My only pet peeve with those blue barrels that canoeists use to store their food in is how disorganized everything seems to become after you toss them in the boat or carry them across the portage. Whatever you’re looking for always ends up at the bottom, buried under everything else. Canada’s Recreational Barrel Works has fixed the problem. They’ve designed a number of food and utensil organizers, and last week the owner of the company, Andy Baxter (one of my main canoemates), and I went off on a week-long canoe trip in Algonquin to test two of the new storage systems.

 

Kitchen Organizer (Utensil Roll)

photoRecreational Barrel Works

This is an awesome way to store all your kitchen utensils. It features three main compartments. The centre one is a full-length mesh pocket to store your longer items like a pancake flipper and carved wooden spoon. The upper and lower are sub-dived into two separate pleated pockets. I keep spices and condiments in the upper, and dish soap and scrubby in the lower. All are spacious zippered pockets, colour-coded and made of washable 200 Denier pack cloth and tough mesh.

The large version, with upper and lower compartments and the centred mesh section (five pockets in total) measures 50cm x 44 cm when open. There’s also a smaller version (three pockets in total) that measures 33 cm x 44 cm when open.

photoRecreational Barrel Works

The organizer rolls up to a compact size. It even can be clipped to the barrel harness on the outside of the barrel, or anything else that’s horizontal in camp (ridge line, tree branch, overturned canoe…). They can also be used to store first-aid, repair kit or toiletries.

Genius!

 

Barrel Bucket with Lid

photoRecreational Barrel Works

These are brand new to the Recreational Barrel Works line up of storage systems. They’re similar to their traditional barrel buckets made of washable, heavy 200D pack cloth. The new design, however, comes with a zippered lid and can be simply lifted out of the barrel with an attached strap handle. The lid keeps the food from falling out of the bucket, and they come in various colours (orange, red, yellow) and sizes (18 cm x 30 cm or 17cm x 23 cm). I keep my dinners in a large red bucket, breakfasts in a small yellow bucket, and lunches in a small orange bucket. Works perfect! The larger size fits well in a 60-litre barrel and the smaller size fits in a 20 or 30 litre barrel. A 60L barrel will hold three large buckets. A 20L will hold two small buckets, a 30L barrel will hold three small buckets.

photoRecreational Barrel Works

Check out the full video of our trip. It was late fall, and we packed a hot tent and wood stove…and our buddy Tim Foley. The Barrel Kitchen Organizer is shown at 10:15 in the video and the Lidded Barrel Buckets are shown at 13:08 in the video.