Looking for a wilderness canoe trip in BC? Bowron Lake Provincial Park gives you two circuits to choose from: a 6- to 10-day route along all 10 lakes, or a shorter canoe trip on just the west side of the park.
Before you set out, make sure to do your research to learn about what to expect, and that you have the right paddling skills and fitness level for the adventure. Since portaging is a big part of the journey, make sure you don’t overpack. BC Parks recommends that you reserve your spot on the circuit in advance (especially in the popular summer months), and has helpful info on their site to help with planning.
Canoe paddle or kayak paddle – 1 per person, plus an extra per boat
PFD – 1 per person
Painters for bow and stern (to tie up canoe)
Headlamp with extra batteries
Bear spray (note: bear bangers are prohibited in the park)
Repair kits for sleeping pads, tents and stoves; include duct tape and repair tape
Prescription medication in a sealed, dry container. Bring twice the amount you’ll need; half stays with you, and the other half stays with your hiking partner with detailed info on dosage and side effects.
Waterproof GPS (very useful)
Large sealed plastic bag to store maps, compass and GPS
Trowel (for the bathroom, if your chosen route doesn’t have outhouses)
Trip plan, left with a friend
Sleeping and shelter
Food – create a food plan for your group (don’t forget snacks and coffee). Be aware that there’s a ban on commercially packaged beverage or glass containers in the park.
Dishcloth and dish scraper
Tarp to cover cooking area or items in your canoe, plus rope to hang it
Garbage bags for extra waterproofing (and to pack out your garbage)
Lightweight dry bags for hanging food at night (make sure they’re big enough for all the group’s food and scented items, including toiletries and garbage)
Clothing and footwear
When it comes to materials, leave the cotton behind. Make sure your shorts, long johns, pants, t-shirts, underwear and sports bra are made of quick-drying materials that wick moisture.
Hiking socks (synthetic or wool-blend)
Dedicated pair of socks to wear in camp
Lightweight base layers (bottom and top)
Lightweight wide-brimmed sun hat (something to cover your ears and neck is best)
Hiking boots or hiking shoes for portaging – make sure you break them in on a few hikes before this trip
Lightweight water shoes or sandals for getting in/out of canoe and at camp
Personal items and additions
Toilet paper – bagged and lots of it
Toothpaste (small amount)
Power bank or spare batteries for electronic devices
Phone or emergency communication device
Extra pair of glasses, if you wear them
Notebook and pencil
Cash for meals on the way to and from the canoe route