What should you pack in your canoe for an overnight adventure?
What will make a real, positive difference to your comfort and enjoyment out in the wild?
– See our beginner’s guide to wild camping in Scotland
After years of canoe-tripping in the Highlands, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to give it some thought. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about essential safety items here such as buoyancy aids, throwlines and first aid kits. Nor am I talking specialist items like fancy paddles, boats and sails. My list below are simply some of the personal things I think make a real difference to my enjoyment during a trip. If you’re going to be outside for a few days straight, this stuff matters.
My Top 10 Items:
1. A Tilly Hat
I don’t like rain falling on my head nor wearing a hood. A decent waterproof hat will keep the rain off wonderfully. The hat will also keep the rain off your shoulders and that means the rest of you stays dry. Perfect if you get caught in a shower and aren’t fully waterproofed and hooded. It also keeps off the sun, and when you are on the water you are subject to a whole lot more UV than normal. Keeping your skin safe is vital to finishing the trip in good health.
For my money, a bladder style affair is a better bet than a water bottle. To keep your bottle to hand in the boat you have to keep it loose or clip it to something. If it’s loose it will roll around, and could fall out if you capsize. It’s secure when clipped but still swings around and isn’t necessarily accessible.
Good reasons to get a bladder:
- It fits into the back of your buoyancy aid if it has a pouch,
- You can keep yourself hydrated with frequent sips as you go along
- When you get out of the boat it’s easy to grab and take with you
I love photography, and have a collection of fancy cameras and lenses but on a canoe trip they add a lot of extra weight. Keeping them safe and dry in the boat isn’t a guarantee either so it’ll be packed away making it difficult take advantage of that unexpected Osprey encounter. A high quality waterproof camera that you can slip in a pocket on a leash is a better bet. I recommend the Canon D30 which I love, but there are other great options too.
- See our top tips for Photography on the water
For an overnight trip I put my night clothes in the best dry bag I have. If I get soaked, I want to guarantee that I have something warm and dry to sleep in. I pack:
- A full set of thermals
- Thick socks
- A woolly hat
- A jumper
- Roll mat
- Sleeping bag
- Read on for more tips on how to pack like a pro for wild camping