I Backpack Canada » Travel Tips http://ibackpackcanada.com A backpackers travel guide to Canada Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:10:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 4 Valuable Tips for Moving Across Canadahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/4-valuable-tips-for-moving-across-canada/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/4-valuable-tips-for-moving-across-canada/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 17:53:59 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7206 If you’re anything like me, the idea of living somewhere new is an intriguing proposition. New neighbourhoods, new cafes, new pubs, new parks, and new people! I’ve had the fortune of successfully moving across Canada twice, and I have to warn you that while it’s not the easiest thing to do, making that move can […]

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If you’re anything like me, the idea of living somewhere new is an intriguing proposition. New neighbourhoods, new cafes, new pubs, new parks, and new people! I’ve had the fortune of successfully moving across Canada twice, and I have to warn you that while it’s not the easiest thing to do, making that move can be a highly rewarding experience. In order to make that move a bit easier, I’ve compiled quick list of tips for moving across Canada.

Bus Travel in Canada

1. Transportion

We all own stuff. You rarely notice how much you truly own until you’re forced to box it all up. The whole process can be a bit overwhelming. Suddenly you’re stuck with 10 full boxes and a few pieces of furniture that you need to move from point A to point B. There’s several options for getting you & your stuff across Canada. Including:

A) U-haul

U-Haul can be a great option for getting you & your items to your final destination. Their trucks and large ramps make moving fairly easy. While they may not be the cheapest option, they are fairly convenient. You do have to be brave enough to drive these rigs. If you’re a nervous driver you might want to think twice about this option. I personally went this route and consider myself a fairly good driver. But when you’re driving through Montreal rush hour in the middle of a snow storm, it’s easy to feel the stress. If you’re going this route, take lots of breaks and plan your hotel stays in areas on the outskirts of town to make getting in and out easy. Narrow and winding streets can be a nightmare with these trucks.

truck-company

B) Book a Semi-Trailer

Many people don’t know this but you can talk to trucking companies and ask if they have a truck leaving from your point of origin that will be going through your final destination. Assuming you’re not moving to the middle of nowhere, there’s a good chance you can arrange something.

Most trucks you see on the road aren’t filled to the brim, so often times you can rent the back part of the trailer. Typically someone will provide you with an estimate based on the size and amount of items you’re moving. There’s a bunch of semi-trailer varieties to choose from – some companies will offer flatbeds, tankers, refrigeration units, I’ve even heard of some company that will fill extra space on empty horse trailers with living quarters. Your best bet is to just phone some local trucking companies and see what they’ll charge. With some careful planning you can book a flight while your stuff is taken care of by the transportation company.

C) Purchase a van

One of my cross Canada moves was actually done in a beat up camper van. I had it stuffed to the max, but only spent a couple grand on it. Once I got settled in my new location I put my van up for sale and parted ways with it. I only ended up paying for gas and insurance. On top of that, the van had a bed in it which allowed me to save a ton of money on hotels by just parking in Walmarts (They allow campers and RV’s to crash in their parking lot).

D) Shipping

Yes, shipping by bus, train, airline, and even post office is an option. This is a great option if you’re only taking a couple of boxes. Check into shipping rates at your local airport, post office and bus company. Many bus companies sell off unused cargo space for movers. Again, the benefit of this route is you don’t have to worry about driving your own stuff.

mail forward

Photo by Tom Woodward (CC2.0)

2. Setup Mail Forwarding

Moving is a stressful time. No matter how great of a planner you are, when you make the decision to move across Canada there’s going to be some bill, some company or government organization that you forgot to update your address with. Head into Canada Post and ask to setup 6 months of mail forwarding. It’s about $50.00 from what I recall and can save you a tremendous amount of headaches. All mail directed to you that arrives at your old place will be forwarded on to your new location. Just be prepared to jump on updating those addresses and contact details within the 6 month period or you’ll be scratching your head when your mail stops showing up.

storage units

Photo by Mike Mozart (CC2.0)

3. Storage

If you aren’t sure how long you’ll be out there, consider looking into storage space. Storage space can be surprisingly cheap if you’re not storing 4 bedrooms worth of furniture. Or better yet, if you have family with some extra space in their garage, consider asking them to look after a few of your things. When in doubt, ask if you’ve used these items you’re thinking about bringing along in the last year. If you forgot about them or rarely use them, consider just leaving them behind. Or consider the tip below.

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4. Start Fresh

Chances are the particle board end tables and that ugly hand-me-down futon aren’t really worth all that much. Do you really want to spend money bringing cheap furniture and items that really don’t have that much sentimental value? Consider selling your stuff on Craigs list, Kijiji, or any other classifieds site. You might make a couple hundred bucks. If you’re not picky, you can easily refurnish a new place when you get there.

Yes, you might spend a bit more money, but think of the savings you’ll hang onto by not having to worry about all this “stuff” you don’t really love, and that you don’t really need. A suitcase, a backpack, and a few precious things are really all you need to start new. The rest can trickle in when you get settled. Watch for used items to furnish your new place with. A fresh start is sometimes the best and cheapest option.

Do you have any moving tips or advice? Comment below – I’d love to hear them!

