Canoe Camping and Rafting
Guide to Planning Canoe Camping, Kayak, or Float Trips
Who doesn’t love the great outdoors? Alright, alright, the dad’s girlfriend on Parent Trap was not much of the outdoors lover, but there’s got to be at least one stick-in-the-mud! Many people also get the wrong idea that only very masculine men can rock the outdoors adventure, this is a complete fallacy. Even W.C. Fields quoted “Marry an outdoors woman. Then if you throw her out into the yard on a cold night, she can still survive.” Enough with the jokes, now let’s get down to some serious, but very fun, business.
1. What exactly do you want to do?
First you must decide what you want to do. Get with the group of people that are coming along, and decide the activity. Do you wish to camp overnight or simply go on a day’s float trip? Do you want a smooth canoe camping ride or would you prefer the daring rapids in a kayak? The possibilities in nature are endless. You create your dream and let nature work the reality.
2. Where can you do that?
The next thing you need to do once you have figured out your activity is search around the area that you are aiming for and find locations for that specified activity. Top classic places might include the Missouri, the Green, the Rio Grande, the Niobrara, or the Ozarks. You can easily search online at reviews, experiences, prices, etc. Make sure you plan for transportation, luggage, parking, gasoline, food stops, etc. Have a set of money set aside just for transportation. It is sometimes an easy factor to leave out of your budget plan, but you would hate to be stranded with no way home but your canoe!
Some “top” camp grounds in the United States include:
1. Devil’s Tower National Monument
2. Glacier National Park
3. Olympic National Park
4. Grand Teton National Park
5. Lassen Volcanic National Park
6. Capitol Reef National Park
7. King’s Canyon National Park
8. Theodore Roosevelt National Park
9. Blue Ridge Parkway: Rocky Knob Campground
10. Big Bend National Park
Any of these, plus tons more, would be great adventure sites for your vacation!
3. Pack prepared!
Here comes the important part. The romantic fun of the planning process in your head of where to go and what to do is over. Now is the stressful part. You have to pack! Things you need to get for sure is the canoe, raft, or whatever floating device you plan to use. Many resorts will have them there to rent out. Make sure to check availability before you head out and get there leaving empty handed. Make sure you plan for your overnight stay if you are staying more than just the night. Check for tents, RVs, cabins, etc. Account for food, clothes, water, water, water! Make sure to bring blankets. Always pack in layers. Even in the summer bring layers. You never know what could happen. Make sure you have clothes and shoes that will be okay to get wet! Don’t forget your hygiene products! Also bring a First Aid Kit! You would rather be safe than sorry. If you are bringing children, bring games or things to keep them entertained (especially on a road trip). You’ll be thanking yourself when your child is playing a game instead of asking “are we there yet?” repeatedly!
4. Money, money, money! Lastly, make sure you have the funds! Save up. Split the costs with those that are around. If you plan a while in advance you can put a little bit back every so often, and it will add up to your canoe camping cost goal!
Most importantly, have fun and be safe!