Adventuring through life and enjoying the journey.
Off-Road Discovery is about pursing an outdoor lifestyle that takes the road less traveled both physically and metaphorically. We are a family of six, including our dog and Land Rover. Our 2001 Land Rover Discovery II allows us to explore and takes us to our destinations. Our motto is if it breaks upgrade it which has seen us through the importing of an engine from England (to Canada), multiple shocks and many more enhancements including the addition of two child car seats. We hope to inspire others in taking a road less traveled.
Well, that seems to be the consensus when reading forums and talking with people. FREE is an appealing word. Other than the no cost aspect, free camping seems to have a mysterious air to it. These places are not closely guarded secrets but they do require a little research to find. Here is how to easily find these areas, why these areas are free and what to expect when you get there.
Free Camping is for the Adventurous that are Happy with Rustic
I grew up camping, my first steps were at a campground and many of my fondest childhood memories were of camping. Growing up camping I’ve taken much of what I know for granted. Introducing close friends with zero camping experience has taught me that camping can seem daunting to try. There are a lot of ‘unknowns’ from what equipment you really need to campsite etiquette to over coming ‘will a bear eat us all’…
I love to introduce people to camping and watch them continue to adventure into nature on their own. Camping is an amazing way to experience the outdoors, travel and spend time with friends and family. If you are looking to camp for your first time or new to camping then this is the place for you.
Views from Tents are Often Amazing
We frequently meet people that are wanting to start overnight backcountry trips and everyone immediately correlates overnight trips with camping. Backcountry camping provides freedom and unlimited possibilities, but also requires gear, experience and possibly a companion to have a safe and enjoyable experience. When I talk to these eager adventurers our conversations always end up on sharing a new idea on how to explore the backcountry and I’ve been surprised how few people even know about this option - I’m talking about huts. If people are aware of huts they often haven’t gone because they don’t know what to expect. To answer all of your hut questions here is who should go, where to go, what to expect, what to bring and why you will want to go!
Explore Canada’s Wilderness Through Beautiful Backcountry Huts
I (wife/mother of Off-road Discovery) would not categorize myself as a ‘car’ person. I’ll admit I know more than I ever thought I would about engines, tires, diffs, and how to use a winch but all of this education happened after I met my husband. He’s a walking vehicle encyclopedia. I give my dad credit for teaching me how to change tires - winters to summers and visa versa since the start of high school till every year until I moved out. I thought it was to make sure I never got stuck with a flat I couldn’t change, but now I think he was on to a very clever use of child labour. I’m remembering that one for my own kids, thanks dad!
Our Adventure Mobile
Dogs love walks, I have yet to meet a dog that doesn’t want to get outside and roam the world. As a part of the family, dogs often go where their people do. Our dog, Charger, often motivates us to get out and go to certain places. Watching a dog run, swim and sniff happily is just plain awesome and a great way to put a smile on your face.
I love seeing dogs camping and hiking and having a dog on a trail definitely adds to the enjoyment but there are two very important things you need to think about before hitting the trails - safety and rules.
Dogs Love Hiking
Photo: Ptarmigan Cirque, Kananaskis, Alberta
What’s more off-road than climbing? Maybe flying?! Climbing is so different from any activity I have tried. It pushes me to trust my strength and capability more than any sport. I find climbing addicting. We take our kids everywhere with us so making outdoor rock climbing a family affair was an easy decision. Taking young kids outdoors requires some preparation but is rewarding for everyone. One question I’m frequently asked is where to go climbing as a family, so I’ve compiled a list of 6 family-friendly climbing locations in the Canadian Rockies that are close to Calgary. Maps are included to make these areas a breeze to find!
“A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.” Winnie the Pooh
I didn’t start quoting Winnie the Pooh until we became parents. I love this quote and I love spending time as a family, it may not always be easy but it’s always worth it. To include our children in our outdoor pursuits we try to make the experiences enjoyable and appropriate for their abilities. One of these pursuits is rock climbing so to get our daughter involved we bought her a climbing harness and shoes when she was three. There are lots of safe and fun ways to include kids in climbing. Getting the right gear has been a big part of making the experience fun.
Geared Up and Ready to Climb
Sleeping in your vehicle is convenient and adds an element of safety. We used to sleep in our Discovery 2 all the time pre-kids, we didn’t have the money to spend on a pre-built shelving, bedding and drawer system so we made our own. It’s not fancy but it works great! We don’t use the bed system as often but we use the shelf (half bed) regularly. We have made a list of what you need from your local hardwood store and steps on how to make your own bed and/or storage system.
DIY Storage and Bed System
We drive a lot, both on pavement, snow and dirt. Our vehicles offer us the opportunities to experience different places as well as quiet time together. They help fulfill our goal in life which is to spend as much times as possible as a family pursing outdoor activities such as skiing, camping, hiking, climbing and swimming in mountain lakes.
Our vehicles are used both off-road and for highway driving so we needed to choose a tire that would perform well on pavement and terrain. Choosing the right tire for you is a personal choice but there are some products that are just made better. We are sharing our preferences to hopefully make your decision easier.
Testing Off-Road Driving Skills and Tires
Kids seem to naturally climb everything; stairs, chairs, railings, fences, trees, and the list goes on. There is something universally fun and natural about climbing. Playgrounds wouldn’t be so popular if climbing stuff wasn’t fun!
3 year old rockin’ out