How to Navigate in the Backcountry. 

I have never gotten lost, I have however taken extended and prolonged detours from the previously agreed route whilst not necessarily being certain of my current location. 

In reality getting slightly lost is one of my favourite ways to explore the backcountry, it has led me to some amazing places, but it is important to know how to reverse the getting lost phenomenon to prevent any disasters. Hopefully we can give you a few helpful hints with our Theme for May 2020 – how to navigate in the backcountry. 

Backroads Map Books:

Possibly the most essential piece of kit we supply with our overland vehicle rentals in British Columbia, if you don’t have one for the area you are exploring, they are incredible and well worth the investment. 

For a full guide or to purchase your own – visit the backroad map books website:

https://www.backroadmapbooks.com

 

Using your Mapbook: Learn the Legend / Map Key

  • It’s pretty important to know the difference in the roads and to identify key features and symbols as this will save you a lot of hassle and possibly take a road you aren’t suited to. 

 

  • Familiarize yourself with the Map Key and map pages you will be visiting – I use sticky notes/paper clips to make the area i am currently in so that i can flip to the pages easier. 

Forest Service Roads


Once you leave the tarmac behind, it can be a bit tricky to navigate the forest service roads. 

Take the extra time to double check the names of the service roads, some are easier to identify than others depending on whether or not they are being actively used commercially. 

 

Keep an eye on the route markers, alot of active logging roads will have markers – for example ‘Rosander Main – 21km up’ which obviously lets you know you are 21kms up the rosander main which makes very useful orientation points. 

Make a couple of reference points along the way – ie a connecting road, camp, landmark, bridge, river etc. This helps to ensure you are on the right path. 

When driving on logging roads remember

  1. Lights on!
  2. Pull over for industrial vehicles!
  3. Don’t Speed!

Scale

Take note of the scale of the map, this is crucially so you can identify the distance in between landmarks you are using for reference. How does the scale correspond to real distances? For example, one inch on a 1:24,000-scale map equals what distance in the field.

Contours/Shading/Points of Interest

Familiarize yourself with contour lines and how to relate them to the topography. This helps to confirm your location when you are trying to orient yourself and also the type of terrain you might encounter. 

Keep an eye on what the different areas mean – i.e green shading is a conservation/park area. 

What to do if you get lost.

Let’s say you have temporarily become unsure of your current surroundings. 

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Try to determine your current location by looking for a landmark and then relating them to the symbols and landmarks on the map.
  3. Try to determine North, South etc and check to see if the landmarks equate to the map landmarks to confirm you have oriented yourself correctly. 

Now you have oriented yourself – GREAT!

  1. Now time to check the directions for where you are going – keep checking with the route with key landmarks along the way as mentioned above. 

Remember – STOP:

S: Sit – Stop what you are doing and take a breath, sit down and have a drink to calm your nerves. 

T: Think – Where were you last sure of your surroundings, can you identify any of your current landmarks. 

O: Observe – Take a compass reading, observe the map for key landmarks, look out for any weather hazards. 

P: Plan – What’s the gameplan? Call for help if possible? Back track?

What if you truly have no idea where you are?

Assuming you have no phone signal 🙁

Luckily for our clients all our overland vehicle rentals in Canada come equipped with a 2 way GPS messenger, our SPOT Gen X Device!

See below for how to use it. 

Using our SPOT SOS Device and Messenger.

Remember if it isn’t an emergency – DO NOT press the SOS function

If it isn’t an emergency and you can wait a little bit to help locate yourself or get an answer then definitely use the email/SMS function. 

Communication Features:

Email: In my experience this seems to go through quicker and easier than a SMS – our customer support team for all our Overland Clients in Canada checks both email and phone 24/7 to help any clients in situations.

SMS: You can use the SMS function to send to a mobile number

Check-in: If you had arranged to previously check in along the way with base – then you can quickly and easily use the check-in feature to send your location. 

Elevation / Location: In both the email and SMS function you can also send your current location and elevation to the person you are contacting. 

Using the device:

  • Keep this device on at all times.
  •  Keep the device plugged into charge when not in use.
  • Never press the SOS button unless in an absolute emergency
  •  For minor incidents or that don’t need immediate attention, use the 2 way messenger to contact the office. 1

Sending a message:

  1.     Select messages from the main menu and subsequent sub-menu. 
  2.     Select the ‘compose message’ icon.
  3.     Message will open and you will have the ‘TO:’ field highlighted – toggle to the right to open the contacts menu and select. 

Phone icon indicates an SMS contact, the ‘@’ icon indicates and email contact. 

  1.     Write your message.
  2.     At the bottom of the screen, you have options to select elevation and GPS location, toggle over the check-box and press select to turn these 2 functions on.
  3.     Send message.

Tips:


Latest Posts

How to Navigate in the Backcountry

How to Navigate in the Backcountry.  I have never gotten lost, I have however taken extended and prolonged detours from the previously agreed route whilst
Read more

Looking for some evening fun with a beer whilst at home? One of our favourite games either camping or at home on the lawn is Kubb. Here we have the rules and a simple set of instructions to make your own set at home.

DIY Set: (Thanks to instructables)

To make one set you’ll need:

– 6′ of 4×4
– 6′ of 1.5″-2″ dowel
– 4′ of .75″ dowel
– 30′ of string

If this is your first set you might want to pick up an 8′ piece of 4×4 to try making a couple different kings.Chop off 12″ of the 4×4. This is the wood for the king which acts like the eight ball in the game of Kubb. Knock it over at the end to win, but if you knock it over early you lose. Either way it only gets hit once per game and it often gets decorated to show off how important it is.

The amount of decoration is up to you. All I used for these two kings was a table saw. Two 45-degree cuts were used to notch the sides and a series of cuts decorated the top. A router would work brilliantly here as well.

Or don’t cut it at all and draw a smiley face on it. It’s up to you.