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16 Must See Canadian Destinationshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/16-must-see-canadian-destinations/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/16-must-see-canadian-destinations/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 15:26:51 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7073 I get hassled a lot by readers, asking what are the best Canadian destinations to see. I try my best to avoid naming names, but I’ll usually share a handful of what I deem to be the best. While I like to remind readers that the best is all subjective, I partnered up with Expedia […]

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I get hassled a lot by readers, asking what are the best Canadian destinations to see. I try my best to avoid naming names, but I’ll usually share a handful of what I deem to be the best. While I like to remind readers that the best is all subjective, I partnered up with Expedia Canada and came up with my own little hit list to share some of my personal faves. Something a little more public & out there, something that I can just link people to and say “Give this a read“. I’m hoping some readers will comment and share some additional must see Canadian destinations, but I hope this gives you a start!

tombstone mountain yukon

The Yukon

The wild, rugged Yukon has lured people from all over the world for hundreds of years. Home of the Klondike gold rush, thousands of kilometres of dense bush, and some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Canada (I’m looking at you Tombstone Mountain Range). The Yukon is this mysterious territory where art meets manliness, where nature meets quirky towns and cities, where people don’t take anything too serious, except when it comes to making people laugh. SourToe Cocktails, gold miners trying to strike it rich, and 1:00am sunsets are sure to raise some eyebrows. The Yukon is too weird, too wild not to include in this list.

whale watching vancouver island

Vancouver Island, BC

Beautiful Vancouver Island is larger than it might sound. In fact, it’s the largest island on West Coast North America, and 43rd largest island in the world, measuring 32,134 km2 (12,407 sq mi). From the English inspired streets of Victoria, to the chill surfer vibe of Tofino & Ucluelet, there’s a large amount of must-sees on Vancouver Island, all within a relatively easy driving distance. While most of BC is already pretty laid back, you’ll quickly realize that Vancouver Island has it’s own pace. You see it in the arts, the culture, the sport, the food, and the people. I can’t name any one place in Vancouver Island as the only must-see, so I’m copping out and just saying “Go see it all“. It’s just a terrific island to cruise around and explore. A must see destination if you’re a die-hard hiker, a relaxed camper, an RVer, a luxury traveller, or just someone who likes to snap photos. Vancouver Island is truly a travellers paradise.

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The Okanagan Valley, BC

Picture massive valleys, mild temperature, vineyards, warm lakes, wind & kite surfers, boaters, and cute beaches. The Okanagan Valley is often skipped by visitors in lieu of the nearby mountains. A weekend in the Okanagan is well worth the small detour, particularly in the summer. Rent a car, a bike, or a boat, and find yourself exploring this unique BC countryside. Panoramic views of this beautiful part of Canada will leave you with empty SD cards and countless warm memories. Or possibly a hangover, as the wine is delightful.

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Vancouver, BC

Vancouver, it’s often dreamed about by other Canadians due to its year round mild weather. While the weather may not be as extreme as other parts of Canada, the amount of activities you can squeeze in during a short stay in Vancouver is sure to make you think this area is anything but mild. Mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, kayaking, you name it, you can probably do it in or near by Vancouver. While Vancouver is one of Canada’s larger cities, it’s still fairly easy to get around with public transportation. Surrounded by mountains and pacific ocean, Vancouver is a must-see destination simply due to its beauty, and also due to the sheer number of exciting activities that you can enjoy. An outdoorsy, nature lovers paradise, with an extremely large amount of good restaurants, and a superb stop for any visitor to Canada.

jasper mountains

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Nothing compares to Jasper. A rocky Mountain mecca that truly lets you feel like you’re alone on this planet. While Banff continues to draw in more visitors per year, Jasper has kept its pristine look and feel. You never really feel like you’re too close to people. There’s room to breathe, and even more room to explore. Countless hiking trails await you, world class skiing and snowboarding, Jasper is a year round meccca of discovery. By day you’ll come across all sorts of wildlife, and by night Jasper’s Dark Sky Preserve allows for some of the starriest nights you’ll ever experience.

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Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

The prairies we know in Canada are not same prairies that existed 300 years ago. Once upon a time, a large part of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba were covered in grasslands, feeding herds upon herds of wild bison. Before the fields of wheat, barley, canola and flax, there was grass, and lots of it. Visiting the Grasslands National Park lets you truly experience what that would have been like. It has become a refuge for wildlife, flora, and some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. If you want to really take it in, camping for a night or two in these parts is a must, just be on the guard for the wild bison, rattlesnakes, and the thousands of prairie dogs that live in these parts.

Winnipeg Legislative Golden Boy Hermes

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg gets poked at across Canada, but spend a weekend there and you’ll quickly discover that Winnipeg is actually very awesome. I can’t help but wonder if the insults directed at Winnipeg for being too cold, too boring, are just tactics to keep the tourist masses out of this prairie city. With a wildly popular music scene, home to such great artists as Neil Young, The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and more, you can hop from bar to bar catching incredible indie bands and singer songwriters. Spend a day exploring the Forks, the historic & mysterious Legislative Building or any of the countless festivals that setup in downtown Winnipeg. Or simply explore the wildly different neighbours of the Exchange District, Osborne Village, or the french quarter, formally known as St. Boniface. Winnipeg’s got a lot to offer for those willing to look!

polar bear canada churchill mb

Churchill, Manitoba

I regularly receive emails asking where someone can spot polar bears. I’m always quick to educate people that the majority of us don’t live near polar bears, but there are some places in Canada where they’re regular visitors. The easiest place to see them without getting mauled to death, is hands down Churchill Manitoba. Located on the tip of the Hudsons Bay, known as the the home of the polar bear, beluga, and countless other wild animals. Churchill is a quirky town where industry meets rugged outdoors. This place is easily a must see Canadian destination. The VIA Rail trip from Winnipeg up to Churchill (2 days), is long and difficult, but very much worth it!

