LIKE us AT Facebook!  Share and learn tips, techniques, gear and more!

Canoe Camping Trips:  
Only 5 things to plan!


Canoe Camping trips.  The only 5 things you need to plan when organizing a canoe trip.  Easily explained and organized into 5 main parts of planning so it’s easy to organize.

Planning a canoe trip is easier than you think it is.  

The 5 main things to plan before your canoe camping trips.    

1)    Park and location:

There are many great places all over the world to canoe and go for canoe camping trips.


One of the most well-known flatwater lake canoe areas is the Boundary Waters-Quetico Canoe wilderness area.  This is where I’ve done most of my canoeing.


Some other locations in

Canada are:  Killarney (ON), Algonquin(ON), French River (ON), Wabakimi (ON), Georgian Bay (ON),  Miramichi(NB), Restigouche(NB), Cape Breton(NS), Great Slave Lake(NWT), Hudson Bay(NWT), Atikaki Region (SK), Big Lakes (SK), Nipoming (SK),
Athabasca and Beaver River Basins (BC), Peace River (BC), Hay River (BC), Buffalo River (BC), Milk River (BC)

In the USA: Boundary Waters, Adirondack (NY), Florida Everglades, Lake Superior, Missippi River (it’s been paddled the WHOLE way!), Alaska.

Canada Canoe Routes has good information for Canoe route ideas in Canada and the USA.

2)    Skill level

When on a canoe trip, you are only as skilled and fast as your least experienced canoe and paddler.  To do a white water trip, make sure that everyone is trained and qualified.  This can be done by taking a course, or even as a trip where you learn.  These can be done with many organizations such as:

In Canada:

Canadian Recreational Canoe Association(CRCA),

ORCKA (Ontario Recreational Canoe and Kayak Association),

Recreational Association of BC,

Manitoba Recreational Canoeing Association,

Alberta Recreational Canoe Association (403) 270-  2262,

Canoe New Brunswick

Newfoundland Canoe Association (709)729-0365

NWT Canoeing Association (403) 920-6607

Canoe Nova Scotia (902)425-5450

PEI Recreational Canoeing Association (902) 368-6186

Federation Quebecoise du Canot Camping (514) 252-3001

Saskatchewan Canoe Association (306) 373-2671

Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club (403) 633-5625


American Canoe Association –

United States Canoe Association -



The best way to learn camping (in my opinion), is to do it yourself, and what better way than with a guided trip.

A few (of many) companies that offer guided backcountry canoe camping trips:

Outward Bound

Trecks in the Wild




If you sign up for a guided trip, you don’t need to do the planning, and you can ask your leader everything that they know about tripping. 


3)    Route:  

When planning a canoe trip, the route you need to take needs to be planned.  Remember, you are only as fast as your slowest canoe.  I’ve been in a canoe with a slow paddler, and no matter how hard I paddled, we were ALWAYS behind.  The group would stop, and wait, while we paddled to catch up.  Then, once we caught up, they would be all rested, and they’d start paddling again.  It was exhausting and tiring.   So, please keep in mind the ‘weakest link’.


Planning the route is something that is easy once you get the hang of it, but much harder when you start and are going to a new location.


On average, for a full day of flat water lake paddling with portages and average paddlers, a good day is 20 km per day.  If you want a more relaxing trip, plan for fewer km’s (10-15 is good), and if you’re in a very small group of experienced paddlers then you can paddle more, perhaps 30 km/day.


If there are fewer portages, then you can paddle further.


If it is a river trip, depending on the water speed, you will cover more kilometers easily.


Overall, I would plan fewer km’s, since you can finish early, enjoy your site, and go swimming, or play some games.    Camping is supposed to be fun!  And an escape from your regular life.



  4)    Food:

When planning a canoe camping trips, there are several things you need to keep in mind. 

·      Appetite of group.

If you have a group of big eaters (ex. men vs. group of women).  This needs to be kept in mind.   Also, fresh air and exercise cause people to eat more than they might at an office job.  You will need to pack more food than you think you do.


·      Number of people

More people means more food.


·      Length of trip

The longer the trip, the more food that needs to be purchased as the longer the trip goes, peoples appetite continue to go up, as more calories are expended.  This is VERY important.


·      Dietary restrictions and preferences.

So many people have a lot of dietary differences.  On my trips, I’ve taken Vegetarians, Celiacs and people with Khrons.  Plus MANY picky eaters! 

 I will be adding my e-book soon, which has Tried and tested ’Favourite backpacking recipes book’.  The recipes have all been tried and loved on trip.  I’ve used my campers as my testers, so you don’t have to be! 


Check out some free recipe ideas on this page here.

  5)    Equipment:

Check out my equipment checklist to pack for your canoe trip.  This is the EXACT list that I use on all of my trips so that I don’t forget anything.  It is very comprehensive.

Learn more canoe camping advice: from packing lists, to choosing a canoe.


Return from Canoe Camping Trips to Camping Expert (home)

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Check out my NEW Wilderness Recipe Ebook!!