The rest of the pieces, the kubbs, are narrower than the king so you’ll need a table saw to cut them down. (or buy another length of smaller wood)

The size of the kubb is 7cm x 7cm x 15cm or 2.75″ x 2.75″ x 5.9″ so trim off .75″ off of two sides of the 4×4.

Now that you have the right size wood, just chop off 10 5.9″ lengths of it and you have your 10 kubbs.

You want 6 batons to throw at the kubbs and the king and these should be about 12″ long. You also want 4 stakes to mark off the playing field and these should be about 12″ long as well.

So chop off 12″ lengths of both size dowel.

The playing field for kubb is 5m by 8m or roughly 16.5′ by 26′. You can mark this off with strides or you can get a length of string or rope and tie a few knots in it so you can quickly mark off your playing field accurately.

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Kubb-Set/

The Rules:

Kubb is a lawn game where the object is to knock over wooden blocks by throwing wooden sticks at them. Kubb (the vowel is pronounced similar to the “oo” in “boob”) means “wooden block” in Gutnish, a Swedish dialect. Kubb can be quickly described as a combination of bowling, horseshoes, and chess. Today’s version originated on Gotland island in the kingdom of Sweden.

Kubb spielen

A Kubb game consists of

  • 1 x King
  • 10 x Kubbs
  • 6 x round wooden sticks
  • 4 x pegs to mark out the foeld

Setup

Kubb is typically played on a rectangular pitch approximately 5 m by 8 m. Although there are no official rules as to the size of the field, the dimensions can be altered for younger players or to accommodate faster games. Typically the pitch is grass, but kubb could also be played on sand, snow, or dirt. The pitch should always be level, with no more than a 3 inch drop from one end — or one side — to the other. Stakes are driven into the ground at the corners of the pitch. No other markers are used to demarcate the field’s boundaries, although an amateur league in Somerset uses twine (in Swedish known as “Klumpa ihop sig av tvinnar”
— literally “The cord that cannot lie”.) to assist in discussions when fallen kubbs are returned. The narrow ends are called “baselines.”
It is worth noting that in serious play, or in games where the players are skilled, or where money is bet, the use of twine or strings should not be encouraged, as the ability to reach common agreement over whether a kubb is “in” or “out” promotes sportsmanship and a sense of fair play, which is a trademark of this unique game. The king is placed in the centre of the pitch, halfway between baselines. An imaginary line drawn through the king and parallel to the two baselines divides the field into two halves.The kubbs are set up across each baseline, five to a side.

There are two phases for each team’s turn:

  •  Team A throws the six sticks, from their baseline, at their opponent’s lined-up kubbs (called Baseline kubbs). Throws must be under-handed, and the sticks must spin end over end. Throwing sticks sideways or spinning them side-toside is not allowed.
  • Kubbs that are successfully knocked down are then thrown by Team B onto Team A’s half of the pitch, and stood on end. These newly thrown kubbs are called field kubbs.

Play then changes hands, and Team B throws the sticks at Team A’s kubbs, but must first knock down any standing field kubbs. (Field kubbs that right themselves due to the momentum of the impact are considered knocked down.) Again, kubbs that are knocked down are thrown back over onto the opposite half of the field and then stood. In New Zealand, knocking down a Baseline kubb before all field kubbs would result in the throwing team forfeiting the rest of their turn. If either team leaves field kubbs standing, the kubb closest to the king now represents that side’s baseline, and throwers may step up to that line to throw at their opponent’s kubbs. This rule applies to field and baseline kubbs only; fallen kubbs are thrown from the original baseline, as are attempts to knock over the king.

Play continues in this fashion until a team is able to knock down all kubbs on one side, from both the field and the baseline. If that team still has sticks left to throw, they may make one attempt at knocking over the king (In Somerset, as a sporting gesture, right-handers will attempt this using the left hand, and vice versa). If a thrower successfully topples the king, they have won the game.

However, if at any time during the game the king is knocked down by accident — even by a newly thrown kubb — the offending team immediately loses the game.
For informal play between players of widely differing abilities, such as an adult and a child it is permissible to shorten the width of the arena on the child’s opponent’s side, making it easier for the child to hit the kubbs, and it is also permissible to move the king closer to, but not behind, the child’s line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfWt0-_MNsY

What to pack on your Overland Adventure!

As we write this, we are stuck in our office with our fleet parked and hoping the world is safe as we continue on through the Covid-19 Pandemic. The best way to clear our head during stressful times has always been to hit the open road, switch off our cell phones and reconnect with the great outdoors. 

Now obviously during these times, it is something we cant do, so instead we thought we would spend the time planning the best things to pack on your Overland Adventure with FarOut Wilderness. 

One of the joys about the tacoma, especially if you are traveling as a couple, is that it has plenty of room for all the creature comforts for camping. If you haven’t already, we went away on a trip to see how much you can fit into our rigs – 4 adults, 2 dogs and 1 baby later…its quite alot.

2 How much can you fit in a tacoma? HD 720p

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What to buy: (Not included with the vehicle) 

  • Trash Bags
  • Insect Repellent
  • Wet wipes – always a good essentials
  • MSR Water Filter / Water tablets
  • Paper Towels
  • Personal First Aid Kit – there is a basic first aid kit with the vehicle, but you should also bring one that is specific to you with any medications you need.
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Kleenex
  • Toilet Paper  – the most important.
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Laundry detergent

 

What to bring: (Personal)

  • Water proofs – Jacket and trousers
  • Thermal layers
  • Sun hat
  • Warm Hat
  • Scarf
  • Warm layers, fleece, jacket etc
  • Standard camping clothes
  • Walking boots
  • Camp shoes
  • Sandals/Flip flops/ Thongs (Depending on your area of residence) 
  • Driving licence
  • Wallet
  • Pen/Pencil/Paper
  • Medications
  • Tooth brush
  • Tooth Paste
  • Shampoo
  • Shower gel
  • Deodorant
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Towels
  • Power bank for your phones
  • Head torch
  • Flashlight
  • Spare batteries
  • Pack of cards / travel games
  • Hiking bag
  • Day Bag
  • Camelback
  • Water bottles
  • Small sewing kit
  • Travel mugs
  • Safety Whistle

Dry goods: (Shopping list ideas)

  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Soup
  • Canned Beans
  • Canned Kidney Beans
  • Canned Chili
  • Dried or fresh Fruit
  • Canned Whole Tomatoes
  • Canned Tomato Paste
  • Energy Bars
  • Spaghetti Pasta
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Pasta
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Hersey Bars
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham Crackers

 I think you should know what these are for

  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Instant Oatmeal

Dry goods: (Included with the vehicle)

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Sugar
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Herbs
  • Spices

But depending on your trip – you may want to pack additional supplies of these. 

