Girl in tent offering cup of camp coffee

Essential camping gear for Quebec parks

It’s no wonder that Quebec – with its countless lakes, hundreds of kilometres of trails, lush forests and mountain ranges – is known as la belle province. If you’re planning to camp in one of Quebec’s many parks, you’ll have the opportunity to try lots of outdoor activities, from kayaking to climbing and more. Packing the right gear will help you create some unforgettable adventures on your camping trip.

Quebec camping essentials

Whether you’re planning to climb at Mont-Tremblant or go mountain biking at Mont-Sainte-Anne, you’ll need the essentials for your camping trip. A sturdy tent (such as the MEC Volt 4, which has room for a people plus gear), a warm sleeping bag and a thick sleeping pad will offer a good night’s rest. Weather may vary during your stay, but some extra layers and rain gear will keep you dry. Don’t forget about critters and creatures: bring bug protection to stay sane and bear protection to stay safe.

Via ferrata

Woman climbing up the via ferrata

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush as part of your camping trip, you’ll have a memorable time on the via ferrata in Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay or Parc national des Grands-Jardins. It’s a safe yet exhilarating way to head out into the mountains and scale rock faces to see some of Quebec’s most magnificent view points. Harnesses, helmets and safety gear are all provided with your reservation.

To make sure you’re comfortable along the way, wear workout clothes and convertible pants or long pants with some stretch, like the MEC Sandbagger Pants (jeans aren’t allowed on the via ferrata). Some other items to bring? Rigid, closed-toed shoes, gloves (bike gloves are a good option), and a hydration pack with water, since there’s no water along the routes.

Feel like hiking?

Two hikers on the trail

If you prefer to explore your surroundings with your feet firmly on the ground, Mont-Sainte-Anne and Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier have got you covered with campgrounds and kilometres of diverse trails.

Fuel up on breakfast, then head out with a map in hand and a daypack to hold your essentials, including water, snacks, a rain jacket and a warm layer (if you’re new to hiking, check out an in-store hiking clinic for more helpful info about what to bring).

While hiking shoes are fine for most trails, if you’re thinking of heading off the beaten path, a solid pair of boots will offer more support and traction on uneven terrain and slippery rocks.

Camping + canoeing (or kayaking)

Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay and Parc national de Frontenac are loaded with lakes and rivers, and have special kayak-camping and canoe-camping sites. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent a kayak for the day from the park or pick up a rental from MEC (Montreal or Longueuil locations).

For an enjoyable day on the water, pack sunscreen, waterproof bags to stash spare layers, a GPS and a map of the region, along with paddling safety gear and some epic sandwiches for lunch.

Backcountry camping

A camping adventure in the heart of Parc national de la Gaspésie or Parc national d’Aiguebelle can help you get away from it all to reconnect with nature. Don’t forget to fill out a backcountry access permit form before your stay.

Since backcountry sites are hike-in or canoe-accessible only, minimizing the weight of your gear will make the journey as comfortable as possible. A lightweight tent will keep you warm and dry throughout the night. Opt for a down sleeping bag instead of a synthetic one – they’re lighter and pack down small – and a cushy sleeping pad that smooths out uneven ground.

Some areas might not have access to clean drinking water, but you can come prepared with water treatment to stay hydrated (and make fresh coffee, of course). Finally, a small stove to cook up oatmeal and pasta, plus a good book to relax by the lake are key to help you enjoy your time in nature. For a convenient list of everything to pack on overnight hikes, scope our backpacking checklist.

No matter where you’re heading, when you have the right gear on hand, you’ll have a great experience in any one of Quebec’s scenic parks. Happy adventuring!

Photo credits: Tyler Olson / Shutterstock.com, Anton Shelkovich / Shutterstock.com, CandyBox Images / Shutterstock.com

Joanie Gaudreau

Writer and fitness enthusiast always chasing her next mountain peak. Also coffee. She chases coffee, too.