Camping is cathartic for popular Alberta YouTuber
Steve Wallis’ YouTube page Camping with Steve has more than a million subscribers
Steve Wallis wants to show that it doesn’t take much to get out and enjoy camping. // Submitted
For many people, camping season starts on May long weekend. But for Steve Wallis, camping season is all year long.
The Alberta man is better known to his 1.27 million YouTube subscribers by his popular page, Camping with Steve.
Since joining the platform 13 years ago, Wallis’ videos have amassed almost 200 million views.
Wallis’ credo is “Always Be Camping”, and he definitely takes it to heart.
“I'm always thinking about camping, or camping, or editing a camping video, or answering questions about camping,” Wallis tells Calgary Citizen.
“I'm just some guy that likes camping probably way too much and puts it out for the world to see.”
Sparking the love
Wallis’ love of camping goes back to his days as a young child.
“Some of my earliest memories were going out camping with the family. We’d head to the mountains and it was always a great time,” he says.
For most of his 20s, Wallis made work his focus, but he still enjoyed getting out into nature and having a campfire whenever he could.
After spending a decade climbing the corporate ladder, Wallis needed a break.
“I took a few years to travel around in a motorhome, and then I really started doing a lot of camping,” he says.
“And that's about the time I started a YouTube channel to kind of document what I was doing.”
Even after Wallis moved back to Edmonton, he kept making videos by finding places to camp in the city.
Camping the minimalist way
The goal of Camping with Steve is to show that you can get out and explore nature with minimal and inexpensive gear, and without spending a lot of money, Wallis says.
“There's a big spectrum of camping, ranging from survivalism to glamping and RVs,” he says.
“I'm trying to keep the channel grounded on what camping really can be. That can be really simple, like sleeping in the back of your car or making a blanket fort in a campground.”
In fact, Wallis posted a video about blanket fort camping last month, describing it as a lifelong dream fulfilled.
“I go camping with probably a lot less gear than most people think they need to go camping,” Wallis says, adding he has even used a shower curtain as a shelter.
“I love to showcase just how simple it can be really. A case of beer and a tarp and some hot dogs and a sleeping bag is all you really need.”
Wallis goes camping for a video every week of the year. // Submitted
Cathartic and peaceful
Wallis goes camping every week—even in the winter—to film a video for his YouTube channel, and sometimes just for fun.
He says immersing himself in camping is cathartic, which no doubt helped him after the sudden death of his wife Jess last August, just weeks after celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary.
After briefly considering shutting his page down, Wallis decided to honour Jess’ memory by continuing to do what he loves.
“It's such a peaceful experience. Even if it's in a wooded area in the city, to be out in nature, your mind clears itself, gives you time to reflect, time to think on things, and time to think of nothing sometimes,” he says.
Wallis says it's nice to turn his brain off, unplug, and forget about life for a while.
“When I was working full time at a heating company, or whatever, when I could get out to go camping… the shock of immersion of just being in nature was so pleasurable. And now it's reversed, where being in nature is the norm. It's so good for my stress.”
Plans for the summer
Up until this point, Wallis has mostly stuck to Alberta and BC for his camping videos. Last year, he camped along every border of Alberta.
He says he loves Canmore because it’s so picturesque. He spent a lot of time camping in the area several years ago while attending trade school in Calgary.
“I would often just drive out to Canmore or Banff after school and sometimes camp there for the night, and then drive back in to learn my gas fitting in the morning,” Wallis says.
“In Calgary, it was just so tantalizing to see the mountains calling you from anywhere in the city.”
Alaska is on Wallis’ camping bucket list, and he has been invited to camp in other countries, including Scotland.
“That's really tempting to do, but there's so much of Canada I haven't really experienced as an adult yet,” Wallis says, adding he plans to do a road trip this summer to showcase some other provinces.
“I want to have poutine in Quebec and donairs in Halifax, and all the touristy stuff right across the country.”