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Screen grab from www.adventurereport.ca

Tour de blogosphere: Adventure Report provides trail reports and a free Gear Library to get people outside

By Hannah Manning on May 6, 2021

With almost 100 trail reports on the Ottawa area, Adventure Report is one of the best resources for getting out and enjoying Ottawa’s green spaces. Featuring exact coordinates to trailheads, detailed map and elevation gain charts, lists of gear for each hike, and photos to bring it all together, Adventure Report has it all.

Meg Kelly has been reporting on Ottawa area trails for the last four years, sharing information on AdventureReport.ca and Instagram @adventurereport. Not sure where to go? Check out the Trail Finder map for a trail near you. Be sure to track your trails in the Hiking Challenge. Have kids and want to find a family-friendly trail? Meg’s adventures often feature her young daughter and she reports on how child-friendly adventures are. If you’re looking for accessible trails, there’s a post for that too. Oh and there are also paddling, biking and skating reports—anything to get people outside.

Meg Kelly, left, and Asiya Hilowle. Photos provided.

Speaking of getting outside… the blog has launched a Gear Library where users can borrow camping gear for free. Meg’s friend Asiya Hilowle joined the crew this year to help out with all aspects of the Gear Library. When you select a kit, it is held for 48 hours to allow you time to reserve a campsite for the same date. Two-, three- and four-person camping kits, plus a two-person backpacking kit, are available to those 18 years of age and older in the Ottawa region. Halal cookware and flatware were recently added. For those who already have their own gear but aren’t sure where to go, I highly recommend the list of provincial parks close to Ottawa as a guide.

I connected with Meg via email to learn more Adventure Report, the impact of COVID-19, and how the community can use and support the gear lending library.

Apt613: When and why did you start Adventure Report?

Meg: I started Adventure Report four years ago. My husband and I would often find ourselves spending hours researching trails and trips in order to feel confident we were ready, had everything we needed, and knew what we were getting into. Then, when we had hiked the trails we had even more knowledge/experience banked, and it just felt like we should share that with other people who wanted to get out and try different trails. So Adventure Report really started as a place to put all that information we had gathered, in the form of super-detailed trail reports.

What impacts has COVID-19 had on Adventure Report? Have you seen more people using the trail finder?

Since COVID-19 it seems like a lot more people are eager to get outdoors. Whether that’s because there’s nothing else to do, it feels like one of the safest spaces, or people are just realizing the value that spending time in nature has when we’re stressed/taxed, I’m not sure, but I’m excited to see it. People used the trail finder a lot to begin with, but definitely even more so now. There are just under 100 trail reports up on the blog for the Ottawa area, and using the trail finder map is a really easy way for people to find trails that are super close to them, while we’re all trying to stay a little closer to home.

There are just under 100 trail reports up on the blog for the Ottawa area, and using the trail finder map is a really easy way for people to find trails that are super close to them, while we’re all trying to stay a little closer to home.

On a personal level, COVID-19 really humbled me because I thought I was doing a good job as a blogger in terms of making information, and therefore the outdoors, accessible to more people. But when COVID-19 hit and we didn’t really understand it and I was nervous to even go outside of my neighbourhood for fear of making someone else sick, I realized that I needed to level up in terms of making sure nature in all sorts of ways was more accessible to people. I spent a lot of time on a neighbourhood trail that I never would have considered writing a trail report about before because it felt too “easy…” But that wasn’t a helpful way of thinking, I realize now.

So that experience also motivated me to start the gear lending library last year.

What advice do you have for someone who is new to camping or anxious about it?

Camping is kind of like riding a bike. In some ways it’s really simple but there’s also a ton to learn, and it’s a skill that the more you practice, the better you’ll become.

Do not go out and spend hundreds of dollars on gear if you’re not sure that you’re going to be into it—that’s part of the reason the Gear Library is here!

I would say absolutely do not go out and spend hundreds of dollars on gear if you’re not sure that you’re going to be into it—that’s part of the reason the Gear Library is here! If folks are feeling anxious, then it’s best to start small. If you have a backyard or a friend who has a backyard, feel free to borrow our gear and practice camping right at home! If that’s not an option, then be honest with friends of yours that you want to go but you’re nervous, and see if you can tag along with someone who has a bit of experience. Or, plan a low-stakes trip close to home. We have seven provincial parks within an hour and a half of Ottawa—book a site at one of those places and if things go wrong you can just throw everything in the car and be home in no time!

If you had to pick one, what is your favourite trail?

I literally cannot pick one! Honestly my favourite trails are all captured in the Adventure Report Ottawa Hiking Challenge (another ploy to get people outdoors).

How can the community help grow the Gear Library?

We are so grateful for the community support we’ve gotten so far! In just one season we’ve doubled the amount of gear we have available to loan through community members donating gently used gear and money, and community partners like Fjällräven in Westboro who have donated as well.

If people want to help us grow the library, we’re still accepting gently used items. There are specific items we include in each kit, which you can see on the website. We’re also happy to accept monetary donations, as that gives us the flexibility to purchase gear. Donations can be sent to www.paypal.me/adventurereport.

Is there anything else Apt613 readers should know?

Just that we’re continuing to grow the library so more gear will be available to borrow soon. For the most up-to-date information (ex. we just added Halal cookware and flatware to the library), the best place to find us (and DM us if you have any questions or want to chat) is on Instagram @adventurereport.


Stay up-to-date on the latest trail reports and Gear Library additions on Instagram @adventurereport. Donations of gently used camping gear are accepted for the Gear Library, as are funds to help purchase gear. Donations can be sent to www.paypal.me/adventurereport.