EdgeWalk CN Tower

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is a different beast. While still very much Canadian, you can’t help but feel fully immersed in countless different cultures when exploring this city. Each neighbourhood differs so much from the next. With countless museums, parks, sports arenas, architectural wonders, and commonly known as a foodie’s paradise, Toronto has something for everyone. Public transportation makes Toronto easy to get around, and in spite of its size, it’s still very affordable to visit this metropolitan city. Take it all in from the top of the CN Tower, or do something crazy-stupid like hang over the edge of the building on the EdgeWalk. I have clammy hands just seeing that photo again!

ottawa-canada-day-streets-people

Ottawa, Ontario

The national Capital, Ottawa has always struck me as a mix between Halifax and Toronto, with a dash of Montreal. Historical buildings, governmental grandiose buildings, and a growing number of clubs, pubs, and restaurants makes Ottawa a beautiful city to visit. Explore the canals by boat, or bike & hike the countless paths throughout the city. There’s a ton to see and do in Ottawa, making it a great place to add on anyones Canadian bucket list. Consider visiting the nations capital during Canada Day to truly experience the Canadian pride associated with this great city.

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Montreal, Quebec

This city is awesome. There’s really no questioning a visit to Canada should include this hip, cultural centre of Quebec. An incredible mix of french and english, with a dash of european culture peppered throughout. Food, music, arts, and the outdoors are such integral parts of this city, that you can’t help but feel inspired, exploring the streets of Montreal, or using this city as base camp for your Quebecois journey. A summer visit to Montreal is a must, taking in the numerous food & music festivals, such as POP Montreal, or the always-free, always-fun Tam Tams in Mount Royal Park.

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Quebec City, Quebec

The great walled city of Canada, this historic french city centre has been at the forefront of some of Canada’s most famous historical events. A history buffs dream come true, from old gothic architecture, to battlegrounds from hundreds of years ago. This city has retained it’s elegance throughout the years, and is still widely regarded as one of the best places to really expose yourself to french immersion. While Montreal can be very french at times, it’s common for people to live in Montreal and not speak a lick of french. If you want to expose yourself to true french Canadian culture, from the delicious artisan foods, to the beautiful views of the Fleuve St Laurent, Quebec City is a safe bet.

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Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

Home to some of the largest tides in the world, this entire area was carved out by the rising tides of the Bay of Fundy. The flowerpot rocks are a stunning example of natures power. During low-tide, hike throughout the rocks and explore the caverns carved from water. During high tide, kayak around the flowerpot rocks on the Bay of Fundy. While Hopewell Rocks are a terrific day trip that really lets you experience the wild elements in these parts, the Bay of Fundy is also home to some amazing whale watching tours, along with some beautiful highway drives.

Barrington St Bike

Halifax, Nova Scotia

One of my favourite cities, Halifax is a superb combination of metropolitan fun mixed with maritime heritage. Easily one of the most walk-able cities in Canada, Halifax is a great place to visit, and an even better place to settle down for a bit. I found myself living there for nearly 5 years, and enjoyed nearly every minute of it. From historical pubs, delicious microbrews, countless colleges & universities, and the gateway to some terrific tours. A weekend in Halifax is sure to be met with a few hangovers, but before the drinks begin to flow, you’ll be immersed in some of Canada’s earliest history.

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St Johns, Newfoundland

Screech, beer, hard drinks, wild parties, all surrounded in a historical maritime harbour. St Johns, Newfoundland is definitely a must-see-must-experience Canadian destination. It’s funny what a stretch of water will do. While very much similar to Halifax, it’s easy to see that Newfoundlanders are their own breed of maritimers. With their celtic inspired tunes, cute but sometimes hard to understand accents, and their affinity for embarrassing CFA’s (come from away’s) by initiating them into Newfoundland culture by kissing a cod. The easy to walk (though be warned, they’re hilly) streets of Newfoundland make it a great city to stumble around, crawling from pub to pub and sampling their local beers, eats, and laughing with some of the friendliest people in Canada. If you can squeeze in George Street Fest on your visit, all the power to you. Just be sure your liver is up to it! Those east coasters can put ’em back.

fogo head trail

Fogo Island, Newfoundland

This charming, mysterious island takes control of you in weird ways. You’ll find yourself staring out into the Atlantic Ocean, wondering “Why can’t I live here forever“. Fogo Island’s scenery is some of the most unique in Canada. Everywhere you look is rock, moss, trees, ocean, and stunning beauty. The Island residents have known this for a long time, in fact, artists from all over the world fight for the chance to become an artist in residence on this small little island. Some of the worlds freshest seafood, the most spectacular drives, and the friendliest people you’ll meet are all found on Fogo Island.

Am I missing any must-see destinations in Canada? I’d love to hear from you, comment below or throw a tweet my way @ibackpackcanada!

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Make Your Own DIY Backpacker First Aid Kithttp://ibackpackcanada.com/make-your-own-diy-backpacker-first-aid-kit/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/make-your-own-diy-backpacker-first-aid-kit/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 19:13:25 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7163 This post was sponsored by the makers of REACTINE®. All thoughts & opinions are my own. When you’re on the road long enough, cuts, scrapes, bruises, illnesses, and general cases of “not feeling so hot” are all too common. After living and dealing with these uncomfortable experiences on a case by case basis, I got sick of […]

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This post was sponsored by the makers of REACTINE®. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

When you’re on the road long enough, cuts, scrapes, bruises, illnesses, and general cases of “not feeling so hot” are all too common. After living and dealing with these uncomfortable experiences on a case by case basis, I got sick of having to detour my travels in order to buy something as silly as a single bandage for a cut, but being forced to carry along a whole box of them. While you can pick up pre-packaged first aid kits, you’ll find they’re typically overpriced and usually have some items in them that you’ll never use. The folks at REACTINE® partnered up with me to come up with the perfect DIY Backpacker First Aid Kit.

