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CAMPING CALAMITIES? Scouts Canada Has You Covered with a Clever Call In Line

June 27, 2024

Scouts Canada Launches the Camptastic Helpline Just In Time For Camping Season CAMPING SEASON

OTTAWA, ON – July 8th, 2024 … Scouts Canada (the country’s leading co-ed youth organization), is ‘going to the phones’ to help camping clueless Canadians navigate common camping calamities. Starting today, expert advice on top camping conundrums will be available for free, 24/7, when calling Scouts Canada’s ‘Camptastic’ Helpline at 1-844-SCOUT101 or 1-844-SCOUT10 (dropping the second 1) for Bell Canada users.

Why a call-in phone line?

While Scouts Canada is all about ‘being prepared’ and planning ahead to anticipate challenges, this call-in line is designed for campers who are caught in a pinch, already at campsites and struggling with common camping concerns.

What happens when I call in?

Confused Canadian campers will be able to call in, use simple number selections, and be directed to pre-recorded solutions from real Scouts and volunteer Scouters to get advice for real-time campsite concerns, like wildlife encounters or ‘how do I go to the bathroom outdoors.’

How else can Scouts help me?

In addition to the 1-844-SCOUT101 helpline, Canadians who have internet access on-site or while preparing for their trip, who may be less confident with their camping skills, can access helpful resources, guides and videos at They will find helpful tips and guides like: The BEARmuda Triangle (how to avoid attracting unwanted wildlife), BUG OFF! (how to avoid getting eaten alive), and Don’t be a CRAPPY CAMPER (your outdoor options for bathroom breaks).

“The great Canadian outdoors are calling this summer camping season, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is 100% ready to take the call,” said Kaelem Moniz, a youth volunteer of eight years with Scouts Canada. “The Camptastic Helpline is all about giving Canadians 24/7 Camping confidence on call to get out in the wild with wonder, not worry.”

Are Canadians competent campers? …‘Kinda’

In preparation for the 2024 camping season, Scouts Canada also surveyed 1,000 random Canadians on their current command of camping.

Please attribute this as a survey by Scouts Canada in any media coverage

Key results from Survey:

  1. ‘Number 2’ with a view? 
    The Majority of Canadians (82.5%), are ok going to the bathroom outdoors, 43.3% say ‘it’s part of the experience and 39.2% say ‘they don’t like it but when nature calls …’ A further 10.8% say ‘they can do outhouses – but draw the line at that.’ Only 6.4% call it a ‘dealbreaker.’ 
  2. Cool with a cathole? 
    Nearly half of Canadians 47.7% say that they would use a cat hole (dig a hole to use the washroom outdoors) but a combined 40.8% would not and say they would ‘basically do anything to avoid using a cat hole’ (11.6%), 10.6% would give up coffee for 2 days, 8.9% would use leaves instead of toilet paper instead of toilet paper, 7.4% would give up Netflix for two weeks, 6.3% would not use their phone for two days. 3.6% would sleep outside in the woods and 3% would ‘pet a wild squirrel’ if they didn’t have to use a cat hole. 
  3. BEAR basics:
    Asked what they would do if they encountered a black bear in the woods, 31.3% of Canadians said they would ‘Act Loud and Weird (a reasonable strategy), and 2.5% would ‘intimidate with eye contact.’ However, a combined 54.2% would do the wrong thing such as 30% would (incorrectly) ‘play dead,’ 21.5% would ‘run’ (bad idea – you should slowly back away and maintain eye contact), 1.5% would ‘attack first’ (also not recommended.) Interestingly, .6% would ‘pretend to be a harmless baby cub,’ and .6% would sing ‘The Bear Necessities.’.  
  4. ‘BASIC’ in the bush? 
    Asked which provinces people they thought were ‘basic in the bush,’ Canadians cited Ontario (36.7%) followed by BC (16.70%), Alberta (15%) and Quebec (12.1%). The least basic provinces were cited as New Brunswick (3.4%), PEI (3.5%), Newfoundland (3.7%) and Nova Scotia (4.2%).
  5. Canadians are (sorta) confident in camping skills: 
    Asked how they would rate their personal camping competency, 45.7% of Canadians said ‘good,’ and 27.4% said ‘passible – I can glamp.’ 12.8% said ‘Meh’ at best, 10.1% said Excellent and 4% said ‘dangerous – I am my own worst camping enemy.’ 
  6. ‘Tents’ situation: 
    Asked how long it would take them to set up a tent, 4% of Canadians confidently said ’10 minutes.’ 24.3% said 15 minutes, 14.2% said 20 minutes, 14.2% also said 30 minutes. 13.5% admitted it would take 45+ minutes and 5.4% said they have no idea. 
  7. Camping coordinates: 
    Asked where they would most like to camp this summer 2% said Ontario, followed by BC (19.2%), Alberta 13.9% and Quebec 11.3%. A combined 14.3% would like to camp in Atlantic Canada and 2.7% in Manitoba 
  8. Battle of the Ryan’s 
    Asked who they’d most like to hang around a campfire with, Canadians ranked Ryan Gosling #1, followed by Les Stroud #2, Margaret Atwood #3, Keanu Reeves #4 and Ryan Reynolds a distant #5. 
  9. The Politics of Camping 
    Asked which politician Canadians think would be ‘most likely to keep them alive and well in the wilderness,’ Canadians said Pierre Poilievre (32.1%) followed by Justin Trudeau (23.4%), Jagmeet Singh (19.4%), Elizabeth May (17.3%) and Yves-Francois Blanchet (7.8%).

