Preparing for Your First Canada RV Trip

A handy primer on crossing the northern border

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July 1, 2016

A truck towing a fifth-wheel on the road to Jasper National Park, Alberta. RV canada travel checklist

Canada RV TripAre you fully prepared for your first Canada RV trip?

If you are considering taking an RV trip to Canada from the United States for the first time, there may be a few things you should know. As far as the border crossing, it’s best to refer to the Canada Border Services Agency for details on what to bring and what to leave behind.

Once into Canada, your adventure begins, eh? One of the first things you’ll notice is speed limits posted in KPH (Kilometers per hour). If your vehicle’s speedometer is only calibrated in MPH, here’s a simple breakdown.

50 kph  =  31 mph

70 kph =  43 mph

80 kph =  50 mph

90 kph =  56 mph

100 kph = 62 mph

110 kph = 68 mph

120 kph = 75 mph

As you would expect, destination signage is in kilometers, as well. Short distances of 1 km or less are displayed in “m” (Meters). There are 1000 m in 1 km, so a sign indicating a turn-off in “500 m” would mean ½ km ahead.

Getting Fuel and Clearance for Your Canada RV Trip

Fuel stations displaying their prices look very attractive at a first glance. However, the price shown is for one liter, not a gallon. It takes about 3.8 of these to make one U.S. gallon! Ouch! The exchange rate on the current value of the U.S. dollar may help somewhat, but it is still a lot higher than what you pay at home.

Now, with your RV there are a couple of other signs you need to observe: overhead clearance and maximum vehicle weight. Overhead clearances are displayed in “m” (Meters).  Here 1 m = 3.37 feet.  Therefore a bridge showing a clearance of 4 m would be just under 13’ – 1 ½ “.   Weight limits are in “tonnes”—metric tons.  One metric tonne equals 2,240 pounds.  So, you should calculate the metric measurements of your RV and keep it in your rig for later use.

Bon Appetit: What to Eat on Your Canada RV Trip

So, think that was all fun, now let’s go into a store to replenish your food stocks. Here items sell for price per lbs., per kg., per 100 mg., per liter, per ml, etc.  The pricing by the pound is not very common at all.  Adding to this, most of the employees have absolutely no idea how much a pound or a number of ounces is in metric.  Asking many brings the instant “Deer in the headlights” look.  In addition, thoughts of the high fuel prices come to mind as you browse the poultry section.  Nearly $10 for a Cornish hen that we pay $3 and change for?  Canadians must be rich, eh!

If you dare to venture into a Canadian liquor store, be sure you have a high limit on your credit card. Here you will pay about $55 for a bottle of Vodka that probably costs you $14 at home.

However, you can’t put a price on enjoying what Canada has to offer, a trip of a lifetime. Enjoy eh!

Peter Mercer—With a Look at Canada

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  1. Peter Mercer

    I Shop there all the time. The prices are not uniformly stable at all. The vodka size bottle I’m talking about is 1.75 litre. It is over $55 with tax for the cheapest brand you can buy. In the U.S. you can find the identical size for as low as $12.

  2. Anonymous

    Pricing per pound is quite common in every Walmart, Safeway, Sobeys, Save On Foods, Overwaitea, IGA & Food For Less that I’ve ever been in. Grocery stores display both kg & lb. Not many people here buy vodka at $55. Plenty of Grey Goose for $36.95 Cdn. That’s only $28.20 US.

  3. Anonymous

    Is there a recommended website that gives us all the restrictions on what can, or cannot, be brought into Canada in an RV?