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Monday, 7 December 2015

10 Camp Connection Gift Ideas

Time is running out - faster than you might think! For example: Our 'Free Shipping on orders of $25' offer ends in just 10 days! (10 days, 10 items? Coincidence? Pretty much.) Act fast - we can't guarantee shipping times!

If you're browsing for gift ideas or struggling to finish your holiday shopping, we've got in-demand items for campers, travelers, adventurers & loungers - at just about any budget.  Here's what seems to be most popular for gifting this season, (in no particular order):

1. Stone Peak Cotton Work Socks.  $9.99

Stuff Stockings with... Stockings? Keep Feet toasty in the original camper sock.


 2. Onesies. $29.99-$49.99


Cozy, Comfy and Fun union suits and all-in-ones for all ages!

3. Duffel Bags. $34.99-$44.99

These giant duffel bags are a must-have on summer camp lists, and they are great for travel and sports.


4. Water Bottles. $8.99-$19.99


Everyone needs another reusable water bottle - bright colours and lots of styles


5. Battery Heated Socks. $89.99

You read that right. Battery Powered Socks. Who does not want Battery Powered, warm socks?

6. Flannel Pants. $18.99-$19.99


Flannel Comfort is a year-round staple for the whole family. Cozy Up!

7. University Hoods. $44.99-$49.99


Super cozy varsity printed hoodies in Adult and Youth sizes.

8. Camp Stationery. $13.99


Can't write home without camp stationery, give them the hint. Available in 20+ Prints!

9. Bomber Hats. $16.99 - $39.99    


Warm winter bomber hats with that Canadian Chic look!

10. Hockey Tee   $18.99-$19.99


 We'd be unhappy modelling these two teams, too. Fortunately there's NHL Team tees for every fan on your list!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Keeping Warm: A quick guide to Base Layers


The temperature is starting to drop, but it’s not really cold… yet.  We are Itching to hit the slopes, to toboggan, to drink mulled cider in the snow.  In short – we are #ReadyForWinter, and we want you to be too.  The key to enjoying the outdoors when the temperatures drop? Base layers, of course.
In a proper layering system, your first layer – the one closest to your skin - is the first heat trap. This base layer captures as much warmth as close to your body as possible. But a good base layer is more than just another piece of fabric between you and frigid air - It also has the much more important job of moisture control.
When you work hard, you sweat.  The whole point of sweat is to keep you cool. When that sweat evaporates it’s an endothermic reaction – it steals heat from your skin. That’s great when you’re sweating it out at the gym or running in 30C weather.  But when it’s -20, and you’re shredding mountain snow you want that heat stealing moisture as far from your skin as you can get it.
So what are the best options, especially for being active outdoors in the winter?
Not Cotton.
Cotton traps moisture, holding it next to your skin.  If you’re wearing a cotton base layer, you’ll feel gross and damp. And, as the moisture evaporates: cold.
Synthetic Fibers
Basically, Polyester and various polyester blends – nylons, polypropylene, spandex and others. They are light-weight, stretchy and low-bulk, ideal for when you’re active.  Synthetics do an excellent job of managing moisture, and still retain heat when damp. Synthetics tend to be easy to care for but they can retain odors over the long haul - especially the untreated fabrics – but they are also relatively inexpensive. They are probably your best all-round base layer, and what we carry the most of.
Wool
More specifically, Merino wool.  Most people think ‘Wool? Ugh! Itchy!’  But almost every wooly next-to-skin layer – socks, thermals, gloves, are now made from Merino wool.  Merino is built from ultra-fine fibers. It’s soft and most importantly, it’s not itchy.
Wool tends to be warmer than a synthetic base layer of the same thickness, but it won’t dry as quickly when it gets damp (though it does a good job of moisture management, and stays warm when it does get damp).  Wool has the added benefit of being naturally antibacterial; it won’t hold on to nasty odors.  Check out these general purpose wool blend thermals.
Weight
Most base layers can be categorized into three weights – Light, Medium and Heavy.  The heavier the ‘weight’ the bulkier it will be, but the more next-to-skin warmth it will provide.  The colder your environment, and/or the less active you are in that environment, the heavier weight you’re going to want to wear.
Not so active?
We get it. Sometimes you just want to walk the dog, stand in the schoolyard or sit in the rink.  You’re looking for comfy and cozy.  Here is where you can cheat a little with cotton – The Stanfield’sWindsor Wear, or even a union suit should do the trick.

