Ever since I can remember, my family has been a camping family who primarily camped all over the western half of North America. Odds are if there is a major camping area on the West Coast I’ve been there, been near there, or I will get there at some point in my life. Whether it’s instinct, built into my DNA, or simply been past down for generations and generations of my ancestor’s I just love sitting by a campfire and enjoying the outdoors; hopefully with a craft beer or s’more in my hand (or both). There’s something special about getting back into nature every once in a while that makes you truly appreciate how far we have come as a civilization, yet at the same time understand the natural beauty that is at risk if we go to far in decimating our environment.
I’ve experienced camping a lot as a child, through family trips that included Jr Ranger Clubs, Beavers and Wolf Cub Scout camping trips, school camping, grad ‘camping’, camping as a couple and now camping with my own young family. We regularly make at least 5 unique trips to campsites annually during the summer where the weather is usually nicer. Each experience and trip is always unique and memorable, helping shape my view on life and enhancing my understanding of the importance of sustainability. I have also picked some important life skills and can now progress passing these things on to the younger generation in my kids (like how to skip rocks, start a campfire, cook a marshmallow perfectly, etc). From the best friends forever for a day that you make as a kid, to the relationships you develop as you get older, the experience of camping outdoors is like none other.
Without rambling on too much further, lets just say I think camping should be a part of everyone’s life in some way and even if you aren’t roughing it there are experiences to be had and I encourage everyone to grab and tent and get out there! We luxury tent now, generally sticking to provincial and state parks often with the convenience of electricity and running water, but not always flush toilets and I find it provides the best level of convenience and comfort to make a family weekend camping trip extremely enjoyable. Get out there and make it work for you, be it tent, trailer, or sleeping under the stars find something that works for you as British Columbia offers something for everyone (take a look at Hello BC’s Camping Section for more info).
Now regarding craft beer – camping trips are my favourite time to clean our my beer cellar of doubles, half used 6 packs and other beers I have rated before and just want to enjoy. I don’t like to rate beer while camping, I prefer to simply enjoy what I brought throughout the day. It’s also important that, since I have a young family, to display responsible consumption habits in front of my children as kids often tend to emulate their parents even if they don’t mean to later in life it still happens. There are certain unspoken rules to be followed here, mainly exercise control don’t get sloshed in front of your kids, secondly don’t drink so much that you spend the whole night making trips to the bathroom (or the nearest tree) and thirdly – this applies to everyone – don’t be an arsehole to other campers by being loud all night and keeping other families awake…leave the 2 am screaming and spit up to the infants please!
Beers I like to drink while camping are always craft, generally low-mid alcohol and usually good examples of a style that I have tried before. On a most recent trip with the craft beer pictured above, I finished off some nice Saison’s by Four Winds as well as some left over IPA’s from them. I enjoyed my left over Chestnut Brown Ale by Whistler Brewing before it turned bad since it was getting to that 1 year point and some left over Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stouts which pair perfectly with BBQ food and a campfire. Some Tap It IPA’s from CA made the trip to keep me warm at night and finally some nice low alcohol P49 Tricycle Radler’s for breakfast since they are heavy on the grapefruit juice so that makes it ok right? Many places have easy bottle and can recycling on site, so there is no excuse to leave a mess behind.
So I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy the great outdoors in British Columbia or anywhere on the West Coast of North America this year to get out in nature an enjoy what’s left of our beautiful spots. You may just realize what makes these places so valuable, how they allow you to get away from your busy life, relax and spend some time with your friends and family over a cozy campfire and some tasty craft beers. It is an experience I will always cherish and look forward to in the future for as long as I live. Without it, I would miss out on captivating moments like this particular sunset where, lets face it, everyone can sit back and enjoy it’s beauty on the computer screen, but you had to be there to see it to experience its awesomeness fully.