My canoe buddy, Andy Baxter, came over the other day to show me some new product coming out of his side business: Recreational Barrel Works. You’ll see his blue barrels in a bunch of outdoor stores. They’ve become a favourite alternative to haul your food and gear on canoe trips.

photoKevin Callan

About a year ago, he was at my place showing off his storage system for a 60 litre barrel (food bags, compact pocket organizer and cooler bag). Now he has the same for the smaller 30 litre barrel. Very cool. I use my 30 litre barrel for solo trips or shorter tandem outings.

If you pack a barrel on your canoe trips—60 litre or 30 litre—then you definitely want storage bags (colour coordinated). One of the disadvantages of using a barrel for food storage is that it always seems whatever you’re looking for is always on the bottom, forcing you to take everything out of the barrel to retrieve that one item. The storage bags eliminate that. Dinners in the red bag, lunches in the yellow, breakfasts in the orange…

photoKevin Callan

A compact pocket organizer is a perfect way to organize and to store your forks, knives, cheese grater… I use mine for storing my coffee, tea, sugar, powdered cream, juice crystals and spice kit. It measures 7.1 litres, diameter 23 centimetres, height 17 centimetres, weight 85 grams.

The new cooler is made specifically for the 30 litre (or 20 litre). It’s ideal for keeping meat frozen longer and fruits and vegetables fresher… and a few beers cooler as well if you’re so inclined to pack a few (I’ve packed a few frozen beer to act as a freezer pack). The cooler is well insulated and comes with a hinged zipper lid.