How to Choose a Backpack for Canoeing Trips


Canoeing trips can be an incredibly rewarding and exhilarating experience, but it’s important to ensure that you have the right gear for the journey. One of the most important pieces of equipment you will need is a backpack. Choosing the right backpack can make all the difference in terms of comfort, organization, and overall enjoyment of the trip. In this guide, we will discuss what to consider when choosing a backpack for canoeing trips.

Backpack Types

When it comes to choosing a backpack for canoeing trips, there are three main types to consider: daypacks, overnight backpacks, and expedition backpacks. Daypacks are smaller and designed for day trips or short outings, while overnight backpacks are larger and can hold enough gear for one or two nights. Expedition backpacks are even larger and designed for longer trips, often lasting multiple days or even weeks. Choosing the right type of backpack depends on the length and nature of your canoeing trip.

Capacity and Size

Capacity and size are important considerations when choosing a backpack for canoeing trips. Capacity refers to the volume of the backpack and is usually measured in liters or cubic inches. When choosing the right size for your trip, it’s important to consider the amount of gear you will need to bring, as well as the length of the trip. If you’re planning a longer trip, you’ll need a larger backpack to accommodate more gear. However, keep in mind that larger backpacks are also heavier and can be more cumbersome to carry.


When it comes to choosing a backpack for canoeing trips, it is important to consider the materials used in its construction. You want a backpack that is durable and can withstand the wear and tear of outdoor adventures. Look for materials such as nylon, polyester, or canvas, which are commonly used in backpacks and are known for their durability. It is also important to consider the waterproofing capabilities of the backpack. You want a backpack that is water-resistant or even waterproof, as it will be exposed to water during canoeing trips. Look for backpacks made with materials that can repel water or have a waterproof coating. Additionally, look for backpacks with sturdy zippers and straps made of strong materials such as nylon webbing. These features will ensure that your backpack can withstand the elements and protect your belongings.

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Features to Consider:

When choosing a backpack for canoeing trips, there are several features to consider that will make your trip more comfortable and convenient. Here are some important features to look for:

  1. Size: The size of the backpack is an important consideration. You want a backpack that is large enough to hold all your gear, but not so large that it becomes cumbersome. Look for backpacks with a capacity of at least 30-40 liters, which should be sufficient for most day trips.
  2. Compartments: Look for a backpack with multiple compartments, including a main compartment and several smaller pockets. This will allow you to organize your gear and keep everything easily accessible.
  3. Padded Straps: A backpack with padded straps will be more comfortable to wear, especially during long trips. Look for backpacks with padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel for extra comfort.
  4. Hydration System Compatibility: Canoeing trips can be hot and sweaty, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Look for a backpack that is compatible with a hydration system, such as a water bladder. This will allow you to easily access water while on the go.
  5. Attachment Points: Look for backpacks with attachment points, such as loops or hooks, which can be used to attach gear to the outside of the backpack. This is especially useful for items that are too large to fit inside the backpack, such as a sleeping bag or tent.
  6. Reflective Details: When canoeing, you may be on the water early in the morning or late at night, so it’s important to have a backpack with reflective details. These details will make you more visible to other boaters and ensure your safety.
  7. Floatation: If you plan on canoeing in rough water or in the event of an accidental capsizing, a backpack with built-in floatation can help keep your belongings afloat and prevent them from getting lost.

Fit and Adjustability

Importance of fit and adjustability:

Having a backpack that fits well and can be adjusted to your body is crucial for your comfort and safety during canoeing trips. If the backpack is too big or too small, it can cause discomfort or strain on your back, shoulders, and hips, and affect your balance in the canoe. An adjustable backpack will allow you to distribute the weight evenly and keep your balance, especially on uneven terrain or rough waters.

Tips for getting the right fit:

To ensure that your backpack fits properly and is adjustable to your body, follow these tips:

  1. Measure your torso length: Measure the distance from the C7 vertebra (the bony bump at the base of your neck) to the top of your hip bones. This measurement will help you choose the right backpack size.
  2. Adjust the shoulder straps: The shoulder straps should fit snugly on your shoulders, without digging into your skin. Adjust the straps until the backpack feels comfortable and stable on your back.
  3. Adjust the hip belt: The hip belt should rest comfortably on your hip bones, not your waist. Adjust the belt until it fits snugly around your hips and takes some weight off your shoulders.
  4. Adjust the load-lifter straps: These straps connect the shoulder straps to the top of the backpack and help distribute the weight more evenly. Adjust them until the backpack feels balanced and comfortable.
  5. Check for adjustability: Make sure that the backpack has adjustable straps and can be customized to your body shape and size. This will allow you to fine-tune the fit and balance of the backpack as needed.

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Recap of what to consider when choosing a backpack for canoeing trips:

When choosing a backpack for canoeing trips, consider the following:

  1. Waterproofness and durability
  2. Capacity and organization
  3. Comfort and weight
  4. Access and convenience
  5. Fit and adjustability

Final thoughts and recommendations:

A good backpack is an essential piece of gear for any canoeing trip, whether it’s a day trip or a multi-day adventure. Consider your needs and preferences, and choose a backpack that fits well, is comfortable, and can withstand the elements. With the right backpack, you can focus on enjoying the scenery and having fun on the water.

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