5 Tips for the Perfect Canoe Camping Trip


April 14, 2023


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Canoe camping trip

Canoe camping is an amazing activity to try out anytime. However, it requires preparation that is slightly more thorough than average. We’ve got you covered! Here are 5 tips to make the most out of your next adventure.

In this article, you will learn more about these 5 tips for your canoe camping trips:

  1. Decide where you’d like to go
  2. Choose the right equipment
  3. Select the right materials
  4. Opt for Protective Clothing and Accessories
  5. Cozy Camping Nights for Outstanding Canoe Camping Days
  6. FAQ

1. Decide where you’d like to go

This is the first thing to do before you venture out on this type of getaway.

Step one? Assess the group’s physical abilities.

By setting the time of year to go, the duration of your adventure, as well as travel distances, everyone in your group can enjoy the expedition fully.

canoe camping with friends

2. Choose the right equipment

For your first trip, renting a canoe is a good alternative to buying one. Most national parks rent out boats that are well suited for first trips.

Canoe camping gear

Life jackets

Having your own life jacket however, is a big advantage! A jacket suitable for water sports will give you more freedom of movement and better comfort than a rental jacket.

Several options are available: jackets with pockets, knife holders, colourful options, different styles, and even kids’ life jackets.

Remember – safety first! Wear your life jacket at all times.

Dry bags

To transport your equipment, you will also need dry bags or barrel packs. Barrel packs are very practical, easy to assemble, and they are perfect to place food safely away from animals.

Dry bags

Whistles and GPSes

Other tools you might like to bring along are: a whistle, and a compass and/or GPS. In case of danger, you can signal your position, find your way back on track easily, and feel entirely safe and secure knowing you’re ready in case anything should happen.


3. Select the Right Gear for Your Campsite

canoe camping tent

If you plan on setting up camp for one or more nights, two or three-person tents are your best bet. Larger camping tents are indeed difficult to fit in canoe barrels.

A good tent will allow you to sleep well, but it is not responsible for everything! You will also need a light, compressible sleeping bag, warm enough for the season. Prioritize synthetic materials that require less maintenance and stay warm even when wet. To choose the right one, both in terms of shape and warmth-to-weight ratio, check out our article on the best sleeping bags.

Equip yourself with a good sleeping pad, which is just as important as a sleeping bag. It provides insulation that protects you from the cold and keeps you comfortable over rough or uneven ground. Inflatable, self-inflating or foam sleeping pads… To find your way around these and enjoy recuperative nights, take a look at our article on the best sleeping pads.

TentsSleeping bags & mats

4. Opt for Protective Clothing and Accessories

Choose light shirts with sun protection, such as rash guards, as well as long pants or shorts to avoid sunburn and insect bites. Columbia’s PFG collection notably features a variety of anti-UVA and UVB clothing. Thanks to Omni-shade technology, the items in this line protect from the sun’s harmful rays and are breathable and quick-drying: a solution of choice for all nautical activities.

Do not forget your warm clothes for cool evenings and nights. Again, prioritize synthetic materials that will dry quickly – the chances of them getting wet at some point are high! Consider the multi-layer system, ideal for both hiking and canoe camping.

Remember also to bring rain gear; with the right equipment, you will never be surprised if a downpour comes your way. The North Face, for example, has designed a perfect range of rainwear featuring its own technologies, such as Dryvent™. Check it out if you are looking for a breathable, waterproof and windproof jacket or vest.

Finally, do not forget your headlamp; it will be your best friend if you reach your base at dusk.

Watersport clothingSun protectionInsect repellentsHeadlamps

5. Cozy Camping Nights for Outstanding Canoe Camping Days

camp fire

After a day on the water, resting your back is not a luxury. If the space in your boat allows it, consider bringing a small camping chair and take time to recover from your day’s efforts. Opt for a good folding chair such as the SAIL Alu Packlite Eco, or check out our article on the best camping chairs. Your back will thank you!

A good dinner is part of a good recovery, too. To eat healthy and also indulge a little, take stock of the essentials for camping cooking. You will need a portable and lightweight camping stove (one that will take up limited space in your boat). Well equipped, you will be able to prepare tasty and complete meals to enjoy under the celestial vault.

To make your next morning most invigorating, help yourself to a good cup of coffee made with care using your camping coffee maker. You should be able to take one along on your canoe camping getaway, so take advantage of it! Nothing like a good coffee in nature to start a day paddle in hand!

Chairs and seatsCamp kitchen

Happy canoe camping!


How to Dress for Canoe Camping?

How to Sit in a Canoe?

How to Paddle Well in a Canoe?


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