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What to Pack for a White Water Canoe Course: On the Water Gear

Tomorrow morning, Kerry is picking me up bright and early for our Introduction to White Water Canoeing Course (called Groovy Moves! with Pure Life Adventures). Two bloggers, white water, one night in a tent … we should have some good tales to tell when we get back!

I am teaching myself, with a great deal of help from Hubby, how to pack independently for camping. When we go family camping, he is the “gear guy.” I really don’t touch a thing. In some ways this is because I am slightly hopeless, but in other ways it’s because he has a routine and ritual that he just doesn’t like me messing with. (It’s the same when he’s in the kitchen cooking.)

In practical terms, this means is that he has shown me how to set up the tent and pack it up, as well as walk me through what clothing is going to keep me the most comfortable this weekend.

Normally, a family camp means I just bring along regular clothes that are suitable for the occasion. But because we have the big trek in the Northwest Territories this summer, I need to get properly geared up because we’ll be out in the elements for six days and five nights straight (!!). I’ll need clothing that dries quickly and performs well in blazing sun or unrelenting rain.

However, back to this weekend … it is one day of training on the water, one sleep in a tent, and then another full day of training on the water. No biggie in relative terms, but a great practice for me.

Here’s what I will wear on the water:

Gear and Clothing for On the Water

1. Polarized sunglasses to protect the eyes with the glare and reflection off of the water. Suncloud brand, Pursuit style in Black/Blue Mirror. $59.99. Purchased at Bushtakah.

2. Sunglass rope cord. Yeah, that Dorky strap for glasses that I usually make fun of Hubby for wearing all the time. But essential when you might tip out of a boat! Suncloud Brand, Sunglass Cord Rope. $5.00. Purchased at Bushtukah.

3. Sunscreen for my face. From my front hall closet. This is SPF 70 for face. I will be slopping it on regularly throughout the day. (I don’t mess around when it comes to skin cancer.)

4. Quick dry shirt: UFP 30 shirt in quick dry material. As shown in the “Practical Outfit” on this post.

5. Sport bra. By far THE best sports bra I have yet to find. A must-try for anyone who needs more support than those flimsy little t-back ones. I could just wear one of my other bras for this weekend, but I’ve been on the hunt for a good sports bra for ages so I wasn’t going to pass it up. (I am so excited about this bra that I think it might warrant a post dedicated just to it!) Made by Shock Absorber. $69. Purchased at Bushtukah.

6. Apparently I can’t count because there is no number 6 on the picture above! :)

7. Quick dry shorts, with elastic band. Real basic. MEC brand, Mens Cahula shorts, in size Large. $33. Purchased at MEC.

8. Quick dry undies. I don’t think these are a “need,” but I was already breaking the bank with everything else … what the hell? Made by Patagonia. Women’s size Large. $25. Purchased from MEC.

9. Paddling booties. These will stay on when/if we tip the boat and have a sole that will protect your feet on rocks. I don’t need them for this weekend’s jaunt, but I will up in the Northwest Territories. MEC Moque Boot Low. Unisex size 6. $25. Purchased from MEC.

In a part two of this post, I’ll share what I’ve packed for the time when we’re on dry land.


  1. Packing,I have often said, is an ART FROM. Packing for this type of trip especially. We just got back from a regular camping trip and I can never get over how much stuff you have to bring! I am so excited for you! and i’m excited that we all got to see your pink knickers :)

    my suggestion- a large zip lock back for dirty/wet items is always a MUST for me!

  2. LOL! You are so funny re my pink knickers! :)

    I am in love with super large zip lock bags when I travel. Aren’t they the handiest thing ever? I agree that having a separate bag for dirty clothes is a life saver … I hate having the dirty mixed in the with clean when we’re on the road.

  3. There’s so much I like about this post, Julie. First of all…your white water canoeing course. How fun and scary at the same time! LOL…#6. I also love how you’ve put together a great (and smart) outfit. Looks like you will be all set for your fantastic trip north. I look forward to reading your blogs about your trip – I say “blogs” because I know you’ll just have to write more than one about that trip :)

  4. Have FUN!!! Looks like you are all set. I did a white water canoe course years ago with my Dad and it was so much fun

  5. lol I didn’t even know they MADE quick dry underwear! Amazing!

  6. I’ve never been rafting before. I never thought of thinks like the idiot string. Wearing glasses 24/7 this would have been a big mistake to forget! Thanks for the list!

  7. They do rafting here where I live, I would love to give it a try.

  8. Oh I’ve always wanted to go white water rafting! I’d like to try it next summer and will keep these items in mind :)

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