Camping and Canoeing, The Perfect Match

Camping and Canoeing, The Perfect Match

What could be better than setting out on an exciting expedition, with a friend by your side and a new stretch of waterway to explore? The answer is: an expedition that lasts several days rather than just a few short hours. If you’ve never combined the dual delights of both camping and canoeing before, then why wait any longer? These two outdoorsy activities are favourites around the world for good reason and, when put together, they can lead to a challenging yet rewarding trip of a lifetime. Chances are, if you’re reading this now then you’re already a big fan of canoeing and kayaking, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re an old hand at camping. Never fear, this article will give you a great starting point from which to start planning your upcoming trip, and even if you’re familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the camping experience, there’s still plenty of tips and tricks to be found here that will help you make it the best ever.

Plan Your Route


Before you do anything else, you need to plan the route that your adventure will take. This is to ensure that you are travelling along waterways which are suitable for canoeing, and that you’re able to stop at enough camping spots to last the length of your trip. It’s also important to make sure that a trusted person has details of your proposed locations for each day, so that somebody always knows where you are in case of emergency. Luckily, there are plenty of amazing canoe-friendly routes available in different countries around the world. Some of the best are in the UK, where you can sample the delights of the Lake District, the Norfolk Broads and Scotland’s Loch Lomond, and in the USA, where national parks like Ocala National Forest in Florida and Superior National Forest in Minnesota are just begging to be explored.

Make an Itinerary

The next step is to plan out your itinerary. Now that you know where you’re going, you’ll want to decide on how long it will take you to complete each step of the journey and book in at any campsites along the way. If you’re wild camping, then this last step isn’t necessary but make sure that wild camping is legal and safe in the area that you’re travelling through. Although you’ll mostly be enjoying your journey on the water, you may want to mark down any places of interest that you could stop off at along the way. This could include areas of particularly beautiful nature, interesting towns and villages, or even a significant historical building. Whatever your plan looks like, make sure to leave plenty of space for unforeseen obstacles to your journey; these setbacks could range from a dramatic change in weather, to an injury sustained, to unexpected damage to one of the canoes. If you’ve already allowed space for these events in your itinerary, there’s no need to dismay when one of them inevitably happens.

Assemble Your Equipment

An important part of planning a trip like this is making sure you have a complete inventory of essential equipment with you. If you’re an experienced canoeist or camper, then you’ll no doubt have a basic list of stuff to include in your bag, but make sure to adjust this according to the time of year, the environment you’ll be travelling through, the abilities of your companions and the length of the trip. Often overlooked items include a sturdy sunhat, a change of clothing that can be worn in polite society (i.e., when you stop off at a restaurant), and some form of entertainment for long evenings sat in a tent. A Kindle or other e-reader can hold plenty of books to keep you occupied when moored up for the night, whereas any mobile device with internet capabilities, whether it’s your smartphone or tablet, is great for relaxing with a few classic table games during your downtime. Even something like a frisbee is a great lightweight item to take along so that you can really make the most of long summer evenings out in nature.

Have Fun!


Perhaps the most meaningful advice we can give in this article is: remember to have fun! After all, that is what this expedition is all about. Trying a new activity, exploring novel territory, challenging yourself and putting all of your canoeing skills to the test is what will make this adventure a success. It is also what will keep this trip of a lifetime firmly in your memory for years to come. And who knows, you may enjoy yourself so much that this could become a regular ritual for you and your friends, year on year. After all, there are plenty of waterways to explore and every single one offers a brand new adventure.