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How To Plan an Overnight Canoe or Kayak Paddling Trip

10 Things to Consider


Coldwater Creek Canoe and Kayak Camping

Canoe Camping on a Sandy White Beach

Photo © by George E. Sayour

For outdoor lovers, there are few things as enjoyable and exciting as planning and executing overnight excursions into the wild. There’s just something about camping out in nature, the idea of roughing it, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of our wireless world that brings out in us an overwhelming sense of adventure, peace, and serenity.

Paddlers of canoes and kayaks have a very unique and special way to connect with the outdoors. We do so just inches above the surface of the water in vehicles that get us to places that our own feet often can not. It is that added layer of being removed from the world we know that provides in us the motivation to do overnight paddling trips. To paddlers, adding canoes and kayaks into the mix of a camping trip simply puts the icing on the cake.

There are many factors to consider in the planning of an overnight paddling trip. The beginning canoeist and expert alike must consider these 10 items before setting out on an overnight paddling excursion.

  1. Camping Availability
  2. River or Lake Information
  3. Shuttle: The Put-In and Take-Out
  4. Distance: How much will you paddle each day?
  5. Weather and Safety Concerns
  6. Equipment and Gear: What to bring?
  7. Nutrition and Hydration
  8. How Many People Will Be Going?
  9. Boats, Paddles, and PFDs
  10. Trip Plan

A detailed description of each of these can be found on the next page.

This process of figuring out all the details is actually lots of fun as it helps to build the anticipation for the events that will follow. Also, as these trips generally involve others, the planning process provides for some great bonding time, interesting discussions, and even some memorable debates. From my own experience half of the memories that I have of trips such as these involve all of the interaction and research that took place in the weeks prior to the trip.

As a final tip, start planning early so that you have time to prepare, check out your gear, and buy anything you may need.

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