Canoe camping options part 1

-- Last Updated: Jun-02-05 8:47 PM EST --

What works for you? I have a few tips for canoe camping that I would like to share. And I'm hopeing others will join in with things that really make life on an island in the middle of nowhere much easier.

First after looking around for ways to lighten the load I've come up with this 16 lb. cook/necessity kit made up of things I like to have along on a camping trip. It's a rough and tumble tool bag from Home Depot made from heavy duty water proof cordura. Built for hauling hand tools it's a strong case. Not completly water tight but the things inside don't need to be dry as in a dry bag.

Next, after cooking on the ground on remote trips I've decided I wanted a lightweight table for keeping things up out of the mud. I searched the internet and local stores but could not find anything light or cheap enough for my taste. I also wanted something that could serve as a rack or grate for the bottom of the canoe to keep items up out of the bilge or puddle that developes during a days paddle. I made this 4 lb. table from scrap cedar and some aluminum crutch legs and it looks like it will do the trick.
Now I'm looking for a compact lightweight comfortable camp chair that is a little better than your standard collapsible chair. Anyone have any ideas?

Also I've found that a roll of paper towels kept in it's own dry bag is indespenseable and appreciated by everyone. Along with an old Army trenching tool and a good bow saw for firewood.

Good thread NT
Couple of things;

thing one - Real cheap cutting board. I’ve found a roll-up tough plastic cutting board that also serves as a funnel and various other uses.

thing two - canoe seats such as crazy creek or sit-backer serve well as camp seats even on the ground.

ok thing three - if not on a trip with portage consideration, my 5+ gallon watertight buckets provide a great kitchen enclosure and a camp seat for the campfire.

Multi-use is the best.

I’m still too new at canoe camping, but I’ve been looking for a table myself. Aldi’s just had an aluminum table in a bag. 27x27x27 for 20 bucs. went and bought it and my Coleman stove fits with plenty of room to spare…It’s light too…only problem now is where to put it…

excellent, lets go try them out
I’m ready for another trip. Can’t wait to island camp again! Sure beats pay camping (oops sorry Brian)! I’m activly looking for a .22 bolt action to fire CB caps. I really enjoyed shooting Jo’s.

No hard fast rules for me
I’ve gone from the bare necessities to having enough around to take care of everyone in camp.

However I will say, for me, a must on a trip is eating well. I spent enough backpack days eating Ramen noodles. Now that I can carry fresh food I eat like I’m at home!

Another is you can’t have enough toilet paper. I always take double the amount I think I need cause it gets used to rough wipe the kitchen stuff, start fires, blow noses, and of course for it’s intended purpose.

Last for me is dried drink mix. In the middle of August in the Boundary Waters, nothing slakes a thirst like a little lemonade (except for maybe a little Chablis or Single Malt).

Good thread NT. See who else joins in.


What I found works very well

– Last Updated: Jun-02-05 8:36 PM EST –

Having a paddler in the group that needs ballast (read "my gear").

Thanks again Joe!

a little more “free” advice

– Last Updated: Jun-02-05 8:34 PM EST –

Some other tools that work hard in the wood. The machete, trenching tool, and FRS radio.

Wes and tried the radios on a recent fishing expedition and they are very good for letting each other know what's not biteing or what's for lunch and I think they would be fantastic in the boundry waters or a river trip for a group that gets spread out. Even after droping one of the Cobras in the lake it still works perfectly. The two channel no licence ones are very reasonable in price.

A true machete is hard to find but I think Rick got a very nice SS one from Cabela's. The WW II trenchers can be found surplus for as little as 10 bucks. They are battle proven killers, much stronger than more expensive remakes. yes I did clean 60 years of OD paint off of them and added a fresh coat of Watco.

Buy a Good Tarp
I can put up with rain every day if I can just have a tarp. At least 12x12, but the bigger the better. And forget those polyethylene POS, too noisy, too brittle, and too bulky. If you shop arround (Campmoor and Sportsman’s Guide have the best values) you can get a good nylon tarp very reasonably. Nothing’s more miserable, than being holed up in a two man tent for hours or days. Many a time a well-strung tarp has saved a trip for us. A good tarp’s worth it’s weight in gold! And BTW, I’m with Pyker on the T.P., always better too have too much than too little! WW

topic. I really have it in mind to try camping out of the canoe at some point. It might be a tough sell to the wife though, she thinks canoe camping means taking the canoe to the RV park with us!

roll up table
I use an alum. top roll up table i got at Target for about $15. I agree with lots of TP. Also a little fire starter for wet days. And a good flashlight with extra batterys. I use a headlight that takes 3 AAA’s it’s light and bright.

I go
as light as possible. same as hiking all my gear, including water for a weekend stays around 40 lbs. Lite cooker, mess kit, synth. sleeping bag, ect. find items that will do double duty. A machete will chop wood, but also groove a rain gutter along a tarp or tent. Sleeping mat doubles as a small dry area, seat on the ground.

really like my heavy 6 qt pot with lid
You can heat up water in it to do dishes, you can cook almost anything in it, you can hang it from a tripod and chain, you can carry water in it, and you can turn it upside down and sit on it. That’s about all I’ve discovered so far. Best $3 I ever spent at a yard sale.

