Going for a paddle – Pack these essentials in your dry bag

When you head out in your canoe for a bit of a break in nature, there are a few things to take that may come in handy.

If you are a seasoned canoeist (or even just a keen one) and you expect to be doing this activity regularly, it is a good idea to pack a dry bag that has been planned and stocked ready to put in your canoe or boat.

For kayaking, you need a boat, a paddle and a pair of arms. There are, however, a few other items that will surely come in handy from time to time. If you are white-water rafting or navigating rough waters in your canoe or kayak, you should consider a helmet too. Then add a whistle, a bilge pump (or something to bail out water), a throw rope and a paddle float. These should be taken along on every trip.


Then there is your dry bag so that you can be prepared for every eventuality. Take advice on what to pack from people with experience. Pack your things in a bag ready to take every time. All you need to do is a quick check every time you head off to the water’s edge.

Safety things like a whistle, a mirror, health items, first aid kit, food, and water are essential. So are emergency repair items and practical things you may not have thought of, like cash and extra keys. The following items are some you can think about packing.

There are a thousand uses for Duct Tape. Many of these may occur while you are out in your canoe. You may need to secure a loose screw or make another kind of quick repair. A huge 5000-meter roll will not be required, but if you have small length or roll, you may be very grateful indeed. A few meters rolled around a pencil may just save the day.



A small Hand Towel or face flannel is a good thing to include, and it will not take too much space. You may need to dry your hands before using your phone or camera. It is always useful.

Super Glue is useful, not only to fix stuff but as an emergency answer to closing wounds. You will be amazed.


Super glue notwithstanding, you will need (we hope you will not need, but just in case) a small supply of FIRST AID items. A few items in a small bag will suffice for most situations. The number of items you take will depend on the length of your stay and how many people are with you.

Multi Tools are great and they save space, meaning you will not need to pack separate items. It is a pair of pliers, screwdriver, a bottle opener and so much more all in one.

Don’t forget your CAMERA, a canoe trip will present a lot of photo opportunities.



You are bound to need a snack at some stage of the day. Energy Bars are convenient and filling when you need something. Be sure to take the wrappers home once you’re done with them.

Bottled Water is always a good backup to keep in your kit. Have a bit extra rather than find yourself short of water. If it is standard in your kit, you will not be caught short.

It is always a good idea to pack a Space Blanket. You may be stuck and need to spend the night outdoors with a drop in temperature, or someone may be hurt and need to stay warm. These blankets are light, pack small, and they are also guaranteed to retain 80% of radiant heat, so they are perfect for emergency situations.

A SMALL MIRROR can be used as a signaling device in the event of you getting stranded out there. It is easily visible from the air or another boat. Having a way to signal for help could be the difference between life and death.

A Whistle is a simple signaling device which is easy for anyone to use. It is one of those things that can really help in an emergency if people need to find you. Keep one in your dry bag; you won’t regret it.

Pack some Matches or a lighter. You may find yourself stuck in the bush and needing to build a fire. Starting a fire rubbing two sticks together takes some skill and experience, so it is better to be sure and have some matches.



An extra set of Car Keys in your dry bag may save the day. You may accidentally lock your keys in the car, or worse still, drop them in the water. It is always wise to pack a spare set separately.



Have some cash with you, It could transpire that you land up where you did not plan to be. A bit of cash could save you from being miserably thirsty or hungry.  It could pay for a bus or taxi if you are really off course.

Keep your bag packed for the season so that you do not have to do it every time. Just check the water and snacks to make sure they are fresh.

Take care on the water, and have fun!


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fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival