The list of ingredients you need for a successful canoeing trip is remarkably simple. Water. A paddle. A Canoe. A life vest. There isn’t much more in the way of necessities for canoeing. And while it’s simplicity is charming, that doesn’t mean that all gear is made the same. Use our gear guide to make sure you get all the essentials you’ll need to get the most out of your canoe trip.
Rather than the traditional straight-shaft canoe paddle, consider a bent-shaft paddle, which helps produce a shorter, faster, and less fatiguing stroke as the blade is perpendicular entering and leaving the water.
A personal floatation device (PFD) is the one keystone piece of equipment you need for every paddlesports discipline (aside from the boat and the paddle). Donning a PFD, otherwise known as a life jacket, should be as second nature to paddlers as wearing pants to school. Get a comfortable, USCG-approved Type III vest you can wear for any style of paddling. You don't need an overly bulky one with a floatation flap behind the head.
Now that you're ready to day-trip, you should consider how to rig all your stuff—sunscreen, extra layers, snacks, keys, cameras, etc.—to your boat, and to keep it dry.