As opposed to “roughing it,” I’d much rather “smooth” it on my kayaking trips. You know, take it easy, relax and enjoy the simple things in life on those trips in a big boat, on easy water, and without portages or time constraints. Sure, it may be the difference between kayak camping and tripping, but so what? You’ll be comfortable doing it. In no particular order of importance, here is my top 10 list of canoe camping creature comforts imperative on any outing:
A comfortable chair
Creaky joints, aches and pains; I need the comfy camp chair. And, to keep the kids from laying claim to my comfy chair, a hammock.
A tarp and poles
Especially last year, since it rained on us in the course of canoe camping in seven states from South Carolina to Maine.
A full-service kitchen
This can encompass quite a few items actually; a two burner stove, coffeepot, Dutch oven, griddle, roll-a-table. If I never choke down another serving of Smak Ramen noodles it’ll be too soon.
A cooler chest
Might as well have good food to go with that fancy kitchen set up. Cocktails, anyone?
Something appropriate for the place (Never Turn Back–The Life & Times of Whitewater Pioneer Walt Blackadar (Waters), The Wilderness Life (Rutstrom), Great Heart (the Hubbard/Wallace journey), Beyond the Hundredth Meridian (Stegner).Still, one of my all-time favorite tripping memories is being windbound on a Maine lake and being astounded when one of my companions pulled a complete Sunday New York Times from a dry bag.
A self-inflating mattress
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. I sleep better on my Therma-rest than on the mattress at home.
A pillowcase and, on warm weather trips, a sheet. Nothing beats resting your weary head on a clean pillowcase instead of filling yesterday’s dirty T-shirt with your spare clothes.
A small bottle of Dr. Bronners
Cleanliness is next to….well, read the label.
A 5-gallon bucket with a screw top, gasket-seal lid
For food storage. For a dishwashing bucket. Fill it with lake water, let it warm up a bit and pour it over your head as a mini-shower. Use it to douse the fire pit before leaving camp. Use it as a silt-settling bucket before filtering water. Also makes a handy camp stool or side table.
An all-terrain bocci set
We use a golf ball for the object ball and some old croquet balls as bocci balls. The all-terrain version is much more fun and challenging than the civilized, groomed-court version. Love those bank shots off the tree roots.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.