 

altoid

1. Empty Altoids Tin

The trusty Altoids tin is used in countless DIY projects and crafts. Head to your local convenience store and pick one of these up, share those mints with your friends and family to get rid of them. Or maybe keep a few if you consider bad breath an emergency. In this DIY First Aid Kit we’ll be using an Altoids tin, or if you can’t find Altoids, any sturdy slim case will do. At the end of the day, you just need something that can take a mild beating.

bandaid

2. Bandages

Small cuts and blisters are all too common when you’re lugging around a bag filled with your life. I’d recommend keeping a variety of bandages, but really any will do. See what you can dig up around your house and throw 3 – 4 of these lifesavers in there. If you’re able to track down a small package of gauze as well, I’d recommend including that in there for anything more heavy duty than a small cut.

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3. Mini Ziploc® Bags

You’re going to want to find a tiny Ziploc® bag which we’ll use to keep a few important things dry. You can usually find these at craft or jewellery stores. My wife had a few that she had picked up from Michaels.

pills

4. Pain Management

Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you’re not going to come down with a headache. Even for things more serious like sprains, I like to keep around 6 pills of either Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. Rather than taking the whole jar, just grab few and throw them into one of those mini Ziploc® bags. I’d recommend using a Sharpie to mark that bag just as a reminder in case you have to store any other medicine in your DIY First Aid Kit.

reactine

5. Allergy Relief

Whether you suffer from allergies or not, chances are you know somebody that does. Cutting out a couple of pills from a package of REACTINE® Non-Drowsy Liquid Gels only takes up a tiny amount of space in the kit, and has the added bonus of fighting allergy symptoms for 24 hours. Nothing will make you look like a bigger hero than when that new travel friend of yours is complaining about their allergy symptoms and you bust out your DIY first aid kit and save the day.

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6. Tweezers

I’m convinced that there are few things worse than a nasty splinter. Tweezers are small enough that they can easily fit in your DIY first aid kit and can save you from having to deal with the pain and risk of infection that a splinter can cause.

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7. Infection Prevention

If you wear contact lenses, or know someone who does, chances are finding an old contact lens case should be easy. Wash it out thoroughly, and you now have two airtight vessels for storing liquids or gels. I recommend storing POLYSPORIN® in one, and any other common ointments like iodine or betadine. I usually use something my family calls “brown salve”, but after Googling around for its name, I found out it’s actually called “petro-carbo medicated salve“. You want to store something that’s going to help with things like bug bites, burns, cuts, scrapes and skin irritations.

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8. Fire

You never know when you might need to make a fire. Hopefully you’ll never have to rely on these, but having them is smart. You’ve got a couple of options here. You could go for a cheap magnesium fire starter, which has the benefit of countless uses, or just track down a few matches (preferably waterproof).

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9. Earplugs

In my opinion you should keep several pairs of these scattered throughout your bag, as you never know when you’re going to have to find them. But keeping a spare set on hand in case of emergency, may very well save you a full night sleep when you’re sleeping in a hostel dorm, or camping near a beaver that’s living up to his busy name.

altoids tin

10. Rubber Band

You never know when you need to keep something together. You’re going to want a strong and thick band, like the ones you find on broccoli bunches in the grocery store. Wrap the rubber band around the packed Altoids tin to keep everything secure. It also has the added benefit of providing grip to the kit in case you ever place it on a hard surface.

Am I missing any other important first aid kit items? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Special thanks to REACTINE® for sponsoring this post and helping keep people safe & healthy during their travels. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

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Best Backpacks for long term travelhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/best-backpacks-long-term-travel/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/best-backpacks-long-term-travel/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:12:10 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6927 Picking the perfect backpack is not an easy task. First off, we have to acknowledge that there is no “one backpack to rule them all”. On the contrary, the market is vast and has a highly diversified supply of zillions of products to pick from. In my experience, choosing the right backpacking backpack really depends […]

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Picking the perfect backpack is not an easy task. First off, we have to acknowledge that there is no “one backpack to rule them all”. On the contrary, the market is vast and has a highly diversified supply of zillions of products to pick from. In my experience, choosing the right backpacking backpack really depends on two factors: purpose and budget.

Every destination has it’s own challenges and unique requirements. You have to take into account climate, altitude, terrain and most importantly, the main activity of the trip. Mountaineering, hiking, trekking and sightseeing are all activities with very different requirements. The ideal backpack for mountaineering would turn out to be extremely cumbersome for lugging around to hostels.

After you establish the purpose of your trip, there are three key considerations you should always assess before choosing your backpack: your weight, your body frame, and the gear you will take along. What kind of stuff are you going to carry? Are you planning on bringing camera equipment? How much food are you going to need? Do you need compartments for smaller items or only larger items?

There are two types of backpacks:
  • The internal frame backpack
  • The external frame backpack

The backpack you pick depends mainly on your purpose as a traveller. Are you attempting to conquer every hiking trail you encounter? Or are you more of a casual tourist that just needs to keep their stuff organized during the move from destination A to destination B?

Internal or external frame backpack?

Nobody wants to spend a good amount of cash on something they’re going to regret. I will try to help you take the right decision by clearing out the differences between both styles.

Weight

External frame backpacks are able to carry much more weight because the packs stack above your head, placing the center of gravity much higher than in an internal frame backpack. And while it’s true that these backpacks can carry more weight, they’re also bulkier, making them difficult to deal with in small rooms and tight spaces.

Internal frame backpacks on the other hand are generally lighter and more comfortable to wear, but have less options for distributing the weight. As their weight concentrates at the middle of your back, they are not so suited for long hikes as they will wear you out faster.

Packing compartments

In most cases external frame backpacks have lots of compartments that allow more options to distribute the weight. That’s something that you don’t typically get from an internal frame backpack. Most internal frame backpacks have only 1 to 3 compartments (top, primary compartment, lower compartment). Less compartments means finding the key to your room could turn out to be the most painful memory of the whole trip.

