You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

12/20/2015 1:32 pm  #1

6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

I just got back from spending 6 nights on a solo trip to Algonquin Park.  Although the winter protocols were in effect, there was no snow on the ground at all.  It actually rained every day of my trip and the temps hovered right around freezing.  For some reason those types of conditions feel way colder than the coldest winter temps.  Thankfully I was in a hot tent which allowed me to get a cozy fire going and get the chill out of my bones.  I was able to get into the back country, which was great.  I like the solitude (I drove through Mew Lake one evening to hit the showers and there were only a few yurts being used...but there was still some folks hooting and hollering).  I also liked paying the $13 vs $43 for a site at Mew.

I had to tarp the canvas tent as it is not waterproof.  Then I added a few other pieces (the sled which I brought but didn't need and some foil platters) to add to the waterproofing.  Sure looks like an eye sore but it kept me dry!  I also added an awning so I could sit outside in the elements and not get wet.  This tent is like a cave inside and it is really dark.  The problem with the plastic tarps was that the tent did not breathe very well and stuff was pretty damp inside from condensation.   With the awning tarp, I raised it up when I was outside sitting under it but then changed the angle of the pitch when it really rained or when I wasnt sitting under it.  That way the water didn't drain back towards the tent.

Water at times was pouring into my stove from both the end of the stove pipe and the stove jack hole.  I used another foil platter (these things proved invaluable!) to cover the stove jack hole and found that the lid for my kettle fit perfectly over the end of the stove pipe to keep the rain out (obviously not used when I was actually having a fire

This was the view from my site.  Is there any better feeling than taking off your boots and warming and drying your cold damp feet by a fire?

Back to the foil platters..I got a whole bunch from the Dollar Store for about a buck each.  I used them for all sorts of things like heat reflectors inside the tent, I put them under my wood piles to keep the rain from getting to my wood from the bottom, I used them over the wood pile to keep the rain off the wood pile and to warm and dry the wood, I used them as I said above, to assist with rain deflection, I used them to keep my food off the ground as I prepped it in the tent, and I used them over the fire to keep the rain off the fire itself.

I saw a fair bit of wildlife over the 7 days.  This well documented family of fox kept me entertained.  I also saw a couple moose and had a wolf come through my campsite the one night.  I also set up a trail camera and was able to capture a small wolf. 

HERE IS A VIDEO of the wolf I caught on the trail camera.  The camera was set up about 20 feet from my tent.  I find it fascinating to see what kind of wildlife strolls around your site without you even knowing it!

There was tons of wildlife sign along the hikes.  Lots of wolf scat and evidence of bear activity on the Beech Trees.

I did a ton of hiking as well.  I did most of the trails along the Highway and also explored some roads etc in the park.  I didn't have any luck seeing any wildlife on any of my hikes.

I ate really well (as I always do on my trips .  Breakfast usually consisted of a pack of bacon or sausages, eggs, toast, and dinners were great as well.  I did pizzas on the Outback Oven which were really good.  One night I did sausage and penne with pasta sauce.  I also did a pot roast with gravy and instant mashed potatoes.  I've had these before and I cannot say enough how delicious they are!  Super easy as well (boil in a bag).

My knife broke halfway through the trip which made it very difficult to process kindling.  Fortunately there was enough blade left I could struggle through it and was able to make some decent kindling. 

I wasn't happy with the pictures I got on the trip.  I was really hoping for some snow and better weather for photography.  There was not one clear night so I was not able to do the one shot I had in mind (good excuse to go back though!).  The wildlife was not super abundant either so I was disappointed there as well.

Even though the weather was bad and the wildlife wasn't as abundant as I would have liked, the trip was still a blast.  Any time in the Park is super relaxing and always enjoyable.  Being able to get away for 6 nights was a real treat (lots of extra work for my wife and two kids at home .  I also met up with some people that I was wanting to catch up with and meet (Steve Dunsford, Wesley Liikane and Randy Mitson) which was really great.  The one morning I woke up to the command, "POLICE!".  I exited my tent to be greeted by the OPP ERT Team.  As it turns out they were conducting training in the area and stumbled upon my camp.  Being a member of a Police SWAT Team myself for several years I found it a bit unnerving to be on the other side of a Team showing up at your door.  They didn't fully understand the back country protocol and questioned my legal authority to be there.  They were super nice and after a brief discussion they realized that I did in-fact have a permit and was allowed to be there. 

