Packing a canoe

what is the best packing container for a canoe camping trip…Duluth type packs, dry bags, backpacking type packs, or large rubbermade containers.

Never tried the rubbermaid containers but nice thing about them is they are watertight, animal proof and make great seats in and out of the canoe.

Packing containers

– Last Updated: Nov-10-07 10:49 AM EST –

What will work best for canoe gear packing containers for you depends on the kind of canoeing you will be doing, how much you want to invest, and your personal preferences - so the bottom line will always be whatever works best for you.

What I use:
For wilderness trips with long and numerous portages - all camping gear, personal stuff, and food in portage packs with quality shoulder harness and hip belt. For larger groups, food goes in a 60 liter barrel. I use a Granite Gear flatbed hauler for very comfortable portaging of the barrel (and the hauler can easily handle anything else you want to put on it).
For overnight(s) on river floats without portages or just a few minor carries - These are luxury trips to me. Ice chest for perishable food and beverages, 5 gallon bucket with gamma lid for dry goods, big dry bag for personnal items, rigid plastic container for fresh water, and my older portage packs (without hip belt) for camping gear. Fold up chairs, roll up table fit in the bilge just as they are.

DuluthMoose pretty much said it.

That said - Rubbermaid containers do not work well on portages. And they are not critter proof. Racoons and bears will have them open in seconds, and squirrels will chew thru them quite easily.

They are also too high (generally) to sit in in the boat.

My packing (for solo trips)
I use a combination of a Duluth #4 (for gear, clothes, tent, etc) and a smaller Duluth Cruiser for my food. The heavy pack goes behind the seat and the food pack is used as shiftable ballast in the bow. The packs have heavy plastic liner bags.

Last year I purchased a Sealline 115 for my Lake Superior trip. Tough, rubber coated and waterproof I figured it would also work well as flotation should I swamp. Thankfully, I didn’t have to check that out.

blue barrels
with harness for food (60 or 30 liter, 20 or 50 also available).

A Duluth style pack with an Ostrom pack liner that is a dry bag. I have one from Woods, but they are out of business and now have a nylon pack cloth one from Cooke Custom Sewing. Clothing tent etc(anything but food) goes in this.

I have heard that one of the 115 l lines of roll top dry bag isnt what it used to be. I had a Cascade Designs bag from the early 90s that gave many years of good service until the shoulder straps ripped off the bag.

Those three bags (including one barrel) are enough for three week trip.

Blue Barrels
I use blue barrels for food and cook gear and an NRS Bills Bag (vinyl, waterproof and has shoulder harness) for sleeping bag, pad, tent and personal clothes. This works well for me for solo trips.

Not Rubbermaid
I agree that DM covered it pretty well. I certainly would not go with the Rubbermaid containers for the reasons already stated. They are, however, great for storing and organizing your gear at home.

Packing Containers
I pack two ways. One for trips which require portaging, and one for large flatwater lakes or rivers.

I always use NRS Bill’s Bags for my personal gear, tent, pad, and cooking gear. They have a carry harness attached. I put all my food into two Bearproof Barrels for extended trips or one for a short trip. Camera, cell phone, SAT Phone and wallet go in a plastic watertight container with screw on opening designed to strap to the bottom of my canoe seat. I put my sleeping bag, and a change of clothes in seperate watertight clear Dry - Stow Bags inside the large Bill’s Bags.

On non portaging trips I include an ice chest, a folding chair, small folding table, six gal. plastic water container, and five gal portable potty and seal bags for human waste.

On one day outings I put my clothes and food in Dri-Stow Bags. I always carry my Ditch Bag, extra paddle, and bailing bucket.

rubbermaid and critters
Have had similar experience with racconns figuring out how to open rubbermaid containers, but this is an easy fix. The locking snap has holes in it and you can just loop a line through. Chewing through the container is another matter and add skucks to the list of critters who will do that.

Bear canisters
are not the same as the blue barrels most favored by canoeists. The latter are not bearproof but go a long way to avoiding a problem by containig odors. They do deter small critters and a cotter pin will deter coons.

Bear proof canisters are a smaller dimension that a bear cannot get its mouth around to generate a bite and are a harder material. The chief disadvantage is that most canoeing parties would need multiples and they are not cheap.

I never soft pack my food. Small critters can chew through a Bills Bag in a nano second. Hanging helps deter mice, but does nothing for bears and coons.

Bearproof Containers
The 60 & 30 liter blue barrels do a good job of keeping the smells down and little critters out, but a bear will make short work of breaking into them since they have a rim and clamp system. The bearproof barrels are made by two companies in California. Developed originally for use in Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks one of the barrels is opened using a coin to release two pins on the end. The other model is clear ASB with a screw on lid. I prefer the first mentioned although it is not see through plastic. The bearproof barrels cost $69.99 retail. Blue barrels run $90 for 60 liter and $55. for a 30 liter.

or . . . shameless plug

– Last Updated: Nov-14-07 11:26 PM EST –

You could buy my extra 60L barrel for $30. Posted in classifieds earlier last week.

(edit) I guess it was a month ago. Time flies. Anyway, if anybody wants one, let me know.