park, you are outside in nature, which means that you may encounter a few animals.

  3. Wear proper footwear for the activities you choose to participate in (e.g. running shoes for pickleball, walking shoes for the trails)

  4. Stay hydrated and pack your essentials. These can include a flashlight, mini first aid kit, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Excited about camping but don’t want to buy all of the gear?

We know that camping gear can be rather pricey and a daunting purchase to make if you are not a frequent camper. Don’t worry - there are options!

Rent: You may want to download The Good Neighbour App and rent your gear. They have loads of rentable camping essentials stemming from dry bags, tents and even sleeping bags!

Borrow: Try borrowing from friends and family if you are a first time camper. Camping gear most often sits unused in our basements or garages, try before you buy is always a great way to go - it’s also better for the environment!

Finally - Try “Glamping” stay in our Yurt or in one of our Vintage Vacations Trailers! If you want the camping experience without all of the setup and tear downs we have a fun yurt or a number of retro cool Airstreams on site that you can rent for the weekend. It's a great way to try camping for the first time.

Have fun!

Whatever way you go - make sure you get out and experience camping this summer. A lifetime of amazing memories awaits!!

We hope that this beginners guide to camping was helpful in planning your next trip with us! If you have any other questions, please leave a comment on this post and we will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.

Please click here to book your stay with us today.

Happy Trails!

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