If you have never loaded up your canoe and started for the next campsite by paddling out in the serene lake early in the morning, you’re seriously missing out. Canoe camping, a unique form of outdoor adventure, is a water lover’s delight. Firstly, it takes you to places where it’s impossible to reach on foot. Secondly, you get to carry much more stuff in a canoe compared to a backpack.
However, it’s also understandable that canoe camping might sound a bit intimidating and puzzling if you’ve never done it before. So, here is a detailed guide on everything you need to know for planning an exciting canoe camping trip. Let’s get right on to it!
Details of Planning Your Canoe Camping Trip
There are two primary parts to planning your canoe camping trip, i.e., choosing the right destination and chalking out the route. Whether your trip will be successful or not, depends mainly on these aspects.
1. Choosing the Right Destination
The list of wonderful canoe camping destinations is longer than you think. As such, the Buffalo National River in Arkansas is as popular as the Green River in Utah. However, for someone who’s new to this form of camping, it is better to select a popular destination but not too far off. It would be even better if you can go somewhere with clearly demarcated campsites. Furthermore, check if you need permits or reservations for the place, and obtain that in advance.
2. Planning the Route
It might be challenging to plan the route if this is your first time at canoe camping. The best thing you can do is keep the paddling speed at 3.5 km/hour and portages below four hundred meters.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t plan to paddle for eight hours every day, as that will take all the fun away from your trip. The key to enjoying canoe camping is taking it easy and focusing on other activities too, such as setting up your tent and cooking. Besides, beginners tend to overestimate their speed. So, it’s best to plan on paddling for four hours per day and keep the length of the trip at one to three nights.
3. Sorting Out the Pre-Trip Packing
Do you lack all the essential equipment? If yes, then contact a good outfitter to arrange all the gears. Many national and provincial parks have their outfitters that you can contact beforehand. Many of the things you will require to pack would be similar to a car camping or backpacking trip, but there’s one significant difference. You need ways to keep all the stuff dry in your Canoe Kayak, both from a potential flip and rains.
You can rely on dry bags that are tighter and lighter, even though a bit pricier than those traditionally used wooden containers called ‘wannigan.’ Along with the dry bag, you will need the following gear for your trip:
- Extra paddle
- First aid kit
- Satellite phone
- Boat shoes and paddle gloves
- Tent and sleeping bag
- Cookware and utensils
- Water storage and purifier
- Dry camping shoes
- Suitable clothes
4. Choosing the Right Canoe for the Journey
Your first choice is between a single or double canoe. As the name suggests, the double canoe is for the ones with an adventure partner. You can take the double canoe alone as well, but they are challenging to navigate alone.
There are three main types of canoes: open-deck canoes, closed-deck canoes, and inflatable canoes. The open-deck canoes are suitable for slow-paced lakes or rivers, while you better rely on closed-deck canoes for the rapids. Even inflatable canoes are for rocky, shallow waters.
5. Getting To the Canoe Camping Destination
In most cases, you will be driving to the place where you’ll start the trip. Most of the canoe routes suitable for beginners are loops. You can put in your canoe at the beginning and take it out at the end of the same spot. Reach this spot in time, load the canoe, wear your lifejacket, and get ready with your paddle.
Top Three Canoe Camping Spots to Try Out
Though there are far too many canoe camping spots all over the USA, below are three of the popular spots you can start with. If you plan a trip anytime soon, don’t forget to keep these places on your list.
1. The Buffalo National River in Arkansas
The Buffalo River stretches for nearly 151 miles and offers great opportunities for the enthusiasts of canoe camping. Here, the difficulty levels vary as per seasons and rainfall. If you are a beginner, the best time for you would be during March through May in the upper stretches of the river. You’ll find the campgrounds at Lyles Landing and Steel Creek.
2. The Green River in Utah
Love canoeing, but not really into humidity? In that case, you’ll love to spend two to three nights at the Green River. Unlike the narrow channels and rocky rapids commonly seen in the western rivers, the Green River comes with long stretches of a mild gradient, which winds through the canyon’s towering cliffs to present unforgettable sceneries.
3. Eleven Point National Scenic River in Missouri
The Eleven Point National Scenic River is located in the Mark Twain National Forest. Back in 1968, the river was established as a Scenic and Wild River. Get your canoe and set out for a meandering journey that passes through the spectacular Ozark hills in Southern Missouri. There are eight camps along the river, and you can stay in one of them.
And that’s all you need to know to have a great canoe camping trip. This handy guide will not only get you excited about canoe camping, but it will also give you enough information to be able to do it safely. You will learn a lot more as you head out and experience the thrill of the trip yourself. So, are you geared and prepared to take out your canoe for the adventure of a lifetime?