Canoe Country Wilderness Canoeing
by © Lee Hegstrand



One caveat: while canoes and many packs can hold a large quantity of "stuff', this should not be a reason to pack heavy knowing full well that you must carry it all! While canoeists have an advantage over backpackers in that portages are relatively short, you should still strive to reduce pack weight as much as possible. A good shoulder pack is a No. 3 size Duluth-type (canvas) pack. This style is roomy and well suited for canoe trips. A larger No. 4 Cruiser pack is acceptable for lighter personal packs. Note that this larger pack is too big for smaller youth to carry. Another option would be a waterproof dry pack made for water travel. These packs are very roomy and yet are relatively inexpensive. Internal frame packs are OK but they are expensive.

Do not use external frame packs, as their frames will catch canoe thwarts or gunwales when loading or unloading and they do not fit well in canoes. A day or belt pack for cameras, small personal items, drinking water and that day's lunch is handy. Line all non-waterproof packs with two trash bags that are appropriately sized. Personal packs consist of foam pads, sleeping bags, clothes and personal items all are packed into 11-gallon trash bags or waterproof stuff sacks if using canvas bags.

Rain suits are always packed last in the personal packs and are not packed inside the plastic bag but on top. Pack tight to use dead spaces. Tent, tarp, stove, cooking equipment, etc. go into the equipment pack with the heaviest items toward the top to ensure that the pack's center of gravity stays near your own. The large water containers you use for cooking are packed last on top of the equipment pack so that they are accessible to fill with water before landing for that day’s camp. Pack soft items next to the back of the pack to cushion your back. Adjust the pack's shoulder straps snugly. A party of two should have no more than one personal pack, one equipment pack, a food pack plus (possibly) a day pack. Keep packs and loose items to a minimum to make portaging easier and to reduce the chances you will leave something behind. Pack a few extra 11 and 30 gallon plastic bags to replace those that are damaged on a trip. These extra plastic bags can also be used for trash removal.

Entry > Discover Wilderness > Canoeing Information > Packing



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