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I have been tripping for a few decades. In that time, I have learned, through experience, the stuff you are about to read.
Take only what you need.
Remember that you have to carry it all over portages, some of which could be long. Try to pack so that you can do the portages in, at most, 2 trips.
Arrange your gear into 4 areas:
  PFD (immediate access)
  Strapped to the canoe, or loose.
  Day Pack (easy to get at while in the canoe),
  Main Pack (only accessible on land)


PFD (pockets):
Whistle, Compass/GPS, insect repellent, sunscreen, small soap bottle, multi-tool (or on belt).

Paddles, Maps, Bailer, sponge, 1 water bottle/paddler, collapsible/folding saw, extra rope, small bungees or caribiners to hold gear in place.

Day Pack: (Waterproof)
Rain gear, snacks, repair kit, flashlight, bear spray/bangers, small towel, toilet paper.
Lunch, in a ziploc or dry bag. (you don't want food smells to be associated with the Day Pack, which will probably not get hung from a tree or bear proofed)
If it is cold, stove & fuel, small pot, soups, mug, waterproof matches or lighter, change of clothing (in case of a dump).
Leave enough room in the Day Pack to allow for the shedding of layers as the sun warms you up in the afternoon.
Main Pack: (Waterproof)
This should contain everything that you need in camp.
Pack your tarp & tent on top of everything. You could be pulling off the water in the rain and the first things you need to set up are the tarp and tent.

Even though the main pack is waterproof, as soon as you open it, the contents could get soaked if it is raining. That is why I recommend using separate dry sacks for the various contents of the main pack.

Fuel bottles can usually fit into small gaps in the pack, if you are using MSR bottles, especially the bottom.

Pack softer stuff in the side of the pack that will be against your back when portaging.

Take extra rope (1/8") for clotheslines, water bag hanging, extensions for the tarp ropes, storm lines for the tent, etc.
Dry Compression Sack Organization:
(Main Pack)

Make sure that you "bleed" out all the air in the dry sack. Use separate Dry Sacks for the following (you will probably need more than one for clothing):

  Personal Care Kit
  Sleeping bag Note: Most do not come with a dry bag. It is worth the extra money to get one.
  Thermarest (sleeping pad)
  Clothes (roll your clothes, don't fold - easier to stuff)
  Breakfast food
  Supper food
 Lunch food (transfer daily to Day Pack)
 Cooking/Kitchen stuff
 Tent (pack poles separately)
 Miscellaneous (all the stuff not covered elsewhere)

Start the trip with a spare dry sack for dirty laundry.
It separates dirty from clean and if you can wash the dirty laundry, but don't get it dried in time, it can be stored wet until you have time to dry it out (don't leave it wet too long).


Main Pack:
SealLine Pro Pack RE 115 litre
MEC Slogg Deluxe 115 litre Dry Pack

Day Pack:
MEC Slogg 35 litre Dry Pack

Dry Bags
My preference is the MEC Raptor-Dry-Bag.
These claim to be waterproof. I have a couple and they are!
Note: Don't use Seal Line small dry bags in your main pack. I did for many years. Although they are waterproof, like the main pack, they are too "rubbery" to easily slide in beside each other in the main pack.
Note: They do work well as water buckets.

Water Filter/Purifier:
MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter
We have been using this filter for over 15 years without any problems.
Only take the pots, etc. that you need. If you are using freeze-dried food, a large and small pot and a frying pan may be all that you need.
A stainless steel bowl with a handle per person will suffice for any meal. (see DIY GEAR Table pic below)

A bit of luxury is a table. Most small camp tables are hard to pack, so we made one that rolls up. (See DIY GEAR below)

A good tarp at least 5 m x 5 m (16 ft x 16 ft) is a valuable asset. On all of our trips, the tarp goes up first, then the tent under one corner of it. This allows a good sized dry area to relax, cook, store gear, get some shade, etc. This also is packed in a dry bag.
We tried to find a tarp with this size made of ripstop nylon. No luck, so we made one. (See DIY GEAR below)
There are a lot of stoves out there. a lot of them have a pre-pressurized fuel canister, which is not recyclable. We have seen them discarded at a number of campsites.
For over 20 years, I have used a Coleman Peak 1 single burner (naphtha). It has been very reliable and when necessary, easy to clean & repair. It also works very well with the Outback Oven.
What I like about it is that it used reusable fuel bottles. However it appears that this stove is no longer made by Coleman.
In checking around, I looked at the MSR DragonFly and the MSR WhisperLite.
Note: There is a considerable price difference between these stoves. The DragonFly stove simmers, the Whisperlite does not - this can make a huge difference, especially if you use an Outback Oven, which needs lower "baking" temperatures.
Due to the above considerations, I bought a Dragonfly and have used it on several trips. I am very pleased with its performance!
Bahco Folding Wood Saw
Hatchets & Axes are too heavy and hard to pack.

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
If you are off the water with enough time to cook supper in daylight, the only use you will have for a light after dark could be reading, or going for a "bathroom break". A headlamp will suffice.
Rocky Stretch GORE-TEX Oversocks
I have yet to find a truly waterproof pair of boots (other than hip-waders). These "oversocks" are a bit expensive, but really do the job. I have a pair of "canoe" boots that I use only on trips. I wear them when on the water and they do get wet. My system is to wear regular socks and the boots on the water and when I get to camp, if the socks are wet, I put a dry pair of socks on with the Gore-Tex socks over them and put my wet boots back on. My feet, especially at night, are warm and dry.


The Roll-Up Camp Table is approx. 24" x 24" x 12" in height. It is made of poplar strips stapled to seat belt (or webbing strips) so that it rolls up.   

DIY Plan coming soon.
The Tarp is approx. 5m x 5m ripstop nylon with tie loops on all corners and the middle of each side. We use our sail mast and yardarm for the centre and one side support, but any suitable pole made from forest material will work.

DIY Tarp
The Sail was made "spinnaker style" out of light weight nylon. We have been able to get up to 10 km/hr, according to the GPS, with a good following wind. It will allow up to about 300 run. The yardarm and the mast double as poles for the tarp (see tarp pic).
DIY Plan coming soon.
The Kitchen Utensil "Roll-up" can be made out of any fabric, but a synthetic is probably best.

DIY Utensil Roll Up
There are numerous Back Pack "Coolers" available. Most of them are only good for a day trip. We made our own by using an existing day pack and fitting a layer of 1/2" closed cell foam inside. We cut the foam to the inside contours of the pack and duct taped the pieces together. We call it a "Not-Hot" since it only keeps the contents below the ambient temperature for a few days as long as it is kept out of the sun in the canoe and on land. If you want to get a longer "cooling" period out of it, include frozen bread or meat. They will gradually thaw, but as they do so, they will keep the other stuff relatively cool.


 Use a dry sack stuffed with clothing for a pillow.
 Always take some duct and/or gorilla tape. You can temporarily repair almost anything.
 Don't rely on matches or lighters as fire starters.The Light My Fire FireSteel 2.0 Scout is a good back up.
 A piece of 4 or 6 mil plastic (1 m x 1m) put in front of the tent door can give you a spot to take boots off and stand in sock feet without opening the tent door. This could be critical if the bugs are bad.
 Take a few large ziploc plastic bags. Use them to store uneaten food, garbage, wet clothing, etc.
 Scented soap, cosmetics, etc. make you into a wildlife magnet. Leave them at home.
 Crush or collapse food containers, and burn them every couple of days. You don't need a fire every night unless the ambience is important. If possible, carry out all garbage. After all, you brought it in.