Camping for clicks: Edmonton man finds YouTube fame with specialty channel
EDMONTON -- An Edmonton man is taking a different approach to camping and making waves on YouTube in the process.
His channel is around 10 years old but in spring of 2018 he came to something of an epiphany about camping.
“As you know it’s a little tricky to find a spot to camp around Edmonton so I’d find myself driving an hour or two hours or three hours to film a camping video,” said Steve Wallis.
“One day I said I’m just going to go in the forest beside the house and film the video there.”
Wallis admits he does do things that are a bit out of the ordinary, but thinks that is one of the draws of his channel.
“(Viewers) do want to see unusual stuff so whether that’s lighting a fire with bear bangers or electric fences or doing clandestine camping in the city is always a favourite.”
Those videos proved popular and thus Stealth Camping became something of a theme for Camping with Steve.
While the theme is popular amongst his viewers, he said it is something of a legal gray area.
“Technically you shouldn’t be in the city park between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. so there’s the risk of a $100 ticket. That’s why you have to be stealthy.”
A more recent stealth camping video had Wallis camping in the back of his SUV at the International Airport.
“I don’t think it was illegal, it would just be embarrassing to get caught.”
Wallis said the desire to make these videos comes from a love of nature and the desire to make camping seem more accessible.
“Getting out into the forest, showing off the nature, that’s my goal.”
He thinks that there is a huge opportunity here in Edmonton for more people to be able to better appreciate nature.
“We have the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America, I think we can be putting it to a little more use instead of being a staging area before driving off to Jasper.”
Even without the stealth element Wallis thinks that there are other ways to enjoy nature outside of overbooked campgrounds. He goes to crown land in the summer to get away from the crowds.
Wallis said that he does find it strange to get recognized in the street, he didn’t start the channel to become a YouTube star.
“I just kind of wanted to share my camping videos with my friends and show what types of neat things I’m doing.”
One message he has for potential campers is to not over think it, just get out and go.
“Even if you’re under-prepared you’re going to get through the night and you’re going to learn what you need for the next time. I think there’s so much nature out here, let’s just enjoy it.”
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Dan Grummett