Design

In an external frame backpack the tubular structure is clearly visible, while internal backpacks look more like the typical bag a kid could carry to school. The tubular structure in this case runs along the spine for lumbar support. Typically, internal frame backpacks are sexier in appearance, some having additional straps and zippers and others including locks to prevent the occasional pickpocket.

Price

The price of external frame backpacks is relatively higher than that of their internal frame counterparts. If you’re on a tight budget and you’re not going to do any extreme hiking, an internal frame backpack might give you more bang for the buck.

Best Backpacks for long term travellers / backpackers

Finding the best backpack for the hostel hopping backpacker is quite a bit easier than the die-hard camper. If your plan is to travel light and move from hostel to hostel, finding a backpack will be a bit easier. 99% of the time, an internal frame backpack with enough compartments and a few bells and whistles will suffice. These are my recommended internal frame backpacks:

Teton-Explorer-4000-backpack-product-shot Teton Explorer 4000 Backpack

Durable and affordable, the Teton Explorer 4000 has (as it’s name states) 4000 cubic inches of storage capacity, which will be enough for 2 – 5 day trips. Many rate it as the best hiking backpack in the market because of the comfort it offers and its ability to store over 15 essential items including a sleeping bag. You can find these for $70.

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High Sierra Titan 65

The High Sierra Tech Titan 65 is adored by campers and hikers because of its 65 liters of storage space. It’s durability makes the Titan 65 an ideal candidate for long trips. You can find these from $100 and sometimes cheaper if you’re shopping for used backpacks online.

osprey-packs-atmos-65-backpack

Osprey Packs Atmos 65

Osprey backpacks come in three models, small (62 liters), medium (65) and large (68) They’re all incredibly comfortable, the fabric is of excellent quality and the flashy colors make the three models quite attractive to look at. Compared to other backpacks offering similar features, the Osprey is one of the lightest in the market, and also one of the most expensive. You can get your hands on one for $ 200 – $400.

everest-deluxe-hiking-backpack

Everest Delux Hiking Backpack

The Everest hiking pack has been appreciated for a long time by the travelling community as the most popular entry level bag. It’s made out of 100% polyester and has a capacity of 3,170 cubic inches which is roughly equivalent to 40 pounds of stuff. They sell for around $53.

Arc'teryx Altra 65 Backpack

Arc’teryx Altra 65 Backpack

The Arc’teryx Altra 65 Backpack is used for all sorts of activities such as trekking, normal travel and hiking. Usually, these multi-purpose backpacks have a volume capacity between 73L and 75L. Extremely comfortable, it’s ultra light material is also very durable and doesn’t tear easily,  which of course is an added advantage for anybody embarking on long trekking. I’ve read reviews where people state they have used the Arc’teryx Altra for over 14 months without any visible wear, and I do believe it. This is a very high quality bag that sells for $400.

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Gregory Deva 60 Technical Pack

The Gregory Deva 60 Technical Pack has been specifically designed for women. Some of the features include an AFS suspension system, auto-cant harness technology and auto-fit waist belt system. Durable, lightweight and easy on the eye, it’s the ideal entry bag for a serious beginner. It costs around $240.

alps-mountaineering-red-tail-3900

ALPS Mountaineering Red Tail 3900

Just as the name implies, the ALPS Mountaineering Red Tail 3900 is a backpack specifically designed for your hiking needs. It has a capacity of 3900 cubic inches which translates to 64 liters, which is ideal for 3 – 4 day trips. The top of the red tail extends with a spindrift collar allowing hikers to overpack. It sells for $100.

cuscus-6200ci-internal-frame-backpack

CUSCUS 6200ci Internal Frame

The CUSCUS 6200ci is a 6200 cubic inch capacity bag with very sturdy stitching and strong zippers. It’s incredibly durable and has the best cost to benefit ratio of this list. It features a sleeping bag compartment, a heavily paddled back panel and high quality shoulder and waist straps. You can find one of these for as low as $40.

How to fit an Internal Frame Backpack?

Looking for advice on how to fit a backpack to your body size / type, check this video out by Tuja Wellness.

Best backpacks for hiking / camping

We’ve covered plenty about internal frame backpacks which are awesome solutions if you aren’t planning on long hiking or camping trips. But extreme trekkers, pro campers, and seasoned outdoorsmen usually choose external frame backpacks as their weapon of choice. This is mainly because they provide greater support for larger loads. If you’re going to be hauling cookware, large amounts of water, a tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag, you’re going to need more capacity than what an internal frame bag can offer.

Here are my picks for great external frame backpacks for hiking and camping.

alps-outdoorZ-commander-5350-external-frame-backpack

ALPS OutdoorZ Commander 5350 Cubic Inches

The ALPS Outdoor commander has always impressed because of its versatility, durability and incredible capacity. The backpack can be separated from the tube structure allowing for other items to be carried on the frame, which is a nifty feature specially for hunters. The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander is a very affordable solution at $93.

kelty-trekker-external-frame-backpack

Kelty Trekker External Frame Pack

The Kelty Trekker is made from polyester which makes it very lightweight and durable. The external frame is built with adjustable suspensions and plenty of additional accessories. You can find it from $127 to $180.

large-alice-backpack-external-frame

Large Alice Pack w/ Frame

Well suited for people who like to hike a lot, the Large Alice pack is extremely durable, made from waterproof materials with sturdy stitching. It provides an excellent cost to benefit ratio at $62.

outdoor-products-dragonfly-backpack-external-frame

Outdoor Products Dragonfly

The Dragonfly is a backpack especially designed for pre-teens and youth hikers. It has a capacity of 2780 cubic inches which is more than enough to meet the usual expectations of a entry level outdoorsman. It features enhanced padding which helps a lot when carrying very heavy loads. The Dragonfly sells at $50.

