As I become a more experienced canoe tripper, there are particular items that I no longer use, and others that have changed life on the trail forever.
The first thing that comes to mind is a tiny little spatula that I brought along on my last canoe trip in Killarney Provincial Park. I really get tired of cleaning cooking pots with food stuck to them and the dish water becoming dirty a lot faster. With the spatula, I can almost clean the entire pot and burn the food bits in the hot fire. It really has made dishwashing a more pleasant experience.
The Kelly Kettle has also changed life on the trail forever. My husband and I eat dehydrated (rehydrated) one-pot meals, so we boil a lot of water (not to mention for those dishes!). In the amount of time it takes to have a boil going in our kettle is only a few minutes. This means that we can bring less fuel for our stove and rely on little sticks around camp. When we’ve finished boiling for our meals, we can start to boil for dishes. Less time cleaning and puttering around and more time having bush martinis. We’ve become very efficient around meal times.
My Merrell Aquaterra Nymph water shoes have changed life on the trail. I always put my water shoes on before getting in the canoe. It just means that I will have dry hikers to put my feet in. I hate having damp or wet feet and this solves the problem. Also, I feel super confident stepping anywhere in the water (especially in crud around beaver dams) with my shoes on. When I’m starting a portage I just click my shoes to the food barrel with a carabiner.
Finally, I would have to say that dehydrated hummus has become a standard on our canoe trips. I make the hummus at home, omit the oil, dehydrate it, and then blend the dried pieces of hummus into a fine powder. During a canoe trip, I add the powdered hummus to an airtight stainless steel container, add a couple drops of olive oil and some water and know that it will be perfect around lunch time for a quick bite. I will post the recipe and instruction later.
What pieces of gear, equipment or tasks have changed your life on the trail?