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Why I Love Camping Off Season

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Why I Love Camping Off Season

It’s June, and with current weather conditions, we have already reached the time of the year when there is a campfire ban in British Columbia. Of course, campfire bans make sense, and I am happy to do what I can to prevent forest fires, but I can’t deny how not having a campfire impacts my experience camping.

Campfires aren’t the only reason, as an outdoors person, I love camping off-season. Here are some reasons why camping off-season is better, in my opinion:

Fewer crowds

Fewer people at the campgrounds lead to a more peaceful and secluded experience. You won’t have to deal with overcrowded campsites, long lines for facilities, or noisy neighbours. You are especially less likely to see inexperienced campers and families with small children. It allows you to connect with nature and enjoy the tranquillity of the outdoors without distractions. All I want to hear are the sounds of nature. 

Increased solitude & relaxation

Camping off-season provides an opportunity to disconnect from the hectic pace of everyday life and find solitude in nature. The peaceful surroundings, lack of crowds, and slower pace create an environment that promotes relaxation and rejuvenation. You can enjoy the serenity of the outdoors and have more reflective moments, fostering a deeper connection with nature. For me, that might mean a peaceful mushroom trip

Availability of campsites

During peak camping season, popular campgrounds often get booked months in advance. However, during the off-season, you’ll have a much higher chance of finding available campsites, even at popular destinations. This flexibility allows you to choose your preferred site and tailor your camping experience to your liking.

Lower costs

Campground fees and rental rates for equipment tend to be lower off-season. Many campgrounds offer discounted rates during non-peak times to attract visitors. 

Mild weather

Off-season camping often means milder weather than summer or winter extremes. Spring and fall in the Pacific Northwest can provide pleasant temperatures for outdoor activities without the scorching heat or freezing cold. This comfortable weather allows you to engage in various outdoor pursuits like hiking, fishing, or simply enjoying a campfire without discomfort. Though, being in the Pacific Northwest means you will have to be prepared for rain

Unique experiences

Off-season camping can offer unique experiences that differ from the typical summer camping trip. In spring, you might witness the beauty of blooming wildflowers or the return of migrating birds. The off-season lets you see the natural cycles and wildlife behaviours that might go unnoticed during busier times.

Enhanced wildlife sightings

With fewer people around, wildlife tends to be more active and visible during the off-season. You have a better chance of spotting animals in their natural habitats and observing their behaviours without human interference. This can be a thrilling and educational experience for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers. I had a black bear sighting at a campsite near Squamish one year on an early April camping trip. 

Remember to check local regulations and weather conditions before planning an off-season camping trip. Pack appropriate clothing, gear, and supplies to ensure a safe and comfortable experience in changing weather conditions.

Remember to check local regulations and weather conditions before planning an off-season camping trip. Pack appropriate clothing, gear, and supplies to ensure a safe and comfortable experience in changing weather conditions.

Here are some of the best places for winter camping in the Pacific Northwest

How to Make the Most of Camping Without a Campfire

While a campfire can be a great part of the camping experience, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of your camping trip without one. Here are some ideas:

Explore nature

Take advantage of the natural surroundings by hiking, walking, or bike riding. Observe the flora and fauna, listen to the sounds of the forest, and appreciate the beauty of your camping location. You can also bring a field guide or a nature identification app to learn about the plants and animals you encounter.

Engage in outdoor activities

Depending on the location, you can enjoy various outdoor activities such as fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, or paddleboarding. 


Without the glow of a campfire, the night sky becomes even more captivating. Take the opportunity to stargaze and admire the celestial wonders above you. Bring a star chart or a stargazing app to identify constellations and learn about the stars and planets visible in the night sky.

Play games & tell stories

Spend quality time with your camping companions by engaging in classic activities such as games or storytelling. 

Relax and unwind

Camping is an excellent opportunity to relax and disconnect from the digital world. Embrace the slower pace and spend time reading, journaling, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet. Bring a hammock or a comfortable camp chair to create a cozy, relaxing spot.

Campfire alternatives

While you may not have a traditional campfire, you can still create a cozy atmosphere with alternative sources of light and warmth. Use battery-powered lanterns, string lights, or solar-powered lamps to illuminate your campsite.

Campfire Cooking Alternatives

Campfire cooking can be replaced using camping stoves, portable grills, or Dutch ovens. These cooking devices allow you to prepare a wide range of meals just as you would with a campfire. 

If you haven’t been camping during the off-season, I recommend you try it if you’re a nature lover. Just make sure you’re prepared for the weather, both the cold and the rain. 

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