The whole point? Winter is coming whether you like it or not.  You might as well figure out how to enjoy it – and that starts with a proper base layer.  Dressed properly even the most staunch snow-grinch might find they like to go walking in a winter wonderland.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Outdoor Activities You’ll Fall Hard For


Yes, it may have snowed in Toronto last week but don’t fall for it;
autumn is still alive and well! There’s lots of leafy fun to be had in the time between refreshing DQ Blizzards and actual blizzards, so let’s go ahead and debunk the myth that Canada only has 2 seasons!





Right now you’re sipping on your pumpkin spice latté while Instagraming your apple-picking photo with the Jays game on in the background. You think you’ve hit your fall quota and now you’re ready for winter? FALSE! Let’s take advantage of being one of the few countries that gets such eclectic weather:


-The leaves have a very colourful personality this time of year and they’re dying to be in your photoshoot. Whether it’s a short hike in your neighbourhood, a camping/fishing trip in a secluded area, or a treetop trekking excursion in Ontario or Québec (most parks only open ‘til Nov. 1), there are oodles of opportunities all over the country to get a killer view of that breathtaking foliage. (Check here for ideas to get  you started!)

-Many consider fall to be the best season for jogging because of the lack of snow and humidity, and the scenery of the foliage on forest trails. Fall is a great time of year to start running, as we often use this time to turn over a new leaf in our lives (pun intended!).

-While you’re at the farm apple and pumpkin-picking, challenge yourself in a corn maze, or take a trip down fieldtrip-memory lane by going for a hayride! Farms offer more organized fall activities than you’d think. (Volcano? In Waterloo?)

-Appeal to your creative side with some fall-themed crafts. Go on a scavenger hunt for leaves, pine needles, pinecones, acorns, etc., and give Van Gogh a run for his money!

-The Northern Lights can be best viewed in Northern Canada from late fall to spring. Don’t forget your parka!!!

-From the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to the Cavalcade of Lights, there  are many fall and winter themed events in Toronto. Dog shows, marching bands and fireworks, oh my!

Winter may be an eager beaver this year but it is not its time to shine yet!  Enjoy, and happy fall!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Baffin Winter Boots


It's October, and it may be a balmy 16 Celsius out today but we’re excited about Baffin Winter Boots. Why? Because as much as we don’t want to admit it’s true, in about a month-and-a-half we’re going to need ‘em to fight off the cold winds and slushy snow of the Canadian winter. Ugh.
 
Forget for a minute that Baffin Boots are currently 25% Off. Look at what goes into making them some of the most technically capable boots on the planet: Their shiny removable liner.
 
The Founder of Baffin, Paul Hubner, grew up learning about traditional Inuit footwear from his father – who worked in the Arctic sourcing sealskin boots and other traditional Canadian Footwear. Paul learned that the Inuit boots ranged from two to five layers of warmth and protection depending on the temperature, and has modernized this approach to create the Baffin layer system in use today.
 
Just like the Inuit Boots – Baffin uses different layers to achieve different temperature ratings, but all of their removable liners include the following 5 layers:
  • Next to your foot: A cushy Thermaplush lining. It’s soft, smooth, moisture wicking, and won’t pill!
  • Polymech memory foam acts as insulation and provides custom comfort for your foot – that won’t pack down or lose its comfort over time!
  • A Hydromax II layer wicks moisture away from the skin. This material is much like that that used in a baby's diaper – it really controls moisture, making sure dampness can’t steal warmth.
  • The B-Tek 4-Channel hollow-fiber layer acts to move moisture and water vapor away from the Hydromax layer and the polymech foam keeping the liner (and your feet) dry. 
  • The shiny part: A vaporized aluminum membrane that reflects heat back to your foot. Extreme and Advanced Cold Baffin boots have two of these layers to maximize the use of your own body heat.
With all of this tech stuffed into your boot, your feet stay warm and dry, but the boots are not crazy heavy, nor do they all look like they belong on an arctic expedition! Most of them are at home on city streets and daily commutes.
 
We’re pretty excited about our Baffin line-up – and we hope we can make you just as excited - check them out on-line, or come in and try a pair on!

Friday, 2 October 2015

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

What time is it? Summer time!

It feels like just yesterday we were bobbing along to those glorious High School Musical lyrics. This summer flew by, as it always does, but you know what they say: Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened (but you can cry a little when you think about how much ice cream you ate).

There are many options to be taken advantage of when it comes to the much anticipated hiatus from school: travel, do an internship, take courses, work at Starbucks, make prank phone calls with friends, etc. These are all fun choices, and having experienced most of them (sorry Mom – ‘Betsy’ calling from Lotto 649 seven years ago was me), I believe one of the best summer adventures to dive into is camp. This past summer, I was lucky enough to return to sleepover camp for the 16th time.

