99 (or so) Fail-safe
Canoe Camping Rules (tips).
Intrepid Camper (IC) came up with the idea, offered a great
many rules of her own and then challenged the QJ community to come up
with the rest. The following is the results of discussing her
original challenge. It's a good list and a big thanks to all who
participated. Understand all the rules before you decide to break any
GIVEN: There is no one set of rules that makes canoe camping fail-safe!
- Expect and plan for the worst, hope for the best. "Learn
how to laugh when things get tough; especially at yourself."
Above all, THINK! As soon as you stop thinking, something will
happen. I've found that even if you do think...stuff happens!
Murphy's Law will be in effect at all times.
- Be willing to take advice from other seasoned paddlers. Don't
let pride get in your way. You never know it all and you may have
forgotten some of the things you once understood.
- PERSONAL SAFETY
- Always use your personal flotation device.
- Treat being tired, wet and cold (Hypothermia) as the greatest
- Know your limits. Do not attempt to travel beyond your capabilities,
too far, too rugged, too long.
- Never let itinerary or time constraints drive your decision
making when faced with an issue dealing with weather. Getting
there late is far better than not getting there.
- When whittling wood....ALWAYS cut AWAY from your body parts!
- Carry a small survival kit on your person, compass, knife,
signal device, food, fire, and shelter.
- RESIST the urge... "I can hop/jump to that next rock,
I know I can" ... ankles arent as sturdy as you think.
- Do not get too close to animals larger than you
with calves, bears with cubs, bull moose in the fall.
- Don't dive from shore or swim in the rapids. Tree snags hidden
under water could entangled you. Think about what's below the
surface when diving or jumping.
- Don't eat wild food items unless you are sure they are safe...there
are several with look-alike counterparts which are deadly.
- Tread extremely carefully when crossing wet rocks or logs;
they are very slippery.
- Keep packs as low as possible in the canoe for better stability
and less wind resistance.
- The stern paddler gets out of the canoe first whenever possible.
- Be kind to your canoe. It's your only ride home. When approaching
a beaver dam, remember you're not paddling a teeter-totter.
- FIRES AND FOOD
- Bring several kinds of incendiary devices, so to always be
able to start a fire.
- Have a pack of absolutely water proof matches with you and
best if on your person.
- If you bring an axe/hatchet/saw, make sure it is sharp.
- Collect fire wood before dark and put it under the canoe or
tarp at night to have dry kindling in the morning.
- Collect some birch bark along your portages. It is easier to
find there and you will always have a dry supply.
- Try new recipes at home first before committing to take it
on a trip. Nothing worse than to discover that supper is some
gross concoction that no one will eat.
- Always hang your food pack. Best to hang it somewhere the Bear
is not expecting it to be
i.e. NOT above the fireplace, for
- Bring extra food...just in case.
- Double and triple bag your food stuffs.
- Keep a clean camp, no food out or strewn on ground.
- Do not dump garbage in the privy. (BW) Do not dump left over
food or scraps in the water.
- Use a water filter. Collect water where it is at least 3 feet
deep. Never drink out of a beaver pond.
- Always have a plan just in case that bear does come into camp.
Sleep with a big solid stick, some hand sized rocks to throw,
and/or pepper spray.
- Don't forget the coffee and/or your favorite 'comfort' food.
- When gathering and cutting wood you should wear leather gloves.
Also leather gloves should be used when tending the fire.
- Bring along a pair of safety glasses and wear them when collecting
and processing firewood. Wearing safety glasses on portages is
not a bad idea either.
- Follow the recommended packing rules NO food cans or glass
- NO FOIL in the fire pit. Take bits of foil out of fire pit
and pack them out with you.
- Don't dispose of fish guts in or near camp.
- FIRST AID
- Know basic first aid and take along a basic first aid kit.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
- Know how to identify poison ivy plants.
- Pack good sun screen and bug repellent.
- Wear long sleeve shirts on travel days; apply bug spray and
roll down sleeves before landing at portages.
- If you NEED lenses, take a backup pair.
- Bring along needle nose pliers for hook removal. Tie on a lanyard
with carabineer on the loose end to clip onto a thwart. A pliers
with wire cutting option could also be used to cut the barb if buried
in human flesh instead of fish.
- If landing a very large fish, paddle to shore before bringing
- You can filet your fish on the bottom of your overturned canoe,
or on a paddle blade.
- Think about the guy in the stern when casting from the bow.
- Be aware that snapping turtles, big pike, otters and mink WILL
take advantage of your fish on the stringer.
Entry > Safe
canoe camping tips