The last place you want to be when realizing you’ve forgotten a necessary travel item is when you’re already out on the water or at the campsite.
Packing for a canoe camping trip can be quite complicated, as the space in the canoe can be limited depending on how many people are in each, and it’s imperative that most supplies stay dry. Making sure everything is packed in sealed dry bags will prevent the possibility of a ruined trip.
During the several extended canoe camping trips I have taken in my life, I’ve been the victim of under-packing, failing to make a checklist beforehand, and not properly securing my dry bags. While in a rush to get out on the water and begin your canoe trip, don’t leave without giving your packing list a great amount of thought. It is worth the time and effort of putting in a great deal of planning, and even packing your canoe with all supplies a few days before you leave is a great way to figure out what equipment you may have to leave behind.
Although this list is what I would consider complete, please adjust based on your preferences with special attention to the type of weather you will be dealing with on your trip, what kinds of waters are being traveled as well as the length of your trip. One of the main areas of packing people tend to push aside is safety, as people never assume the worst scenarios will happen to them. It’s better to be prepared. In addition to packing all of your medications, a first aid kit, back up batteries for electronics, and a solar charger for your phone, pack flares or some sort of emergency signaling. This ensures you are taking all precautions and will be in good shape if a difficult situation presents itself.
- Paddle (spare if necessary)
- Life jacket
- Rope (used to tie the canoe to shore or tow another canoe or bear bag food)
- Ground and rain tarp
- Sleeping bag/pad
- Pillow (if needed)
- Camp chair (if needed)
- Swiss Army Knife
- Lighter/matches/fire starter
- Dry bags, trash bags, ziploc bags
- Extra batteries for all electronics
- Cell phone
- Solar charger
- Water purifier/tablets
- First aid kit
- Cooler/ice packs
- Gallons of water (depends how long you’re traveling)
- Snacks/granola bars
Clothing and toiletries
- Toilet paper
- Toiletry bag with biodegradable shampoo/conditioner/body wash
- Water shoes
- Hiking shoes
- Bathing suit
- Waterproof jacket/pants
- Undergarments (always bring extra socks)
- Thermal shirt (pack enough warm clothes for night temperatures)
- Light shirts and shorts (depending on the weather, but something that will dry quickly if your canoe tips or it rains)