When people ask why camp means so much to me, I describe it as: An oasis where a concern-free fantasy thrusts itself upon you as a new reality. A community of best friends, ranging from bed-wetters to grey hair. A hotbed for inside jokes shared by so many people, they probably shouldn’t even be classified as inside jokes. A blank canvas on which you can make a kid’s summer using innovation and creativity. A classroom in which the subject is every transferable skill imaginable. A place where you can be yourself, while you’re learning exactly who that is. I always liked to think of it as an opportunity for opportunity.

Once you get to 24 and you’re still going to summer camp (well, you get made fun of a lot), but, besides a blast with friends, you also come to appreciate a building of character that readies you for career and family life. From a young age, the situations we’re exposed to in the camp setting have us: think on our feet, be patient, stay organized, be hygienic, trust our instincts, be a good friend, stay grounded, take risks, perform, be assertive, let the little things go, be open-minded, compromise, be empathetic, and not take a second of any of it for granted.

I’m glad to say this is how I spent my summer vacation, and I’m confident my future employers will too. For campers who are ever uneasy about attending sleepover camp for the first time: It will change your life. You can quote me on that.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Very Limited Edition 25 Year Anniversary Duffels!


It’s our 25th Anniversary! 25 Years! 
Thanks to you and your support, we’ve been here at Lawrence Plaza (and elsewhere too from time-to-time) for 25 years, and we plan on being here for 25 more.  Keep an eye out, we’ve got lots of 25 year deals, offers and new product for the coming months, Speaking of which:
 
 
The 25 year anniversary duffels are the first printed duffels we’ve ever done, and they’re gorgeous!  Tone on tone plaids that will stand out (In a good way) at any bus pick-up, airport carousel or Locker room floor. Not to mention that you can even get a Large (40x20x20) and an Extra Large (42x22x22) in matching colours, so you can have a matching set!
If you like them, I suggest you get them early as there are a limited number available, and when they’re gone – that’s it!
Oh, and Happy Anniversary to Us!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Caring for your sleeping bag

 
 
If you're like me, you like to own good quality gear. Put the money in up-front and your equipment performs better and lasts much longer. Sleeping bags are no exception, but a good sleeping bag can be a significant investment. If you want to get the most out of your bag, you need to properly care for it and properly store it. Just jamming your sleeping bag into its stuff sack and dropping it onto the bottom of your closet till the next time you need it is the worst thing you could do.
 
Packed Sleeping BagSleeping bags - all kinds of sleeping bags - rely on Loft to keep you warm and cozy. Loft is the technical term for fluffiness. The more fluffiness in the sleeping bags insulating layers, the warmer you'll be. A good sleeping bag will pack down nice and small for travel, then spring up to full loft when it's time for bed.
 
When not in use, be sure to take your sleeping bag out of its stuff sack or compression sack. Bags stored for a long time that are compressed tightly will lose their loft. No Loft, no warmth. So, store your bag loosely rolled, in a breathable cotton or mesh stuff sack. Or simply store the sleeping bag hanging or loosely folded. Let the bag breathe and you will gain years of warm use out of it.
 
When you head out into the great unknown, Weather happens. Canoes are tippy. Tents occasionally leak. Water is not your sleeping bags friend. Wet sleeping bags will not retain heat effectively, and are perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Do not pack your bag away if it is wet or damp. If it does get wet, hang it out to dry in the sun, or tumble dry with no heat.
 
Sleeping BagWhen you're out in the wild, you're going to get a little dirty. Maybe a little smelly. Maybe a lot smelly. After a long day of getting dirty and smelly, you're going to climb into your nice, cozy sleeping bag.

Washing a sleeping bag is hard on the loft, the insulation layering and the stitching - especially if it is a lightweight sleeping bag.  Try just hanging your sleeping bag after each trip to allow it to air out. Washing it after each trip is probably not necessary (unless each trip is one month of gruelling grimey bogs or something). Airing it should do the trick. Especially if you're clever and use a sleeping bag liner - then you just pull out the liner and wash it.

If you do need to wash your bag, be careful to follow the manufacturers instructions. Use a front load machine without an agitator, and machine dry with no heat. Be gentle on your Sleeping bag, as there are lots of bits and pieces that can be affected by a washing machine.
 
