CAMPING with Brooke Willson



Brooke Willson is a 26 year-old adventure seeker based out of Red Deer, Alberta who spends the majority of her free time in the mountains. With a Social Work Degree, she’s worked in schools for the past eight years as an Education Assistant and Social Worker, and has a strong passion for youth empowerment and learning. Outside of work she has figured out ways to balance her life with friends, family, adventure and travel. She believes strongly in eco-therapy and the power of Mother Nature on ones well-being.

Brooke’s use of the hashtag #freshairandfreedom says it all. Nature is a place she goes to find her center again. Whether she’s out running, hiking, biking, camping, kayaking or simply enjoying a coffee on her back cabin porch, it’s where she feels most ‘herself’. Brooke plans to continue teaching while inspiring people to get outside, with her new ‘fur baby’ Timber along-side her.

Meet camping expert Brooke Willson, our “Get Outside Master” from Red Deer, Alberta

The Benefits of Getting Outside and the Gear to Get You Started

I am very excited to be teaming up with Canadian Tire and Coleman Canada as a ‘Get Outside Master’ and to share my expertise on camping with you. Over the next couple months I will be sharing the places I love to go, tips and advice on camping, reasons why I get outside and why I enjoy inspiring and empowering others to get outside.
Before we get into the many “ins and outs” of Camping, know that there are SO many benefits to getting outside: 1) Exploring our country, 2) Health & Well-being, 3) #freshairandfreedom, 4) Break from the chaos and 5) The Gear you need to get you started. 

How Social Media Can Inspire us to Get Outside

When one hears the words “social media” people may automatically think “indoors”. Today’s millennials spend an increasing amount of time on social media and can retreat from actual interaction with other people by assuming a virtual character. With the large number of apps, games, information and photos that are available online, it can reel people in for hours on hours, and many have become addicted to this online world. Unfortunately, regular, social and outdoor activities tend to take a backseat for those who are “addicted” to social media. Luckily, I have experienced the other side of the spectrum and have used social media to get me outside.

Adventuring With Your Dog

I had ALWAYS wanted a dog, though with my frequent travel, flying and busy schedule, the time was just never right… up until a few months ago. I decided to station myself in Red Deer full-time this past September, which provided me with more stability and time for a dog. I picked Timber up in early April, and it has certainly changed up my definition of ‘adventure.’ I can’t lie and say I wasn’t a bit worried about what I would and wouldn’t be able to do for the first while before getting my little man, though that worry quickly went away. Being a ‘fur mom’ has undoubtedly made me slow down a bit, but it has been for the better. I can’t just jet off anywhere in the evenings, weekends after work or plan every trip I want too, as I have my pup to tend to and consider when planning any adventures.

Glam Camping

With a huge love for the outdoors, hiking and camping, I enjoy mixing all three and getting out to backcountry campgrounds. Being able to spend time in more secluded places away from the hustle and bustle that you get at many pull-up campsites in the summer months has it perks, but it also has its drawbacks. Since I have to hike kms and kms to get to many of these amazing locations, I have to bring all my gear with me on my back, which means packing lightweight items and prioritizing what I should and shouldn’t be carrying with me. Also, backcountry camping can be very costly, as for a more enjoyable experience one would need to purchase higher quality, lightweight gear, which may do a little damage to the wallet.

My Favourite Camping Spot

I like to refer to Waterton as Alberta’s Hidden Gem, because I find it to be a place that’s not as well-known as Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper. I visited Waterton for the first time only five years ago and have been back every summer since, as the hiking is limitless. Located right on the Alberta-Montana border, it’s a lot smaller, quieter, and has a great vibe to it. I find Waterton to be a lot more lush with greenery, full of wildflowers, waterfalls and little backcountry lakes. With its red rock colours, it’s especially unique compared to other mountain ranges.
There are a number of campgrounds in the area, one of which is right in town, called Townsite Campground… 

‘From the Peaks to the Prairies’

Alberta is SO diverse. Its landscape ranges from high mountain peaks to foothills, open prairies, lakes, wetlands, rivers, forested areas, badlands and glaciers. Bordered between British Columbia to the West, Saskatchewan to the East, Northwest Territories to its North, and Montana to its South, we are what they like to call a ‘landlocked’ province. With a population of approximately 4.10 million people, the population density is quite small, with six people per square kilometer or 15 per square mile. There certainly is lots of room to breathe in Alberta, with its wide open spaces and opportunity for adventure. If you are into history, there are a large number of historic sites you could visit as well.

Respecting Mother Nature

“Mother Earth can live without us, but we can’t live without her.” This is something I continually remind myself and it’s very true. The world would continue to go ‘round if we weren’t here. After all, there wouldn’t be any cities and roads being built, littering, or pollution from huge factories and vehicles.
TWe make our mark all throughout Mother Nature, whether it be in urban or rural areas, through hiking, ATVing, skiing, and other leisure activities. We build campsites, picnic areas, parks, info buildings, lookouts, tourist attractions of any sort, and so much more in the most EPIC locations, so we can all get out and enjoy what we have been graciously gifted with.