Sep. 9, 2016
By Naomi Witherick
Planning a camping trip in the Canadian Rockies but new to the wilderness? Take some advice from local pro Tom Coker.
The Canmore-based outdoor enthusiast and contestant on this summer’s Woods Canada knows what he’s talking about. As well as his recent appearance on the show, Coker has diploma in outdoors activities.
He’s also completed an outdoors leadership course in the Yukon; worked as a river guide in Kananaskis and his native Ontario, and spends his free time kayaking, rock climbing, scrambling and hiking.
From his experience on Woods Canada and his camping trips in the Bow Valley (Skoki Lodge and Kananaskis River have been recent favourites), Coker has plenty of camping know-how.
“Staying dry is important,” says Coker. “Every time I go camping I keep a pair of socks in my sleeping bag, so when I put them on at night they’re always dry. It’s important to have an eight-hour sleep cycle without feeling damp.”
Coker picked up a savvy campfire tip on Woods Canada. “Dig two holes; one for the fire and one for airflow. It works well in areas where there’s high wind,” he explains.
Want to make a tasty campfire meal? Try Coker’s handy “backcountry pizza” recipe. “Bring yeast and flour to make dough,” he says. “Add tomato sauce, cheese and whatever toppings you want, then cook it in a pan with a lid.
“When it’s almost done, lift the crust, put some water underneath and quickly replace the lid. The water will steam up and melt the cheese.”
Fish with a Frisbee
Fancy a spot of fishing? Coker has a clever hack to make a fishing rod out of a Frisbee. “Make a hole in the middle of the Frisbee, wedge a pen lid in the hole and slide a fishing line through it,” he explains. “Last time I did this I caught a little bass!”
Get Out There
If you’re new to the outdoorsy life, Coker’s best advice is to try something new. Add some rafting, canoeing or biking to make your camping trip even more of an adventure.
Not sure where to start? There’s plenty of local clubs where you can learn from the professionals. “Bow Valley Kayak Club has practice sessions in a swimming pool,” says Coker. “And The Alpine Club is a good way to get exposed to mountain sports too.”
Check out Coker’s appearance on Wood Canada.
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