To many, it might sound like a bigger hassle than it's worth, but with the right attitude, the best gear and smart preparation, canoe camping can turn into an adventure you'll never forget.

We've spent our fair share of time on the water and have canoe camped quite a few times between us. One of our favorite spots is "upstate" in the Adirondacks, near Tupper Lake, NY. 

A year ago last month, Kevin and his family took a trip with friends to Raquette Lake, NY. The campsite was a 20 minute canoe ride from the car--with an almost 2 year-old and a 5 year-old in tow. Even though Kevin's wife, Whitney, feared it would be the "worst weekend ever," it turned out waaay better than expected (read on to hear the full story)!

Wherever the season takes you--to the woods, to the lake or to a cozy cabin retreat--take the time to relax, unwind and find peace in the pure beauty of nature's changing seasons.


Make a list & use it!

"I watch a lot of astronaut movies... mostly Star Wars. And even Han and Chewie use a checklist." ~ Jon Stewart

It's a no-brainer, but we all forget to make them. A checklist for canoe camping will ensure you've got the right gear ready to go and you won't be left in the lurch out on the water--or stranded on an island. Now there's no need to reinvent the wheel on this one; check out all the great packing lists on our Canoe Camping Pinterest board

Don't Leave Home Without...

There are a few items we consider "must-haves" for canoe camping. Our Trail Tarp is compact enough to fit in the canoe but versatile enough to use as a shelter, a wind barrier or a rain fly for your hammock.And don't forget the cordage: our Hi-Viz Tent Tarp Cord comes in a tiny, portable package but it's strong enough to string up your tarp, tent or other shelter.

When it comes to cooking at camp, basically all the gear in our Fire + Cook section would suit your needs... whether it's our 4Qt Bush Pot (which boils pasta like a boss), our Pack Griddle (mmmm, pancakes!) or our Classic Flask for a little nightcap before bed. All that paddling should make for a great night's sleep, but a solid Sleeping Pad will provide the much-needed insulation you'll need between you and the ground all night long.

For clothing, a warm hat like our Wool Cap or our Long Range Watch Cap will keep your noggin toasty. Don't forget to pack some high-quality base layers and a wind-breaking layer to keep that breeze off the water from chilling you to the bone (brrr)!

And last but not least... don't forget the COFFEE! Our Solo Coffee Kit is ALWAYS at the top of our list! We use this thing on EVERY. SINGLE. TRIP. And we've even been known to take it to gatherings at friends' homes (you know--the type of "friends" who only serve tea. Pshaw!).


Kevin's Raquette Lake Journal

A friend of mine, @patoehler, and his wife, Naina, invited our family to canoe camp on Raquette Lake, NY, last October. Having canoe camped many times before, I immediately agreed. My wife, Whitney, was not so enthused, but after allowing her to “air her concerns” she reluctantly agreed to one night on the island. What followed was a weekend of superb fall weather spent with our good friends and kiddos--right smack dab in the middle of a pristine, natural lake.



Our campsite was a simple lean-to on Big Island, about a 20 minute canoe paddle from the parking lot on shore.

It was during this trip that Pat taught me the infamous J-Stroke. Talk about life-changing!

We even found a little time to fly fish while on the island!

Looking back, my wife admits this was one of our family’s most idyllic camping trips to date, despite all the fears she had going into it (“what if we forget something?” “what if there’s an emergency and we have to evacuate via canoe?” “what if the kids won’t go to sleep?!” “what if they annoy our friends so much that they’ll never want to hang out with us again?!”). Bottom line: if the opportunity to canoe camp presents itself, just say “sure!” You won’t regret it.

You don’t have to take my word for it, either. Read Pat’s essay on our trip (and his love for fall camping in general) over at!

Happy paddling!
- Kevin