Packing for a Multi-Day Backcountry Canoe Trip through Kejimkujik National Park

Packing for a Multi-Day Backcountry Canoe Trip through Kejimkujik National Park

Posted by Matt Gracie on

Few things offer the chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with the present like a backcountry canoe trip. The cherry on top is getting to do it with your closest friends. For this feature, we're going to be tuning into RUX's Community Engagement Coordinator, Mathew Gracie, to hear about paddling on Canada's east coast and how to pack like a champ for a canoe trip.

A gem nestled away on Canada’s Atlantic coast, Kejimkujik is a refuge of old growth forest and a network of waterways spanning more than 400 square kilometers. It has traditionally been used by the indigenous Mi’kmaq people to connect their territory with a system of canoe routes. Today, those routes offer a beautiful landscape to retrace those steps and connect with nature.

Can you give us a rundown on what this trip was like, Matt?

The trip began with meticulous route planning—a key to any successful canoe run. Myself, and three of my best friends set out on a 4-day expedition kicking off at Eleven Mile Lake and paddling through the Kejimkujik waterways. The east coast boasts incredible opportunities for paddlesports, and this trip showed that Keji’s waterways are truly the cream of the crop. We trucked down an old dirt road towards our launch point and loaded up all of our gear into the two canoes we brought. Greeted by a hot August sun, the trip kicked off with a short portage and we were off. What awaited us was warm campfires, rainy nights, navigational (mis)adventures, and incredible sunsets on mirror-like lakes.

Sounds awesome! What did you find ended up being the most essential piece of gear you brought?

It’s difficult to pick what THE most essential piece of gear I brought was, given that conditions changed quite a bit, but there was a massive amount of value added by bringing extra water, tarps to make camp comfier during the rain (I personally love making tarp villages), and sun block. Nothing like being out in the wilderness with a nasty sunburn!

Was there anything you left behind/forgot? what/where?

My Bluetooth speaker. A camping staple.

Why do you use the specific gear and/or brands that you do? What makes them stand out for you?

Whenever you’re going backcountry for days at a time, I think it’s important to trust the gear that you’re going to use. Some staples for me are my Chacos sandals and my Woods raincoat, both of which are versatile, durable, and rugged enough to handle whatever your adventure throws at them.

How did RUX make it even easier to keep your gear tight and plans loose?

The RUX 70L is flat out unreal for this kind of trip. For starters, being waterproof is a life saver when you’re on a canoe trip. We never tipped, but there were certainly some close calls. It also was great for packing. It’s so handy compared to just tossing things in a duffel bag or some other carrier. Being able to stash everything away but it still be very easily reachable saved some frustration, and because we moved campsites every day, it really came in handy for easy packing.

What makes this activity/trip special for you?

I think there’s something really special about being out on the water in the middle of the wilderness. There’s something healing about tuning out our hyper-connected world and spending quality time with your best buds and sustaining yourself out in nature. This trip in particular was great because it was an opportunity for us all to link up even though we’re all living in different cities.

Sweet! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Paddle up! East Coast Beast Coast!

Check out Matt's canoe trip packing list here in the RUX App

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