A few weeks ago I knocked the majority of the dust off my gear and exposited that I loved the 100+L pack I was using. Now I’m looking around for my own pack and the benefits of having one are quickly becoming apparent. I’ve got my eyes on a completely watertight 115L portagin bag, and it’s beginning to look more and more sexy every day.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of HUGE packs. Not just tall, but also wide. When you’re hiking or traveling your pack will be tall and skinny because it’s easier on your lower back, but it becomes pretty self explanatory once you’re in a boat why a fat and stout pack is best. It’ll fit snuggly into the welcoming gunnels of any canoe, either width or length wise, and sit good and low in the canoe which really stabilizes the hell out of the boat.
What’s more, you’ll be able to do portages a lot easier with everything in one or two big bags. Especially if the portage is short, you can hop out, grab a pack, and throw a canoe on your head while the other person carries a pack and whatever else was in the boat (paddles, water, maps, etc.).
Seriously, with a properly packed bag (heavy stuff at the top, bulky stuff at the bottom, portaging 1-3 km are easy as pie and not nearly as bad as some people make it out to be!