Gear and Packing Tips

Coast Guard Safe Boating Equipment Requirements


Everyone who operates a boat is responsible for:

  1. Operating it in a safe and competent manner
  2. Ensuring it is in a seaworthy and reliable condition
  3. Equipping it with approved safety equipment that is in good condition and easily accessible


Minimum required equipment:

(Canoes, Kayaks, Rowboats and Rowing Shells not over 6 meters [18'8"] in length)

  • An approved PFD (personal floatation device) or life jacket
  • One buoyant heaving line of not less than 15 m in length (aka throw bag)one manual propelling device (aka paddle) OR an anchor with not less than 15 m of cable, rope or chain
  • One bailer or manual water pump fitted with or accompanied by sufficient hose to enable a person using the pump to pump water from the bilge of the vessel over the side of the vessel
  • A sound signaling device or a sound signaling appliance (aka whistle)
  • Navigation lights that meet the applicable standards set out in the Collision Regulations if the pleasure craft is operated after sunset and before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility (for a canoe, a single light is sufficient, e.g. waterproof flashlight, lantern or torch)

For club events, the trip leader will provide the minimum required equipment for club boats.

Participants bringing their own boats are respionsible to make sure their boat is properly equipped.  

All participants are responsible to bring their own additional equipment - see below.

Additionally, members bringing their own PFD should make sure it is in good condition and fit and has a sound signalling device.



What to Wear!

  • Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting wet / dirty and fabrics that will dry quickly.  Also, wear layers that can be easily added / removed on the water and that are not going to be restrictive while in a boat or bulky under your PFD.
  • Hat or something to keep sun of your head when its warm, or a warm hat for cooler weather paddles.
  • Sunglasses
  • Footwear that you dont mind getting wet.  Sturdy sandals, swim shoes or neoprene booties are great choices.  Flipflops aren't great becaus they often float away while getting in and out of boats. Also, you want something that will be comfortable if there are any portages.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray depending on weather and location.
  • PFD


What to Pack!


Short Day Trips - 1 to 4 hours:

Need to have:
  • A backpack or bag for gear.  
  • Food for the full day. Pack more than you think you will need in waterproof packaging. Think a full meal and easy to eat snacks that won't melt or spoil in heat.
  • Water for the full day, a minimum of 1 L.
  • A change of clothes in case of capsize.
  • Extra layers for weather changes.  Fleece sweater, paddling gloves, toque, rain gear.
  • Insect repellant and sunblock.

Nice to have:
  • A dry sack to hold gear.
  • Personal first aid kit, such as blister care, pain medication, allergy medication.
  • Towel
  • Small survival kit with items such as knife, water filter, fire making tools, multitool.
  • Baby wipes / cleaning toweletts.
  • Biodegradeable toilet paper.


Longer Day Trips - 4 to 12 hours:

Need to have:
  • A backpack or bag for gear.  
  • Food for the full day. Pack more than you think you will need in waterproof packaging. Think 2 full meals and easy to eat snacks that won't melt or spoil in heat.
  • Water for the full day, a minimum of 2 L.
  • A change of clothes in case of capsize.
  • Extra layers for weather changes.  Fleece sweater, paddling gloves, toque, rain gear.
  • Insect repellant and sunblock.

Nice to have:
  • A dry sack to hold gear.
  • Personal first aid kit, such as blister care, pain medication, allergy medication.
  • Towel / Bathing suit.
  • Small survival kit with items such as knife, water filter, fire making tools, multitool.
  • Backpacking mini stove, cooking utensils.
  • Headlamp
  • GPS / Waterproof map



Overnight / Camping Trips

Need to have:
  • A backpack or bag for gear with waterproof areas for clothing and food.  
  • Food for the full trip. Pack more than you think you will need in waterproof packaging that won't melt or spoil in heat.
  • Water for consumption, cooking and cleaning, generally 4L per day or a method of replenishing water.
  • Mess kit, including knife, fork, spoon, mug, plate, bowl, can opener, cleaning cloth, soap, etc.
  • Suitable clothing for the number of days including layers for weather changes such as fleece sweater, paddling gloves, toque, rain gear, extra footwear.
  • Insect repellant and sunblock.
  • Personal toiletry kit including toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries.
  • Sleeping pad and sleeping bag.
  • Shelter such as a bivy bag, tarp or backpacking tent.
  • Personal first aid kit, such as blister care, pain medication, allergy medication, antacids, after sun lotion, antibiotic cream, anti-nausea medication, cold and flu medication.
  • Towel / Bathing suit.
  • Survival kit with items such as knife, water filter or purification device, fire making tools and tinder (at least 2 methods), multitool, compass, bear bell.
  • Rope or cordage.
  • Plastic bags for waste / soiled clothing.

Nice to have:
  • Backpacking mini stove, cooking utensils.
  • Solar charging device.
  • GPS / Waterproof map.
  • Bear spray.
  • Small shovel, saw or axe.
  • Signal tape, twine, carabiners.


Anything we missed you can think of?!?