Invest in decent gear up-front, then look after that gear properly and you should not need to replace it for years to come. Enjoy your tripping!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Iron-On name Labels test


Iron-on name labels are not only Camp Connection’s number one selling item on-line, but our number one selling item across the entire store, so I thought it was only appropriate that I pull out my Iron and put these labels through their paces.  First though, I needed to find my iron.
Description
Camp Connection’s Iron On name tags have been available just as they are for something like 20 years. For a product to be a number one seller for that long without any change, there must be something to it, right?
The labels are ½ inch by 2 inch cloth strips (50% Cotton/50% Polyester), starched to make them easy to apply. They come in perforated sheets of 100.  The name is printed on in black laundry ink using -of all things- dot matrix printers imported direct from 1976.  This not only explains why there is no custom formatting (Colour choice is black or black, letter choice is block or block), it also explains why in the busy season many of Camp Connection’s staff hear the soothing sounds of dot matrix printers in their dreams.

The name tags are bare-bones basic. They’re not pretty but they are not designed to be.  The claim to fame with these labels is simple: ‘you put them on and they stay.’  No bells, no whistles, but no hassle.  If you’re looking for prettier labels, or to fasten to something more than fabric, you’ll want to check out the stick-onlabels.
Performance
The name tags come with an instruction sheet. I read it carefully then picked up my iron, blew the dust off of it and set it to the highest cotton setting.  The instructions say, in bolded, italic capital letters ‘NO STEAM’ so I turned off the steam. For good measure, I dumped out any water that was sitting in there. No water means no steam, right? 
I picked my favorite old Gildan Zip hoody to label because it gets lots of abuse and washed often.  I tore off three labels and laid them out where I wanted them.  The instructions call for ironing between 20-30 seconds, so I wanted to see what happened if I shorted the time, then did the minimum and maximum times.
After Ironing, the labels looked good. The only visible difference between the three was where I wrote the number of seconds on each with a sharpie laundry pen.  The edges were all down firmly, the corners stuck fast.
1 Wash
After 1 wash the 20 and 30 second labels were unchanged, and the 10 second label was almost perfect, except for one corner that was juuusssst starting to lift.

5 Washes
This turned out to be the most boring experiment ever.  At 5 washes, the labels hadn’t changed. Not even the 10 second one.  It would not be possible to remove them without ruining my hoody, and if the printed names had faded at all in the wash, a close visual inspection and comparison to photos did not reveal it.

15 Washes
I’ve realized that I should have started this experiment with a new garment of some sort, instead of my favorite old hoody. 
The labels?  They appear to be unchanged from the first wash. They are still stuck hard and fast.  Little-if-any fading is evident in the printing. Just that one corner that looked like it might be a problem on the 10 second label. 
My poor hood however is starting to show serious signs of wear.  The elbows are getting thin and shiny, and the zipper is starting to pull away at the bottom.  My current estimate is that these labels will outlast my sweatshirt.

Conclusion:
I have dealt with these labels for years, and have never had any reason to doubt their effectiveness. But I had never actually taken the time to evaluate them in this manner, either.  Given my somewhat skeptical nature, I had honestly expected the 10-second label to start to curl at the corners and loosen a bit after a couple of washes.  The fact that it seems to have bonded almost completely in 10 short seconds either means that my poor old iron is really, really hot, or that I’m the best ironer ever.
 
 
Was this helpful? Do you have your own experience with this product? Do you have questions or comments on the review? Let us know in the comments, or send an email to info@campstore.com.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Pre-Camp Routine

It’s as if the school year had been put on slow cook – what a long and painful 10 months it’s been since last August when your duffels hit the laundry room floor and you started sobbing uncontrollably. You knew that somehow the world would keep spinning and the next camp season would eventually arrive, but it seemed too far off to reasonably comfort you in that moment.

But then you got thrown into school, and somewhere along the line it got easier. The days started going faster, and before you knew it, just like you were told over and over it would, the moment arrived. The moment you’d been living and breathing (and studying) for. TIME TO START PACKING. And although endlessly exciting, admittedly, it can be a tad overwhelming. The following are some tips on how to prepare for camp whilst keeping all of your marbles intact


Step 1: The Duffel Scuffle


Step 1: The Duffel Scuffle

The first tip is to start sooner than you believe you should; the early camper gets the worm (and peace of mind for Mum). Give yourself enough time, keeping in mind you will need to buy a few things, and will likely be running around like a headless chicken the day before (This’ll happen no matter how early you start ‘cause that’s just the way we’re wired – humans, amirite?). After you pull out your CC duffel bags and hyperventilate for approximately 3.5 minutes, let the (hopefully somewhat organized) chaos begin!

Colour Wars


Step 2: The (Colour War)drobe

Judgment day: Go through your existing wardrobe and see what makes the cut. Private fashion shows to a Nicki Minaj soundtrack are highly encouraged. And VERY*** important: Ensure you pack every colour possible for colour war and any other potential surprise events. Borrowing from cabinmates is always an option, but if everyone thought that way, no one would bring colours, and there’d be no one to borrow from. Bam! Lawyered.

