MEC CAMPER 2 TENT | $189

   Our game-changing Camper 2 is back and better than ever. No department store toy, it’s a real tent you can use for real camping and backpacking. The secret sauce is the combination of basic aluminum poles and inexpensive yet functional fabrics. It’s served up with quality construction and offered at a stellar price. Look for it at www.mec.ca

Hiking the Gaspé Peninsula

A mere 12-hour drive from Ottawa you’ll find outstanding coastal and mountain hiking, and backpacking trails for anyone – beginner to super-fit advanced. On top of that there are cozy bistros, inexpensive hotels and gourmet food – this is Quebec after all. 

The Gaspé Peninsula forms the northern tip of the Appalachian mountain chain that runs north-south along the U.S. coast. And it’s a beauty! The trails range from one-hour strolls along salmon streams to multi-day backpacking adventures across mountain peaks, plateaus, valleys and Atlantic shorelines. You can camp in your tent, or choose from lean-to shelters or luxury camping bivouacs far up in the mountains. 

As for cyclists, if high winds sweeping in from the sea, steep, narrow roads and unexpected squalls turn you on, you’ll love it here. But despite abundant less-exposed trails, I left my bike at home. >>>

from Quebec City first came to the attention of Europeans when Jacques Cartier landed there in 1535. Since then, the locals have preserved the habitant farm culture surrounding six colourful villages, including Saint-Jean where two-thirds of the houses are pre-Confederation. >>>

If you’re looking for new cycling trails, Quebec’s Ile d’Orléans offers spectacular beauty steeped in French Canadian history within a five-hour drive of Ottawa.

One of the first settlements in New France, the island just downriver

What to do when the water runs out

   Without water you can survive only days, but pure drinking water is available in the field if you work at it. Here are some simple techniques to collect enough to survive almost anywhere.

SOLAR STILL

    A solar still is a hole in the ground, so it means digging, which damages the environment. So dig one only if it’s a question of survival. And you can’t do this one in winter. All these water-source ideas apply to three seasons only. In winter, there’s snow. >>>

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Ile d’Orléans is a cycling jewel