Canoe Camping List Item Descriptions continued...

Following up on my previous post, here are more descriptions of pack items for the upcoming camping trip. I spent a hour on the lawn yesterday with my camping gear strewn about me, ensuring everything was properly packaged, and in top condition. I reduced the weight as much as possible, and made a quick a review of outstanding items. What I was most surprised at was that the food seemed to weigh more than the equipment itself. I also noticed that the weight and indeed the number of items all creeps up on you quickly... I thought I had everything in a neat row, and then began counting off additional items I will need to either affix to my knapsack or place in a separate canoe bag. I would rather not bring the additional canoe bag, as it may necessitate me going on a second lap of the portage, but then again, having an extra person with me might obviate this.

A fishing rod, gear & license is useful if you want a fresh meal from time to time, plus fishing is a great way to relax and watch the world drift on by. I covered the fishing license in a previous post. I don't need a really fancy fishing rod, and to be honest, I don't know a thing about the right lures to use. I got a $20 fishing rod from Bass Pro and some snelled hooks (they have a short length of fishing line tied on to them already), lead weights, and some squishy, wormy looking lures.

I think the trick is to find the right conditions and location - under overhanging vegetation, near big rocks, basically imagine that you are fishing in your fish tank at home, and note that the fish like to congregate around the pirate ship and stones you have dropped in over time. It is a bit like a small town on a Saturday night - teenagers hang out outside the 7-11 convenience store, and in parks near swingsets and near car parks... not in the open in the middle of a field, or in the middle of a street. Yes, excellent analogy Mungo - Bob Izumi, eat your heart out.

Garbage bags will stash your trash, I will find a discrete area of the site to hang it on a tree. I think it is important though to thoroughly clean any trash of food, either my diverting it in the first place by burning it or by washing. Racoons like to sneak up at night and chew through the bag. In the event of a leak in the fabric of your tent or tarp, garbage bags can be used to seal the hole, and in a pinch can be used as a personal rain coat. It will also hold water for a trip into the woods, create an impromptu shower bag, and more. I use them for garbage.

A limbing axe is important in the backcountry - while you can gather wood in the forest, by dragging limbs and branches back to the site, taking down a dead standing tree will give you a lot of good, dry firewood with a minimum of effort. Keep it sharp, and well cared for and you will never go camping without one again! A limbing axe has a concave face, whereas a splitting axe has a convex face. You won't be splitting large diameters of wood, so a limbing axe (being smaller in weight and length) will do you well.

To keep your knives and axe sharp, you need some kind of sharpener. I use a diamond-bit pocket-sized sharpener... works well enough. The diamond bits are aggressive, so I just use it for initial corrections and sharpening, and use a river stone or ceramic stone to hone the blade.

I used to bring a flashlight with me camping, it was mostly for reading in my tent at night, or poking about the site late after the fire had died out. I thought headlights were gimmicky and over-priced. When I had the opportunity to buy one with a gift certificate, I gave it a try (roughly $40.00 Cdn). I won't bring a flashlight anymore with me. The headlamps today use white and green LED lights (for example) and thus consume only a fraction of a regular flashlight's-worth of energy, but with similar light output. Great for reading in your sleeping bag, just position it correctly, it aims where you aim your head at. Good for hands free operation while poking around camp at night, looking within a bag etc...

Radio - many spots are radio-free zones, but I will bring in a shortwave and AM radio to quietly play talk radio or the news from time to time during a long trip. Makes it feel like home. I keep it very low in volume though, because despite the isolation of the backcountry, sound carries over water a surprising distance, and the last thing I want to do is spoil someone else's experience in the backcountry.

I will cover the remaining items soon:

  • Lantern & Mantle (filled with fuel)
  • Rope
  • Stove & full Fuel Bottle
  • Knifes - Mora & Drop-Point Hunter
  • Extra Fuel
  • Folding Bucksaw
  • Dry Sacks
  • Reflective Emergency Blanket
  • Folding Chair
  • Tarp
  • Camera & 2 batteries
  • Bug repellent
  • Mattress
  • Repair kit
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Compression Bag
  • Tent
  • Blanket
  • Pillow case
  • Jacket, Jeans, Cap
  • Socks, Underwear
  • T-Shirt, Shirt, Sweater
  • Aspirin/Anti-inflammatory
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Band-Aids
  • Toilet paper
  • Tooth-brush
  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Imodium
  • Mirror
  • Camping Suds
  • Insect Repellent
  • Food
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Evaporated milk
  • Lemon Drink Crystals
  • Margarine
  • Tinned meat
  • Pasta side-dishes
  • Bisquick
  • Pancake batter
  • Salt
  • Tabasco
  • Pepper
  • Tea
  • Sugar
  • Chocolate bars
  • Raisins
  • Rice
  • Dried Sausage
  • Pre-cooked bacon
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Tuna
  • Tortillas

Most Popular Posts