With staycations likely to be the new norm for a while in Canada, and the fact that Canada has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world across our provinces and territories, I have a feeling we’re going to be outside more than we are inside when we get the go-ahead. This might be the summer we actually visit all of the Canadian landmarks we’ve been putting off for warmer or beachier vacations abroad, which means you’re going to want to be equipped for all the outdoors has to offer and based on what I’ve seen, it’s a lot.
I watched my cousin and her boyfriend get ready for a camping trip and it looked like they were going on a three-month backpacking trip. Nope, just going canoeing in Killarney for 2 nights. They had gear I had never even heard of like a compression bag for clothes that turned a few days’ and nights worth of gear into a really small ball that was deceptively heavy. They also had an axe, a barrel for food, a bug suit (it looks like a vintage windbreaker but instead of a hole for your face, you have netting) and a lot more. That didn’t even count the tent!
Whether you’re going to do the tent and hole in the ground thing or rent an RV that is essentially a tiny house equipped with air conditioning, an oven and toilet (🙋), here are some subscriptions that you can take advantage of to make sure you’re fully equipped and ready with the latest gadgets on the market!
Membership is $5 for life
A MEC membership isn’t exactly a subscription but we decided to add it in because one payment of $5 means you’re a member for life. So you have all the benefits of a lifelong subscription without the recurring charge. Is there anything better?
MEC members get access to great products at fair prices, access to gear and equipment rentals along with their Rocksolid Guarantee, which stipulates that if the quality of a product purchased doesn’t meet your expectations, you can return or exchange it. You even have a knowledgeable team at your disposal so if you’re a beginner who’s unsure of what you’ll need for your first portaging trip or a pro who wants the best so you can compete with the pros, they’re there to help.
Starting at $24.99/month, GEAR20 for 20% off first box
Gear Pack’s motto is: Survival Tactical Outdoors. When I go outside where there are more trees than paved roads, survival is my utmost priority. Yes, even when I’m going to see the waterfalls on a day hike at Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. The bugs alone can do some damage but we’ll get to my lack of outdoors skills shortly.
There are 4 Gear Pack boxes to choose from so if you’ve never been camping and you’re a dip your toe into the water type of person, their Basic box is perfect for you. If you’re the dive right in kind of person or have 20 overnight camping trips under your belt and want to add to your kit, they’ve got an Ultimate box, which has the contents of 3 previous tiers.
Their boxes consist of full-sized outdoor items that cover tactical, hunting, camping, hiking, rafting, mountain biking, survival, scouting, prepping and bushcraft items. So if you’re an outdoors enthusiast, you’ll find items in each box for all your hobbies that you might not find at more general stores.
$35 USD/month, shipping extra
My friend and I hiked up Mount Royal in Montreal. Yes, you read correctly. We hiked. But if you ask my friend who lives in Boulder, CO and goes portaging for a quiet weekend and whitewater rafting in the Colorado rapids for a touch of excitement, it was simply a walk up a paved hill. Not a hike. But for me, a born and bred city dweller whose idea of being outdoors is sipping a green tea frapp while basking at my local park, that was a hike and it was uphill, so it was grueling. I felt like Bear Grylls.
If you don’t want a kid like me, who thinks a simple walk up a hill is a hike, set your little ones up to success with a Little Hiker subscription. This will get them involved and excited to go out and explore the great outdoors. Each box contains an item so your child can explore, a few snacks, special inserts, other outdoor-themed products and even an item for the adults like apparel or gear!
Starting at $29.99 USD/month, shipping extra
Nomadik will give you up to 7 full-size premium gear pieces per box. When you’re setting up your subscription, you fill out a short survey on your interests and activities. Based on this, you receive customized gear suited to your needs, so you know that the things you get will be things you’ll actually use!
Each box contains a pamphlet that describes all the items, has tips, and even has some brand discounts. In addition to all that, you get a monthly outdoor challenge that matches the box’s theme. They also have an Ironclad Guarantee, which means that if you’re not happy with your box, you can return the box for a full refund with no questions asked.
Starting at $29.95 USD/month, shipping extra
With every subscription, you’ll get up to 6 full-sized products within the categories of gear, apparel, food/energy, skincare, emergency items and more. Every month, you’ll get Cairn Scout, a newspaper-esque pamphlet in your box, which is a guide that provides you with information about the theme of items you’ve received, along with details about all the items in your box.
In addition to their basic monthly box, they have a quarterly Obsidian box. It’s a premium box at a higher price point and contains 5 to 10 curated outdoor products based on your outdoor activity preferences, with a retail value of $300. The items are freshly-launched, which means that you’ll probably be the trendsetter in your camping crew!
Subscriptions can be convenient, but managing them isn’t. Butter is a new subscription management app that lets you bring together all your subscriptions into one place, tracking your spending and paying you cash rewards.