If you lose your canoe for whatever reason and end up on an isolated shore, you will then have to rely on your bushcraft and survival skills along with any equipment you may have on your person.
Comparing other modes of self-propelled wilderness travel, the risks of losing your main camping equipment and other supplies are different.
Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security by thinking there are likely to be other people around to spot you or raise the alarm. If you are taking only a day trip from a wilderness cottage or cabin, you can still travel many miles in a morning. So, the equipment you keep on your person while making a wilderness canoeing trip bears some serious consideration. Below is a list of bushcraft and survival items I like to have on my person while canoeing in wilderness. For more information on technique for lighting fires with matches, please see my article How to Light a Campfire with One Match. A good quality, well-made and well-tempered blade should not break under use in the wilderness.
The important point with a knife for wilderness canoeing is that it should not fall out of its sheath, even if you (and it) are upside down.
As a final point it should be noted that most of the items in the buoyancy aid are only needed while on or near the water, or at night-time. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this bushcraft and survival equipment or its organisation.
One thing I miss isa small waterprrof pouch with some godd tinders, if you en up in the water and get to shore, you dont havce the time to look for tinders and in autumn hypothermia can come quick when being cold and wet. But aside from kit, water confidence in cold water and be able to swim saved my life last year, but as first aid it needs to be refreshed every year. Taking some emergency firelighting material is a good idea – barbeque fire-lighters are cheap and easy to light.
It’s good to hear that your confidence and ability in water saved your life last year.
It was just a simple daytrip in the local stream during a nice october day, like many other times. Now I was gaining coontrol of my body again and called home and said what has happened and that I needed pickup at the decided point in 10 min. I was in many ways lucky that the weather was not worse, it could have been raining and made it much harder to get a fire going. I have trained this thing before, I have been in icecold water several times and know the importance of keeping calm and make good decisions.
A very interesting read and something to think carefully about even if you are not going far from civilisation.
Very informative, thank you, we are looking to get into this side of Out door adventure soon, when our son can swim. My article was intended to address personal survival equipment for dealing with the general scenario of having been separated from your boat and stranded (on the shore) in wild country typified by the photographs in the article. You are right to think that a throw-line should be part of the outfitting of the boat and part of your wilderness canoeing equipment. Indeed you can read a blog about some of the Frontier Bushcraft team training in white water safety and rescue, including the use of throw lines here. I think having some means of making water safe to drink (and storing it) makes sense if you are marooned in the wilderness.
As for your phone – sure if you have mobile reception but even on the French River, which is the location of our foundational Canadian canoe expedition and not particularly remote (as far as Canada goes), there is no mobile reception. As regards the phone, apart from signalling, mine will last at least a week before charging if I am careful.
The only caveat I’d make with respect to water-based activities is that having paracord wrapped around a wrist or your neck does increase the likelihood of entanglement if you are in the water. Regards to the phone idea: I am sure Paul said some time back about people just using phones as a GPS and compass tool only to find out their battery failed.