 

Fresh food:

The vehicle comes with a fridge/freezer, which means you can treat yourself to proper milk and other items for the fridge for your road trip 🙂

 

What is already in the vehicle?

  • Roof top tent
  • Mattress
  • Pillows
  • Bedding
  • Rear mounted awning 
  • Side mounted LED camp lights 
  • 2x Camp chairs 
  • 1x camp table 
  • Cooking pot set (Sauce pans and frying pan)
  • Dining set (Bowls, Cups and Plates)
  • Cutlery set (Knives, forks and spoons)
  • Cooking utensils 
  • Tea pot
  • Coffee maker
  • Gas stove
  • Gas bottle and 1 free re-fill
  • Water storage 
  • 4×4 Recovery kit
  • Air compressor
  • Step ladder
  • Axe
  • Saw
  • Shovel
  • Tool kit
    • Spanners
    • Screw drivers
    • Pliers
    • Hammer
    • Fuses 
    • Bolts
    • Wrench 
    • Electrical Tape
  • Emergency kit
  • First aid kit 
  • GPS Tracking
  • Backroads Mapbook
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Fire Starters
  • Wood for 1 fire
  • Dish towels
  • Sponges

 


I hope this helps you put together an awesome packing list for your adventure. One very important note, only tick off your item once it is IN the vehicle, otherwise it will get left behind 🙂

Have fun planning your next adventure.

Overlanding is defined as ‘Self-reliant adventure travel, where the journey is the primary goal’

To us, overlanding is the freedom to take the road less travelled and hit the wilderness, safe in the knowledge that our adventure rig is equipped with all the gear and supplies we need to safely pitch camp wherever we end up and enjoy the back country roads as we wind our way around this gorgeous part of the world. It’s a family adventure that our daughter and dogs can all partake in, and when you find a side road – instead of wondering ‘I wonder where that goes’ you drive it to find out, and sometimes it leads to some spectacular places or sometimes you get lost and that’s the fun. 

But our opinion is all but one. This month for our theme we decided to throw it back to others in the industry and previous clients to see why they love this style of travel as much as we do. 

Industry partners:

Offtrack Travel

For us, travelling overland offers the unbeatable flexibility to go anywhere we like, anytime. We love making our own schedule and being able to truly embrace spontaneity. Most importantly, it enables us to get off the beaten path and find incredible one of a kind experiences as well as elusive hidden gems. Meeting more local people is also inevitable when travelling this way and that always adds to the experience. I can’t even count the amount of times we’ve been tipped off about amazing hikes or spectacular viewpoints by curious locals! We’ve also made long time friends. 

Robert & Gemma – Offtrack Travel

Photo Credit: Gemma – Offtrack Travel

Check them out:

https://offtracktravel.ca/camping-vancouver-island/ 

https://offtracktravel.ca/big-trees-vancouver-island/  

 

Treeline Outdoors
Connecting people with nature is our primary goal here at Treeline. We believe in providing a sustainable camping solution for families and adventurers alike. In today’s world it is now more important than ever to unplug and connect with the wilderness around us. Overlanding is a fantastic means to satisfy our hunger for adventure. We built the roads, let’s use them

 

Jeff Strand – Treeline Outdoors

Photo Credit:  Villiers Van Der Merwe aka @geoscoutadventures

Check them out:

https://treelineoutdoors.com/ 

Quotes From Clients:


HENRY CHOY

Overlanding has brought me to places my own two feet would never have been able to by just hiking. I could not believe that I only recently discovered this activity, and it has honestly been the best of both worlds – going off roading and spending time with your friends and family in the outdoors. Nothing beats when you’re on the trail and looking forward to having that campfire with your favourite ones after setting up camp at the most perfect spot you’ve been looking for, and just taking the time to absorb and appreciate all that’s around you.

With hiking being so popular, overlanding has really allowed me to access places that are generally much less crowded, where you can actually enjoy the tranquility of the outdoors. It definitely is a lifestyle, and it’s for sure an addiction once you get into it.

 

Henry Choy – FarOut Wilderness Client 2019

Photo Credit:Henry Choy

MORGAN WEAFER

I have chosen to overland because I want to live more. By doing away with a traditional lifestyle and adopting a more minimalistic one, I am able to achieve greater happiness. With less, I have more. I now have opportunities to explore my world, complete my goals and reach my full potential. The world is beautiful and so are it’s people. Overlanding introduces me to cultures and ideas I would have never encountered otherwise. I find that to be valuable. If you want to make the most out of life, you have to start living it.

To New Adventures!

Morgan Weafer – FarOut Wilderness Client 2019

Photo Credit: Morgan Weafer

British Columbia and Beyond – The 2020 Bucket List

Need some ideas for a British Columbia Road trip – here are our top 11 places to visit in British Columbia and Beyond in 2020

From exploring Vancouver Island – voted in CNN Travels top 20 places to visit this year to the iconic and majestic Banff National Park in Alberta.

