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“Unglamping” in BC: Camping Unplugged

I must admit, three years ago, camping without hookups scared me. Our camping companions suggested that we try Herald Provincial Park in the Shuswap in British Columbia’s Okanagan region – a campsite without power, water or sewer. I panicked, no microwave, rice cooker or outlets to charge my cell phone. But more importantly, how would I make my coffee in the morning without my coffee maker?

At first, we told our friends that we were unable to make it as camping without hookups or dry camping was just not for us.  Finally, they persuaded us to go and are we ever glad we did!

In order to have an enjoyable and memorable dry camping trip, I have learned a few tricks.

Cooking shortcuts

To make cooking easier, I plan ahead by making meals that are easy to prepare.  I usually bring the first two meals, frozen dinners that I have prepared such as chili or spaghetti sauce. Not only are they quick to heat up but they use few pots which in turn cuts down on cleaning too many dishes. If I know we are going to have many dishes, I use paper plates, which we use as fire starters in the evening. To solve the coffee dilemma, we boil water and use the single serve instant coffee packs or a coffee press.

Coleman Solar Panel

Coleman Solar Panel


When we camp with hookups, we have unlimited use of inside and outside lights. The first time we were dry camping, we learned pretty fast that we couldn’t leave the lights on too long. Although we have two deep cycle batteries, they only last for a limited amount of time. We figured a way around this problem by installing LED lightbulbs which have a longer life and draw much less power than regular lightbulbs. In addition, a recent gift from friends, a 90W Coleman solar panel, works well to provide auxiliary power. We have also stocked up on flashlights and hang glowsticks in the trailer to provide a small amount of light overnight, plus the colours look nice!

Relaxation and serenity

Initially, I thought dry camping would be more work. I was wrong. There is no need to plug in or connect the water and sewer hose.  Just put down the jacks, pull out a few camping chairs,, put up a hammock and it’s time to relax.  The sites we have experienced are large, quiet and quite private.

More choice and great value

Since we have been venturing to new campgrounds, I realize how many beautiful sites we have been missing out on that we consciously avoided in the past. There are many more campgrounds to choose from when we are not restricted to serviced sites. In addition, the price of an unserviced site can be half the price of a serviced site.

Unglamping has given us a whole new outlook on camping. By unplugging and opening ourselves up to a new experience, it has offered us more opportunities to try out different regions of BC, reconnect with nature and get closer to the true camping experience.

For places to camp in British Columbia check out the Camping Map or search Campgrounds.

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc

Published: March 28th, 2019

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