Canoe trip packing

Do people generally pack their stuff in a backpacking type pack for canoe trips or just throw everything into dry bags? I know that Deluth packs are popular with portages but if there are no portages involved does that change the way you pack?

I have some big dry bags with shoulder straps like a backpack…i put the big bulky shit in those and the smaller stuff in other small dry bags. Ive used backpack packs too but mainly for stuff i dont care to get wet OR to put all the smaller dry bags in during a portage to ease the load.

I dont care to have stuff get wet if one can help it. Things get plenty wet without me helping too.


my pack and my kids don’t fit my canoe
well. I got a couple of Army duffles to hold all the bagged stuff. Fits a lot nicer.

BTW I lashed them to the deck of my 14-ft sailboat and sailed to an island in 25 kt winds. Worked great.

Use a combination

– Last Updated: Jun-03-08 11:23 PM EST –

I use a combination of different sized waterproof buckets, and different sized waterproof bags. Length of trip & choice of gear to be taken on the trip determines what combination I use.

I do river trips(day trips to multi night trips).I don't have much need for Duluth style packs designed for portages.


double bagger
It always rains for the entire week when I trip, so I use a Seal line propack, which is a cavernous rubber bag with straps. Individual stuff goes in drybags into it. That way, when you have to unpack in the rain, you’re not dumping your dry stuff on the wet ground. Then two 5 gal. buckets with Gamma Seal screw-on lids. One is cooking gear and one is my “dayhatch” with all the junk I want to have at hand. Everything else gets tied into the canoe on a portage and I can do it in two trips.

But then sometimes I take a bunch of folks out floating down the Saco or something and we bring coolers and folding chairs and huge tarps and all manner of comforts. Then my canoe looks like a big trunk with no lid to slam. :smiley:

I also use a combination of packs.
I have a large Granite, a medium and a Water Shed pack that I use for my sleeping bags and things I must keep dry. Buckets I use for my food. I usually take a fold up table and folding chairs.

aha another river paddler!
gotta get back to packing my Mason Pack and 30 l barrel…gotta fit two weeks of stuff in…lots of portages coming in Temagami!

Duluth bag and barrels

– Last Updated: Jun-04-08 2:11 PM EST –

Long trip ah' bring.... one or two 30L barrels (makes fer a good table) wit harness an' a #3 Duluth bag. Gad Zooks! Ye almost wood reckon' ah' be Canadian, woodn't ye, eh...


My most important stuff goes into
tube-inflatable drybags made by Voyageur (now unavailable, evidently) and by Watershed. These float bags were originally designed for storage in kayaks, but they tie into my WW canoe very nicely, with the narrow ends in the bow/stern. These bags are absolutely watertight. They don’t slowly suck in water when sitting in as yet unbailed bilgewater. Less critical stuff goes into roll-top vinyl/fabric bags. Roll top closures, I have found, will wick small amounts of water from what has been sloshed on the closure, due to the suction created when the bag is cooled by wetting. Many roll-top fans swear this never happens, but I can roll one as tight as they, and I have seen it often enough. If really critical stuff has to go in a roll-top, interior plastic bags should be used for sure protection.

Where is the best place to find these waterproof barrels in the USA.

has them…

With the US paddling stores not being as tripping oriented as Canadian stores, they are harder to find here.

I do very little portaging so…
clothing, sleeping gear, and other gear needing to stay dry go into a very large plastic bag w/ the opening tied in a knot and oriented toward the bottom of one of two military duffle bags, and that goes into another large, heavy-duty plastic bag to be tied shut at the same end as the D-bag opening for ease of unloading but can still be tied water-tight. Same for most of the other gear (cooking gear, eating utinsils, a little dried food) in the other D-bag except for things that may leak, such as liquid soap and cooking oil, which get wrapped separately. I take along but a few edibles since I forage, fish and trap just about everything I need to eat and season. I take along my crab/crawdad traps for both meals and bait. A gallon or two of water of water for emergency purposes is all I need if I’m camping around springs or a spring pool.

I hope this helps…