11. Harrison Hot Springs

Located just over an hour from Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs is a small, world-renowned resort town made famous by its geothermal hot springs. Settlers are said to have ‘discovered’ the hot springs in 1858 while enroute to the gold fields. Their boat capsized, and expecting to meet their doom in the frigid waters, they instead discovered that the lake at that spot was not freezing but rather warm

Things to do (other than the hot springs)

  • Harrison’s Floating Water Park
  • Scenic and Wildlife Tours by Jet Boat
  • Relax on the Beach
  • Rent a Quadracycle
  • Relax at the Spa
  • Paddle Harrison River

10. Helmcken Falls / Wells gray Provincial park

Seven of the Park’s waterfalls originate on the Murtle River, but perhaps none are more famous than Helmcken Falls. This 141m water fall cascades down into the canyon below and a short hike along Rim trail will lead you to a stunning view of the falls. Although you can also take in this spectacular view form the viewing platforms provided, we do recommend the hike, not only is this incredible natural wonder in this park but a total of 39 fantastic falls that you can visit.

The additional top 5:

  1. Dawson Falls – stretches its watery veil 90 m (295 ft) across ancient lava beds.
  2. Moul Falls – if you’re really adventurous, you’ll continue down to the base of the chute where you can slip between the falls and the canyon and take a peek behind the falls.
  3. Spahats Creek Falls – Volcanic rock deposits form the layer-cake-like canyon at Spahats Falls, making it one of the most dramatic waterfalls to photograph in the Park.
  4. Mushroom Bowl – just downstream from Dawson Falls, watch the Murtle River split in two as it makes its way around Cambrian rock formations.
  5. Silvertip Falls – At 168 metres, this is one of the tallest falls in Wells Gray Park, hidden under Trophy Mountain.

9. Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast

The sunshine coast spans the area between the entrance of desolation sound to the northwest and Howe Sound on the south east. Its flanked by rugged mountains that border these inlets and cut off from direct road connect with the rest of the province settled by the Coast Salish peoples for centuries, the Sunshine coast is a fantastic area of diverse cultural arts and foods along with a multitude of eateries and breweries.

  • Hike the famed Sunshine coast trail
  • Bike of waterfalls
  • Sip beer on a farm brewery
  • visit 1 of the over 100 artist studios dotted along the area
  • Tour first nations totem poles
  • Soak in the scenery as you drive around the area and hop from ferry to ferry

 

8. Okanagan Wine Tour

The Okanagan Valley is famous for its eclectic mix of wineries and restaurants coupled with some fantastic wines that have been winning awards around the world – check out 12 new wineries to visit

 

 

7. Squamish

If adventure activities are your thing then head to Squamish for an action packed few days of adrenaline sports and good food.

This small town is dominated by the chief mountain peak and the Howe Sound, a worthy activity is to take the sea to sky gondola up to the top and enjoy the incredible views over the Howe sound, downtown and the chief mountain.

If adrenaline isn’t your thing, there are plenty of casual hikes or paddle boarding opportunities to keep you busy around Squamish before enjoying a well cooked meal and drink in the Squamish downtown.

 

Sea to Sky highway overlooking the Howe Sound

6. Barkerville

Take a walk back in time with this historical town, the main focal point of the Gold rush that helped to build BC

with over 125 heritage buildings, you will get a true impression of what life was like back in the gold rush boom of the 1800’s

5. Vancouver Island

Located in the North east Pacific Ocean, Vancouver Island has so much to offer that we created its own Bucket list.

From rugged old growth rainforest to delicious west coast eatery’s this island is a must stop on any itinerary to British Columbia and easy to see why it is on CNN Travels top 20 places to visit this year.

4. Great Bear Rainforest

The Great Bear Rainforest (also known as the Central and North Coast forest) is a temperate rain forest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada comprising 6.4 million hectares. It is part of the larger Pacific temperate rainforest ecoregion, which is the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world

As seen in the incredible iMax documentary the Great Bear Rainforest is home to a huge diversity of wildlife most famously the white spirit bear.

Things to do there

  • Learn about the traditions and history of Aboriginal culture.
  • Wildlife tours – You may catch a rare glimpse of the elusive spirit bear.
  • Take an adventure cruise. Navigate fjords where 4,000-foot high cliffs rise above you.
  • Kayak the coast line.
  • Heli-tours.
  • Go fishing.
  • Go whale-watching.
  • Walk in a rainforest and a wildflower meadow.

Access to the Great Bear Rainforest is limited with the main routes through Port Hardy, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. For more information, get In touch with one of our team.

3. Whistler

Whistler, sits at the feet of two immense mountains: Whistler and Blackcomb. Together, these impressive peaks form the biggest winter sports area in North America.

Winter:

Whistler Blackcomb is one of the largest ski resorts in North America and offers a huge range of activities from Skiing and snow to tobogganing, snow shoeing and alpine hiking.

Peak2Peak Gondola Ride

Summer:

Spectacular views from atop the peak are only matched by the phenomenal peak2peak gondola ride. If you like a bit of adrenaline then take advantage of the superb mountain bike opportunities during the summer. Or simply take in a beer from the Whistler brewing companies diverse range of seasonal brews.

