Keeping Canoe Gear Accessible

The keys to staying organized on the water (and in camp) are:

Choosing the Right Storage Bags

Keep the number of storage bags you use to a minimum. You'll save money and cut down on the number of trips you have to make to get gear from place to place during your trip. Just make sure the storage bags you use are small enough for you to carry and fit inside your canoe.

If you have a big gear load and/or you plan on portaging often during your trip, look for storage bags and packs with built-in shoulder straps or full suspension systems. They may cost a little more than standard dry bags and duffels up front. But you'll be able to haul more gear more comfortably, while leaving your hands free to carry additional equipment like PFD's, paddles or your canoe.

Developing a Packing System

The key to a successful packing system is organization. If you have a good idea where a certain piece of equipment is before you start digging for it, your search will take less time and be far easier.

The best way to stay organized trip after trip is to develop a general packing plan that you can follow every time. Over time, you'll be able to fine-tune this plan until packing, unpacking and finding specific items is a breeze.

Keep It Logical!

Make sure the packing system you develop is logical. For example:

  • Group similar items together - all kitchen supplies in one bag, camping gear in another.
  • Compartmentalize - use nylon stuff sacks and mesh bags to keep gear organized inside of larger dry bags.
  • Make your bags easy to identify - use different-colored storage bags (red bag for kitchen stuff, blue one for food) or label your bags so you know what's inside at a glance. You can write labels directly onto your bags, or use duct tape to construct temporary ones.

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