What To Take On A Canoe Camping Trip?

what to take on a canoe camping trip

What to take on a canoe camping trip? The answer to this frequently asked question is dependent on a variety of things, including the route, group, season, and personal preferences! To guarantee that you have everything you require, consider booking one of our comprehensive outfitting packages. If you choose to abandon the van, all you need are your personal possessions, such as clothing and toiletries. Is there a paddle-camping excursion on the itinerary? Our comprehensive list includes essential and optional gear, clothing, attachments, and other items.

The guide handles all of the arrangements for a guided canoe excursion, which often includes all necessary camping equipment, canoes, meals, transportation to and from the river as well as information about the route and how much time it will take to reach the next campsite with more time available if required.

First-timers will feel at ease since all the information is provided and important decision-making is handled by the guides. However, not everyone can afford a guided canoe trip, while others would prefer to go alone. It is critical to have adequate camping and canoeing skills, as well as prior knowledge of your destination and sound judgment.

What Is The Canoe Camping?

teal and white SUV

Canoeing is a water lover’s alternative to backpacking. Paddlers are taken to beautiful campsites on lakes and rivers throughout the country by combining self-reliance, challenge, and exploration. Paddlers will bring everything that is required for the trip, if it is for one night or ten nights, aboard their boat. Then they will paddle and fish during the day while camping beneath the stars at night.

You can go on a canoe camping adventure that is perfect for you depending on your skills and objectives for the journey. Here are some pointers to help you get out on the water.

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Kitchen Gear To The Pack For Your Canoe Trip

red and yellow kayak on brown field surrounded by green trees during daytime
what to take on a canoe camping trip

After a long day on the water, there is nothing like a good supper. Pack appropriately according to the length of your expedition and how much you can carry. Calories, protein, snacks, and more goodies.

  • Meals: Create a food plan for your canoe excursion. Look for recipes or buy pre-packaged dehydrated meals.
  • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate
  • Snacks!
  • Spice kit: Tic Tac boxes and pill compartments with separate compartments for each day of the week are ideal.
  • Cooking oil or butter
  • Emergency meals: Use your judgment when packing the number of emergency meals you will need based on how long and difficult your canoe journey will be.

Core Gear

  • Maps and Charts in the waterproof case
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Matches/lighter/fire starter in the waterproof container
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Two-way radios
  • Cell phone in the protective bag
  • Headlamp 
  • Flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • Multifunction watch
  • First-aid supplies
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm

Canoe Camping Essentials

If you are going to sleep in the woods, these are the requirements you will need.

  • Food barrel and harness
  • Drybags
  • Camping pack
  • Tent
  • Groundsheet
  • Tarp
  • Rope
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Garbage bags
  • Hatchet or small saw
  • Waterproof map bag
  • Maps
  • Compass


  • Drysuit or top
  • Paddling gloves or pogies
  • Neoprene footwear
  • Helmet
  • Sandals
  • Sun-shielding hat
  • Hat or cap retainer
  • Skullcap
  • Wool/synthetic cap or balaclava
  • Bandana or buff

Safety Gear For Your Canoe Trip

The first and most important consideration is your safety. A comprehensive canoe camping packing list is meaningless without any protection or rescue gear. The additional weight of a more secure trip would be well worth it.

  • Canoe safety kit: Depending on where you reside, there are various rules regarding what you must have aboard your canoe. (A floating safety line, flashlight, whistle, and bailer are generally required.)
  • Bilge pump (optional)
  • PFD for each person with the whistle attached
  • Emergency signal/flares
  • Emergency plan: Take a look at your map and jot down any roads, settlements, or other features that may be used as emergency evacuation routes or destinations to seek assistance in the event of an emergency.
  • Ditch-kit
  • First aid kit: Pack inside a drybag and do not forget your daily medications
  • A copy of your itinerary and anticipated return date and time should be left with a trustworthy buddy.
  • Depending on where you are going and how long you will be gone, you may want to bring electronics like a GPS, a SPOT device, or a satellite phone.
  • You can just buy a few essential items as you go and make it through the day: A photo ID, a modest sum of money, and a credit card. Having both cash and a credit card in remote areas is wise—and you may even paddle past somewhere where you can purchase beer or ice cream!
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Selecting The Right Canoe For You

Open-Deck Canoes

The basic, open-deck canoe is a classic for a reason. These boats are inexpensive, versatile, and long-lasting, fitting in on any slow-paced lake or river. The emphasis is on the word ‘slow.’ These boats are not meant to go hurtling down the rapids regardless of what Disney’s Pocahontas teaches us. Because there are no huge trucks or trailers available, transporting these canoes might be difficult; nevertheless, YouTube has plenty of creative ideas for the committed.

Closed-Deck Canoes

The beloved closed-deck canoe retains the classic single-blade paddle as well as the crouched posture, allowing paddlers to explore more exciting waterways. Closed-deck canoes, commonly known as “white-water” canoes, cover only the bow and stern storage compartments, leaving little room for the paddler(s).

Inflatable Kayaks, Aka ‘Duckies’, IKs

These playful fish are a lot of fun to play with within quick currents and knocking over occasional rocks will not end your trip. They are made from materials like durable poly-urethane (also known as Hypalon) or PVC and include tie-down spots for gear bags and a double-bladed paddle that resembles a kayak. They handle well in most conditions, but they have a late entry and exit, so they might not be ideal for long-distance travel. They are great in shallow, rocky water, but they are difficult to paddle efficiently in flatwater to cover many miles per day due to their lack of draft.

Single Or Double

You may select a single or double seated canoe in each of the categories below. The double is almost always appropriate if you have a dedicated adventure partner, children, or a dog. Doubles may be difficult to move alone, but they are not impossible, and they allow you to bring more gear. Remember that the extra length increases storage and transport difficulties.

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