PK Podcast 003: Kevin Callan, The Happy Camper

PK Podcast 003: Kevin Callan, The Happy Camper

Kevin Callan
Kevin Callan – author, speaker, Happy Camper.

Listen To Episode 3 Of The Paul Kirtley Podcast

In this episode of my podcast I talk with Kevin Callan, Canadian outdoorsman, speaker and author of 15 books, including a popular range of guidebooks. He’s won awards for his writing as well as his film-making, including the the “Best of” category at the prestigious Waterwalker Film Festival. Kevin is a regular on Canadian TV and radio. He’s a great guy and fantastic advocate for the vast benefits of getting outdoors. The conversation we have on this podcast is wide-ranging and a lot of fun too…

Kevin describes how he came to start writing canoe route guidebooks through to expanding on some of his most recent adventures including following The Meanest Link in Algonquin Provincial Park and why that was a crazy tough trip, not least because someone stole his whisky. What was even more surprising was the incredibly generous response from other paddlers when they heard about the incident on the radio.

People know Kevin primarily as a canoe enthusiast and guidebook writer who appears on TV and radio talking about canoeing, camping skills and related gear. There’s another side to the man though, and I found out more about this in our conversation. Kevin talks about his long involvement in environmental education and teaching college courses, including youth at risk – not always easy but very rewarding.

We go on to discuss our mutual love of winter hot-tent camping

Kevin also explains the dangers of Yuk Yuk Man.

Towards the end of the podcast we set an unusual challenge for one of Kevin’s neighbours and long time paddling chum, which involves some listeners sending me some questionable items of clothing.

We also float the idea of a future joint venture – “Once Around The World In A Whisky Glass” is the working title…


How To Listen To This Podcast

You can listen to this podcast here on my website by using the player above. Just press the play button.

You can download the podcast episode .mp3 file by right-clicking on the download link to save the .mp3 file down to your local machine/device.

You can also subscribe on iTunes and on Stitcher or via my podcast-only RSS feed.


Click here to read or download the transcript of Paul Kirtley Podcast episode 003.

People Mentioned In This Podcast

Kirk Whipper
Bill Mason
Cliff Jacobson
Grey Owl

Kevin Callan’s Videos Mentioned In This Podcast

Once Around Algonquin

College Students Hiking Trip In Algonquin

A Canoe Trip Around Killarney – Family Style

Address To Send Items For Speedo Man

I’ll pack what we receive and send them over to Kevin. Please send them to me at the following address.

Paul Kirtley
Frontier Bushcraft Ltd.
PO Box 68161
N1 2DB
United Kingdom

Connect With Kevin Callan

Don’t forget to say thanks to Kevin in person. Here’s some of the places he inhabits online….

Kevin on Facebook
Kevin on Twitter (@kchappycamper)
Kevin on YouTube

Thanks For Listening!

Thanks for joining me on this podcast. If you have any tips, suggestions or comments about this episode, please leave them in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page. Thanks!

And Finally…

Finally don’t forget to leave an honest review & rating on iTunes or on Stitcher. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of this podcast and I read each and every one of them.

Browse Kevin’s Books


Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog:

Enter A Virtuous Circle: Take Your Bushcraft Skills On An Adventure

Six Men, Three Boats and The Bloodvein: Canoeing A Wilderness River

Cliff Jacobson and Camping’s Top Secrets

How To Live In A Heated Tent

26 thoughts on “PK Podcast 003: Kevin Callan, The Happy Camper

  1. Thank you Paul for listening to your listeners concerns. It is refreshing to know that professionals like you do care about their followers.

    Great interview. Kevin is such a ball of energy and a truly inspirational person.

    Looking forward to the next episode.

    1. Hi Tara,

      I’m always listening Tara. It’s very important.

      Thanks again for your input and for listening.

      Glad you enjoyed my chat with Kevin.

