The people you set out with on backcountry canoe trips can have a major influence on the journey’s outcome. We rounded up five traits that are key in canoe trip partners to make sure you have the best trips ever.
1. An ability to laugh during torrential downpours
When it’s been raining for 48 hours, your shoes contain enough water to boil a pot of tea and even your granola bars are wet, there isn’t anything to do but laugh. Being in the backcountry with people who choose laughter over grumpiness is imperative to enjoying your trips. If you and your paddling partners can find the humor in waking up in a small puddle inside your tent, nothing is going to hold you back.
2. A skilled throwbag toss
While a sunny personality and sense of humor are indispensible qualities in any kind of adventuring partner, hard skills are crucial too. Having a canoe trip partner who you can trust to effectively toss a throwbag to you in a tricky situation is important, in addition to other first aid and rescue skills. And it’s not a one-way street; make sure you can return the favor.
3. The knowledge that chocolate is important
It is a well-known fact that on tough canoe tripping days, chocolate solves all problems. A paddling partner who whips out a jumbo-sized Snickers bar halfway through a sweltering two-kilometer portage with more swamp than trail will seal their fate as a forever friend. A bonus? A canoe tripping partner who knows you hate almonds but love dried fruit in your chocolate and buys accordingly.
4. The capacity to be the energetic one—sometimes
On canoe trips the small group size means the energy and emotions of team members can be infectious. While it is great to try to always be energetic and positive, there exists an unwritten rule that sometimes one person needs to take charge while the other steps back. A friend who accepts this and once in a while lets you catch ten more minutes of rest snuggled inside the tent while they start the fire and fill the French press is the kind of paddling partner you want to keep around. Value that friend and do the same for them on days they need a bit more support.
5. A skilled understanding of campsite etiquette
Having good campsite etiquette is like being a good roommate, except significantly more important because of the consequences messiness or forgetfulness can have. You want a canoe tripping partner who puts the toilet paper away, closes the tent zipper, treats critical gear with care and fills up your water bottle when they fill their own—and puts in water treatment too.
Find an amazing canoeing destination for you and your tripping partner in the Paddling Trip Guide.