When you're going on a BWCA or Quetico Park canoe trip anything you bring along you will be carrying on your back across every wilderness portage. We tell them we'll give them as many packs as they want but we don't recommend taking more than one personal pack per two people. Packing light is difficult to do but if you're planning to portage the canoe country then you'll want to try to pack as light as you can. Along with packing light here are a few other helpful tips to follow when packing for a Boundary Waters or Quetico Park canoe trip.
When your paddling the wilderness waters keep important items easily accessible. Things like rain gear, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kit, water bottle, sunglasses, toilet paper, snack, flashlight/headlamp and a tarp. You never know when you'll need these items so put them on the top of your pack, in a fanny pack or in a thwart bag so you can get to them quickly. You don't want to be digging through every pack in search of the bug spray while you're standing on a portage being eaten by bugs. Being prepared with these items close at hand is important in the BWCA and Quetico Park.
Be sure to use all of the available space in your canoe pack so you don't have to take more packs than necessary on your canoe trip. Unbuckle all straps before you start putting gear into the pack and place items into all empty spaces. Make items as small as possible by rolling clothes and using compression sacks. Utilize all space by packing things like cups inside of the cook kit or pulling out the cardboard from inside toilet paper or paper towel rolls. You'll thank yourself for saving time by doing it right the first time.
There are a couple of other things to keep in mind when packing for your Quetico Park or Boundary Waters wilderness canoe trip. Make sure you don't have any loose items in the canoe that could fall out if you capsize. Loose items also slow you down on wilderness portages so have a place for everything. Put heavier items in the middle of the bag and close to the bottom so you can keep a low center of gravity. Be careful with sharp utensils and knives so they aren't able to poke out through the pack and injur someone. A plastic liner inside your pack will help ensure items are kept dry.
There are many things to think about when packing for your wilderness canoe trip. Plan and prepare ahead of time to make your canoe camping adventure more enjoyable. However, if the opportunity to go to the BWCA or Quetico canoeing arises out of nowhere then do as I do not as I say. Grab and go have a good time, it's better than being left behind.