The water sparkled and danced in the shimmering light of the sun as I dipped my wooden paddle into its depths for the first time. A long-awaited dream of paddling in Canada, Algonquin Park no less was finally being realised as we pushed away from the wooden jetty to start our journey.
Meeting everyone the previous morning, some for the first time was less picturesque as we shook hands amongst a pile of duffel bags and rucksacks on a busy Toronto sidewalk (pavement to us Brits).
There were seven of us in total – me, Stuart, Alan, Rich, Paul, Dave (and Matt who we’d meet up with later on). We would be spending the next 16 days with each other on a canoe trip with little to no contact with the outside world. I hoped we’d all get along.
Embarking on your own canoe trip can be fraught with confusion about what to bring. This guide will show you the canoe camping checklist I use for planning what to bring on a wilderness canoe trip.
The luxury of travelling by canoe can mean bringing extra items that you’d leave at home if you were carrying everything on your back.
It can be really useful to see what others take to make comparisons with your own kit which is why I’m going to share all the equipment I took when we went on our recent two week trip to Finland.
Going abroad can have its own difficulties, especially if you’re bringing all of your own equipment with you as you have to be mindful of baggage weight limits and restrictions as well.
I turned sharply to see what had hit the water with such force. An unmistakeable splash made us all stop the process of loading canoes and watch as Paul clambered out of the water where he’d been neck deep only seconds before.
He misjudged the depth of the water having taken one step too many from the shore. Cold and wet he stood on the bank and quickly swapped clothes to keep warm. We hadn’t even set off yet but it marked what was going to be a challenging trip for the next week.
Boats finally loaded and cars set up ready for the shuttle at the end, we headed off down onto Cam-Loch and our first camp site. Suilvan loomed in the distance. An imposing peak that rose from the craggy landscape and would feature on our trip for the next few days.
The water was pure calm when we woke, with a layer of mist hovering mystically above it. The air was cool and still as we loaded up the canoe. After half an hour on the water we made it to the portage that we’d missed the day before. Fighting through a dense wall of reeds we made it to the shore and were soon hauling our packs and boat across the road and into the water on the other side.
I could see how we’d missed the portage the first time around. It’s so sparsely populated that other than one lorry, no other vehicle used the road at all while we were there. So much for listening out for the traffic noise.
It was another beautiful day and being back on the water heading in the right direction made me relax back into the trip. We weaved between small islands lined with birch and spruce, drifting across the sparkling lake as if in another world.
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