S-ZONE Sport Outdoor 60L Military Camping Hiking Trekking Backpack

S-ZONE Sport Outdoor 60L Military Camping Hiking Trekking Backpack

The S-zone sport outdoor 60L Trekking Backpack is one of the most beautifully designed of the list. I really appreciate the foam back panel which helps the pack to stay cool and dry. It also has a compression lid on the top that allows an extra load of gear beyond it’s native capacity of 60 liters. Great value at $64.

high-sierra-sport-external-backpack

High Sierra Sport Company 40

The High Sierra Sport Company 40 is specifically designed for a one or two day trip. This is an extremely comfortable entry bag for younger hikers taking their first steps into the outdoor scene. It sells for $100.

mountainsmith-eagle-external-frame-backpack

Mountain smith Eagle – Youth External

The Mountainsmith Eagle External Frame Backpack is another backpack specifically designed for pre-teens. It’s outward appearance may not be so captivating, but it has a respectable capacity of 45 liters and features an external frame made out of 6061 aluminium alloy. It includes a mesh back panel, a top flap with a zippered pocket, a rain cover and deluxe shoulder straps. You can find it for $75.

alps-mountaineering-bryce-backpack-external-frame

ALPS Mountaineering Bryce Nylon Ripstop External Frame Pack (3600 cubic inch)

One of the most durable of this list, theALPS Mountaineering Bryce pack includes a high quality telescoping frame, hydration compatible, ventilated lumbar support, and mesh pockets. Sturdy, durable and highly reliable it has a 60 litre capacity and sells for $159.

How to Pack a Backpack Properly

Looking for more information on packing your backpack the right way. Check out this great video by REI.

Looking for something more Waterproof? Check out my post on Waterproof Backpacks and Dry Bags.
What kind of backpack are you using? Comment below or tweet me @ibackpackcanada, I’d love to hear from other backpackers!

Disclaimer: Links to Amazon are affiliate links which earn me a small commission if you purchase anything through them. Support I Backpack Canada and shop! Or support yourself and save, your call!

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6 Spring Activities to Enjoy during Allergy Seasonhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/6-spring-activities-to-enjoy-during-allergy-season/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/6-spring-activities-to-enjoy-during-allergy-season/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:25:49 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7108 It always surprises me how soon the last snowfall and the first warm sunny day are to one another. As the frost from a cold Canadian winter melts, we’re greeted with the warm, sunny spring. Grass turns from brownish-beige to bright green, flowers bloom, and the world wakes up from its winter slumber. While most […]

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It always surprises me how soon the last snowfall and the first warm sunny day are to one another. As the frost from a cold Canadian winter melts, we’re greeted with the warm, sunny spring. Grass turns from brownish-beige to bright green, flowers bloom, and the world wakes up from its winter slumber. While most would be excited, for those suffering from nasty allergies, it can be a reminder that your nose is about to get runny. I partnered up with REACTINE® to help allergy sufferers kickoff the start of this spring with something more exciting than marathoning your next Netflix series. Here are 6 spring activities to enjoy during allergy season.

Montreal Bikes

Go Biking

While many Canadian cities lack the infrastructure for us to bike regularly, even getting out there once a week is enough to remind you that biking isn’t just a great workout, it’s actually fun. Leaning into turns, hopping curbs, riding through puddles knowing perfectly well that your backside may look like you lost a battle with a spicy burrito. It’s all part of the fun. On top of it all, you can burn a whopping 700 calories per hour if you’re pushing yourself. Say goodbye to that winter waistline!

Protip:

If you’re prone to suffering from allergies, consider biking later in the morning or earlier in the afternoon. Pollen has a tendency to hit you hardest in the early morning, and in the early evening, so plan around them!

bee-pollinating-purple-flower-1200x480

Plant a garden

Scientists have proven that gardening makes you happy. They claim microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without the nasty side effects of antidepressants. Not only does the soil give you a boost in happiness, it also decreases anxiety, and increases your ability to learn. Whether you’re in it for the mood-boost, or just want to chow down on some carrots and cucumber in a couple months, getting outdoors and planting something is a surefire way to beat whatever bit of winter blues remain.  If you’re prone to allergies and an avid gardener be sure to stock up on REACTINE® – using it daily helps to relieve allergy symptoms to help restore your normal quality of life.

best cameras for backpackers

Go on A Photo Journey

Spring is a great time of year to take photos of nature, the outdoors, or even your community. After months of greys and blues, we finally see the signs of the landscape burried beneath the snow. What was once a deathly looking tree becomes a blossoming tree. Consider putting together an itinerary. Aim to hit a handful of different locations, you might surprise yourself that your best photos end up coming from the travel to those locations.

macbook-pro-retina

Digital Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a regular part of most peoples yearly rituals. Packing up those giant winter boots, the thick winter jacket, that box full of single mitts that have lost their twin, it can be therapeutic. Sort of a farewell to a few items that dutifully served you during winter. While your closets may get tidied, your hard drives are often left a cluttered mess. Consider spending an afternoon organizing, labeling, backing up, and deleting files and photos you no longer need. Don’t forget to run a few updates when you’re done, or if you’re nerdy enough, nothing beats a reformatted computer. If you aren’t savvy enough to pull that last one off, consider taking your machine in to your local PC / Mac Service Centre and see what kind of maintenance package they offer.

Protip:

Check out the apps Daisy Disk for finding files / folders that are really eating up your hard drive space. Be sure to check out Adobe Bridge or Adobe Lightroom for organizing / tagging your photos.

