Frequently Asked Questions
Why Brock BaseCamp?
Q: Who goes on a BaseCamp Trip?
A: Incoming students from all Faculties across Brock University. The program is open to any incoming student.
Q: What if I have never been camping before?
A: Perfect! No prior experience is required. BaseCamp participants who have never been camping before tend to learn the most about themselves and have some of the most memorable experiences. On your trip, leaders will teach all the skills and provide all the information participants need to be comfortable while canoeing, backpacking, or rock climbing.
Q: Are the trip leaders qualified outdoor instructors?
A: Yes, we hire upper year undergraduate and graduate students from Brock University who have extensive experience leading groups in the outdoors and industry recognized first aid and water-based certifications. Faculty from our Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies help direct our program to ensure high standards for our trip leaders and program delivery. Our leaders love their jobs! They get to spend their summers travelling with exciting groups of incoming students in beautiful wilderness areas, plus they’re really friendly people!
Q: I have a disability, can I go on a BaseCamp trip?
A: Most likely. Please contact Dr. Tim O'Connell, the BaseCamp Faculty Consultant (who has extensive experience working with people with disabilities in wilderness settings), to discuss the possibilities.
I Want to Know More
Q: What do I need to buy for my trip?
A: BaseCamp will provide you with all the group camping equipment necessary for your trip. Depending on the type of trip, this can include sleeping bag, tent, eating utensils, rock climbing safety equipment, life jacket, paddle, hiking backpack, etc. Generally, all you need to bring are is your personal clothing, appropriate footwear, water bottles, and a sense of adventure! Contact us if you have questions regarding equipment.
Q: Should I be working out to get ready for BaseCamp?
A: Sure! We encourage everyone to have a healthy lifestyle and engage in some type of regular physical activity. Any type of physical activity will help in preparation for the trip. Hiking, rock climbing and canoeing involve physical challenge, and we've found that people who prepare a little for trips are less tired and enjoy their trip more. If you have concerns, contact the BaseCamp office to discuss this in more detail.
Q: What is the food like?
A: Take a look at our Canoeing, Backpacking, or Rock Climbing trip pages to see sample menu plans for each type of trip. We are very accommodating when it comes to food, so if you have any dietary restrictions please make sure we know in advance of your trip. We will adapt our menus accordingly.
Q: Will there be an opportunity to take a shower on my trip?
A: On the Canoeing and Backpacking trips, there will be an opportunity to take a shower once you return to campus on the last day, so bring some shampoo and soap for that! We’ll provide clean towels from our Athletics facility. Spending five days in the wilderness includes learning how to keep clean when there aren't showers and learning how to go to the bathroom in the woods. Your leaders will spend time explaining everything you need to know to stay happy, healthy and clean while on your trip. Remember, you will have lots of opportunities to swim throughout the day! There will be no opportunity to take a shower on the two-night rock climbing trips.
Q: Why can't I bring items that make me smell good like deodorant, soap, or scented body lotion? How about makeup?
A: There are several reasons. In the areas BaseCamp trips travel through, wild animals such as squirrels, mice, raccoons and black bears are attracted to smelly items, and if they smell something good, they will chew through your pack in search of what smells good. Wearing deodorant or antiperspirant when you are physically active every day and not showering is not good. These products can trap sweat and toxins under the surface of your skin. This can cause some serious rashes and infections that we obviously want to prevent from occurring. So no deodorants! Due to the lack of modern bathrooms in the wilderness, makeup is not recommended. We have found that participants who bring makeup always end up wishing they had not – Remember there are no mirrors in the wilderness!
Q: How can I tell if my rain gear is really waterproof?
A: Test it. Put on your rain gear and get in the shower or have a friend soak you with a garden hose. If you stay dry, then hurray, it works! However, if you get really wet, you will want to consider getting a new rain jacket and rain pants. A good set of rain gear (top and bottom) is one of the most important pieces of outdoor clothing you will want to have! Being dry = being happy.
