Canoe Country Wilderness Canoeing
by © Lee Hegstrand


Food Packing

It is best to let an outfitter plan and pack your food unless you have backpacking experience. Buying and packing food is a very time consuming job and choosing the correct amount of food to bring is a precise task. Dehydrated trail meals are very convenient and over the years their makers have refined the many meal selections to meet the acceptance of the user public. They are somewhat expensive though (about $3/person for dinners) and most canoeists rely on the many grocery store items which are now available to provide a good menu mix and dehydrate their own foods.

Strive for one-pot type of cooking for convenience. Some canoeists opt for gourmet trail cooking, this fine for a leisurely trip but since this option exists for most of the year, convenience is more important than taste for the week or two you will be on your canoe trip. Package separate food items for a meal in plastic bags (remove store shelf boxes) and finally pack all food items for a meal in one large bag (double bagging helps prevent spills and reduces food odors). Write down all cooking instructions (or cut out the shelf box instructions) for each meal and include those instructions inside the large meal bag. Clearly label all food bags. Suggestion: pack the three meals in three separate drawstring bags and label to reduce rummaging time. Pack out all plastic food bags as it is illegal to burn plastic in the Canoe Country. No food cans or bottles are allowed except those containers which are meant to be reused, this is another U.S. Forest Service regulation.

If you are using canvas packs, line the food pack with two 30-gallon trash bags to help keep the contents dry. Some canoeists like to stiffen their canvas food bag with a wicker basket or a well-lacquered heavy cardboard box to help keep the food protected and organized. Always plan for several quick meals, for convenience, in rainy weather. Pack food for one extra day, just in case. Consider 3000 to 4000 calories per person per day when planning menus.

High-energy rib-sticker foods such as those high in carbohydrates (pastas and rice) and fats are good choices. Note that food planning is important, if too much food is allotted for each meal you could find yourselves packing out heavy amounts of wet, moldy, left-over food by the end of the trip since you should not deposit unused food at the campsite or in the water. If you are fishing for some of your meals remember to pack cooking oil and other fish preparation ingredients.

Entry > Discover Wilderness > Canoeing Information > Food Packing



Paddle back Paddle Up