Hotels? Who needs them?
For the die-hard outdoors enthusiast, there’s only ONE place to spend the night in Alberta, Canada’s Jasper National Park….inside a tent.
In this guide, the options for tent camping in Jasper National Park will be explored.
According to Parks Canada, Jasper National Park offers 1,772 camping sites during peak season in its 10 campgrounds. A night of camping in a Jasper campground ranges from about $15 for a primitive site to around $40 for a site with the works (electricity for an RV) though there are several other small fees that add-up, such as the $8.80 fire permit for those planning to make a fire. Whether driving a car or RV, these sites offer a drive-up parking space and a small parcel of land to call your own for the night.
Seeking to get away from it all? Hike into the woods and camp. Jasper National Park backcountry camping is available by permit only and for varying fees starting at about $10/night per person (see Parks Canada for details).
Parks Canada makes it easy to see the exact prices and reserve camping sites in the Jasper National Park campgrounds ahead of time through an online reservation system. See the Parks Canada campground reservation service for Jasper National Park camping in the Pocahontas, Wapiti, Wabasso and Whistlers campgrounds.
For the outdoors enthusiast traveler with a knack for camping and a tolerance for camping in the rain (yes, there’s always a chance of rain in Jasper), the 10 Jasper National Park campgrounds can be a lot cheaper than staying at a hotel. But don’t worry so much about the rain if staying at a campground. Your car will be right next to your tent in case you need a dry place to sleep in emergency.
The downside for those of us who like the convenience of a shower everyday:
- Of the 10 camping sites in Jasper National Park, only the Whistlers and Wapiti campgrounds have shower facilities.
- For all other camping sites, maybe a little rain would not be such a bad thing after all!
Still, the idea of low-budget tent camping can be very tempting, especially for those who already own camping equipment, know how to camp and enjoy camping.
For those needing to buy new camping equipment for simple campground camping, the basic stuff on the low-end of the quality scale is inexpensive. It seems reasonable to fit 2 lightweight sleeping bags, a small, lightweight tent and some small camping items in a large suitcase. An air mattress and pump would be nice but might make a suitcase too heavy. Cheap sleeping bags and a tent would run in the $125-$175 range if purchased from a discount department store.
For backcountry camping, the gear can be a lot more expensive. Backcounty campers usually hike long distances and specialized ultra-lightweight camping gear is a must.
For those flying to Jasper National Park, the challenge will be fitting everything needed into a suitcase and getting it on and off an airplane.
If traveling as a couple, that suitcase is half the usual checked-in baggage allowance. That leaves one more suitcase for clothing and shoes. The average couple may also each have a small carry-on bag/backpack (on the typical airline flight to Edmonton or Calgary). The backpack is where I’d put cameras, batteries, books, Tums, Pepto, and itinerary print-outs. More info about luggage can be found here.
Storing food in the wilderness of Jasper National Park brings about another concern: bears. Food should be kept in the car or hung away from the campsite in sealed bear-proof containers. I’d pack some large zip-lock bags and put opened food items inside and stick that in the trunk of the car. Making sure the bears remain unaware of the food is smart. Waking up in the middle of the night to a hungry bear whose eating tomorrow’s breakfast is no fun – especially if you stored breakfast in your pocket. The “Get Bear Smart Society” offers some bear-aware camping tips here.
Besides Jasper National Park, western Canada offers lots of camping opportunities for travelers on one of those epic month-long camping adventures. Here‘s a website about camping in the nearby province of British Columbia (BC is on the western border of Jasper National Park). The government of the province of Alberta, Canada provides its own list of campgrounds here including those in nearby Banff National Park.