This is some serious quality time. Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Pelosi

We like to think that few people out there would completely turn their nose up at a chance to go camping (although some may be a bit more apprehensive than others). After all, there are countless individual definitions of the term “camping.”

There are the personality types that enjoy the feeling of being completely vulnerable in the middle of the wilderness, with minimal gear and no other humans for miles and miles. Then there are the types that can’t live without their propane heater and queen-sized air mattress. But the common theme for everyone looking to spend some time outdoors is simply soaking in the sights, sounds, smells and experiences that only exist when you take those steps into nature.

In this installment of Around the Campfire, we got to hear about what camping means to professional snowboarder Leanne Pelosi.

As a Whistler, British Columbia local, Leanne is no stranger to epic backcountry settings. When getting after it in the wilderness, she knows the importance of packing the right gear and being prepared, and how to have herself a great time.

Time to kick those feet up and enjoy the view. Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Pelosi

What’s your earliest camping memory?

My earliest camping memory is taking the tent trailer to Penticton, BC. It’s basically the hotspot in Canada with so many amazing lakes, hikes and adventures to be had.

My parents loved camping and it allowed my brother and I to explore and be outside which has transcended to the way I live now. I have had a Bigfoot camper for over 10 years, and it’s been my second home.

What’s your favorite camping food?

I love roasting a banana with chocolate in the middle over the campfire.

What’s your favorite camping spot on the planet?

I would have to say Ucluelet, BC. We sold our condo in Vancouver and got a nice piece of land on the inlet that we camped on in our Bigfoot all last summer.

It was hands-down my favorite summer I’ve ever had. We lived simply, surfed everyday in between work and explored the beaches, the sea life and lived the slow life. It was perfect.

The energy in that area is magical. We loved it so much we are going to build some permanent mini cabins in the woods that are 400 square feet. They’ll be The Saltwater Retreat if you want to follow along our journey of living with nature.

Nothin’ like a camping surf trip. Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Pelosi

What is one place you've never camped that you'd like to?

I would like to rent a camper and explore all of Japan’s mountains … Car Danchi style.

What is one camping tip you’d give to a first time camper?

Make sure you’re comfortable. Don’t cheap out on a good air mattress or a sleeping bag and pillow. And don’t forget the ukulele.

Finding that perfect place to set up camp is magical. Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Pelosi

You can choose one tool on a survival expedition in the wilderness: machete or firestarter? Why?

Firestarter! Because you can always break the smaller branches off the dead trees in a pinch.

A large animal is lurking outside your tent in the middle of the night. What do you do?

We had this happen once - in a tent in Ucluelet. We heard the black bear right outside our tent. Luckily we had our big black lab sleeping with us, and she started a low pitched growl.

The bear hung out for a solid 10 or so minutes, and it was one of the reasons why I decided to have a hard wall between me and the bigger animals. That’s why I have a truck camper now. It actually wasn’t that bad though … I would do it again, but bring a dog. They’re the best.

Best seats in the house. Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Pelosi

What’s the sketchiest camping moment you’ve ever experienced?

Maybe camping in Mexico on a beach with three of my girlfriends. I was sleeping with one eye open in case anything suspicious was about to happen. I heard some rumbling about with our surfboards that were right outside our tent and I thought some banditos were coming to hijack our gear.

I had a knife next to my pillow and pulled it out ready in case we were in trouble … and then I realized it was all good when my friend Charlotte tripped over the surfboard. I could tell it was her from the other tent. My adrenaline was pumping though, and I thought I was pretty prepared to hold down the fort [laughs].

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