Finally! I’m heading out on my first canoe trip of the season. It’s a little late due to the darn pandemic, but at least I’m now able to head off into the woods and water to deal with minor discomforts like bugs and portages rather than dried up skin from using too much hand sanitizer.

I also get to try out some new gear. This is going to be awesome. Here’s what I mail ordered while patiently waiting for the backcountry to open:

 

Eureka Trail Fly 10 Camp Tarp

Price: $124.99

 

I’ve always believed that a good tarp is essential for a good trip. The tent should only be used for sleeping in—not for waiting out bad weather. Rainy days—and nights—should be spent outside, under a tarp and huddled around a cozy fire.

Eureka has a brand-new tarp design for 2020. There’s two sizes: 10’ (305 cm) X 9’ (300 cm) or 14’ (427 cm) 9' 10" (300 cm). I chose the smaller of the two. The tarp is made of lightweight ripstop Nylon (1 lb 15 oz or 2 lb 11 oz for the larger one). I really appreciate the multiple guy out points (eight in total), allowing for a variety of pitch configurations. It also has integrated guy line pockets, so you won’t have a mess of ropes when you unpack it. You can also order an adjustable aluminum pole to ease set up if you want. I didn’t bother with the pole since I generally use a ridge line or use my make-shift paddle connector—allowing me to use my two paddles as a centre pole. Colours available are Summer Fig or Dawn Blue. I went for the Summer Fig (blackflies and mosquitoes are attracted to the colour blue).

 

Keen Canada’s SOLR Sandal

Price: $120

 

I’m a huge fan of Keen footwear; especially their sandals. My new purchase for this season is the SOLR (sea, ocean, lake, river). It’s made for paddlers who want water footwear with exceptional grip. Keen’s Aquagrip rubber with Aqua Stop provides maximum traction on wet surfaces. They’re also low profile, lightweight, extremely flexible and the webbing is made of recycled plastic bottles. Extra bonuses are the cozy arch support, true fit and quick drying capabilities.

 

Recreational Barrel Works 60L Barrel Cooler

Price: $45.95

 

If you pack a 60-litre barrel on your canoe trips, then you want a cooler made specifically for it. It’s perfect 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.

 

Frost River Accessory Bags

Price: $26

 

Frost River never disappoints. Their products are well-made, and they last forever. I picked up their small, medium and large storage bags for my Frost River Kitchen Canoe Pack. They’re made of 18- ounce waxed canvas and ideal for storing small items like flashlights, lighters, kitchen utensils, extra paracord, extra batteries, bug spray and toiletries.

 

 

Nova Craft 50th Anniversary Camp Mug

Price: $12

 

Canada’s Nova Craft Canoe Company turns 50 years old this year, and to celebrate in style they’ve come out with a beauty camp mug. It weighs in at 18-ounces, made of enamelware and features the company’s 50th anniversary logo. The colour is navy blue with white speckled exterior, silver stainless steel rim and white interior. Limited edition, available while quantities last. It’s good for morning coffee—but you might want to pour a wee dram in it during the evening fire and give Nova Craft a “cheers” for making exceptional Canadian canoes for 50 years.