equipment for overnight float trip

I,m a rookie who wants to learn what to take on a 3 day canoe camping trip I would like some ideas on alternative equipment, I dont have alot of money to spend. Please help with everything from tents to cooking?

The trips I’ll be planning will be be with one other person, 2 people in one canoe.


Overnight paddle trip gear
You may get more specific responses if you provide some detail on where you will be paddling and the time of year. Potential weather will impact planning for shelter, food, and safety gear. My packing checklist is broken down into Paddling Gear (mostly basics of PFD, paddle, hat, water, etc. for any trip), Safety (first aid, hygiene, plus possible adds), Shelter (tent, sleeping bag, pad), Clothing, Food (Stove, pots, food). One key element for a multi-day trip is provision for hauling or creating safe drinking or cooking water. Another decision is whether you must take a stove/fuel, can cook on a wood fire, or will make it a no-cook trip. There are also previous threads on the topic of canoe/kayak packing, if you want to try a search of the archives, plus PNet articles on the subject. Have a great trip!


– Last Updated: Dec-26-06 6:41 PM EST –

What boat do you have?
What class of water is the river you'll be paddling?
When will you be going; Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter?
What is your experience level & the experience level of the person who will be going with you?
Have you ever paddled on the river you're planning on using for this trip?

The more information you give; the more suggestions you'll probably receive. You have no profile posted & the information you posted in your thread is too general.


my list
Here’s my list. It’s bare bones but may be a good starting place. I love paddle camping in all seasons and am constantly trying to pare down my ‘necessary’ gear.

good place to start

OR simply go to and type in the search box CHECKLISTS, they have several for canoeing, kayaking, car camping, backpacking, first aid, etc.

A great place to start — have a great trip.



Augusta, GA

Before checking the gear lists
know your plans first and make up your mind ahead of time to only seek gear to match you actual needs. You are in grave danger. You can fall prey to the same malady so many of us shamefully live with. You too could become a gear-head.

You see it. You buy it. You use it once. You store it away.

Follow the advice offered about knowing the rivers you’ll be paddling and what seasons you’ll be camping. With that information as a starting point then comes the lists of gear. You have to decide if you really need that particular item listed. Before dropping it ask on this forum if you can do without it safely.

Next research what brand of gear will suit you best. Lots of info out there. Ask about it on the forum before you buy in case someone has experience with it but never posted.

Some things you assume you have to buy you can do without. Keep in mind when I say this I live along the Texas coast. Winter temps occasionally get in the 20’s and wind-chill can get dangerously low for folks caught outdoors, but nothing like up North.

I don’t take a stove or regular cooking gear. I pack food that can be eaten without heating up. I do pack a metal cup with a stout handle in case I get stuck somewhere and the weather turns. If I feel the need I make a fire and boil water to cook oats, rice, or dried soup to warm myself.

I used to carry both a hammock and tent. Now I only pack a Big Agnes seedbed tent and make it work as an all season tent. Even that is something I should have done more research on. I bought the single version and used it for several years. It was good but cramped. I got the two person version and love it. I should have asked someone my size how the fit was before I bought the single.

It never hurts to ask before you buy even if you think you’ve made up your mind.

If you want simple and cheap

– Last Updated: Dec-27-06 6:46 AM EST –

start at Wally World.
-A two person tent
- a sleeping bag
- a flashlight, (if you want to hang around after dark a lantern)
- a small butane or propane one burner stove
-matches or a lighter
-a few eating utensels including a small pot and a dish(bowl) and a cup
-a first aid kit
-water (a gallon a day per person)
-dry bags(as required)
- a length of rope (for whatever)
-toilet paper(don't use poison ivy leaves)
- insect repellent
-sun screen
- Food (we go for the trip not the dining experience) so we go simple:
- the packages of dried oatmeal that you mix with hot water for breakfast
- packages of dried soup that you mix with hot water for supper.
- packages of peanutbutter crackers for lunch.
I enjoy my FRESH BREWED morning cup of coffee, so we have a little widget that sits on top of a cup that you put a tiny filter in and put coffee in it and then pour the hot water over it.
I grind the beans prior to the trip and keep the ground stuff in a baggie.
- Powdered creamer if you use it
- Since we eat so light we take a bunch of Lance's peanut bars which are a good energy bar and also serve as deserts.

Depending on where you are going (north or south/ hot or cold) will depend on what clothes you bring, but make sure they are all synthetics (no cotton).

Don't forget spare paddles

that is basiclly the simplified and necessary stuff that is coming out of my mind as I am writing this(hopefully I have not left anything out)
We have a three page trip list that we use prior to every trip which covers everything from a trip to the arctic circle to a trip through the Everglades.

Cheers, and Happy New Year,


My first question is, will there be a lot of portaging (carrying the canoe and all your gear to the next section of paddle-able water), such as a BWCAW trip? If there is no portaging, or a single, simple portage, that makes things much easier.

In that case, weight and volume of gear is less of a concern and you can get away with stuff more like car camping gear. Less weight and less volume, in the camping world, translates to more money. You can get away with a bulkier sleeping bag or a larger tent for instance.

Also, if you are not portaging the packs is not so much of a concern. You can use duffle bags rather than canoe packs.

Whether you are portaging or not one thing you must do is waterproof items, especially your sleeping bag. This can be done by using a pack liner, and the easiest and cheapest pack liner is a double thickness contractor (heavy duty plastic) trash bag.

My advice is to keep this first trip easy - easy to the point that you think it will be boring. No portages. Certainly no whitewater. I guarantee you that even with an easy trip you will learn a lot and probably have fun. The last thing you want is for it to be dangerous and/or no fun because you bit off too much.

I’d do a lake where you paddle across to a campsite and stay there your 3 days, each day doing day trips exploring the lake from your base.

Radical lightweight list

– Last Updated: Dec-27-06 4:10 PM EST –

I recently discovered this website, and I am now a fam.


Uhhh,,,,that would be a FAN

Keeping it light
Thanks JackL

Love your list. I especialy like the suggestions on food.

Happy New Year to You.


After my wife read the list
she reminded me of many moons ago when we didn’t have a pot to pee in we used to use the big green trash bags instead of dry bags.

If you use them, make sure you bring extras, and double bag the stuff.

Cheers, and Happy New year

Jack L