Planning a Canoe Trip

Algonquin Outfitters can help you plan a canoe trip from start to finish. This page contains a great deal of helpful information and links to even more.

“This is Home” Algonquin Park video by Dave Kelbe.


1) The Canoe Trip Planning Guide and FAQs

Just below, you’ll find our comprehensive outline of all the steps to a successful Algonquin Park trip with Algonquin Outfitters. Even those not using our services will find it useful! Another handy resource is our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have never visited Algonquin Park before and/or are not sure what canoe tripping is all about, we highly recommend reading Algonquin Park’s “Backcountry Canoe Tripping Principles” and guidelines for “Leave No Trace” camping. Please see the full version of the planning guide below.

2) Personal Items To Bring On A Canoe Trip

Scroll down to see our handy list of necessary items for those using our complete outfitting services or going on a guided trip. Essentially, this is a list of what is NOT included in a complete outfitting package. Those planning a more “do-it-yourself” trip will find a list of essential tripping gear on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

3) Canoe trip outfitting overview on video

Before moving on, take a couple of minutes to watch this video, filmed at our Oxtongue Lake location. You’ll follow a typical family as they get ready for their canoe trip after booking one of our complete outfitting packages.

The Canoe Trip Planning Guide

Algonquin Outfitters has produced a handy canoe trip planning guide that will make your vacation preparations a little easier. While the guide is primarily intended as an aid for those using our services, first-time visitors to Algonquin Park, youth group leaders and complete outfitting customers, our hope is that all canoe trippers will find it useful to some degree.

Canoe Trip Planning Guide Topics
  • Major steps in canoe trip planning
  • Gathering information & maps
  • Getting a group together
  • Setting trip dates
  • Choosing a route
  • Basic park regulations
  • Reserving camping permits
  • Deciding which Algonquin Outfitters base to use
  • Deciding what type of outfitting you require
  • Reserving outfitting equipment
  • Arranging transportation
  • Getting to the access point & back again
  • Accommodation
  • Questions?
  • Useful links for trip planning


The planning guide is available as a PDF file for easy reading and printing. Please click the link below and you’ll be able to view, print and download a PDF version of the guide.

Algonquin Outfitters Trip Planning Guide

Download PDF FileDownload the Algonquin Outfitters Trip Planning Guide here.
You will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat to view the above PDF files. Most computers have Acrobat installed but if yours doesn’t, you can get it here:

Why is a longer trip better than just a weekend trip

Algonquin Outfitters offers a 25% discount on any rental gear when booked for 8+ days, or 15% off any 5-7 day trip. Want us to take care of everything? Book a complete outfitting package and, keep in mind, longer trips enjoy lower daily outfitting rates.

Personal Items To Bring On A Canoe Trip

What-to-bring-on-a-canoe-tripAn Algonquin Outfitters complete outfitting package provides all the food and equipment required for a safe and comfortable Algonquin Park canoe-camping trip, along with many extras. Our packages include all the camping and canoeing equipment you need, as well as a nourishing, delicious menu designed for wilderness travel. You only need to bring clothing and any personal items you think are necessary. Keep the list to a minimum, though, since you must carry everything! Remember this adage: “take two changes of clothes – one on the back and one in the pack.”

The list of necessary items varies with the type, length and season of the trip. If you forget something or aren’t sure about what to get, don’t forget that Algonquin Outfitters is also one of the best-stocked outdoor clothing and equipment stores in Canada. Our helpful and knowledgeable staff will gladly help you select the items needed to complete your list.

Weather in the Algonquin Park area is extremely variable. Summer daytime temperatures can get as high as 40ºC (over 90ºF) but nights can be cool – especially in August. Thermal underwear, gloves, warm hats and extra layers of clothing are advisable in the spring and fall. In May and October, snow is not out of the question! Footwear is a matter of personal choice. During the spring and fall, when portages are wet and the water cold, many canoeists prefer waterproof boots. In the summer, choices vary from sport sandals or running shoes to light hiking boots. We recommend hiking shoes or boots for portaging. Open-toed sport sandals are great for wearing around the campsite or wading in for a swim but wearing them on a portage is an invitation to a “sandal-related injury.”

See Algonquin Park live weather here!

These days, we can’t emphasize enough that sun protection is needed. At the minimum, you should have good-quality sunglasses (cheap sunglasses can actually cause eye damage), a wide-brimmed hat and lots of sunscreen (SPF 20 at least). Fair-skinned folks might consider bringing light cotton gardening gloves to protect their hands while paddling.

Essential personal items – for Complete Outfitting or Guided Trip customers
  • T-shirt(s) – two for longer trips
  • Quick-drying shorts and/or swim suit
  • Small towel – quick-dry, micro-fibre type works well
  • Lightweight, long-sleeved shirt – cotton/polyester blends are good
  • Sunscreen and hat – one with a full wide brim is better than a ball cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Quick-drying long pants – some styles convert to shorts by zipping off the legs
  • Good-quality rain gear (jacket and pants)
  • Wool sweater or fleece jacket
  • Socks – wool, bamboo or synthetic
  • Extra pair of socks for around the campsite – always keep theses dry!
  • Sturdy footwear for portages – preferably well broken in
  • Campsite footwear – sport sandals, running shoes or duck shoes are great
  • Toilet articles – toothbrush/paste, shampoo/soap, etc.
  • Spare prescription glasses or contacts
  • Personal medications in waterproof  bag or container
Highly recommended items
  • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards (or film!)
  • Binoculars and field guides
  • Notebook or journal and pencils
  • Day pack or fanny pack for frequently used items
  • Fishing rod and tackle – fishing licenses can be purchased in the park
  • Rainy day entertainment – book, cards, portable board game, etc.
Spring or fall extras
  • Wool or fleece hat, gloves/mitts
  • Lightweight synthetic or wool long underwear (top and bottom)
  • Extra insulating layers, such as fleece pants and jacket
  • Waterproof footwear – insulated boots are a good idea

Packing for a Weekend Canoe Trip

Rich Swift shares some tips

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