Essential Canoe Trip Gear

Ken Whiting tells us about the canoe trip gear items he considers essential in this video from Paddle Tales, Canoe Tripping Gear I Never Leave at Home:

Paddling Anorak

Ken likes a paddling-specific waterproof anorak because of the many features it has over an ordinary raincoat. That includes latex gaskets around the wrists and a neoprene gasket around the neck. The waist fits snugly with velcro tabs.

This is especially important if you’ll experience some cold, rainy weather during your canoe trip, such as in spring and fall.

Spare Paddle

A spare paddle is vital to bring along on a canoe trip in case one of your paddles breaks. Ken likes to bring a longer kayak paddle as his spare. This can be extra handy if you end up paddling your canoe solo for some reason.

Campfire Starter and Folding Saw

There are many different types of fire starters available. You want to bring some along that will burn for several minutes as you lay kindling and bigger pieces on your fire, especially if it’s wet. An online search will help you find either pre-made fire starters or ideas to make some yourself.

A folding saw is faster to use than a hatchet and usually safer to pack. It’ll help you get a fire started quickly in combination with your fire starter.

canoe trip map in case

Waterproof Map Case

A clear, well-made waterproof map case will last for many canoe trips. Besides keeping your maps safe and dry, you can use it to store other small items you want handy like a compass, a permanent marker, matches or lighter, etc.

Thick, Comfortable Sleeping Pad

Sometimes it’s worth the extra space and weight to sleep well out there! Ken goes for a thick pad for ultra comfort. Sometimes you need to compromise between space and comfort, so you’ll need to decide which is more important for you.

Toilet Paper

Take more than one roll! It’s not a bad idea to take one roll per person. You’d rather have extra TP than not enough. Pack it in a ziplock bag so it’s watertight, and throw a hand shovel in the bag, too, in case you need to do your business along a portage.

Optional: Lightweight Packable Camp Chair

Ken’s chair only weighs three pounds and packs down tight. He loves bringing one along so he’s comfortable in camp after a long day of paddling and portaging.

What canoe trip gear do you never leave home without?

loading the canoe with gear

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