What should I use to pack things in for a canoe trip?
September 13, 2008 7:39 PM   Subscribe

What should I use to pack things in for a canoe trip?

I'm trying to remember how it was done back at summer camp. We had large canvas backpacks (I don't remember whether there was any water resistance attempts with tarps stuffed at the top), a few of those waterproof dry sacks, and for the food we had a big wooden chest to keep the bears at bay.
Everything floated somehow because we dumped one time also...
I was thinking a plastic cooler for the food? I know they float and would also probably thwart a bear.
What to put the garbage in?
And what should I especially make sure to keep in a waterproof bag? (tent?)
posted by who else to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dry bag for clothes and personals. I've always just kept the food in a pack of some kind and hung it to keep it away from the bears (put everything edible in it- I don't know where you'll be camping, but black bears will find pretty much anything that's edible, whether it's sitting out by the fire or in your pocket in the tent). I don't think a cooler will be very good protection against a bear- if he wants in, he'll get in. Just put the garbage in a big plastic garbage bag and keep that in the food pack.
A tent should actually dry out pretty fast, even if it goes in the drink. I just use plastic bags for food that would get soggy. A dry bag will protect your clothes and whatnot.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:55 PM on September 13, 2008

Dry bags and duffels for clothes, sleeping bags, and anything else that needs to stay dry.

Cooler for keeping things cold if it is a short trip.

Bag and rope for hanging food if bears are in the area (a wooden chest won't slow down even a small black bear, but it will probably help with raccoons).

Plastic bags (ziplocks are good) for trash (best to keep inside a dry bag in case of dumping); smelly trash should be hung along with the food if bears are around.

Fabric mesh bags are useful for things like spare sandals and tubes of sunblock that can get wet but you don't want rattling around loose in the bottom of the canoe.
posted by Forktine at 7:57 PM on September 13, 2008

The dry bag (waterproof, check at REI) should hold at least a change of clothes and your sleeping bag, as well as anything else that would be damaged or make life miserable if it got wet. Food will need to be hung, no matter what it is in (assuming bears which you mentioned). wooden chests are heavy...

Don't worry about floating...make sure everything is tied/strapped to the canoe in some manner...

have fun...wear a life jacket...

bring insect repellent, sun screen...
posted by HuronBob at 8:00 PM on September 13, 2008

Great thing about plastic bags is the ghetto vacuum seal you get on it. You can really compress what's in your pack. Really your major concerns are keeping your food and clothes dry, most everything else can be used wet or should dry out pretty quickly on its own.

Break down the food you're taking to limit the trash you're packing in so you limit the trash you have to pack out. Ziplock bags roll up tight when you're done and they also are about as waterproof as you can get for the trip in.
posted by wavering at 8:00 PM on September 13, 2008

The thing with hanging the food, what if there isnt a suitable place to hang it? For the record we did have a black bear sniffing at our wooden chest of food and once it realized it had no way of getting in it moved on...
posted by who else at 8:06 PM on September 13, 2008

The biggest thing is to keep food out of your tent. A bear will get your food if it wants it bad enough. If there aren't any trees nearby you can try to bury your food container under some large rocks. But again if Yogi wants your picnic basket, Yogi gets your picnic basket.
posted by wavering at 8:13 PM on September 13, 2008

The thing with hanging the food, what if there isnt a suitable place to hang it?

You can buy a bear barrel. A cooler won't keep out a bear. Your garbage should go in the bear barrel (or your bear hang) as well.
posted by ssg at 8:47 PM on September 13, 2008

once it figure out it had no way of getting in it moved on

That was a lazy ass bear. I've seen the damage from black's that wanted in locked SUV's, for goodness sake.
posted by TomMelee at 8:53 PM on September 13, 2008

What should I use to pack things in for a canoe trip?

A canoe!

Christ, that felt good. OK, I can speak to the bear issue. Short of a safe, you will not want to rely on any kind of cooler contraption. There are lots of ways to hoist the stuff; if you don't have lots, a bag, some rope, and a rock will do the trick. Tie the rock to the rope, throw rock/rope over a tree limb(*), pull the bag up, tie the rope down. There are other ways, too, if you're curious.

* Caution or helmets advised.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:20 PM on September 13, 2008

I use a couple different sizes of Pelican cases to carry camera equipment -- they're bomb-proof and float.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:08 PM on September 13, 2008

I use a couple different sizes of Pelican cases to carry camera equipment -- they're bomb-proof and float.

I can say with complete certainty that Pelicans are not bomb-proof.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 10:12 PM on September 13, 2008

I just got back from a 2-week trip down the yukon river, and what you need are bear barrels and dry bags [just like everyone said already!].

Bear barrels are tough and you don't need to hoist them into trees [I know, I know].
We had two: one for food and one for other stuff. You probably only need one if you're not toting 2 weeks of provisions. We tied them together so they couldn't be rolled into the river by an annoyed bear, but tying to a tree with strong-enough rope should be just as discouraging.

One mega-sized drybag for sleeping bags and clothes, and at least 2 little dry bags for lunch/snacks/stuff you might need handy.

We bagged/barrelled everything regardless of need for waterproofness just because that way everything floated and had a place to belong to [which helped set up/break camp].

Seriously about the bear barrels. They are super-duper. I will probably buy one [we rented them from the same company as the canoes] even though I don't have a use for it in my daily life.

Bears like the smell of funny things like toothpaste and deodorant, so be sure to keep that out of the tent, too. Bring unscented baby wipes for one million uses.
posted by Acari at 10:32 PM on September 13, 2008

Duluth Packs
posted by Xurando at 10:38 PM on September 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Tupperware. It keeps stuff dry and it floats.
posted by docmccoy at 10:48 PM on September 13, 2008

Another one that hasn't been mentioned yet is to use some five gallon buckets or the similar large plastic olive buckets from the deli. From the deli, because they then haven't had toxic stuff stored in them. Cheaper than tupperware and they have good handles, too. Several will fit into one of the large carry packs if you have to do much portaging.
posted by Listener at 11:10 PM on September 13, 2008

Some very cool ideas to work with, thanks!
posted by who else at 10:15 AM on September 14, 2008

Seconding duluth packs. We use them on our trips to the boundary waters and quetico.
posted by billtron at 11:21 AM on September 14, 2008

who else, will you be doing much portaging? How many are in your group, how long is the trip, and where are you going?
posted by Sfving at 12:27 PM on September 14, 2008

« Older Getting involved in the campaign as a non-citizen   |   Names of childhood toys shouldn't be this hard to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.