Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Essential Canoe Expedition Tips

General Tips

  • Keep the things that you want during the day, for example water, snacks, sun cream, sun glasses etc., in a separate bag, a bum bag is handy for portages
  • Pack your food and cooking equipment separately. It makes it easier to bear proof your camp, keeping all food substances separately.
  • Pack your bag so that when you arrive at camp the things that you want first are at the top of the bag

Packing your Canoe
  • Only take what you need!It is nice to have a few luxuries but too many and you loose to chance to be at one with the wilderness!
  • Paddle tandem - half the effort on and off the water!
  • Practice paddling a loaded canoe before you set off.

  • Limit the number of items in your boat
  • Put any bits and pieces in your boat in one bag so that you don't end up juggling on the trail
  • Limit the number of times you have to walk the trail - First time with a bag and paddles to check out the trail (it is frustrating doing this with a boat on your shoulders) then second time with the boat.
  • When paddling tandem (highly recommended!) you can alternate who carries the boat, and operate a 3-bag system.
  • Take rests when carrying the canoe - on your first walk of the trail look for places where you can prop the boat up and climb out from underneath without having to put it on the floor
  • Strip the boat down before carrying - it is heavy enough without swim lines and throw lines hanging off it
  • Make sure you leave your boat well up from the water so you don't come back to find it floating away
  • Leave the beginning of the trails free from clutter so that other paddlers can access the portage trail

Arriving at camp

Try to have a pattern that works, particularly when paddling in a big team - this is my suggested order:

  • Unload everything from the canoe
  • Put the tarp up - you can then put everything under it if it is raining
  • Set up your tent / bivi away from the kitchen area and fire
  • Sort out a fire - collect wood etc. (see fire-lighting tips)
  • Cook dinner - it is nice to do this on the open fire, but it does tend to take longer - take stoves as a back up
  • We always have a swim, a drink and relax before getting to bed early for the next day

Bear-proofing your camp

It is essential to keep your campsite clean and tidy to ensure you don't have any unwanted visitors in the night:

  • Cook in only one area- you only have to clear up one up then!
  • Keep all food and toiletries away from your tent
  • If hanging your food bags in the tree, make sure you do it before it gets dark!
  • Get into the habit of tidying the kitchen and brushing your teeth at dusk, so that everything is ready to hang in the trees, and you don't remember your toothpaste at 10 o'clock!
  • Ensure that you don't drop any food on the floor
  • Burn all food rubbish on the fire- it is possible to burn orange peel as long as you have a good fire going
  • Collect 'grey' water (washing up water and pasta water etc.) together and dispose of either into toilet box or dig a shallow hole away from camp
  • Gut any fish caught well away from the camp area

  • Get everything ready before you start
  • Collect a good collection of wood, kindling, birch bark and pine cones
  • Use the birch bark to get the fire going, put the pine cones on top, then the kindling
  • Leave the fire pit stocked for the next person

On the water:
  • Get used to the scale of the map - 1:80,000 is common
  • Stay hydrated by keeping your water and water pump handy
  • Keep some snacks close at hand if you are like us and want to continually graze

1 comment:

Fast Pat said...

It would be quite nice if you actually credited where you took this from rather than present it as your on work.