      Warm regards,


  2. Great podcast with so much “content”, when I saw how long it was I thought I would try but expected to give up listening long before it was finished; well I was wrong! It could easily have been longer for me. I am now concerned how you will manage to keep the high standard of your podcasts up because so far they are truly top quality entertaining, interesting and educational. Further, they have appeal beyond bushcraft, camping and canoeing. I would leave a review in tunes but don’t seem to be able to as I can not find any review option? Finally, not so sure about your taste in music though. Looking forward to the next episode.

  3. Hi Paul.
    Wonderful, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this most recent podcast, I don’t know where the 80 minutes went but I do know I had much laughter among some great learning and inspiration, keep up the great work..
    I shall get to grips with leaving you a review on i tunes to help the very worthy ratings.
    Best Wishes..

  4. Hi
    Just wanted to let you know I found your page via Explore Magazine and Kevin Callan’s post about his favourite YouTube channels. I enjoy reading his posts on a regular basis and it looks like, so far, I’ll enjoy this site as well.

    1. Nice one Kevin. Welcome.

      I hope you find much to interest you here.

      Please do keep in touch.

      Warm regards,


  5. What a lovely man! He embodies what makes a good teacher; enthusiasm for subject, deep knowledge of subject, humour and humanity. Thank you for introducing someone I had never heard of before, but will be seeking out to listen to and learn from in future. I particularly enjoyed how he got you to talk a bit about youself. Your conversation brought out a huge range of relevant issues which need to be reflected on by all who love the natural world.
    I felt the intro was much improved from the first two podcasts, but it would be better with just you alone. This sets the scene better for the converational format you so effectively employ. It’s a matter of K.I.S.S!

    1. Hi Antony,

      Nice to hear from you. I’m so glad you so enjoyed my conversation with Kevin and I was able to introduce you to someone who’s philosophy resonated with you. He is, as we say, a top bloke 🙂

      Point taken regarding the podcast intros. Let me know what you think about episode 4…

      Warm regards,


  6. Hi All,
    Have watched the video with the college students and I have to say Kevin Callen must have the patents of a saint, that song would drive me Bonkers.

    1. Adrian, I agree with respect to Kevin’s patience. He’s a wise, wily woodsfellow, though, and knew the effect the forest would have on the best of them…

      All the best,


  7. Hi Paul finally got to listen to your podcast thanks to flicker. Have listened to 3 episodes and very entertained by them all. Great info and insights into safety in episode 1(let’s have a cup of tea) ha haa. Episode 2 was very visual and great te get a feel for a canoe trip and it’s prep could have listened to you and ray for hrs. This episode was brilliant. Especially when Kevin talked about his daughter going on trips as a toddler. It made me smile. Was really cool when he questioned you too. Nice te hear you both relaxed chatting about your passion. Thanks for sharing Paul enjoyed listening, avin a laugh and learning some very important stuff… 😉

    1. Hi Neil,

      Good to hear from you my friend. I hope you are well and not getting up to too much mischief! 😉

      Glad you enjoyed the podcasts so far, particularly this one. I reckon you would get on like a house on fire with Kevin if you ever meet.

      Take care and keep in touch.

      All the best,


  8. Thanks to the stitcher app I meant! ^^^^ 😉

  9. This is the first pod cast of yours I have heard and very much enjoyed. I have a few of Kevin’s books and dvds. This interview was a great chance to hear his personality come through. Lots of good common sense advice from you both too. When we are far from help, confidence through experience and great care are so important. Keep up the good work Paul.

    1. Thank you Andy. It’s nice to hear from you and I’m happy you enjoyed this. Thanks for your comments. I hope you enjoy the other podcasts too.

      Warm regards,


  10. Just got done listening learned a lot about your guest Kevin professor canoe. won’t bore you with more just keep up what you do for the spiritual side of living the good life. Thanks again.

    Fr Dave B

    1. Hi Fr Dave, it’s good to hear from you.

      Thanks for letting Kevin and I know that you enjoyed this episode. Much appreciated.

      Warm regards,


  11. Hi Paul.

    I speed read the transcript…as it is easier for me…and will listen later to podcast at some time.
    I was so thrilled to see the parent aspect coming out. I can so relate. My daughters the same…
    the way she is at home with trees and the way she is protective of keeping the forest clean of litter…is because she spent time out there…and as Kevin said…she asked for a birthday party to be at a forest camp…because she feels so much at home…and the other thing was packing…there is so much effort on gear ….so when it comes to going for school trips…she is way ahead in planning organising and
    being light…for her age, with her counterparts…it came with ongoing taking her to the forest…
    there are some days she would love to go to the wild…and say…that is beautiful…and time and time
    I do that to get her away from iphones and whataspping, and rest….Im glad for the precious times I had with my lil one…and enjoy the pictures that Ray also share of his canoe adventures with daughter and puppy. Im so glad Kevin , said , that trips dont change because of family…they dont have to!

  12. Hi Paul
    I am a Canoe building cabinetmaker who has become addicted to paddling as a result of making my wood strip canoe 6 yrs ago,so some canoe makers do paddle:-)
    I liked the podcast and your 20 free videos which I watched in one evening session one after the other.
    I rarely go on long camping trips but I can relate to Kevin’s comment about taking ones time on canoe trips.On day paddles with people I often find myself wishing they would start earlier and finish later so we could paddle at a pace that allows us to take in the scenery and wildlife around us rather than being concerned about getting to a destination by a certain time.
    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Alick,

      Thanks for your comments and your feedback on the podcast with Kevin.

      Whereabouts do you paddle? Rutalnd area or further afield?

      Warm regards,


      1. Hi Paul
        You are welcome,
        I paddle the Nene most of all as it is near my workshop but occasionally get to other parts of the country.I have paddled most of the Great Ouse nd Cam and bits of other rivers canals and lakes.One of my highlights has to be Derwent Water on the 28th December last year which was the stillest day with the water like a millpond and clear sunshine! Although I live just 10 mins walk from Rutland Water the paddling on it is limited.
        All the best

  13. Hi Paul,

    I played this once before but never commented. Kevin is quite pleasant to listen to, and being the happy camper, I appreciate all he has done in Canada to preserve our wilderness experiences. I also enjoyed the Spey River Whisky run you did lately with Kevin, Ray and Justine, which thrilled me as well.
    Your podcasts are very informative, fun and I do look forward to listening to as many as I can, although I need to set myself down in a quiet place to do so, but I intend to catch up on all you’ve graciously made available to us.
    Interesting guests, interesting host and interesting subjects.

    Please keep them coming.



    1. Hey Buck,

      I’m glad you enjoyed this the second time around too 🙂

      Thanks for your comments and I’ll do my best to keep producing interesting conversation-based podcasts with a variety of guests.

      Warm regards,


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  15. Hey Paul,
    I commented as Buck earlier, and I comment again (selfish me). I agree with Kevin; Why rush through the wilderness and miss out on better opportunities? Turn a 3 day loop into a one week or ten day experience. As long as there is wilderness (for animal tracking and plant ID), low light pollution (for star gazing), fishing time (to cook and smoke fish), canoe skills, bushcraft (built a campsite primitively, make a spoon and eat with it; make cordage, wythes, tripods, camp table, birch bark baskets), why rush through the opportunity?
    Shore the canoe and explore beyond the canoe route and navigate through bush to a point of interest and back to the canoe again.
    That’s my sort of canoe trip. I need to go do more of these (I haven’t these last 16 years but look forward to doing it again).
    By the way, the Chiniguchi (near Sudbury Ontario) is a beautiful canoe route which I did over 30 years ago. That might be worth a revisit when I get back to Ontario.

    In case you’re wondering, what’s my favourite season? All of them. There’s something to do in each one.

    Thanks again for reminding me to revisit this podcast.

    All the best,


    1. Hey Marcel,

      I’m glad you found it worthwhile revisiting this podcast. Thanks for sharing your extra thoughts and insights spurred by re-listening to this session.

      Warm regards,


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