What Are the Best Tips for Canoe Camping?

The best tips for canoe camping include choosing the right body of water as well as a trip length that matches the experience level of the canoeists. Since canoe-accessible campsites may not always have stores nearby, making sure to pack enough drinking water, food and other supplies is mandatory. Yet, much like backpacking, the weight and compact size of supplies is crucial in canoe camping. There is also the added necessity of keeping supplies dry in case the canoe tips over in the water. As for tips on the best places in which to go canoe camping, national parks can be outstanding in terms of scenery, but careful planning to get current information on permits, water conditions and open facilities is needed.

For instance, in parks such as Florida's Everglades National Park, a Back Country Permit may be required to be displayed on canoes. Requirements and licensing can change at anytime though, so always being sure to have the most up-to-date information is essential for anyone planning a canoe camping trip. Canoeists should remember that whether or not they are in a national park, animals such as alligators are still wild and dangerous. Many national parks have guided canoe trips by park employees and this may be an especially good option to consider by those interested in seeing wildlife up close.

Since canoes are powered by paddling, strong arms for both the way to the campsite as well as the way back are needed. People new to canoeing may underestimate their stamina and/or take days to recover from muscle aches in their shoulders and arms, so it's typically best to start with day canoe trips. After that, gradually adding overnight, weekend and longer camping excursions in a canoe is likely to make the trips more manageable and pleasant. The area for a canoe camping trip should be carefully scouted or researched to determine the type of water current present, as flat water and whitewater require two completely different skill sets and experience levels.

Whitewater canoeing is considered much more of a safety risk than boating in calmer, flat water areas. Special certification may be required in some countries and regions to be able to canoe in high current, whitewater areas. In any kind of canoe camping though, life jackets, first aid kits and other safety materials should always be included as well as used properly. Using backpacks to tote supplies, with items such as first aid kits, medications, matches and clothing placed in waterproof plastic bags or lightweight containers, can be a good idea on canoe outings. This way, not only can items be kept waterproof, each canoeist can wear his or her backpack and still have both hands free to help carry the canoe.


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