Weight and Waterproofing:
Experienced canoeists have learned weight and waterproofing are two important considerations when packing for an overnight camping canoe trip. Weight is especially important if you happen to catch the river when the water level is down and frequent shallow sandbars are encountered. The less weight in the canoe, the higher it will float out of the water. Even a few pounds can make a lot of difference when you are trying to slither across the shallows.
Heavy-duty plastic trash bags are great for this purpose although some care must be taken to avoid puncturing the bags. Clothing, sleeping bags, etc., can be placed inside plastic trash bags and then stuffed into duffle bags and backpacks to protect the plastic bags from being ripped or punctured. Plastic buckets with snap-on lids are also popular among canoeists. They are sturdy enough to sit and stand on, waterproof, puncture resistant and easily accessible
Multi Canoe Excursions:
If there are several canoes in the group, it is recommended that everyone get together and make a list of necessary equipment so some items can be shared to eliminate duplication and more evenly distribute weight and bulk among the canoes. For instance, one canoe could carry a hatchet and another could carry a folding shovel. One could carry a lantern and another could carry a gasoline cook stove. One could carry a tarp and another could haul the campfire cooking grill. Waterproofing is equally important. Even if it doesn't rain or you don't overturn your canoe, a certain amount of water manages to get slopped over into the canoe and on your equipment, and spending the night inside a wet sleeping bag is no fun for any outdoors-man.
The amount of gear necessary for any overnight camping canoe trip depends on the individual. Some canoeists travel ultra-light while others haul enough gear to outfit a wilderness expedition. Gear for a typical overnight trip for two might include the following:
-Army duffle bag containing sleeping bags and foam mattresses (Dry Bags are a great investment as well)
-A small zipper duffle bag for extra clothes and toiletries,
-One five-gallon plastic bucket with lid containing dry food items,
-Mess kit and one-burner gasoline stove
-Another bucket containing electric lantern
The load would be rounded out with a tent in its own duffle bag, a container of fresh drinking water, ice chest for food and drinks, campfire cooking grill, fishing equipment and a couple of folding lawn chairs. One trick is to freeze plastic milk jugs of water; when the ice melts inside the cooler it becomes a source of drinking water at no additional weight of bulk. It is wise to lash everything into the canoe in case of an overturn with stretch straps or rope.