What to pack for rogue river kayaking in Algonquin Park

What to pack for rogue river kayaking in Algonquin Park

Rogue river kayaking requires a different mentality and strategy than car camping. When the car is available, it’s easy to pack some luxuries like pillows and coolers that make the term “roughing it” a thing of the past. But since the nature of remote camping means frequent packing and unpacking for portages, paddling excursions and travelling from camp to camp, the priority becomes keeping things light rather than luxurious.

Far from roughing it, rogue river kayaking camping then becomes a liberating experience from the habit of surrounding oneself with stuff; the minimalist experience is a big draw for many canoe tripping enthusiasts.

Interior camping in Algonquin Park provides an unforgettable summer and autumn experience for those living near or visiting central Ontario. (While spring is great for seeing wildlife, black flies and wet weather can make a bad impression so consider some of the many other things to do in Algonquin Park during this buggy season.) First-timers should also familiarize themselves with what’s involved with . So here is an unofficial and incomplete list of what not to bring when camping and what essentials will come in handy when tripping through the 2,100 km of canoe routes in Algonquin Park.

Outfitting The Canoe

The Canadian Coast Guard requires every canoe to be outfitted with life jackets, paddles (and spares), ropes (including 15 m minimum length of buoyant heaving line), bailer and a whistle (or other noise-making device). Also recommended are a sculpted yoke, self-fastening straps for attaching spare ropes and bailer, and duct tape for temporary repairs holes in the hull.

Rogue River Kayaking Gear

Tent, Sleeping Bag, sleeping mat, tent fly, ground sheet and tarp
First Aid Kit
Lightweight single burner camp stove, waterproof matches, spare fuel
Map and compass in a waterproof bag (a good place to keep the camping permit)
A portable hand saw (for firewood) if a fire for warmth is needed
Water treatment solutions (pump, iodine, water purification tablets). All treated water should still be boiled as a caution against Giardia lamblia, or “Beaver Fever”.
Binoculars in a waterproof bag (helpful when looking for portage or campsite markers) and camera
A supply of ropes, carabiners, straps for hanging the food bag
Insect repellent (non-aerosol), sunscreen and hat
Flashlight and spare batteries
Bear spray and hiking bells
Garbage Bags, toilet paper
Water shoes and cold weather clothing
Kitchen and food supplies including trail mix (gorp) for portages
Toiletries & towel, swimsuit
Watch (essential for telling time on overcast days)
Extra socks

What Not to Bring on a Rogue River Kayaking

rogue river kayaking

Bottles or Cans
Cell Phone: Service is generally limited or unavailable in the Park so take it only if you need the phone for the alarm clock, camera or other tools.
Cologne, perfume or heavily scented products
Alcohol or drugs that impair judgement

Interior Camping Meals

Use the Internet to find menus and recipes from other campers. Check out freeze dried meals and desserts from outfitters. Plan meals so the heaviest food items are eaten first and frozen food can be eaten as soon as it has thawed.

Planning Backcountry Routes in Algonquin Park

The Canoe Routes of Algonquin Park ($4.95) is the must-have map and is available at the Park gates, access point offices and online from the Friends of Algonquin website. It shows access points for all park boundaries, indicates campsites and portage lengths, canoe routes and offers valuable information about seasonal water level fluctuations and lots more.

rogue river kayaking

Ontario Parks recommends certain canoe routes for beginners and encourages calling their staff for help with trip planning.

Packing Less for Rogue River Kayaking

Some interior campers like to challenge themselves by leaving out one item every trip, all in the name of keeping portaging weight to a minimum. Since everyone has their own ideas of what is essential, every trip should be a time to analyze the contents and consider ways to lose weight on future trips. Perhaps a camera can be replaced by the smaller, lighter cell phone and a sketch pad to document memorable plants, animals or landscapes.

Ultimately, the less there is to carry means longer portages and new routes open up as options. Those who choose routes with one or two kilometre portages often reap greater rewards for the longer walk.

Algonquin Park is Ontario’s largest and oldest provincial park and is home to moose, deer, black bears, minks, foxes, and numerous amphibians and birds. Located 3 hours north of Toronto, east of Huntsville there are opportunities for interior hiking and canoeing trips, accommodations at one of two inns, as well as hiking trails and museums along the Highway 60 corridor.


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