Things to do

  • Whistler Mountain: Take the gondola up to the top and enjoy some of the guided alpine hikes around.
  • Peak2Peak Gondola: The Peak 2 Peak Gondola provides an elevated ride between the two mountains. Though the distance covered is a record-breaking 4.4 kilometers, the ride takes only 11 minutes. On a clear day, the view is superb and looks out to snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, and dense coniferous forests. A glance down to Fitzsimmons Creek is also awe-inspiring – at points the gondola is nearly half a kilometer above the valley floor.
  • Garibaldi Provincial Park: The park’s natural beauty and rugged landscape, combined with its proximity to urban centres, have made it a popular destination for outdoor recreation
  • Brandywine Falls Provincial park: A great photo op for its stunning 70-meter-tall waterfall. Also worth including in this day trip is a visit to the “Train Wreck,” the location of a group of abandoned 1950’s boxcars accessible along an easy trail that includes a cool suspension bridge over the Cheakamus River.
  • Mountain Biking: Mountain biking is certainly the most popular summer sport in Whistler Village, and visitors will see legions of armor-clad bikers heading up the slopes by chairlift to Whistler Mountain Bike Park, rentals are on offer throughout whistler village.
  • Audain Art Museum: One of the newest cultural attractions in Whistler, the exquisitely designed, wood-clad Audain Art Museum opened in 2016 and has become a fast favourite among tourists and locals alike. With a mandate to feature British Columbian art and artists from the late 1700’s onwards, the museum’s permanent collection is certainly impressive.
  • Whistler Museum: This small but ambitious museum telling tales from Whistler’s early days should definitely be added to your list of things to do. The museum’s interesting exhibits introduce local characters, including early settlers and lodge owners, quirky area artists, and the many world-class athletes who have trained on the slopes. A few interactive exhibits let visitors dress up or touch pieces of Whistler history, and there’s a large focus on Olympic memorabilia.
  • Lost Lake: Lost Lake is a year-round destination for activities, be it mountain biking, hiking, and bird-watching in summer, or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. From the shoreline, trails fan out, allowing visitors to explore the surrounding quiet forests filled with British Columbia wildlife. The small lake features a beach area and is generally one of the busier spots on a hot summer day, especially as there is a shuttle from the village.
  • Bobsleigh: Take a passenger ride on a bobsleigh
  • Take a wildlife tour: Take a tour to hunt for the famous bears of Whistler and enjoy the surrounding wildlife.

2. Jasper

Jasper, a smaller and more rustic cousin to Banff, is the commercial centre of Jasper National Park and is located just over the BC border in Alberta. Amid the snow-capped Canadian Rockies, the park has glacier-fed lakes, forests and rivers. The Jasper SkyTram climbs to the summit of Whistlers Mountain, with views of downtown. The Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives presents exhibits on the fur trade, railway and early exploration of the park.

Things to do in Jasper:

  • Savour the local flavour: Explore Jasper’s culinary scene. From hearty mountain breakfasts to an elegant alpine dinner for two — friendly pubs to charming cafés, this is creative Rocky Mountain cuisine at its finest.
    1. Evil Dave’s Grill is a funky, upbeat, family-owned restaurant with a globally inspired menu. They make “wicked food” with fresh ingredients and creative flare! Start off with a Sinful Starter before diving into an Evil Entrée like the signature Malicious Salmon, Diabolical Tenderloin, or Hell’s Chicken. And don’t forget to save room for a Deadly Dessert!
    2. Jasper’s National Park Brewery. Six signature beers brewed on-site.. Visit their pub and enjoy your favourite sports action on one of their seven plasma TV’s or relax and dine with your family in the restaurant.
    3. Food Tours: Meeting daily at 2:30pm at the Visitor Information Centre lawn, the 3-hour Downtown Foodie tour will take you to four local joints, visiting points of interest and taking in some of Jasper’s tastiest tales along the way. At each restaurant, guests will try a top dish and a perfectly paired boozy drink to experience the real taste of Jasper’s food scene.
  • The Jasper SkyTram whisks you up Whistlers Mountain to an elevation of 2,263 metres, showing you stunning vistas over mountain ranges stretching up to 80 kilometres away. On a clear day, you can even see the white pyramid of Mount Robson in nearby British Columbia.
  • Horse Riding: Horses are welcome in many areas of Jasper National Park and have been used to explore the park for a long time. Early outfitters established much of the park’s 1,200-kilometre trail network, which is now managed by Parks Canada.
  • Mountain Biking/Hiking: Take the opportunity to enjoy some of the stunning biking or hiking opportunities around.

1. Banff

Banff is the resort town and the gateway to Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park and now one of the most visited destinations in Alberta and Canada as a whole as people take in its majestic beauty set in the Canadian Rockies and the huge arsenal of activities on offer. Banff is definitely a must on anyone’s British Columbia bucket list.

The endless list of things to do

  • Bow falls: Large waterfall in the glacier-eroded valley
  • Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies: Paintings and exhibits on the Rockies history
  • Banff Park Museum: Located in downtown Banff, is an exhibition space associated with Banff National Park. The museum was established in 1895 to house an exhibit of taxidermy mounted specimens of animals, plants and minerals associated with the park.
  • Tunnel Mountain drive: This is a scenic route to drive around. There is a viewpoint where you can see town of Banff. Often you will find wildlife (Deer, Elk, sometimes a Bear) on this road. There are also plenty of trails along here.
  • Gondola Ride: Banff’s only Gondola takes you up to the top of Sulphur Mountain and you will have a panoramic view of the Canadian Rockies. The Banff Sightseeing Gondola ride takes about 7 minutes and there is a cafeteria and restaurant at the top as well as a gift shop.
  • Mountain Biking: Fun terrain and sweeping views await riders who want to tackle mountain biking in Banff. Although just 200 kilometres of biking trails are open in Banff National Park, the areas that do allow bike access are a blast to ride! There are plenty of bike rental shops in Banff.
  • Lake Louise: Lake Louise is a hamlet in Banff National Park known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake ringed by high peaks and overlooked by a stately chateau. Hiking trails wind up to the Lake Agnes Tea House for bird’s-eye views. There’s a canoe dock in summer, and a skating rink on the frozen lake in winter. A short drive from Banff.
  • Lake Morraine: Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks,
  • Water sports: Rafting, Paddle boarding and Kayaking are all on offer throughout the surrounding areas of Banff.
  • Hot Springs: Explore one of Banff’s hot springs.

 

 

Vancouver Island Bucket List for 2020

As we welcome in 2020 we hope your new year resolutions are filled with lots of adventures and getting out in nature. 

