The Ultimate Canoe Trip Packing List

The Ultimate Canoe Trip Packing List

Packing for a canoe trip can be a daunting task even for a seasoned tripper. There's always that one thing that just gets forgotten... unless you use a handy list like this (although you'll probably still forget something). The worst thing I ever forgot...was the actual tent itself. We had the fly, we had the poles, we even had the ground sheet, but the tent was somehow June... and peak black-fly season in Ontario. I hope you enjoy this list of everything we believe to be essential on a canoe trip. Print it out and cross it off as you go along. See something missing? Let us know and we'll get it added.

    First things first

    • Plan a route (if travelling) 
    • Book your camping permit (if required) 
    •  Stare at your map for a while and get excited

    canoe essentials

    • A Canoe (reserve in advance if necessary) 
    •  Local area map in waterproof case 
    •  Canoe paddle, with an extra paddle per boat 
    •  Personal Floatation Device aka PFD aka Life Jacket aka Lifey Jay - 1 per person 
    •  Bail Kit – rope, whistle, small bucket 
    •  Signalling Device (flare, mirror)

    sleep & shelter

    • Tent (with full rain fly) 
    • Tent poles, stakes (extras), fastening string 
    • Tent foot print or under-tarp to reduce tent puddling & protect your tent
    • Sleeping bag (season appropriate) with compression sack 
    • Sleeping Pad  
    • Pillowcase – clothes stuffed inside make a great pillow!


    Day Clothes (meant to get wet)

    • Sun hat/sunglasses 
    •  Neck warmer/buff – great for staying warm on rainy days, or dip in water and wrap around your neck to cool off on the hot ones) 
    •  Lightweight t-shirt/long sleeve 
    •  Underwear/Sports bra 
    •  Rain jacket/pants
    •  Hiking pants/shorts (in early seasons, layer up long underwear with thinner pants, adjust depending on weather) 
    •  Wool/synthetic socks (quick drying socks are great. There is nothing more cringeworthy than starting your day with wet socks) 
    •  Hiking boots/shoes 

    Site Clothes (meant to stay dry)

    • Toque/knit hat (the coziest thing to put on after a long day) 
    •  T-shirt Lightweight sweater (fleece is always nice) 
    •  Long underwear 
    •  Sweatpants/track pants 
    •  Wool socks (extra pair couldn’t hurt) 
    • Lightweight ‘site shoes’ (easily slipped on, durable, water friendly – think, Tom’s or Croc’s)
    • Extra underwear!
    Pro Tip: Leave your coziest outfit in your car for the drive home. Or sit in the car with your wonderful forest stench, that’s nice too.

    camp kitchen/utilities

    • Water filtration / treatment system (Beaver Fever sucks!) 
    • Food – open to preference. We portion by meal, air seal perishables, and only bring what we like 
    • Single burner camp stove 
    • Fuel for stove 
    • Lighter/Matches/Flint 
    • Steel Pot Set (a big and small pot, along with a single pan should do it) 
    • Cooking Utensils (cutlery, tongs, strong metal spoon, kitchen knife) 
    • Lightweight Mugs 
    • Plates or bowls 
    • Biodegradable soap 
    • Dishcloth and scouring pad 
    • ‘Kitchen Tarp’ – to cover cooking area, or for a full bellied nap after dinner 
    • Garbage bags for non-burnable garbage to be packed out 
    • Folding saw/camp knife 
    • Airtight food barrel, to be hung from tree at night along with any other scented items/toiletries

    safety & things

    • Headlamp with extra batteries 
    • First aid-kit (always nice if someone’s got some training too) 
    • Pocket knife 
    •  Bear bangers/spray 
    •  Bug spray/jacket 
    •  Patch repair kits for – sleeping bag/pad, tent, canoe, tarp 
    •  Duct tape. So. Much. Duct tape. 
    •  Bag of bags (pack some backup plastic bags of different sizes, for whatever) 
    •  Any medications for you/group 
    •  Compass/GPS Multi-tool 
    •  Trip Plan left with a friend – let them know where you’re going, when you plan to be out, and who to contact should things get a little dicey) 

    odds & ends

    • Small stuff sack to keep personal items easily accessible (phone, wallet, keys, medication)
    • Toothbrush/Toothpaste (to be packed and hung with barrel at night) 
    • Did we mention toilet paper? Bring more than you think you’ll need, bag it twice, and then pack another roll. 
    • Quick dry towel 
    • Power bank/small solar charger for electronic items 
    • Phone/emergency communication (we’ve used the Spot locating device for years)
    • Feminine hygiene products 
    • Notebook and pencil 
    • Spare cash, just in case 
    • Hammock/camp chair 
    • Camera 
    • Binoculars 
    • Playing cards (or some other little nick nacks to play with at the site)

    toilet paper

    • For the love of all things holy, don’t forget the toilet paper.

    Happy Trails!

    If this all seems a bit too overwhelming for your first trip, you can get in touch with us and we're happy to walk you through any questions you might have.

    Another option is to go on a fully guided/outfitter trip where we take care of every little detail for you!

    Back to blog