Canoe Adventures

"For me, and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization. To us the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefiled panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness." - Bob Marshall



There are times when a solo paddle, with no others around is what you need to refresh the mind and body. And yet, other times we need to meet up with like minded paddlers to share the moments.


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Camping Tips - Meal Planning

The first thing to ask is canoe, kayak, raft or all three? As we make are way in life's adventures we realize quite quickly that not all things are created equal. Traveling with food requires space, proper containers, and the food we like to eat. The next thing to ask is how long are you going to be gone?

The two questions are related by how much space can you dedicate to food and food preparations. Food is not just a way to replenish needed calories but rather acts as an integral part or ingredient that make up a trip. So much so that it can be the difference between a trip to remember and one to forget.

Snacks, Lunch, Day Meals or Multiple Day Trips

A well planned menu for the time you'll be gone will make your trip a satisfying experience so we need to ask,"How adventurous are you going to be?" There is no reason to bring enough food for week if you are only going for a day. This is especially true if your day trip is on a safe and well know path and at water levels known to produce safe adventures. However, the less well known trip can lead your expedition into situations where the certainty of pulling out that night at the agreed take out is less sure. For those times, a little extra in the provisions bag make not be a bad idea. However, for the sake of this piece, we'll be planning as if we are going to a safe and well travel destination..


Snacks provide you with a good balanced workout and they energy to sustain your body and mind. Some environments can be more demanding than other so match the snack to your work load. I also like to keep a sanitizer around in case the water is questionable quality. If your hands have been paddling and wearing gloves or handling water, you should keep yourself safe. Wash your hands before you start making things. It also helps to use sandwich bags to use as a holder while you eat. Keeping your hands from making direct contact with your food. Energy bars and breakfast bar type food is good. Hard fruit like apples are good whereas peaches, plums and other soft fruit require a little extra thinking to keep them from getting squashed. Nuts are a great source of nutrition and come in a variety of mixes including some with dried fruits.


Usually lunch is a lighter meal that requires no fires or heat. I like to keep it simple. If you are on a day paddle it might be your only meal on the water so it perhaps can be a little more elaborate. If you are on a multi day or multi stop trip, remember to keep you meals accessible from top down and the essentials to put it together also on the top of your kitchen. It doesn't matter if you are starting from home or a morning camp site, prepping for your lunch with a full kitchen at your disposal makes it much easier. Cut up your veggies or things to add to your sandwiches prior to launching that day and then you only need to put it on/in your lunch. If you are making sandwiches you might consider hard sided plastics boxes like Tupperware to keep your soft lunch stuff in such as bread. Consider cooking rice and beans and adding precut fresh veggies. Any time your on the water make sure you have a good place to keep your trash in case of capsizing.

1 Day or Multiple Days

Fresh, Dehydrated or Freeze Dried? This is an important question to ask yourself and your paddling companions that are a part of your meal plan. Of course it can be a combination of all three types of food to make the trip work out on several levels; taste, nutrition, and weight. Fresh food comes at a price to your trip in both weight and space. If you are only going to be gone for a day or two it is quite easy to pack enough fresh food to enjoy a regular meal. In addition to food, another requirement for meals is water. Are you going to carry your own or filter from your local supply?

Planned menus leads to a well organized food storage and retrieval. It also leads to less waste and better use of space.

Coolers come in various sizes, shapes and hard or soft sided. The longer the trip the less fresh food you might consider taking. It might even get to a point where no cooler is best. They do take up space. Remember to freeze some items so that they last until you have scheduled them on the menu.

Cooking requires heat; a good controlled heat source aka stove. So with that in mind that is where your meal planning begins. What kind of kitchen are you bringing? Small stove? Alcohol Stove, white gas, propane, open fire on a grill, charcoal briquette? combination of several?

Cleanup is also a part of meal time so keep that in mind when choosing menu items. Types of pots and pans used as well as cooking styles can greatly increase or decrease the time you spend washing up after.


Simple, or elaborate? Something hot to drink like coffee, might only require hot water which can also be used for instant oat meal or other breakfast cereal. The addition of a few pieces of fruit or berries allow you to have a simple but tasty meal. More elaborate meals like pancakes and scrambled eggs are nice but take a bit more time.


I see lunch as a perfect time to eat dinner leftovers. A flour tortilla and some rice with whatever you have last night might be a quick, clean and fast lunch. This is where a few plastic storage containers come in handy or a metal one with a secure lid.


Keeping you meals simple is a good idea. Why? Sometimes it has been a long day of paddling and you don't have the energy to put on a big meal. Keeping that in mind, a mix of prepared and fresh works well. Canned foods can add a quick piece to a meal that ties it together. It might be a can of chicken, or beans or...

Roll up collapsible tables are a great addition to your camp kitchen. They are lightweight and elevated from the river's edge, so they give you a clean place to work on your food.

On many weekend trips the evening meal is the event so a little extra fancy is OK and even encouraged in some group outings. This might be a great time also to use a share kitchen to wash and clean since so many will be partaking. I use small 2 gallon plastic hard sided wash basins filled with about 2 quarts of hot water. Collapsible would be fine too.


Spices, table cloths, etc are examples of nice additions but not required. This is certainly determined by the rugged nature of the adventure. Are you going to rough it or are you pushing the boundary toward glamping.


Water, energy drinks, teas, coffee, etc... and Alcohol should all be used with a full knowledge of what consequences that they have on your body. Hydration is key and when you are way from the household spigot, it can be come a crucial decision to what goes in your body. Water is a critical component of a trip both to float on and as a crucial life blood. Whether to pack it in or plan on filtering as needed as well as a combination of the two. Since water is so important we'll have a separate page dedicated to this topic later.

Some common menu items
Dehydrated/Quick cooking
Freeze Dried
Eggs, Cereal,sausage juices, coffee
oatmeal, fruit
scrambled eggs
sliced meat, cut veggies, chips, crackers
Salami, Summer Sausage, Jerkys
stew, grilled meat, stir fry, pasta
smoked meat, fish, canned tuna-chicken fish,
stews, heater meals
fruit, nuts, bars
meat jerky - beef, chicken
Water , Energy, Tea, Coffee
Water needed for


Kitchen Supplies for multi day trip

This can be broken down into several categories such as prep, cooking and clean up.

There are very few hard and fast rules when it comes to meal planning and execution. Hydration and sufficient calories to maintain your strength are the key things to keep in mind. And as with all things your party brings into the adventure locations, you should remember to take it out; PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT!

this information was last updated December 7, 2013