The Perfect Repair Kit for Wilderness Canoe Trips

wilderness canoe repair kit

On a longer canoe trip it’s not a question of whether your equipment is going to break but rather when it’s going to break. That’s why it’s not unusual to spend about an hour a day fixing packs, tents, clothing and gear after you’ve been travelling in the wilderness for a week or two.A lot of canoeists bring only a roll of duct tape and call it a day; this is certainly better than nothing, but fr a longer trip it’s not enough.  To fix things properly, you need to have the right tools and supplies.

Here’s the list of repair equipment I brought on my 1,000 Mile Solo from Missinipe, Saskatchewan, to Arviat, Nunavut.  It was inspired by kits in Bill Mason’s Song of the Paddle and Cliff Jacobson‘s  Canoeing Northern Rivers books, as well as extensive personal experience of being in the North and wondering how the hell I was going to fix a tent, prevent raingear from leaking, repair a backpack, or splice a broken canoe thwart back together.

This might seem like a lot of equipment, but other than the coil of parachute cord, everything fits into a single large ziplock bag.  Hopefully, it gives you some good ideas for your own repair kit…

wilderness canoe repair kit
  • 1 x roll of Gorilla Tape (12 yards).  I prefer Gorilla Tape (or T Rex Tape) because it’s thicker, stronger, and stickier than the usual duct tape
  • 2 x small tubes of 2-part epoxy (JB Weld)
  • 2 x small tubes of superglue
  • 1 x multitool (I prefer the Leatherman wave because of the folding scissors and how the rounded edges fit in my hand)
  • 1 x metal tentpole sleeve (to splice a bent or cracked tent pole)
  • Several feet of thin elastic cord (primarily for repairing torn tent pole shock cord)
  • 2 feet of 3/8 inch elastic material
  • Several feet of fine line (reflective)
  • 50 feet of  parachute cord
  • 1 square meter nylon material
  • 1 square meter mosquito netting
  • 0.25 square meter heavy duty rubber cloth
  • 2 x boxes of matches and 2 x lighters (you can never have enough fire-making supplies)
  • Thermarest mattress repair kit
  • 1 x pack of nylon repair patches (adhesive on one side)
  • Needles and thread
  • Sewing awl with an extra roll of heavy waxed thread
  • Spare wingnuts, lock washers and washers for the canoeing yoke and small wrench for nuts
  • Stove repair kit
  • Small coil of heavy gauge wire
  • Spare grommet for tarp or tent fly
  • Spare compass 
  • Spare T grip handle for paddle
  • 8 x safety pins
  • 1 x tube Seal-All clear silicone goop
  • 3 x spare buttons and heavy-duty elastic bands
  • Short lengths of male and female velcro
  • 4 x small carabiners and 3 meters of climbing webbing
  • 2 x side-release plastic buckles
  • 2 x tension-lock plastic buckles
  • 1 meter black nylon strap
  • 1/2 roll yellow flagging tape to increase visibility in rescue situations
  • Packalarm bear fence (not a repair item, but I kept it here until needed it in bear country

It’s a fine line between taking too much and too little repair equipment on a longer trip. That being said, the further from civilization you are, the happier you’ll be when some mission-critical piece of equipment breaks and you have just the tools and materials to fix it!