If you are looking for some ideas on where to travel on Vancouver Island – why not check out our 2020 Bucket list for Vancouver Island. Filled with lots of nature, great food and some stunning coastline – Why wait, come visit this year!

Here is our top things to do on Vancouver Island when you are planning your road trip.

11. West Coast Trail

So technically you can’t drive this but you can drive there so we are adding it to our list. 

Vancouver Island’s west coast was called the ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’ by sailors due to its treacherous rocks and headlands. In 1907 the dominion lifesaving trail was created to facilitate the rescue of shipwreck survivors along the coast. 

Now called the west coast trail, take a step back in history and explore the stunning 75kms section of rugged coastline. The trail is only open between 1st May and 30th Sept, for more information visit the west coast website

10. Take a whale watching tour

Vancouver Island is known for some of the best whale watching. You can take a tour in many of the places you might be visiting, like Tofino, Telegraph Cove, Campbell River or Victoria. 

Vancouver Island Roadtrip ideas 2020
Butchart Gardens

9. Victoria

Victoria has a lot to offer, from wandering the stunning Butchart Gardens to enjoying a high tea at the historical Empress hotel. The provincial capital of British Columbia and has a history deeply entwined with its British past that is shown through in the Victorian architecture. It is worth spending a day or 2 exploring this city and the surrounding area, especially if you are a fan of gorgeous gardens or a bit of a foodie, Victoria does not disappoint for both savoury and sweet tastes in your party. 

8. Cumberland

This vibrant community is nestled in the foothills of the Beaufort Mountains. This small village has seen a recent revival from its mining days, it is rich in trails, arts and culture. If mountain biking is your thing then there are a couple of rental shops and more than 80 kilometers of Vancouver Island’s most legendary single-track. There really is something for every mountain biker in the family. If Cumberland is your choice then we recommend sampling a donut from Cumberland bakery and a cold crisp beverage from the Cumberland Brewing Company. 

7. Fairy Lake

A photographers dream, this lake is named after the small bonsai tree that has survived on a log in the lake for decades, its diminutive size has given it the nickname, ‘fairy lake’ 

Particularly magical early in the morning when the ocean mist from Port Renfrew swirls around the lake. 

If you are taking the Pacific Marine Circle Tour, you will spot this on your journey.

Vancouver Island Roadtrip ideas 2020
Carmanah Walbran

6. Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park

One of my favourite places in British Columbia. Carmanah Walbran was established in 1990 and is home to some of the most remarkable wild forests on Vancouver Island. Carmanah Walbran is home to some of the world’s largest spruce trees, some reaching heights in excess of 95 metres and living for 800 years or more. 

It is a very wild area and whilst there are maintained trails and boardwalks. Routine flooding and falling trees mean that it has some challenging hiking areas. 

Take a look at our blog on Carmanah to find out more when planning your backcountry adventure. 

Vancouver Island Roadtrip ideas 2020
East Sooke Park

5. Highway 14 drive to Port Renfrew

If you are doing the Pacific Marine Circle Tour,then you will experience this stunning stretch of highway that winds along the coast and gives you access to Sooke, Juan De Fuca Marine Trail and views across the ocean. 

From watching the sunrise over East Sooke Park to breathing in the fresh ocean air at the Botanical Park in Port Renfrew this drive is well worth spending a couple of days exploring and camping along the coast. 

Along with the stunning views, this also allows you to tantalize your taste buds with some ‘not to be missed’ spots. Located between Sooke and Port Renfrew is Shirley Delicious, a small cafe that offers incredible sweet home baked goods and a delicious hot menu that includes my particular favourite – the breakfast burrito. 

Vancouver Island Roadtrip ideas 2020
Buttle Lake – Strathcona

4.Strathcona Provincial Park

The largest provincial park on Vancouver Island and the oldest provincial park in British Columbia. Satisfy your hiking itch and enjoy some breathtaking views. Mountain peaks speckled with snow dominate the landscape and dotted with clear alpine lakes. 

Strathcona Park is popular with kayakers, wilderness hikers and climbers, but there are a number of easier trails and hikes to satisfy all levels of abilities. 

 

Vancouver Island Roadtrip ideas 2020
Kinsol Trestle side view

3. Kinsol Trestle

Completed in 1920 this wooden railway trestle stands at 44 meters tall and is one of the highest railway trestles in the world. It crosses over the Koksilah River and was originally designed to connect Victoria to the Nootka sound through lake Cowichan and Port Alberni. 

Recently restored and reopened to the public, take a walk along the top and breathe in the views or wind down to the river below and get a different perspective of this impressive structure. 

Vancouver Island Roadtrip ideas 2020
Raft Cove Beach

2. Raft Cove

Located in North Vancouver Island is a stunning short hike that crosses through old growth cedar and sitka spruce and opens up into a wild expanses of rugged beach and coastline where you can camp on the beach and follow the coastal wolf tracks in the sand. 

Enjoy a true west coast wild camping experience as the wind whistles through your hair on a remarkable rugged sandy spit. 

This rustic park is popular with surfers, hikers and fishermen. The sandy spit and bay is very exposeroads to Hplbrg, before branching off and following the signs for raft cove. d to the pacific ocean weather and you will need to come fully equipped with the appropriate outdoor gear to stay dry. 

To access you will need to drive to Port Hardy (8 Hrs from Victoria). Leave the tarmac behind and take the logging road to holberg before branching off to Raft Cove. 

 

Vancouver Island Roadtrip ideas 2020
Raven Lady – Great Oysters in Ucluelet

1.Tofino / Ucluelet

One of the most popular and coolest places to visit is the Tofino area that incorporates the towns Tofino and Ucluelet.

Tofino is a cool surf town located on the west coast of the island. Situated north of the Pacific Rim National Park it is the larger of the two towns with its cousin Ucluelet situated to the South of Pacific Rim National Park. The town and surrounding areas offer plenty for those that aren’t avid surfers, with hikes, beach walks, food and beer all on offer. Along with whale watching, boat tours or a trip to Hot Springs Cove.