So some things that worked well on the trip:

-Paper plates!  So much easier to clean up (especially with cold hands) when you can simply burn your plates.
-Foil platters.  Like I mentioned above there are so many uses for these and they are super cheap and light weight.
-A good book.  I read "The Revenant" while I was up there.  The nights are long so it is nice to have something to do inside the tent at night
-The awning (fly) at the front of the tent worked really well.
-I used a Pee bottle for the first time in my tent and it worked great.  So nice not to have to get right out and go outside to pee at night!
-I brought my synthetic sleeping bag vs my down one.  Very good decision as the dampness would have been not great for a down bag.
-Another Dollar Store find was a pack of four foam pads that connect together to make one larger (2 foot by 2 foot) square.  This worked great as a kneeling area right in front of the wood stove in the tent.

Things that I would do different next time:

-Tarp the hot tent differently/better.  Setting it up became almost comical as I layered three different tarps to try to get as much coverage as possible.  I would find rain dripping under one corner of one tarp so I would change that, only to find that my new layering allowed water to drain under a new spot.  I spent about an hour working around and around the tent fixing the plastic tarps.  One night around 9 pm the wind and rain really picked up and ripped the tarps clean off the tent.  I then spent an hour in the dark, wind and rain struggling to get the tarps back over the tent and secured properly.  So I need a new system for when I use the canvas tent in the rain!

-I would cook differently as well.  I had way too much food.  For example, the one night I made sausage and penne.  So I bought a pack of Italian Sausage (5 in a pack), an entire package of pasta sauce and an entire package of pasta.  Needless to say I could have fed 5 guys.  This was pretty much the same for most meals as the portions were way too large.  Next time I need to prep better and portion quantities before I hit the Park (i.e. only bring 2 or 3 sausages vs the entire pack).

Thanks for looking!


Last edited by Steve E (12/20/2015 2:03 pm)


12/20/2015 2:28 pm  #2

Re: 6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

Awesome pics as always! Where exactly did you setup camp? Looks like a nice spot.. I'm going on a canoe trip in Killarney Jan 2nd and 3rd with my brother as long as there is open water (we should be okay) but if not we are going to hike in somewhere in Algonquin and your spot looks pretty well perfect.


12/20/2015 2:29 pm  #3

Re: 6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

Thanks Token..I'll PM ya

     Thread Starter

12/21/2015 7:00 am  #4

Re: 6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

With the size of that tent I am thinking you still used the sled to haul your gear? A few trips? Looks great. 6 nights - fantastic. To bad about the rain. Wolf video is awesome.


12/21/2015 3:13 pm  #5

Re: 6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

Great Report I really should take advantage of this weather

A mans gotta do, what a man's gotta do.

12/21/2015 4:17 pm  #6

Re: 6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

Nice pics Steve especially the spooky night shot. Too bad about the weather. Ah well there is always 2016.


12/21/2015 4:37 pm  #7

Re: 6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

Maybe it's worthwhile looking into waterproofing the roof of your hot tent. There is such a thing as canvas water proofing for tents. I've seen it at Canadian tire, in season. May solve some of the tarping issues. Great pics and description of your days outdoors, though rember with your food, you're liable to eat much more then at home while outdoors, that will effect your portion size too.
Wanda s.


1/11/2016 7:22 pm  #8

Re: 6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

Love the pictures of the foxes!

I'd look into waterproofing the canvas as well to avoid the hassle of tarps. But, I really have no idea of how that would work. Maybe you've looked into it already and determined a no-go.

Would wax work? I know you can get wax to re-wax waxed cotton clothing and that helps with waterproofing (probably not a true water proofing).


1/11/2016 9:24 pm  #9

Re: 6 Nights Solo in the Park (December 2015)

Thanks guys that's a good idea about waterproofing the canvas.  My initial intentions were to not use the tent during the rainy seasons but that's twice now in the last two years I've had rain on a supposed winter camping trip.  I'll have to look into that, thanks!

     Thread Starter

Board footera

LNT Canada is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships.