Crossing Canada to US border with camper for the first time.

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by Winchested, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Winchested

    Winchested Member

    318
    19
    Jun 19, 2015
    What Do I need to know ahead of time???

    I've got Passports for us and Birth certs for kids.

    All the updated details on vaccinations for the dog already in the truck.

    Vet told us to make sure we have a bag from the dog food just in case they want to see the ingredients.

    Anything else we need to worry about in regards to propane, food we can pack in a cooler or the fridge??

    Will they make us pop the camper up??

    Like I said we are first timers ever crossing into the US.

    Thanks for any help!

    We will be crossing at Sarnia/ Port huron.
     
  2. Dudman5703

    Dudman5703 Jeep Guy

    251
    46
    Apr 17, 2012
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I did this for the first time last year and was completely freaking out... Though to be honest I was doing a huge trip over a freaking weekend and didn't want any more delays than I needed.

    Going from the US to Canada - Easy Peezy. They will make sure you're not bringing excess alcohol / beer (I was told a 6(maybe 12) pack or a fifth is max allowed. All they did was ask, what we were doing, some other random stuff but eazy Peezy.

    Going from Canada to the US however they were much more inquisitive as to why we were coming back. You'll probably have an easier time than I did so no sweat. I had a foreign kid with me with a viza and we had met online through a video game so i'm sure this is why it was the way it was. Again asked about booze, I mentioned I picked up a 6 pack no biggie, no search, didn't bug me about the camper or anything.

    On-top of all this I did have an itemized list of food and plans that I could provide if needed but it was just questions and waving us on through. I would totally do it again to see the land of the funny color money and nice liquor stores.
     
  3. Arruba

    Arruba Active Member

    219
    57
    Nov 28, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Will they make you pop the camper up? Probably not. Can they? Of course. IME, family campers and recreationists in general don't raise any red flags. At least here on the West Coast. Camperless, I have had my vehicle searched, sniffed and my license and VIN ran inbound to the US. Asked what made me "special" at the end. Basically told I'm nothing special and have a nice day.

    Good luck and enjoy your visit.
     
  4. Winchested

    Winchested Member

    318
    19
    Jun 19, 2015
    Thanks!
     
  5. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

    9,227
    565
    Jul 19, 2007
    Ontario
    Unopened dog food bag.. make sure no lamb ..

    No fruits or veggies..
    Take only enough food for one or two meals.. also cheaper to buy everything in the States...
    NO FIREWOOD. .

    When pulling up to US Customs. Open all windows, remove sunglasses. ..

    Check both CBSA and US Customs websites for list of what you can and cant cross with..
     
  6. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    13,810
    894
    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    Never really had a problem going into our friendly neighbors to the north ....... but coming back into the USA the custom guys always same to have a chip on there shoulders.
     
  7. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

    517
    198
    May 19, 2016
    Good tips.

    Regarding the "lamb thing"- several years back, I came back to the States with some canned food from Superstore that my dog really liked. The US customs guy at the kiosk opened my trunk and saw one of them in a bag. For whatever reason, on that particular day, he decided to take a closer look, and saw another can that had lamb in it. I was pulled over for an "agricultural inspection". Came to find out that, at least at that point, the only lamb products allowed into the US were those from the US or New Zealand. About an hour later, I was free to go, 3 cans of dog food lighter. So, yes, I would suggest just not even testing it.

    I would definitely suggest packing patience and a sense of humor. I've been over the border hundreds of times and the vast majority of them have been without any incident. But the several times I've been stopped? Hoo boy. I could go on for days about some of them, but the bottom line I think is that you're dealing with real people, who have real issues and sometimes just want to flex their muscles, for whatever reason. I have found that the more "chill" you are with everything, the smoother things go. (This goes for both sides of the border.)

    Also, just an FYI about bringing your dog. There is a high likelihood that there will be working dogs with their handlers at the border, sniffing around the vehicles that are waiting to cross. Of course, they are used to crazy, barking dogs in the cars, but I just wanted to mention it, in case you want to bring a treat or some other distraction for your dog as you are going through the border.
     
  8. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

    517
    198
    May 19, 2016
    Oh, I'd also DEFINITELY bring a printout of your reservations, and any other documentation you have regarding what you will be doing in the states.
     
  9. Mike76

    Mike76 New Member

    25
    4
    Mar 20, 2017
    Just throwing it out there, I thought all travelers into the US by any means need passports now, babies/kids included?

    Might want to check with your local Services Canada office to be sure, hopefully I'm wrong there because we just went through the process of getting passports for our kids and let me tell you, a 2 year old does NOT want to have a passport picture taken. LOL
     
  10. Winchested

    Winchested Member

    318
    19
    Jun 19, 2015
    No you only need passports to fly. A land crossing you can still use birth certs.

    From us gov website:
    Children: Canadian citizens 15 years old and younger arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory may present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate or a Canadian Citizenship Card. Canadian Citizens 16 and older must have a valid passport, unless traveling as part of an organized group described below.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  11. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

    9,227
    565
    Jul 19, 2007
    Ontario
    Also keep in mind the day you leave Canada, is NOT counted as a day out of the Country.. i.e. you cross the border at 8a.m. Monday morning this day doesn't count, So from 8a.m. until 11:59:59 on the Monday doesn't count, so try as much as possible to only buy things like gas and groceries that will be consumed that day ..or cross in the evening or as close to midnight as possible, many times we have crossed at 23:30 (11:30p.m.). Another thing to do, in your collection of receipts, have 3 plies.. one for the stuff you bought like groceries and have consumed, stuff you bought that your bringing back with you (food, souvenirs etc.) and lastly gas.. and unless you are asked for them, do not hand CBSA agent your gas receipts, they can charge you duty on the gas in your tank ..
     
    Raycfe likes this.
  12. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave Active Member

    644
    42
    Jun 15, 2012
    Nova Scotia
    I've seen PUPs opened up at customs, worked with a guy had to set his tent trailer up for US customs as well.....

    Make sure any food etc is easy to get at....
     
  13. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

    9,227
    565
    Jul 19, 2007
    Ontario
    Must have been a slow day.. Never seen a pup opened.. or from the initial inspection the border folks smelt something funny ..
     
  14. jerbear

    jerbear Member

    185
    25
    Jun 11, 2015
    Indiana
    I drove a truck both ways and I was hastled both ways .My dispatcher didn't have the right bar code so I was detained going into Canada .I was coming out of Canada with a 53 ft. trailer of bags of corn seed and was detained about two hours while the checked my load out . I said I am not going out of the US any more send someone else , An I didn't .Yes they can be a royal pain either way and I never got stupid I always said yes sir no sir .
     
  15. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

    517
    198
    May 19, 2016
    Yup.

    I can also say from experience that the hassling is definitely not limited to just one side of the border.
     

Share This Page