Ucluelet is situated south of the Pacific Rim National park and about 30-40kms from its larger cousin Tofino, Ucluelet is definitely worth a visit, whether its to grab a drink after a walk along the beach, take a stroll around the lighthouse loop or enjoy some oysters, there is plenty for everyone.

Take a look at some at our 10 days tour that includes Tofino.

A few hike: Most around this area are fairly easier trail walks. There are a number of more challenging hikes if you are feeling up for it.

1)   Long beach to Florencia Bay (or the other way round)– One of my favourite short hikes is the return trip from long beach to Florencia Bay. Both have ample car parking available.

The hike is 2.5km in each direction and you will traverse from coastal beach through forest and into wetlands and back to forest again. It’s a beautiful cross division of micro clients. I suggest taking a picnic lunch with you and enjoy the views before making the return journey. 

2)   Rainforest loop– This is another nice short hike. There are 2x rainforest loops on either side of the road each loop is 1km long and goes along a board walk, and up and down steps. I strongly suggest doing both loops as each has something different to offer.

 3)   Ancient cedars trail on the Wild Pacific Trail

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Camping with pets in British Columbia.

One of the best things about our overland rental vehicles? They are pet friendly. We just charge a small sur-charge to help with the additional cleaning. 

Exploring the back-country of British Columbia with your pets is one of the best vacations ever, but it’s important to be safe and responsible while showing your 4-legged friends around. 

The quick checklist

  • Does the campground you want to go to allow pets?
  • Does the campground have shade? Very important in the hot summer months.
  • Is my pet Microchipped and suitable ID Tag?
  • Health check – always an idea to get a quick check on your pet before heading out into the bush. 

What to pack?

  • Their bed – something that has their smell, it helps keep them comfortable anbd more rellaxed. 
  • Toys and bones, to keep them occupied when on the leash.
  • Water bowl – and extra water for your 4 legged friend. 
  • Extra long leash for when tied up at camp. Or a tie in or collapsable fence area. 
  • Poo Bags – Don’t be that guy!
  • Food.
  • Any Meds.
  • Pet first aid kit – We treat our dogs for cuts and injuries just as much as we treat each other.
  • Collar/Harness/Leash.
  • ID Tags

 

Dogs and Wildlife

Camping with petsThe biggest problem when taking dogs out into the back-country or indeed the front country campgrounds is the potential for wildlife encounters. Pets are generally wildlife attractants due to the smells they bring with them and therefore its important to have them leashed and under control. 

Even the best behaved dogs, sometimes can’t contain themselves when faced with wildlife, either predator instinct kicks in and they chase or they bolt. Regardless, you don’t have an under control dog. Take for example a situation I found myself recently. I always take our dogs out exploring with us and this day was no different, we were doing the hike down into raft cove in the north part of Vancouver Island. Up ahead there was a bear on the path. Now luckily we were traveling downwind of the bear and the bear saw us before we saw him. The situation could have been alot worse if the dogs were off leash.

Keep them on a lead in wildlife areas, it’s best for them and for the wildlife. 

No go areas

It’s always best to check ahead of time whether dogs are allowed on certain trails. For example – on the Cape Scott Trail on Northern Vancouver Island, dogs are only allowed on the trail as far as San Josef Bay, they are not allowed any further past that. Similarly dogs aren’t allowed on some beaches during the peak summer months. 

Key Rules

  • Don’t leave your pet unattended at your campground 
  • Ensure your pet is secured when traveling 
  • Take frequent breaks on long distance car rides
  • Don’t leave your pet in a parked car in warm weather 
  • Keep them leashed on trails and in campgrounds
  • Clean up after your pet
  • Camping with pets

Most importantly – Have a great time with your 4-legged friends.

If you want to book our pet friendly overland vehicle rentals check out our bookings page

As our inbox starts filling up with 2020 bookings and itinerary ideas, take a moment to consider visiting Carmanah Walbran Provincial park, especially if you are choosing to book a FarOut Wilderness Overland vehicle rental for your Vancouver Island tour. 

What is Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park?

Hard fought for in the 1990’s by a group of dedicated activists to protect the ancient forest growth, Carmanah was established as a provincial park in 1994.

It is home to ancient trees, epic cedars, giant sitka spruce and rugged unkempt wilderness. The routine flooding during the fall and winter months results in the boardwalks being upturned and relocated, a park maintenance nightmare. But this hard to manage forest is just what makes it so special, it is the wild west coast at its damp, overgrown, independent, gorgeous best. 

Why visit?

  1. It is stunning, the tranquility of the forest allows you to truly re-connect with nature, breath in the damp rainforest air as you marvel at giants.
  2. It isnt very busy – because it is slightly more difficult to get to, there are not the bustling crowds as with other areas.
  3. Its wild – they have tried to install a boardwalk, and handrails etc, but the forest wants to remain wild and flash floods have thrown the boardwalks aside and the fallen trees re-diverted paths. It allows you to experience what this island must have been like 100s of years ago.
  4. Its an adventure – from the moment you leave the tarmac, to be moment you set you wheels back on solid road its an adventure from start to finish, as you wind up steep rocky roads and peer across the forest to Nitinat lake, or descending into the valley and the trees get bigger and closer together, it is such an epic adventure.

Remember: If you are going to visit, follow the Leave No Trace camping rules.

CarmanahIs it difficult to get to?

To get there, it is recommended that you use a 4×4 vehicle. Whichever direction you choose, you will drive a few hours on logging roads to get there with the last section being quite rough. 

The beauty of booking through FarOut Wilderness, is that your Overland vehicle rental is covered to drive off-road. Our GPS 2 way messengers is perfect for staying in touch with loved ones of the FarOut Wilderness office as there is no cell service. 

Budget around 4 hours drive from Victoria. 

Getting there.