Step 3: Shop till You Hop (on the bus)

Make a list of all apparel, toiletries (Does anyone do cabin floss parties anymore?) and miscellaneous items you need. Then when you hit the road, be sure to enter Camp Connection in your GPS somewhere along the way. Essentials like shower buckets, flashlights, toothbrush holders, stationery, lockboxes, etc. are waiting for you in tons ‘o colours! And it wouldn’t hurt to pack an extra toothbrush – remember that canoe trip mishap last year? Yuck. Once you’ve made all of your purchases, use sew-on or stick-on labels should they not be on your clothes already.

Iron-on Name Labels


Step 4: It’s the Final Count Meltdown

There are only a few days left and stuff’s gettin’ real. After you finally decide on a first day outfit while recreating hurricane Katrina in your room, PACK. At this point you should be sporting your “pre-camp, all my good clothes are packed, I swear I don’t normally dress like this” attire while making your goodbye rounds. Now what? You motivate yourself for your formulated summer goals: Get up on a wakeboard; Finally ask Jennifer to the dance; Get a sweet tan of your camp nickname using masking tape. #priorities

Step 5: *Shrieks*

The day is here. With nervous but excited butterflies in your belly, you pack your last minutes, and go over your bus ride checklist: Bus buddy, bus letters, bus candy. Check. Check. Cherry blasters. Okay, summer. LET’S DO THIS.

We hope everyone has a great time at camp and if you’re worried you don’t have a complete packing checklist, our staff are more than willing to give suggestions! #ReadyforCamp

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Customized Lettering Information

One of our best selling items is not actually an item at all - it's an add-on!  We offer a customization service - we'll permanently label your name, or your message on to your duffel bag!

There are a lot of variables in our custom hot pressing process, so we have put together this quick guide to help answer any questions, to help make your decisions easier, and to be sure you know what to expect when we're done.


The Fine Details.

Hot pressing is permanent, bright and durable, but it is not like silk screening which is probably how most of your favorite printed t-shirts are made.  We are not applying fabric ink to our garments and bags, we are heat-sealing pre-cut vinyl lettering to them.Heat sealing is quick and relatively inexpensive but there are a couple of drawbacks. We are limited to the colours and the pre-cut numbers and letters we keep in stock. We have no special fonts, characters, punctuation or images available.

Timing

An in-store order will be ready 5 Days from when you order it.  The best way to get your order by the time you need it is to order early!

If you are ordering on-line, The time to process and press your custom order is not included in our ship time estimates. If timing is a concern, please send an email or give us a call. If your on-line order contains additional items that are not to be custom hot pressed, be aware that your entire order will be delayed until the custom items are ready to ship. If you would like the other items to leave as soon as they are ready and the hot pressed ones to follow, please place two separate orders.

Colours

We offer Custom Pressing in White, Black and Red lettering. We are often asked: “What colour looks best?” That really depends on your personal taste and why you are having the hot pressing done. Having said that, there is some advice we can give:
  • White is the strongest colour, and contrasts well with almost everything we press. White is the most effective colour on all duffel Bags because it stands out the best, and makes your items more easily identifiable.
How many Letters?

Duffel Bags can have 2 lines of text, with 12 characters (including a space) on each line.  This can get
a little cramped on the smallest duffel. 


Slight Imperfections

This is a hand-made kinda process.  We have to pick, lay-out and heat-seal each order by hand.  We are pretty good at it, but you can't expect machine perfection from a process like this. Most times the ‘slight imperfections’ are something that only the hot press operator would ever notice.  There is no laser guided computer to pinpoint placements. Plus, when you hit vinyl and fabric with sudden high heat they expand and contract, and sometimes ‘crawl’ – even the most precise placements can go askew and there is nothing the operator can do about it.

A letter being a little off-kilter is the usual culprit, or sometimes you might see slight marks from the Teflon used to try and hold the letters in place. By the time you load up a duffel bag, that minor misplacement is virtually invisible.

Be assured that we will not send you something that is not up to our standards, but we will also not replace an entire item because one or two letters are a little out of place.

Ordering On-Line / In-Store

If you would like to pick-up your custom pressing, you will need to place the order in-store.  We ship all orders placed on-line, and cannot accept orders for pick-up through our website.

That’s it, that’s all we’ve got. We hope This information helps you answer any questions, if not, please email us. It's always better to ask than end up with an item you don't like - because all Hot Pressed items are Final Sale.

Need some custom lettering tips from the experts?