One thing I have found was that a android phone magnetometer affected a Iphone magnetometer. 1) age 15, walked too far and it got dark in dense forest in the section of my route between trails. Since then I’ve spent a few nights out as trials, with the safety of my truck nearby. I have a Delta Ranger PFD manufactured by Nookie that looks similar to you’re float coat. Let’s take a look at the 25 Must Have Items to ensure your survival during a disaster – either at home or in the wild, in no particular order.
Water Filters and Purifiers.  Stock up on these, as well as portable ones if you are forced to be on the move.
Guns, Ammo, Knives and Bats.  Be sure that you are comfortable using them and have adequate training.
Charcoal, Lighters, and Matches.  These are must haves whether you are home bound or are on the move. Matches and Lighters.  Store strike anywhere matches in a waterproof container, as well as lighters. Flashlights and Batteries.  These will also help you in a situation where you may need to signal for help.
Flash Drive.  Store all your important personal documents for each family member on a flash drive, including medical records and birth certificates.
Tinder and Kindling.  These are a must to quickly start fire and keep it going throughout the night. Portable Toilets.  While you can get by without it, it makes the list because it can be a great bartering item.
Basic Tools.  Having basic tools like a saw, ax, and a hammer will be helpful in building a shelter if you need to do so with natural materials in the woods. If you are marooned after being separated from your canoe, however, there are likely to be no trails from where you are. Buoyancy Aid (also known as a Personal Floatation Device, or PFD): A buoyancy aid is an important piece of personal survival equipment whilst canoeing under any circumstances. Mosquito Head-Net: A mosquito head-net is an essential item on many canoe and camping trips.
Insect Repellent: For the same reasons as above, a portable tin, tube or similar of your favoured insect repellent can make life more bearable. Folding Knife: While I carry a strong fixed-bladed knife on any serious wilderness expedition, I like to have a folding knife too. Sharpening Stone: A small, portable stone that can be used to sharpen both knives but that will still slip into a pocket is ideal. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. The reason is when you fall in the water and will have to get back up in the canoe or swim ashore.
Paddled a light solo canoe that is perfect for small streams like this but a little unstable. After that it was just to pack up, take out the fire and a wuick clean up and paddle the rest of the way back. A friend of mine has a canoe which we will hopefully be using for some day trips in the summer so I will be following your advise.
I pretty much only paddle solo and have been given a couple of tips that I’ll pass on.
I’ve also recently started making up paracord bracelets and have even wrapped one around my paddle, so providing I don’t lose the paddle of course! Because paracord is, by its very nature, so strong, it is less likely to snap in such circumstances.
Even in popular canoe camping areas, there are times of year when there is hardly anyone around.


In the survival scenario that you were there for any great length of time, fishing would be a very likely source of sustenance.
They are reliable, no-compromise torches that perform very well – just the attributes you need if you are to depend on a piece of equipment. Genuine 550-lb breaking strain cord is best, not just because of its strength but also the multiple strands inside the protective outer sheath.
Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog as well as for various publications including Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine. The brightness of these torches combined with the push-button switch at the back of the unit makes them a good signalling device too. In the end of the day and the dark was coming and I had about 10 min left until the pick up point.
I gained a lot of weight because of the warm clothes I was wearing and when it got wet it got a lot heavier. As I manovered around some tree?s I got caught on one and I ended up in the streaming ice cold water. The reason ilike a simple PFD without too much is that it makes it easier to move around, getting up in a canoe from the water or climp up on a sand bank for example.
Second, even when the canoe’s out of water and dragged up on the shore, it gets tied up too. I ended up under water and once I got and struggled to stay afloat and finally got hold of the canoe and it helped med to stay afloat so I could swin into shore and begin the climp up on the sand banks.
Friends taking a late Autumn paddle on the Yukon River, in Canada, came on a river island with two people stranded: a sudden, violent gust of wind had tumbled their canoe right down the beach and into the distance. They had been there a week and were just at the stage of wondering if they could weave some kind of a coracle . After that I was still shaking a lot so I started to collect materials for a fire and got quite quick a fire going to start warming my body up. The best wilderness first aid kits are ones where the contents, your experience and the likely risks are in sync. There are some general skills that everyone should learn such as basic life support (even if you are travelling no further than the office) but you shouldn’t neglect to undertake a risk-assessment for where you are going and use this information to improve your preparation.
I hope this article will give you the basis to think about what’s already in your personal first aid kit as well as what else you might like to include. These military dressings are very absorbent and much better than cheap pharmacy-bought dressings. Small bandage: I find these cheap, small bandages useful for cutting to size to dress a cut or burn, particularly on fingers. Alongside are other items - large bandanna, water bottle, and malleable splint - useful for outdoor first aid. The Israeli bandage and the Oles dressing are both pressure dressings and yes once applied can be left on within reason. I would recommend anyone wishing to use specialist medical equipment to seek out professional training before use. Regards AdrianReply robinAdrian, 30 years ago, when I was is the military we removed and replied tourniquets. Now as a member of the ambulance service we are taught and teach that it is to be left in place as we look at life over limb.Reply robinAdrian, public forum is probably not best place for this discussion and will only confuse readers. There is some risk that some people may use the knowledge imparted as a replacement for proper training. Also, if folk can recognise Plantain it is good at treating them too (I’ve used it on my youngest).



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