Please attribute this as a survey by Scouts Canada in any media coverage



Camptastic Helpline

Call 1-844-SCOUT101 

(For Bell Canada customers, please dial 1-844-SCOUT10 to access the Camptastic Helpline.)

For emergencies and serious mishaps while camping, call emergency services immediately.

Quick Tips for Camping Confidence

Wild LifeComfortable sleeping tips to avoid cranky mornings

  • Make sure your sleeping bag is right for the overnight temperatures that the weather is predicting. Check your sleeping bag’s label for its temperature rating. 
  • Don’t sleep directly on the floor—sleep on a pad with an R-value that’s matched for the weather. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation; a value of 1 is the lowest, ranging to 7 which is the highest. 
  • Sleep in extra layers and a toque. 
Scout Tip: Don’t sleep in the clothes during the day. They have moisture from the weather or sweat, which will only make your more chilled! Sleep in clean, dry clothing. 
  • Get up and move around to generate body heat—just enough to improve your circulation, not work up a sweat (you can do exercises like push-ups or crunches in your tent, or go outside for jumping jacks or a brisk walk) 
  • For especially chilly nights, fill your water bottle with hot water, tuck it into a sock or other item of clothing, and use it to warm your feet or body inside your sleeping bag until your body heat warms the full bag.

Wild LifeQuick campsite etiquette tips to be a friendly neighbour in the great outdoors. See Leave No Trace.

  • Try not to be noisy.
    Be respectful of other campers and wildlife, especially in the evening. Things like music, fire crackers, loud conversation (etc) can disrupt the peaceful sounds of nature that many campers enjoy.
  • Keep pets with you and on leash.
    If your dog loves to bark, make sure they get lots of exercise and bring a toy for them to stay busy with during down-time.
  • Share the trail.
    Be courteous to others and make space when passing so everyone has room to enjoy the trail.
  • Don’t damage the area and dispose of waste and grey water responsibly.
    The Leave No Trace principles are a great way to be a responsible camper. The best way to enjoy nature is to leave it as you found it—free of garbage and undisturbed.
  • Respect wildlife.
    Observe from a distance and don’t feed them.
  • Don’t spark any trouble.
    Use designated fire pits at your campsite, bring your own firewood or forage fallen wood (don’t cut down branches) and respect local fire bans. Make sure your fire is fully extinguished when you’re finished.
  • Setup your tent in the designated area on your site to be respectful of plant life.

Wild Life5 things a Scout won’t camp without (aside from basic cookware, sleeping gear and tent) 

  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen
  • First Aid Kit & emergency items (whistle, reflective blanket, bear spray if applicable in your region)
  • Water filter
  • Waste bag
    Scout Tip: Check out this quick packing list for essentials you won’t want to forget.


Wild LifeDon’t skimp on tidiness or it could attract furry scavengers or large wildlife; keep a clean campsite!

  • Backcountry campsites: Separate your sleeping hub, cooking spot and food storage site (roughly 60 metres apart if possible). This keeps wildlife visitors away from your food, and most importantly, makes sure they won’t be attracted to your tent.
  • Frontcountry campsites: Keep grey water, garbage and food distanced from your site. Most frontcountry sites have facilities where you can wash your dishes, toss waste in bear-safe containers and dispose of grey water (be sure to strain it to catch and remove food particles).

    Scout Tip: If you’re camping in bear country, keep all scented items out of your tent and at your food storage site. This includes waste (scraps, food covered wrappings, etc), kitchen equipment, toiletries, empty dog dishes, the clothing you wore while cooking, etc).

    Make sure you’re responsibly disposing of your grey water, scraps and cooking grease.

Wild LifeWhich foods NOT to take camping.

  • Avoid bringing heavy, bulky food items like cans
  • If it needs to be refrigerated to keep from spoiling, don’t bring it on a camp trip unless you’ll keep it in a cooler and eat it on the first night (like dairy or raw meat).
    • Scout Tip: Some items like hard, aged cheeses (think gouda, parmesan, cheddar, etc) don’t need to be refrigerated (although this will keep them fresh for longer). Store them in parchment or wax paper and they will keep for a few days. Do not eat if you see signs of spoilage (bad smell, slimy surface, dark spots, dryness, cracks or mold.
  • Avoid bringing ‘messy’ foods, like fruits and vegetables with inedible peels/stems/pits, that add to your waste bag (keeping compostable items in your garbage creates scents that could attract wildlife).
  • Make sure you’re responsibly disposing of your grey water, scraps and cooking grease


Wild LifeWe’ve got the buzz on how to live in a buggy environment.

