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 checklist 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 For Canoe Trips

Food & Drinks

  • Food – create a plan for your food group. Check out our recipes or pack pre-packaged dehydrated meals.
  • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate
  • Spice kit- Tic Tac boxes and pill containers with compartments for each day of the week work well
  • Cooking oil or butter
  • Emergency meals – Use your discretion and pack the amount of emergency meals based on the length and remoteness of your canoe trip.

Camp Kitchen

  • Coffee maker – We love the GSI JavaDrip and the Handpresso.
  • Camp stove, stove repair kit, wind shield, fuel and fuel bottles.
  • Matches and fire starters
  • Pots and pans
  • Grill (optional)
  • Work/ fire gloves
  • Spatula, spoon, flipper
  • Small cutting board
  • Knife with blade cover
  • Can-opener
  • Cutlery
  • Personal plate and/or dish
  • Dish kit with biodegradable soap, a dishcloth and steel wool – PRO TIP: Pack your dish kit inside a mesh sac that can be hung in a tree to easily dry dishes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water treatment (pump, tablets, filter system)
  • Water bottles


Camp Essentials

  • Food barrel & harness
  • Dry bags
  • Camping pack
  • Tent
  • Groundsheet
  • Tarp
  • Rope
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Garbage bags
  • Trowel
  • Hatchet or small saw

Clothes and Shoes

Pack clothes based on both the weather forecast and average yearly temperatures in the area.

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sports bra
  • Swim suit
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweater
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Sleeping layers
  • Fleece or down jacket
  • Rain coat
  • Rain pants
  • Sun hat
  • Toque/ beanie
  • Mittens/ gloves
  • Camp shoes or sandals
  • Paddling shoes or sandals

Personal Stuff

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste – Save weight and pack toothpaste tablets.
  • Toilet paper
  • Notebook and pen
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Medications
  • Power bank or extra batteries
  • Phone
  • Ear plugs

Paddling Gear

  • Canoe
  • Paddle for each person plus an extra
  • Tie-downs for canoe
  • Waterproof map bag
  • Maps
  • Compass
  • Permits, if needed
  • Carabiners
  • Canoe repair kit – sealant, duct tape


  • 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 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.
  • 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
  • Electronics – 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, 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!


  • Book
  • Down booties
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Camera, card and batteries
  • Portable speaker
  • Camp pillow
  • Binoculars
  • Cards and camp games
  • Frisby
  • Camp chair

Follow us on Instagram @paddlingmagazine and see beautiful images from canoe trips and the pages of our magazine. 


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