Canoe Outfitting

I just purchased my first pack canoe, a PBW Spitfire. Being an experienced kayaker I always carry a bilge pump, paddle float, sponge, deck bag, and a quick release tether line. So what items do I need for the canoe?

not much
You can decide whether or not you wish to attach lines (painters) to the stems of your boat or not.

Some whitewater open boaters carry a kayak-style manual piston bilge pump to facilitate bailing, but you are not going to be getting that much water in a pack canoe, so a sponge or rag will be sufficient to mop up any rain water, or paddle drip (which can be significant if you plan to use a double-bladed paddle.)

A lot of open boaters will carry a spare paddle, especially if going long distances, and if you plan to use a double-blade primarily, I would make sure it is a take apart paddle (so as to be able to easily stow it in the boat) and carry a single blade paddle as well, if you find yourself on a narrow stream with overhanging tree branches where a double blade doesn’t work that well.

If you plan to do any kneeling, you might want a kneeling pad, either a removable one, or a pair of glued in pads.

Canoe gear
You’ll need a bailer. You can use a bucket but a bleach bottle with the cap left on and the bottom cut out is better.

You’ll want the sponge, some line, a dry bag and a kneeling pad.

Remember everything must be tied in because there is no deck to hold it in during a capsize. So bring plenty of line or other tie downs.

you already have everything you need
though if its a stock Spit it has no rear carry thwart which is handy.

Carabiner everything in to the thwart behind your backband so you can reach it.

It seems that a two pice paddle that breaks apart is easiest to carry. It just nests next to the seat when you carry the boat over one shoulder. It doesnt seem to move.

Remember for this boat minimalist is the ksy. Its designed for single portaging.

The bilge pump is far superior to Clorox bottle btw…though the easiest to do is paddle to the shore unless you are out in Lake Champlain. Its not going to move the water down as fast as your bulkheaded seakayak but you knew that

I’ll pick up a couple of biners and perhaps some braided line just in case I have to line the boat like I had to do with QCC 400 on my Adirondack trip this past Summer.


fishing gear and water …

– Last Updated: Sep-29-10 12:16 PM EST –

..... I believe both are synonymous with the word "canoe" ... just saying .

Hoping you have fun with you new pack canoe !!

Several braided poly loops to the seat and bow thwart which should provide enough tie down points.

Ditch kit?
Recently saw an instructor set up his canoe with a mesh bag full of stuff in case he had to handle an emergency. Mesh bag was attached to a thwart with a longish strap that he could quick release, and the kit itself floated because the stuff in it was in dry bags and nalgene bottles.

Granted his kit was a bit loaded because it accounted for stuff he may need to handle emergencies that those he guided weren’t thinking about, but this worked fine in a flat water environment. His canoe was one of a number that we were hopping in and out of all day to do rescues canoe and canoe, kayak to canoe etc. The kit was on a long enough line that it never got in the way of the rescues including emptying the boat.

Same system would handle what I always carry in a kayak, change of clothing and at least cag for weather.

A couple things worth mentioning

– Last Updated: Oct-04-10 9:41 AM EST –

I'm not sure about what most people who double-blade their canoes do, but as a single-blader I always carry two paddles (sometimes three). In addition to a favorite cruising paddle, I like to have one that's both shorter and sturdier for extended trips through shallows.

Tie-downs attached inside the hull are nice, but not everyone needs them. Sometimes it's handy to secure packs right to the bottom of the boat, not so much for rough water as for super-short portages and when dragging the boat through tangles, so you can move the whole she-bang and not have any heavy stuff sliding around inside the boat and messing up your balance.

Speaking of tangles, my usual need for bow and stern lines is not for lining through rapids but for difficult launchings and landings, as well as when dragging the boat through tangles. A lot of times it's really handy to be able to slide the boat down off a steep bank or out of a fallen tree that's blocking the river, and then just let if float free. Then tug it back at a different angle so you can pull it up alongside your water-side perch and step in, or even slide the boat into the water at one location and then walk it to another for getting in. That's especially handy in and among logs that require the launching orientation to be different from the boat's best position for letting you get in and out. For the reverse, you can step out of the boat onto the best place with one line in your hand, and just let the boat go while you keep yourself from falling in and get yourself established on shore or in the tree blockage. Then you can reel in the boat to do with as you need. I just mention that here because that's the sort of environment for which a pack canoe is made.

For a bailer, I find the old cut-off bottle works great. It has greater volume per dump than a pump untill most of the water is gone, and it does a better job of getting that last trace too since there's no sucking of air. Mainly, it's lightweight and costs nothing. I secure the cap to the bottle with electrical tape (glue would be fine), because it won't do much good if the cap comes off and gets lost.