You can either take the highway 14 through sooke to port renfrew and then following the logging roads around to Carmanah walbran Provincial Park – if you aren’t booking with us, but would like up to date driving directions/conditions, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email. 

The second option is to take the Highway 1 north towards Duncan and turn off towards Cowichan Lake, you then pass through Youbou before leaving the tarmac behind and following the signs for Nitnat Lake. 

 

Hiking ideas.

Main entrance (via Nitnat Lake)

There are 2x relatively easy hikes to do in Carmanah – unfortunately neither are loops so you would reach your focal point and turn around.

Both hikes begin at the same point and descend into the valley – this is roughly a 700-1km walk downhill – remember this as you will end your hikes with a 700m-1km hike uphill at the end. 

After passing the Coastal Giant you will reach a fork and you can do either of these walks relatively easily with a small amount of log walking in involved. Both are about 1 hr. 

Left takes you to the 3 sisters – part of one of the sisters came down in the winter and is still an impressive sight laying on the forest floor. The path has flooded in areas and thrown the boardwalks up, as well as some parts of the path have washed away and you might need to scramble over logs to get across, this is entirely at your own risk to do so. 

You can continue on from here, but past the 3 sisters, the paths are not maintained.

 

Right takes you towards Heaven Tree and Stolhmans Grove this is slightly more overgrown than the 3 sisters but the path is in better shaped in parts, once you reach Heaven Tree and grove, the path get less maintained and you probably need to turn around. 

Camping Options

  • You can either camp at the entrance lot where there are 1 or 2 vehicle camping spots, tent pads and fire rings can be found within walking distance. 
  • During the summer months you can camp on the exposed gravel bars inside the valley floor. 
  • You can hike into one of the backcountry camping spots
  • Nitinat Lake – you can camp at nitinat lake campground which is roughly 45mins-1hr drive from the park. 

How difficult is Carmanah walbran?

Without sugarcoating it, it isn’t the easiest place to visit, as mentioned you need to drive off paved roads, you need to be prepared for rain, the weather can be unpredictable at the best of times. You need to be comfortable hiking in areas without visible sign posts. You need a satellite or GPS messenger service as there is no cell service in case of emergency. 

Renting one of our Overland vehicles on Vancouver Island, you have access to:

  • Detailed knowledge and routes for Carmanah Walbran Provincial park
  • Unlimited Mileage
  • Insured for off-road driving
  • GPS messenger system
  • Full equipped with all the camping gear you need.

But even with all that, we don’t recommend someone head in there without backcountry experience. 

For more information, contact one of our knowledgeable team members. 

7 Day South Vancouver Island Overland Tour – FarOut Wilderness

A nice short whistle stop tour of some of the more remote southern highlights the island has to offer. Note: The pick up from this tour starts in Victoria or at the Swartz bay ferry terminal – but everything is flexible – we can also organize transfers and ferry transport from Vancouver/Vancouver airport/Victoria airport/Nanaimo ferry terminal – just drop us an email and we will sort the rest.

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Exciting news for the FarOut Wilderness Team. 

From April 2020 we are adding Vancouver to our list of collection and drop off locations. 

You will be able to collect a vehicle at no added charge from Vancouver Airport and downtown Vancouver.  You can now explore the whole of British Columbia and beyond with a FarOut Wilderness 4×4 Rental. 

What are the full list of locations I can collect from?

  • Vancouver Airport
  • Vancouver Downtown
  • Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
  • Victoria Airport 
  • Victoria Downtown
  • Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal

Why have we added Vancouver to our list of 4×4 Overland vehicle rental locations?

We recognize that many of our guests will want to start and end their trip in Vancouver and have therefore opened up Vancouver to allow guests to rent their 4×4 overland rental without any added charges to their roadtrip. You can know explore the whole of British Columbia and all that this gorgeous part of the world has to offer.

What itinerary options do we offer?

We are putting together a host of new tour options for British Columbia and will keep you posted with new tours as they come available.

As we say good bye to the warmer weather and welcome the fall, its time to crack out one of my favourite recipes for this time of year – a classic Irish beef stew, or vegetable stew depending on your preference.

Personally I prefer making this onsite over the course of the day, we tend to start it over a fire at lunchtime and then add ingredients over the afternoon and let it simmer to perfection. Ready to eat for dinnertime.

History:

This is a twist on the traditional recipes that you would have found. The history of stew dates back to ancient times and the worlds oldest evidence of stew was found in Japan apparently. The Irish stew was traditionally made with mutton and potatoes or other roof vegetables, however I prefer to use beef. I personally cook potatoes separately as I find they breakdown when boiled for a long time.

Recipe: (For a large cast iron pot)

  • 1kg stewing beef
  • 2 large onions (Chopped)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 4 carrots (Peeled and chopped)
  • 8-10 mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1/2 pack of bacon (Save the rest for breakfast)
  • Tomato Paste (small can)
  • 1 can Guinness
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • Thyme and bay leaves

Method:

I prefer to cook on a fire, but if you prefer using the stove either works well. You need a low and consistent heat for the next few hours.

  1. Cut the onions and garlic and gently fry them in olive oil.
  2. Brown the meat
  3. Add the bacon once the meat has browned
  4. Add the Thyme and Bay leaves
  5. Once the bacon starts to release the fat add the chopped carrots
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Add the stock and Guinness
  8. Add the tomato paste
  9. Add the mushrooms
  10. Allow to simmer for 2-3 hours depending on heat
  11. Simmer uncovered for the last 30 minutes once the sauce has reduced and begins to thicken.
  12. You may prefer to thicken the sauce with a bit of flour if you have.

Once your beef stew is cooked, enjoy with a thick piece of bread and a nice cold beer.

You can also serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.

So if you are taking out one of our Overland camping vehicles for rental this fall, ask us for our pre-stocked ingredients and we can make sure you have everything you need to make this delicious recipe on your travels.