When organizing for a backcountry outing, try not to pack just for the outing, but pack for preparedness. This includes emergencies, and perhaps a few extra days not planned for. Be sure to keep your safety top of mind and include plenty of water, sun screen and extra food and shelter.
If you’re a newbie to canoeing, or if you usually go car camping and just take the canoe out for the odd spin, planning an overnight (or longer) trip can be intimidating. When it comes to long canoe trips, packing is everything. Not only will stores be inaccessible—if you forget sunscreen, you’re out of luck—but you’ll be hauling all your gear over portages, which always seem longer in real life than they do on maps. Trust us on that one.
Before you haul the canoe out of storage, oil up your paddle, and start looking at your collection of maps for your next big adventure, take a look at our handy guide on how to properly pack for a canoe trip.
Use a checklist
Repeat after us: you will not remember everything off the top of your head. And again: you will not remember everything off the top of your head. Make a list, and check it twice. Better yet, check it three times.
If you’re going to be canoeing every day, you’re going to be burning a lot more energy than you may be used to, which means you’re going to be hungry. Ideal canoe trip food is lightweight, non-perishable, simple to prepare, and compact. As tempting as canned food might be, leave it on the grocery store shelf. Not only is it insanely heavy, but you’ll have to take the cans back out again.
Plan out your meals in advance, and pack the necessary ingredients in Ziploc bags or other light containers (for a handy guide to planning a menu, check out this article by paddling.net). Don’t forget to carry healthy, calorie-dense snacks, like granola, energy bars, dried fruit, turkey jerky, and trail mix. And hey—if you don’t feel like doing that much planning, there are lots of freeze-dried meals available. Some actually taste good, too.