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Hitting the water for a long-term canoe trip is a great way to go on an outdoor adventure and really enjoy a fantastic trip.
That being said, a major part of making sure that the trip is as much fun as you’re imagining starts with smart securing of your gear so you have everything you need, and that there’s no fear of losing your gear to the water.
Nothing makes a week long canoe trip rougher than soaking your gear on day one or even losing some of it.
Standard precautions tend to focus on two things: focusing on keeping gear secure and focusing on keeping your gear dry (as much as possible).
While you don’t have to be perfect to make this work, it is crucial to take all the precautions you can up front.
Generally speaking a single tie-down line is going to be enough over each section. This involves creating a secure anchor point and then running the tie down line in a crossing pattern that makes sure your gear is secure over, under, and around the bags.
This is especially useful for keeping larger packs or pieces of fear secure even when the water gets rough. Kayaks use the same concept, however because of the design and often more challenging water ways more lines may be needed to fully secure the gear.
If this isn’t enough, then you also have the option of customizing a canoe by adding d-ring patches to different points inside the canoe that allow for a tighter and more secure strapping down of the gear.
Focus on Dryness
Make sure before strapping everything in that you have what you need to keep the gear dry.
Dry bags are a big thing, and getting as much water resistant gear as possible helps because as many outdoor guides can attest, even the best laid plans can go awry while out on the water. However, taking multiple precautions up front can make all the difference.
Taking care of as much of the waterproofing as possible up front before packing everything in really makes a difference and then the gear can be secured more efficiently and effectively.
The Type of Trip Matters
When you are looking at flat water trips running straps around the thwarts is good enough most of the time. Short of a full capsize you should be pretty good in that situation.
However if you are looking at rapids or rougher, less predictable waters then securing your gear in the canoe is going to take a little bit more thought and effort.
In these situations you will want to make sure bags aren’t tied in loosely, and that everything is as tightly packed in as possible within the boat and for dry bags and boxes that can be strapped onto the sides that they are properly sealed to be safe from water as well as add a bit of extra buoyancy.
Smart Loading Strategy
Generally speaking the smart way to pack is with lighter gear in the very front and very back. This would be things like sleeping bags, pads, and other gear that might be bulky but is also very light weight.
The heaviest gear should be in the middle at the bottom. This is mostly food, fuel, water, etc. These are surprisingly bulky supplies with a lot of weight and if you haven’t done a long-term trip in the wild then you might be surprised just how much this gear can weigh.
Middle to heavy weight supplies should also be in the middle, on top of the heavier gear. This would be stuff like cookware, lightweight tents, clothing etc.
By packing a canoe this way you give yourself the best tilt, buoyancy, and control while out on the water. This is the smartest way to make sure your gear is secure, your canoe is at its safest, and to minimize the chances of problems while securing your gear.
While securing your gear in a canoe isn’t difficult, it is an important task that does take a bit of careful preparation.
A little bit of planning and forethought goes a long way and can help make sure that your next outdoor adventure is a great one.