Great thread. I love this “technique” stuff.

Collapsable camp sink and water bags.
Camp showers are nice , too. Wet wipes. Parachute cord (good for clotheslining off roaders who buzz thru camp)(Did I say that?!)

Us canoe paddlers travel in style with a Coleman Quickbed and a 5 day cooler. Obviously, we don’t portage on those trips. I’m taking a pie iron on the next trip. The hubby has a travel guitar that fits in a dry bag. Wine bag.

Oh, boy, oh, boy! we got a trip coming up!

I never leave home without
my inflatable air mattress and rechargable 12 volt air pump. Together they make up 10 lbs of the 50 lbs I carry in my kayak when camping overnight.

It measures 78" long X 39" wide X 6" tall when inflated, and I sleep just as good on it when in the woods as I do in the bed at home! And its funny to see the look on peoples faces when they hear the scream of the pump inflating the mattress while they unroll their 1" thick thermarest!

If I don’t get a good nights sleep, I won’t enjoy the trip, so its worth the extra weight to carry it. My kayak can carry a LOT of gear so cargo space isn’t a concern!


I am in the process of building my
second table. The advantage to building one is that you can actually design it to fit the canoe. I paddle a solo and when I’m carrying gear, everything has to have it place. I find that the hard part of building my own table is the attachment of the legs. Ideally, I want…

  1. legs that are sufficiently long that I don’t have to bend way over to use it. If I have to do that, I might as well cook on the ground.
  2. Simple attachment of legs. Best is if the legs are permanently attached (as in no need to disassemble the whole table when putting it away – just fold up the legs.
  3. fairly stable. I have tried various types of supports that stabilize the legs, but have not found the ideal arrangement yet.

    That’s it for now. Suggestions are welcome. If I find a good solution to the table quandry, I will post it!

    By the way, great topic…

The eye of the beholder…

That’s where “smooth” is. As a predominantly solo paddler, I like to keep my loads and camp chores to a minimum. Like to fit my stuff all in two packs. Dried food is fine, with me, thank you very much. But I still have my list of “musts.”

  • Like W’Webb, I have to have a good tarp --currently a CCS Tundra Tarp; well worth the money.

  • An old LaFuma folding chair. Though it’s low (maybe 3-4 inches), it gets me up off the ground, has a seat back, and folds almost flat. I use it as my mechanism to keep stuff up out of the bilge.

  • A GSI Micro table to get my cook stove up out of the muck. Not very big (@12x15x6 inches). It’s aluminum; weighs less than two pounds; folds to a 3x3x15 sixe.

  • Like to carry a small hatchet and a folding saw, just in case.

  • Reading material and a candle lantern (with spare candles), though, of late, I have been supplementing with a Bonfire-type l.e.d. lantern.

  • A Thermarest mattress. My bones are old.

I like the yer table, very nice…

– Last Updated: Jun-03-05 9:27 AM EST –

I'm gearing up for a long river trip in 2 weeks, here are a few items I take to make things a little more comfortable....a folding chair, 12X10 tarp, machete, inflatable sleeping pad, box o wine and a 2 quart stainless steel pot w/lid... 2 alum. poles from REI..

Golf Ball Retriever…
I found one of those collapsible pole, ball retrivers at a yard sale for $4, it extends to fifteen feet, collapses to 39", and is about 3/4" in diameter…makes a great pole for Tarps!

Ya know those cheap mesh hammocks from Walmart? use one to put all your unpacked gear(Pots, pans, pTowels etc) in during camp…if you hang it under the corner of a tarp it keeps everything dry, and since it’s mesh, everything is visible…Read: Shelf Space!

I found that 3M makes a recycled PLASTIC pre-soaped (Bio-degradable) scrub pad, looks like a SOS pad but it’s environmentally friendly, and since it’s plastic will not harm nonstick surfaces…(Two in zip lock bags).

Those less than a dollar snaplinks sold for keychains are attached to everything I pack into the yak, makes it easy to hang things up in camp…clotheslines aren’t just for clothes anymore…(in a canoe makes it easy to clip all those bags to a line to avoid loosing them in a spill).

Add a lead 2 OZ weight (Walmart) used to hang nets etc to your gear; tied to a long length of paracord, you can throw it over dead hanging branches to get dry wood for fires at sites that are supposedly picked clean when you arrive… (Hanging branches are a lot dryer than those that lay on the ground).

Make Super long bungie cords out of elastic deck rigging cord, add a few of those cheap keychain snaplinks to each end, they make tying off tarps easy, lotsa uses for them…

Fold Flat Dishes…
I bought the plate at Trildays in Damascus Va this year…

Two things
Two things that could ruin my canoeing overnighter if they weren’t with me are: Number one and foremost, a good mattress for under my sleeping bag; and number two, a decent sized tarp. I’ve always had fun regardless of the weather when these items came along.