While canoe trips are about enjoying the great outdoors, exploring the wilderness and challenging yourself, packing the necessary gear makes it all possible.

Before you head to the put-in, run carefully through our canoe trip packing list to make sure you have the essentials covered. We have broken things down into kitchen, gear, and safety items and added some of our expert advice along the way.

Kitchen gear to pack for your canoe trip

Food & drinks

There’s nothing like a good meal after a long day on the water. Depending on the length of your trip and how much you can bring, pack accordingly. Calories, protein, goodies, oh my.

Camp kitchen

Can’t have delicious meals without some means of cooking and eating it! You’ll need to be prepared to properly clean up after as well, to avoid attracting unwanted visitors to your campsite. Here’s everything you’ll need for your make-shift kitchen in the woods.

Canoe camping gear list

Canoe camping essentials

If you’re planning to sleep in the woods, these are the basics you’ll want to get your hands on.

Clothes and shoes for canoe camping

Every canoe camping checklist requires well-chosen clothes. Pack clothes based on both the weather forecast and average yearly temperatures in the area. Always pack an extra pair of socks.

Personal camping trip gear

They say not to sweat the small stuff, but these items can make a big difference in the enjoyment of your trip!

[ Don’t want to pack all this stuff? Find fully outfitted canoe trips in our Paddling Trip Guide ]

Canoe paddling gear

Can’t go on a canoe trip without your paddling equipment, now can you?

Safety gear for your canoe trip

Safety first. A proper and smart canoe camping packing list is nothing without safety supplies and rescue gear. Extra weight for an extra safe trip will be well worth it.

  • Canoe safety kit: Depending on where you live, there are different regulations as to what you need to have in your canoe. (In general, you need a floating safety line, flashlight, whistle and a bailer.)
  • Bilge pump (optional)
  • PFD for each person with a whistle attached
  • Emergency signal/flares
  • Emergency plan: Take a look at your map and make note of roads, communities, and other landmarks that could serve as evacuation spots or places to go for help in the case of an emergency
  • Ditch-kit (Read: DIY Ditch-Kit Essentials)
  • First aid kit: Pack inside a drybag and don’t forget your daily medications
  • A copy of your route and your expected return time and date left with a reliable friend
  • Depending on where you are going and for how long, you may want to consider electronics like a GPS, a SPOT device or a satellite phone
  • ID, a small amount of cash and a credit card: In case of an emergency, it is important to have ID on you. In remote areas, having both cash and a credit card is a good idea—and you may even paddle past somewhere you can buy a beer or ice cream!

Luxury canoe camping items

Once you’ve completed your canoe trip gear list, try to leave a little room just for you. Make your canoe trip extra comfortable with those little things that you love at home.

Paddling Magazine tells you what to bring on your next canoe trip. | Feature Photo: Noah Booth


  1. How could you list a portable speaker to take on a canoe trip? This is completely unacceptable. People go to the woods for the solitude and not to hear someone else’s music. Unacceptable Paddling Magazine.

  2. lol pennys comment sucks some people are in complete solitude with no one around them hence going on a canoe trip therefore no one would hear their music. people bringing music doesn’t automatically mean there rude unaware people. get over urself. this packing list is the best!! thank you so much 🙂


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