Coleman Paddling Checklist

Checklists are a good habit to get into when you prepare for an outing. Print this one out, make your own additions, and maybe you can avoid that, "Oh, no, I forgot..." scenario.

Day Trip

Don’t hit the water – even for a day trip – without these items:

The Essentials

  • Compass, Map and GPS
  • Rain Gear
  • Light Jacket
  • Water Bottle and Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Ropes at the ends of the boat
  • Sunscreen
  • Brimmed Hat and Sunglasses
  • Extra Set of Clothes in Waterproof Bag
  • Flashlight, Headlamp or Lantern
  • Pocketknife
  • Personal Flotation Device (PDF) for everyone on board
  • Waterproof Bags for everything
  • Canoe or Kayak

Whenever you head out for longer than a few hours, you’ll need to gear up. Base your equipment selection on the season, region, water temperature and length of your trip. And remember, weather can change quickly and dramatically, so be prepared for the worst.


(Add the following items to the above day trip list)


  • Two pair of quick-drying nylon pants or shorts
  • Short-Sleeved T-Shirt
  • Lightweight, Long-Sleeve Wool or Synthetic Shirt
  • Synthetic or Wool Turtleneck
  • Fleece or Wool Pants
  • Fleece or Wool Sweater
  • Two Pair of Underwear
  • A Complete Set of Dry Clothes, Left in the Car


  • Poncho or Rain Suit
  • Wide-Brimmed Sun Hat
  • Stocking Cap
  • Neoprene Gloves
  • Fleece Gloves and Liners (for Camp)
  • Bandana


  • Wool or Synthetic Socks
  • Old Tie-On Shoes
  • A Pair of Camp Shoes
  • A Pair of Dry Socks for Camp

Camping Gear

  • Waterproof, Soft-Sided Pack
  • Cooler for Food
  • Tent and Rainfly
  • Ground cloth
  • Sleeping Bag Inside a Waterproof Garbage Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Dry Gear Bags for Clothes, Food and Other Items
  • Stove and Fuel
  • Cook Set
  • Drinking Cup
  • Plastic Garbage Bags and Large Zipper Seal Plastic Bags
  • Plastic freezer bags (Tip: wrap around socks before putting on your boots to keep feet warm and dry.)
  • Biodegradable Soap
  • Pot Scrubber
  • Water Filter or Purification Tablets
  • Fire Starting Kit: Butane Lighter, Cotton Balls, Strike-A-Fire or Trioxane Tablets, Fire Starter and Waterproof Matches
  • Repair & Spare Parts Kit
  • Tarp and Rope for Dining Awning
  • Trowel and Shovel
  • Sponge and bailer
  • Large Fixed-Blade Knife

Personal Items

  • Toilet Paper
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Camp Towel
  • Brush or Comb
  • Lip Balm
  • Insect Repellent
  • Head Net
  • Whistle and Signal Mirror
  • Pocket Knife or Multi Tool
  • 100 Feet of 550 Parachute Cord
  • Watch

If You're Kayaking

  • Wet or Dry Suit
  • Spray Skirt
  • Buoyancy Bags
  • Neoprene Booties (also useful for canoeists)
  • VHF Marine-Band Radio
  • Bilge Pump

Other Stuff

  • Journal
  • Camera and Extra Batteries
  • Camp Chair
  • Binoculars
  • Fishing License and Tackle
  • Portable GPS in Waterproof Bag
  • Emergency Strobe Light
  • Weather Radio in Waterproof Bag