Island Camping Kejimkujic National Park Nova-Scotia

Go Camping

While May long weekend is typically the official start of the camping season, it sometimes takes an extra couple of weeks before it warms up enough to really make it that enjoyable; however, that does depend on the part of Canada you’re camping in. If the weather is going to cooperate though, nothing beats a spring camping trip. It’s just warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, and still cold enough that the fire is a tremendous source of comfort and warmth. Throw some camp coffee in the mix, and you’ve got the perfect weekend getaway.

Protip:

Camping with allergies? If your tent isn’t protecting you from all the elements, you might want to keep some allergy meds like REACTINE® on hand. That extra bit of protection can really make all the difference in terms relieving allergy symptoms and getting a quality sleep. REACTINE® can start to work in 20 minutes and last 24 hours.

Montreal Vegetables Market Fresh

Visit Your Farmers’ Market

While many farmers’ markets stay open throughout the winter, many shut down and don’t open till spring. The vendors at farmers’ markets always make for a good conversation. Sure, spring season is often quiet, but the vendors showing up will often have specials on things like jams, jellys, and preserves. Their shelves might be a bit more sparse than they likely would be by mid-summer, but you’re sure to find something tasty, along with a few cute knick knacks.

Do you have any favourite spring activities? Comment below!

This post was sponsored by the makers of REACTINE®. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

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5 Things You Need To Bring Camping With Youhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/5-things-you-need-to-bring-camping-with-you/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/5-things-you-need-to-bring-camping-with-you/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:43:51 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7030 Wouldn’t trekking through the wilderness be so great if everything simply fit in your pockets? Unfortunately, unless you have one of those fancy inflatable Houses, you probably won’t be going camping without a backpack anytime soon. Filling it up can sometimes be too easy. We’re constantly reminded to prepare for the worst. Then also reminded […]

5 Things You Need To Bring Camping With You is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Wouldn’t trekking through the wilderness be so great if everything simply fit in your pockets? Unfortunately, unless you have one of those fancy inflatable Houses, you probably won’t be going camping without a backpack anytime soon. Filling it up can sometimes be too easy. We’re constantly reminded to prepare for the worst. Then also reminded to pack light. What needs to make the cut in your pack? Without further ado, let’s get into the items I think you absolutely should bring on your next camping trip!

1. A Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife runs about $15 – $20 and the knife is well worth the cost. The one I linked above does slightly more than function as a knife (it has scissors, nail file/screwdriver, and tweezers), which makes it good for both daily usage and camping trips. I’ve had my own for around five years; I bring it everywhere because I use it almost daily, and I can personally attest to its dependability, though I have to admit those scissors are just a  waste of space.

Bringing a on your camping trip is a must. A decent knife can save your butt, and can be used in a variety of situations, including cutting rope, sharpening sticks, and even as an emergency weapon (albeit a Swiss Army Knife may not be a very effective one).

While there are definitely better knives out there, for entry-level campers the Swiss Army Knife is a great item to bring with you when you’re camping.

2. Cordage

The next essential for camping is cordage. Having rope can come in handy, especially for survival purposes. It’s cheap, and serves countless purposes, from bundling wood, to tying up an injury, or just hanging your wet clothes to dry. I personally use this small Bear Grylls bracelet cordage when I’m out in the sticks. While I may not think all that highly of Bear Grylls, his products are surprisingly decent.

Some varieties of cordage are brightly colored and highly reflective, making it a very handy tool for survival. Another product that you might consider is the Kelty TripTease Lightline, but I can’t say too much about this as I haven’t used it before. You can use cordage for quite a wide variety of things, such as attaching your gear to your pack and making a hammock.

3. A Compass

I won’t say much about having a compass. I believe you should always carry one around with you when you’re out camping, especially if you’re in an area with poor cell phone reception. It doesn’t have the be the fanciest most expensive compass, but something that can re-orient you is key. Of course, you should also know how to use a compass, but I’ll leave that to Wikihow to explain (I’m a lousy teacher).

Compass prices range from $10.00 – $100.00 depending on the quality and brand you’re after. :

Suunto M-3DL Compass

Suunto A-30L Compass

Silva Sighting Ranger CLQ Compass

4. Fire

Keeping warm is incredibly important for survival. If you’re going to be staying in an area with low elevation (< 10,000 – 12,000 feet), then you won’t have many issues with making a cheap lighter work. However, at higher elevations, due to the lack of oxygen in the thinner atmosphere, finding a lighter that strikes all the time can sometimes be a difficult task.

I’ve found that cheap Bic lighters that you can get at the gas station for a dollar or two work most of the time. However, I’m sure some die-hard campers would spit, snarl and scream at that notion. Sure, you can fight with striker sticks, matches, and or just rubbing sticks together and saying a prayer, I’m a bit of a lazy camper and have no shame in letting technology help me out.

If you’re looking for refillable lighters, I personally like Zippo lighters even more than the cheap Bic lighters. The Ultimate Survival Technologies Floating Lighter (seen above) is actually a waterproof-floating zippo style lighter, which is handy if you’re going to be on or near water at any time.

If you like to be extra careful, I’d recommend carrying a few waterproof matches as well as a Carbon Strike Fire Starter which produces sparks for those hypothetical emergency situations where none of your lighters make fire.

5. Water

Staying hydrated while outdoors is just as important as staying warm. Water is probably one of the most important resources, so finding a suitable container for it is important because you don’t want to risk having any contaminants in it. A good water bottle can be used to boil water or to melt snow, giving you a source of fresh water in a survival situation.