  • When setting up camp or a rest spot, try to avoid standing water, also known as ‘bug breeding parties’.
  • Insect repellant is an obvious choice, with eco-friendly and DEET-free options readily available. Essential oils like mint and citrus are natural deterrents.
  • Wearing a bug net, long sleeves and pants are also easy ways to keep your skin protected, along with some citronella candles or campfire smoke.
    Scout Tip—throw sage on the campfire to add an edge to your repellant smoke!
  • Electronic mosquito repellent (EMR) gadgets use heat-activated pads or ultrasonic waves to create a bug-free protection zone for various ranges and duration.
  • Don’t forget to check for ticks often.
    Scout Tip: Preventing or treating tick bites and how to recognize symptoms of Lyme disease can be found here.

Scout Tip: Keep your tent screen closed at all times to avoid unwanted pesky guests. Don’t use aerosol sprays, mosquito coils, citronella candles or any other kind of bug repellent in your tent.

Wild LifeTo avoid poisonous plants, make sure you know how to recognize them.

  • Poison ivy is common nationwide, as well as giant hogweed in most provinces. Poison oak can mostly be found in British Columbia and poison sumac is a norm in central and eastern Canada.
    See what they look like, here.
  • If your skin has come into contact with the plant oil, either by directly touching the plant or being exposed to plant oils on your clothing, immediately wash and scrub the area.
  • Reactions to poisonous plants include:
    • Swelling and itching of skin
    • A red rash within a day or two of contact
    • Blisters or bumps
  • Basic treatment for symptoms include:
    • Cool compresses, calamine lotion and antihistamine or creams such as hydrocortisone can relieve itchiness.

Wild LifeDepending on your campsite location, you may have a full-facility washroom, or you’ll be getting close and personal with nature using and outhouse, thunderbox…or cathole!

If your campsite offers an outhouse or thunderbox, respect the space by using designated areas.

  • An outhouse is like a single-person bathroom—with no ‘flush’ or plumbing.
  • A thunder box is basically a wooden box for you to sit on instead of a toilet. Don’t forget, there’s no door or walls so make sure you let your co-campers know to stay off the thunderbox trail until you’ve announced your return!
  • A cathole is for wilderness lovers. Find a spot at least 60 metres away from your campsite and slightly off the trail, then dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches wide. Do your business, bury the hole and mark your hot spot with a standing stick to warn away other campers!

Biodegradable toilet paper can be thrown into outhouses and thunderboxes, but items like diapers, sanitary napkins and disposable feminine products should be sealed properly and brought home for disposal.

Scout Tip: Don’t forget to pack biodegradable toilet paper in a waterproof container or ziplock bag and hand sanitizer.

Wild Life4 knots you need to know: Loop knot (like a fixed loop bowline), tensioning (taut line hitch or trucker’s hitch), hitches (clover’s hitch, farrimond friction hitch or prusik knot). Watch ‘how-to’ videos here.

Take the time to peg your tent—it’ll be worth it, especially if the w

Keep your flashlight/headlamp in your pocket so you can reach it easily and quickly when it starts to get dark.

Don’t forget to pack the little things: 

  • Sturdy garbage bag to pack-out (take home) waste
  • Water filter & bottles
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Tarp, even if the weather forecast calls for sun (it can change on a dime to rain!)
  • First Aid kit
  • Sunscreen & bug spray
  • Extra batteries for headlamp/flashlight/lantern
  • Extra socks
  • Toque (even if you’re camping in the summer, nights can be cold)
  • Map/navigation tool in case your site is not in a cell reception area

Dry your gear before packing out: 

  • Don’t pack up your tent, sleeping back or tarp before they’ve dried. If you don’t have time, or it’s raining, make sure you unpack them and lay them out to dry at home before packing and storing them.

Break in your boots before going on an extended hike or backpacking trip.

  • Scout Tip: “When we hiked Phelps Peak in Adirondacks, a Scout showed up with brand new boots. By the end of the trip, his feet looked like they had been beaten—purple and raw. Know your gear, practice with your gear in advance.” — Scouter Sully

About Scouts Canada

Kids and young adults in Scouts chart their own path of discovery. Through a variety of fun experiences with friends, outdoor adventures and contributions to their community, Scouts build resilience and skills that set them up for life. Scouts Canada is the country’s leading co-ed youth organization, offering programming for children and youth aged 5-26 in multiple languages, reflecting Canada’s multicultural landscape and communities. For more information, visit

Scouts Canada is a not-for-profit organization (Charitable Registration No.10776 1694 RR0028) and a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

Media Contact:

Patrick McCaully
Pointman News Creation