Continuing a look at my preparations for the upcoming canoeing events I'm co-running (see here if you'd like to get involved!) this article will centre around what goes into the larger 'portage pack'. I generally operate on a system of two luggage components per person when canoe camping, as do my colleagues who help deliver our expeditions. This pack then is the base-camp equipment, usually not needed during the day, that is left in the canoe most of the time while paddling. However, just because we have the luxury of a canoe to carry our kit it's still worth being considerate about what we pack: we'll have to carry whatever we pack during portage or to and from camp sites. With that in mind I travel fairly light, only substituting lightweight for robustness where it matters; my preference being to pack everything into light waterproof dry-sacks stowed into a durable rucksack to protect them. I find the Frost River Timber Cruiser does this job perfectly whilst also looking damn pretty too.
As I'm undertaking the upcoming trips as part of a team, I'll be carrying some equipment which will be used by us all during the camping stops as will everyone on the trip. So you'll see instead of a personal billy can for example I'll be carrying the group pans,
Let's take a look at what goes inside:
- Frost River's Timber Cruiser Pack, a heavy waxed cotton canvas pack takes all the wear and tear I give it and it surprisingly water resistant.
- Group First Aid kit: A comprehensive kit I use for all the courses at Howl. I also carry a condensed kit in my day pack.
- An LED lantern by Alpkit called 'Bob' (waterproof, bright and durable), for lighting the basecamp in the evening. Along with spare batteries and some lengths of paracord for general campsite needs.
- The group water filter: We're currently using the Platypus Gravity Filter for our group needs as it's compact, thorough and field maintainable. This forms a cornerstone of our water management system, used morning and night to supply drinking water to everyone.
- Cookset: see below
- A heavy fry-pan: Perfect for making bannocks and pancakes, it also adds a second frying pan for evening meal prep.
- Utensil roll: A simple selection of utensil such as we make of our WildKitchen Carving Day.
- Food: Pictured here to give a sense of how much we'll be bringing for four of us during a three day canoe trip. This will actually be stowed in a plastic barrel with perhaps some drinks and other pantry wares during the trip.
- Tent: Whilst I usually opt for a tarp and bivi-bag the time of year, and current tick populations in Scotland makes a small tent a pocket of comfort when travelling by water. I'm currently testing the Vango Blade 100 as it packs small and light, and pitches very quickly.
- Spare Clothes: See below
- Bed Bag: See below
- Tarp: I've paired my sleep system with a DD superlight tarp to give me ample dry space to store kit and see to personal admin whilst camped.
- Spare Knife
- Possibles Pouch and repair kit
- 2 Ortlieb dry bags which store nos. 1-7 & 10-14
So that's my Portage Pack List for personal trips with a few friends. There's some extra stuff I include if we're bringing clients to the wild which I've not detailed here.
I'd love to know what else you carry or how you organise your kit for the canoe, leave me a comment in the section below. Also, if you liked this article please feel free to share it, I'm trying to grow this blog to hopefully provide entertainment and insight to those that are interested and you're shares go a long way.
All the best