I use a Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottle because it’s both light and sturdy, and I usually clip this on to one of my belt loops (so I guess it isn’t really a “pocket item”). These are currently $25 – $32 USD on Amazon. An important thing to note is to avoid getting a double-walled container. Although they keep cold drinks cold for the entire day, the added insulation makes it difficult to boil water in when you aren’t near safe water. Or just be a smart camper and carry some Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets

I hope you enjoyed this article! Remember to follow us on social media using the links below.

Disclaimer: The links on this post will send you to Amazon Products with my personal affiliate code. If you purchase anything Amazon will share 4% of the profit with me. It’s not big money, but any bit helps keep my site going.

Special thanks to @fakejourneys for contributing to I Backpack Canada! 

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Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companieshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 03:47:20 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=4480 There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian […]

Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companies is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian backpacker tour companies are definitely worth checking out.

Moose Travel Network Backpacker Tours

moose-travel-network backpacker toursI’m going to start with Moose Travel Network, because they’re the only one I’ve had a chance to experience. Their staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgable. When you book a tour with them, you can pick from several routes, allowing you to see a variety of regions throughout BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. You’ve got a ton of flexibility as well, as they allow you to setup hop on and hop off style itineraries. If you decide mid way through your trip that you want to explore Banff a little while longer, it’s just a matter of letting your driver know, and then you take care of your hostels and you’re set. When you’re ready to pick up where you left off, just inform Moose Travel Network and you can hop back on the tour.

Their drivers ensure that they break up the drives between destinations with fascinating stops at stunning panoramic views, random trips and excursions, and some of the best food and drink joints along the way. Good music, laughs, and company are easily found on their trips.

Check out my interview with a Moose Travel Network Guide.

Read my experiences in the Rocky Mountains with Moose Travel Network.

Salty Bear Adventure Travel Tours

Salty-Bear-tours canadaSalty Bear Adventure Travel was started by a local Nova Scotian backpacker who was keen on showing off the maritimes to people from across the world. Salty Bear hires local Canadian drivers with a passion for their locale, ensuring you’ll know that what you’re seeing and experiencing authentically Canadian. Salty Bear is similar to Moose Travel, as they do drop offs at hostels, but will accomodate anyone if you’re staying elsewhere. They also supply tours along the way, ensuring that you get to experience the best tours along the way.

West Trek Tours

West trek tours backpackerWest Trek provides high quality adventure tours to backpackers both young and old, interested in seeing and experiencing the best of Canada. Explore the Rocky Mountains, mountain bike in Whistler, Surf in Tofino, Explore Victoria, Vancouver, and even parts of USA. Their award winning tour company is rated highly by visitors across the world.

Am I missing any other awesome Canadian Backpacker Tour companies? Don’t hesitate to share below in the comments.

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The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show is Back in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver!http://ibackpackcanada.com/outdoor-adventure-travel-show-is-back-in-toronto-calgary-and-vancouver/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/outdoor-adventure-travel-show-is-back-in-toronto-calgary-and-vancouver/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 16:15:59 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7032 Want to get caught up on the latest products and services in the Outdoor Adventure industry? Over the next few months, The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show will be arriving in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. The Outdoor Adventure show is one of the biggest consumer shows in Canada. This exhibit brings together buyers and sellers from […]

The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show is Back in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Want to get caught up on the latest products and services in the Outdoor Adventure industry? Over the next few months, The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show will be arriving in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. The Outdoor Adventure show is one of the biggest consumer shows in Canada. This exhibit brings together buyers and sellers from across Canada to showcase the best upcoming products, and travel/tourism services that appeal to anyone looking for a bit of adventure.

Update: The folks at the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show are giving away a few tickets to I Backpack Canada readers. Find out more below!

outdoor-adventure-travel-show

This multi-day event will provide some awesome learning about new destinations and products, with over 200 exhibitors set to show up. Exhibitors will be showcasing everything from camping, water sports, hiking, biking, climbing, outdoor gear and apparel, nutrition, education, destinations, clubs, associations and a whole bunch more!

I Backpack Canada has partnered up with The Outdoor Adventure show to encourage you to take part and check out what this whole event is all about. Adult tickets are already super affordable, but you can save a between $3.00 and $4.00 off your ticket (based on location of your choice) from that price by using the Promo Code: ibackpack when purchasing your ticket online.

Toronto Outdoor Adventure Travel Show 2015Toronto Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show 2015

Dates: February 20, 21 & 22, 2015
Location:  International Centre, Toronto, ON

Toronto Show Hours

Friday, February 20, 2015, 11am – 8pm
Saturday, February 21, 2015, 10am – 6pm
Sunday, February 22, 2015, 10am – 5pm

Vancouver Outdoor Adventure Travel Show 2015Vancouver Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show 2015

Dates: March 7 & 8, 2015
Location: Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver Show Hours

Saturday, March 7, 2015 ~ 10am – 6pm
Sunday, March 8, 2015 ~ 10am – 5pm

Calgary Outdoor Adventure Travel Show 2015Calgary Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show 2015

Dates: March 21 & 22, 2015
Location: Stampede Park, BMO Centre, Calgary, AB

Calgary Show Hours

Saturday, March 22, 2014 ~ 10am – 6pm
Sunday, March 23, 2014 ~ 10am – 5pm

Facebook

More info

Use promo code ibackpack & save on your tickets!

Win A Free Ticket to the Outdoor Adventure Travel Show

Let’s keep this easy. Comment below and you’ll be automatically entered to win. Please also indicate which city you’d like a pass to. Something along the lines of “Hey Corbin, I want in on that ticket to the place city here Outdoor Adventure Travel Show. Also you’re handsome.

Or Tweet: “@ibackpackcanada – Enter me in for a ticket to the @outdooradvshow #contest in #Toronto” (Please replace Toronto with Calgary or Vancouver if you’d rather attend those)

Contest closes: February 12th, 2015

The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show is Back in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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