Off to Canada - The Perfect Packing List

Here, Joel Prunty reveals his "Perfect List" to packing for your trip north of the border this summer!

The Perfect List:
I have been planning and packing for adventures to Canada for over 20 years. And, ever since that first trip – that came very close to being my last trip – I have come to the understanding that a good packing list just might save my life.


Back in 1989 my brother Tim and I found ourselves on a remote Canadian lake, at night, during an intense thunderstorm. Not only were we without a flashlight or life preservers, but large waves were breaking over our overloaded boat when the motor died. How we lived to see another day, I’m not sure. Now 20 years later, I am sure to spend more time preparing and packing so I never find myself in that position again.


Based upon my years traveling to Canada’s remote outposts, here is my best list of personal items to take with you on your next fishing adventure. Remember, this is a suggested packing list to use as a guide. Special consideration should be given to your packing preparations if you are going on a fly-in trip. These trips are different because you are given a strict weight restriction to abide by with your gear. In these circumstance, pack wisely and only take what you need. Also, try to coordinate some items with others in your group as much as possible to reduce over-packing.


  • Passport and Drivers License
  • Airline tickets
  • Receipts from lodge
  • Itinerary – leave copy with loved ones back home
  • Money – Most lodges in Canada accept both US and Canadian funds. If getting CND funds it is suggested you use a bank in Canada to avoid heavy fees for conversion.


  1. Coordinate shared items such as coolers, rod tubes, dish towels and first aid kits with all group members.
  2. Save a clean change of clothes for the ride home if on a fly-in trip. Leave that outfit in your vehicle to change into.
  3. Pack a small overnight bag of clothes for your trip up to Canada if you overnight somewhere other than your lodge.

CLOTHING (Based on 5 day trip):

  • Shorts, 2 pair
  • Jeans, 2 pair
  • Swimming Suit
  • Flip flops 
  • T-Shirt, 1 for each day of the trip.
  • Undergarments and socks, 1 for each day.
  • Fleece jacket or hooded sweatshirt (It is always cool in the morning on the lake)
  • Rain gear jacket and pants (Gortex rain gear is worth the investment).
  • Light wind proof jacket
  • Tennis shoes for around camp
  • Rubber boots (Optional)
  • Leather boots
  • Tuque (For you non-Canadians, this is a winter cap)


  • Pillow
  • Sleeping Bag (Check with lodge to see if they provide bedding)
  • 2 bath towels
  • Wet/Dry bag – plastic bags – to keep valuables dry in the boat
  • Camera – extra memory card and batteries
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Fillet knife
  • Sun screen 50 SPF
  • Lip balm – with SPF
  • Insect repellent – 10 to 20 percent Deet
  • Mosquito hood (Handy in May and Sept)
  • Sunglasses – polarized (Bring a spare pair)
  • Coolers–smaller for in boat
  • Towels (Dish towels)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Antihistamines
  • Shampoo – biodegradable
  • Toothbrush etc.
  • Watch and/or travel alarm clock
  • Good book and reading light
  • Ear Plugs (For snoring friend)
  • Deck of Cards 
  • Cribbage (Or other small game)
  • Hand Held Radios
  • Batteries
  • Wet Wipes (Makes for great toilet paper after a few days of fried fish!)
  • Life Jacket
  • Depth finder
  • GPS
  • Line clipper
  • Compass
  • Lake maps
  • Pocket Knife
  • Cigars (Great for an evening at the camp fire!)
  • Lighter 
  • Leatherman
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Bandages
  • Dental Floss (Useful for removing hooks from fishing partner)
  • Suture (To sew him back together)
  • Pain medication
  • First aid tape
  • Gauze


Like I said, this list is just a general guide of the personal items that you may want to pack on your next trip. Your personal list may contain more items, or leave out some of the items that I have included. Regardless, I know that this list has worked like a charm for me over the years, and I hope it does the same for you!

In our next article, we will discuss what food and beverage items should be included in your, "Off to Canada Grocery List!" Stay Tuned!



Joel Prunty -
Editors Note: Joel Prunty of Fishulo,llc is passionate about using his expertise in Canadian wilderness travel to assist anglers and hunters in planning adventures. Over a 20 year association with a Canadian fishing and hunting sport-show producer, Joel visited over 300 of Canada's BEST lodges, resorts and outfitters. He currently sits on the Marketing Advisory Council for Tourism Saskatchewan and was previously named the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association‘s (NOTO) member-of-the-year.


To begin planning your next Canadian excursion, visit our Adventure Match to find the perfect lodge to suit your personal fishing or hunting preferences.


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