Are you heading out on a canoe trip this summer? Get equipped right with these six essential items:

Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L



After a long day paddling, the last thing we want to do is pump water through a filter, which is why we love gravity filters. This is one of the easiest and lightest (300 grams) we’ve tried. The six-litre dirty-water bag opens wide for one-plunge filling. A removable mechanical filter sieves out particles to extend the life of the ceramic filter, which can clean up to two litres of water per minute. 

Columbia Ventrailia



There’s nothing like a canoe overhead to bring out the slipperiest roots, mud and rocks. These portage shoes had us covered. Deep and aggressive lugs kept us standing, but didn’t mark up canoe bottoms. Welded strips on the uppers helped stabilize the foot on uneven ground. Puddles and full dunks drained through the mesh uppers and ports in the bottom of the shoe. And the foam cushioning is soft and springy for long miles between lakes.

Outdoor Research Lunch Counter Boardshorts



What does a couple decades of making mountain-worthy outerwear teach you about board shorts? Apparently, a lot. OR used a lightweight but tough material (also UPF 50) and triple-stitched the seams for durability. They dry super fast and wear hard. A highly water-resistant zip-pocket keeps things like keys, cash and a driver’s licence safe. But the smartest feature is a second set of eyelets for the drawstring waist. Cinch it tighter after a week of tripping, or, more optimistically, let it out for the post-expedition feast.

Chums Downriver Bag



Unlike kayaks, canoes have no dry, easy-access storage. This versatile bag comes close. The three-litre roll top has room for all the stuff you need close at hand, but don’t want to risk getting wet or tossed overboard. And an included strap can attach it to a thwart or seat, and also turns the bag into a fanny pack or shoulder-sling for short side trips. 

NEMO Tango Solo



Part mummy bag lightness, part rectangular bag comfort and more like a down comforter than either, the Tango is a unique sleeping bag perfect for Ontario’s volatile weather. When it’s hot and humid, the backless bag can be used like a blanket. When the thermometer plunges, tuck the elasticized edges under a sleeping mat and snap on the removable hood. It sleeps close to its zero-degree rating and at almost 60 cm across, there’s still plenty of room for side sleepers. Stuffed with water-resistant 700-fill down, it can handle sopping conditions.

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Alpine Front Jacket

Eddie BauerEddie Bauer


Usually four-way stretch is exclusive of waterproofing, but the WeatherEdge membrane on the Alpine Front defies convention, combining plenty of stretch and monsoon-calibre weathershedding. It never constricted when stroking and, with a huge hood that adjusted to stay put in a headwind, sheltered us from a storm. We also appreciated the massive hand pockets. On a side-trip they fit a snack and waterbottle; we hiked unencumbered.


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