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Urban Car-Free Camping 17

Urban Car-Free Camping

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Growing up in Canada, camping in the outdoors has always been a significant part of my life. Camping can bring us closer to nature and allow us to appreciate the simple conveniences of modern life.

Before now, I had always relied on a car to go camping. Whether pulling the car up to the campsite, or parking the car and heading to the campsite by canoe or kayak, I have always been reliant on a car.

This weekend a friend and I decided to do a short one-night, car-free camping trip in the city with our two dogs.

I packed my newly purchased Dutch cargo bike with our camping gear and my dog and we set forth on our journey at 7PM Sunday evening.

Urban Car-Free Camping

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

The bike ride was just a short 3km jaunt, and we arrived at the dock where my kayak is stored year round. I unloaded the camping gear from my bike and loaded up the kayak with the camping gear and the dog and locked up the bike for the night.

Urban Car-Free Camping

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

After a relaxing 30 minute paddle we arrived at our destination where we scouted for good spots to set up our camp.

We found a spot that has arguably the best view of the city, and it also came equipped with a picnic table and a fire pit.

It was from this spot that we enjoyed a beautiful sunset over downtown Toronto Sunday evening.

Urban Car-Free Camping

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Urban Car-Free Camping

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

At night we sat by the fire, ate food and chatted before setting up our tents for the night and resigning to the sleep gods.

We woke up at about 6:00AM, packed our tents and spent the morning hiking with the dogs after eating breakfast at the local cafe.

Urban Car-Free Camping

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Urban Car-Free Camping

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Urban Car-Free Camping

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

At 11:30AM we headed home and I arrived home at 12:15PM just in time to spend the remainder of the day with the family.

Given the generally remote locations, camping normally requires a significant time investment to get to the destination by car.

Not only does urban camping not require a car, it also requires very little preparation, and you can get to and from the campsite very quickly which makes it easy to do short one-night camping trips.

One thing to keep in mind with urban camping is that it may be difficult to find approved overnight camping locations, so there is a risk that you may be caught by authorities if you sleep somewhere where overnight camping is prohibited.

No matter, we are profoundly looking forward to our next urban camping trip, whatever destination we choose next time around.

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

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  • Alicasmith55

    All photos looks blasting and awesome. It shows that you have enjoyed your camping very much.

  • Alicasmith55

    All photos looks blasting and awesome. It shows that you have enjoyed your camping very much.

  • rubbomike

    Your adventure has a magical quality as if it’s from another time and place. The strange bike, the canoe, the island, the dogs, all contribute to a sense of being apart from the world of cars and steel, and computers too. I’ve just inadvertently plugged into the same other worldliness in my story about walking dogs on beaches.

    http://youtu.be/B0aiml4QrxI

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Mike, indeed I did receive a lot of strange looks and I did feel like I was in another time and place.

      PS: I enjoyed your dog film, and we have been going through similar battles here in Toronto too.

      I’ve also had conversations recently with friends about how our dogs expose us to a world that we wouldn’t otherwise see. It’s too easy not to get outside and experience nature if you don’t have a dog to give you that nudge every day.

  • rubbomike

    Your adventure has a magical quality as if it’s from another time and place. The strange bike, the canoe, the island, the dogs, all contribute to a sense of being apart from the world of cars and steel, and computers too. I’ve just inadvertently plugged into the same other worldliness in my story about walking dogs on beaches.

    http://youtu.be/B0aiml4QrxI

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    Mike, indeed I did receive a lot of strange looks and I did feel like I was in another time and place.

    PS: I enjoyed your dog film, and we have been going through similar battles here in Toronto too.

  • Mark Green

    Looks pretty amazing. Where exactly?

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Toronto islands!

      • http://www.thamno.com Bart B. Van Bockstaele

        Snake Island to be precise

  • Mark Green

    Looks pretty amazing. Where exactly?

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    Toronto islands!

  • KayakingPaddles

    Urban camping, now that’s a new word in my vocabulary! Would definitely want to try this out for the weekend! Maybe biking around the city and then paddling around San Diego harbor?

  • KayakingPaddles

    Urban camping, now that’s a new word in my vocabulary! Would definitely want to try this out for the weekend! Maybe biking around the city and then paddling around San Diego harbor?

  • http://www.thamno.com/ Bart B. Van Bockstaele

    Snake Island to be precise

  • denial

    i’ve gone along with some urban camping enthusiasts in hamilton. winter is better because you’ll less likely be busted by the cops.

  • denial

    i’ve gone along with some urban camping enthusiasts in hamilton. winter is better because you’ll less likely be busted by the cops.

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