Q: Can I bring my own camping equipment on my BaseCamp trip?
A: We encourage you to bring whatever equipment you already have with you to use. However, our leaders will make sure that your equipment is appropriate prior to you leaving the campus or starting your trip.
Q: Are the sleeping bags and tents clean?
A: Of course! We have all our sleeping bags professionally laundered before every trip. Our top-of-the-line tents are kept in excellent condition and sleep three people comfortably.
Arriving and Departing Brock University for Your BaseCamp Trip
Q: Do you provide accommodations the night before my BaseCamp trip begins?
A: No, BaseCamp does not provide housing before or after your trip. However, there are many hotels and motels in the St. Catharines area. For those participants whose trip starts and ends at the Brock University, housing is available on campus in the Vallee Residence or at the Four Points St. Catharines which is across the street from campus and has affordable room rates.
Q: If I am doing a rock climbing trip, where do I meet to start and end my trip?
A: You will meet us at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. See our directions on the Rock Climbing information page. Rock Climbing trips DO NOT start or end at the Brock University campus. Remember to keep this in mind when planning your drive.
Q: What are the driving directions for the Brock University Campus?
A: You can find general driving directions to the Brock Campus by visiting this link: Directions to Brock University. Specific directions to the BaseCamp drop off and pick up location will be provided to you in your information pack once you register for the program.
Q: Where do my parents drop me off and pick me up?
A: Your parents can drop you off at the designated BaseCamp drop off and pick up location. Be sure to bring your map with you – our campus is very big and you will have a difficult time trying to find us if you do not have your map.
Q: Can I leave my car on campus while I am on my BaseCamp trip?
A: Brock University Parking Services does not allow overnight parking except for in specific lots. To park in these lots you need to make special arrangements with Parking Services prior to the start of your BaseCamp trip. Do not plan to make parking arrangements on the day your trip starts, as Parking Services will mostly likely not be open at that time in the morning. Parking without a permit will result in a parking violation and fine.
Q: What do I do about breakfast on the first day of my BaseCamp trip?
A: You should either eat at home or bring something to snack on. We do not provide breakfast on the first day of trip. There are fast food restaurants across the street from campus that are open early in the morning.
Q: Can I bring my cell phone and IPod?
A: No! There are a number of reasons why we don’t allow cell phones or IPods on any BaseCamp trip. First, in the locations we travel, there is very limited or no cell phone service. Second, the main goal of BaseCamp trips is to get to know the people on your trip – we’ve found that cell phones and IPods get in the way of this! Third, there is a greater chance that your phone or IPod might get lost or damaged in the wilderness. The only electronic devices allowed on trip are GPS units and cameras.
Q: Can I store stuff while on trip? How much stuff?
A: We have very little storage space. Every BaseCamp participant is limited to one small bag of stored items—usually a clean change of clothes, shower essentials and any personal items. We have no special storage space for valuables; your things will be stored in an equipment storage facility which other people have access to.
Q: What happens if there is an emergency on the trip? What happens if my parents need to get in touch with me in case of an emergency at home?
A: Our trip leaders are trained in wilderness first aid, carry a well-stocked first aid kit, and will respond to any emergency that happens. If necessary, students will be evacuated to the nearest professional medical care. Our leaders carry communications equipment that is used in case of emergency only. In case of an emergency at home, your parents can contact BaseCamp staff at Brock. We’ll do our best to get in contact with trip leaders, but we may not be able to until the end of the trip (that’s the nature of a wilderness adventure!). We will only contact students on trip in case of an emergency. We do not allow for “check-ins” during a trip – You can share all your stories when you get home!
Q: What happens if the trip is late in returning to campus on the last day of the course?
A: Due to the driving distances of BaseCamp trips, travel times can vary. Our program tries to accommodate for this but sometimes traffic and weather conditions can delay the arrival of our trips back on campus. A BaseCamp representative will always be present at the pick up location at the designated pick up time.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ryan Howard
Office: STH 347
T 905 688 5550 x4298