Best Backpack For Canoe Trip 2023:[Latest]

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If you are planning to head out for the next adventurous multiday canoe trip to feel the sound of nature on an intimate level so this is the right time to think about the right pack for your trip.

Many people think like, I have a hiking backpack, why buy a Portage pack or a canoe pack instead?

If you are also thinking like that then must check out Portage pack vs Backpack to clear every single doubt about this misconception.

Here, in this article, we are seeking some best canoe packs or portage packs that will make your portaging trip much easier and more enjoyable.

But the question is…

How Many Types Of Portage Packs Are Available in The Market?

If this is going to be your first canoe trip for you then you have to be aware of the different types of Canoe backpacks that are available in the market.

This piece of information will also help to choose the right backpack for your canoe trip. These backpacks are different from hiking or other frame-structured backpacks.

There are five different types of canoe backpacks or Portage packs available in the market…

1. Traditional Envelop canoe Backpack
2. Traditional Rectangular Canoe Backpack
3. Dry Canoe Backpacks
4. Hard Shell Barrels
5. Canoe Backpack Basket

For more detail about these different types, you can read our detailed buying guide.

But wait…

If You are in Hurry Then Check It Out

If you don’t have much time to go through the whole article, check out Granite Gear Superior Portage Backpack.

The pack is known for its unmatchable build quality, flat unstructured body, and thoughtfully designed compartments. This one-time investment could be beneficial for a long time.

Best Backpack For Canoe Camping (Durable & Feature Rich)

Granite Gear Superior 7400 Portage Pack

  • Ballistic Nylon, 210D Nylon Cordura.
  • 121L capacity is enough to carry smaller to heavier loads with ease.
  • Maintain a low center of gravity & sit low on your back.

Comparison Table (Detailed)

Canoe Trip Backpacks ListOur RatingSpecial FeaturesWeightVolumeMaterialPrice
Granite Gear SuperiorEditor ChoiceTons of useful features, Highly durable & Sturdy, Maintains a low center of gravity & sits low on your back. 121LNylon 210D CorduraView On Amazon
Granite Gear TraditionalTop PickBest for short canoe trips (6 days), Sturdy & Durable, Padded shoulder straps, hip belt, lightweight. 98LNylon 210D CorduraView On Amazon
Chinook Chemun Portage PackBudget PickBest under $100, Nice exterior pockets.3.55 pounds600D HDTEX rip stop polyester.View On Amazon
EarthPack Waterproof BackpackBest BuyWaterproof, Nice external pockets with splashproof zippers, Molle system, Phone case (waterproof).2.51 pounds35 & 55L500D PVC materialView On Amazon
SealLine Boundry Waterproof Dry PackBest BuyWaterproof, Nice suspension, Roll-top opening, Light colored interior. 2.65 pounds35, 65 & 115LPolyesterView On Amazon
Barrel Portage Pack (Adjustable)Best BuyBest for carrying extra food, water, and other gear, adjustable, padded shoulder straps, thick padded back panel. 2.99 pounds30 & 60LPolyesterView On Amazon

What Features Make A Backpack Perfect For Canoeing?

Canoeing packs are different from traditional backpacks. Features that make a backpack perfect for canoeing trips are…

  1. It keeps the center of gravity of the canoe low to keep the canoe stable.
  2. A flat and small structure allows to stash the backpack in the rounded contour of the bilge.
  3. Fully waterproof from both inside and outside to keep your canoeing gears safe and dry.
  4. Make your portaging experience much better by sitting low on your back.
  5. A good canoe backpack allows you to kneel at the bottom of the canoe when waves get fierce.

Must check these features in a backpack before purchasing any canoe backpack or a portage pack for your next water boundary trip.

But the problem is…

There is plenty of variety available in the market that is enough to confuse you about…

Which one to pick and which one to kick?

Also, deep research of different brands’ backpacks and comparing them with other brands take hours and will leave you in a puzzle.

This is why I’m here. After hours of research and comparing some top brands side by side, I’ve listed some top-quality canoeing backpacks that are perfect for your canoeing trip.

7 Best Backpacks For Canoeing (In-Depth Review & Buying Guide)

Traditional Envelop Canoe Backpack

The traditional envelope canoe backpacks come into existence in 1882 when Camille Poirer designed a new kind of pack for canoeing trips. The first time he introduced some new concepts in his canoe backpacks such as shoulder straps, sternum straps, and an umbrella holder.

1. Best Traditional Canoe Backpack From Granite Gear (Best Overall)

Best Backpack For Boundary Waters (Editor Choice)

editor choice
Granite gear superior portage pack
Dimention:  20x25x11 inches, 51x63x30cm
Suspension: Vapor
Material: Ballistic Nylon, 210D Nylon Cordura
Capacity: 121L, Regular Torso 18”-21”

This is Granite Gear a traditional portage pack and this is the best canoe backpack with tons of features. This is an expedition series of its most famous traditional series with some additional features.

The main highlight of this canoe backpack is its anatomically designed harness and its foam-padded thick back panel. Both are very effective to keep the pack close to your body and distribute the overall load across your back and hip area.

The Backpack is made of Ballistic Nylon, 210D Nylon Cordura which makes it highly durable even if you can feel its superior stitching and handcraftsmanship.

Its 121L capacity is perfect for your next canoe trip to carry everything that you want to tote with this canoe backpack. If you are planning a long trip then this is the best backpack for canoeing multi-day trips.


  1. Highly durable and sturdy build quality.
  2. 121L capacity is enough to carry smaller to heavier loads with ease.
  3. The pack sits low on your back and allows you to carry it with the canoe during portaging.



2. Granite Gear Traditional Portage Pack (Lightweight)

If you are looking for a portage or canoe backpack for your short canoe trip with the same quality and durability as our first canoeing backpack provide then Granite Gear’s traditional Portage pack is for you.

runner up
granite gear traditional portage pack
1. Dimensions: 26x27x8.5″ / 66x69x22cm
2. Capacity: 98L/ 6000cuin
3. Material: 210D Nylon Cordura
4. Torso Lenght: Regular 18-21″

The second backpack from Granite Gear is also made with Cordula Nylon which provides durability and freedom to carry a heavy load with ease. The 91L capacity of this canoe backpack is perfect for a 6-day multi-camp canoe trip.

The backpack comes with a padded harness to provide better support and comfort during portaging with a canoe. Its unisex design is best for both males and females. Its sternum strap and hip belt provide additional benefits to distributing overall weight evenly.

Overall a best-buy canoe backpack at this price range.


  1. A sturdy and durable canoe backpack under your budget.
  2. Padded shoulder straps, hip belts, and anatomically cut harnesses provide comfort and stability over long portages.
  3. Traditional design and its lightweight allow hauling heavy loads with ease.


  1. Not suitable for a long canoeing trip.

3. Chinook Chemun Portage Pack Green/Black, Large

Most people don’t eager to spend more than $100 buck for a canoeing backpack and maybe want to buy some extra gear that will be beneficial in some aspect. The canoeing backpack from Chinook tends for those adventure seekers.

Have a look at its features…

budget pick
Chinook Chemun Portage Pack
Dimension: ‎21 x 17.1 x 3.4 inches
Material: ‎600D HDTEX ripstop polyester
Weight: 3.55 pounds

At first, I clarify that this is not a pack for gear freaks. You can not compare a pack under $100 with some top-quality canoeing packs like Granite Gear, Duluth Pack, etc. But I would say that under the budget of $100, the portage pack comes with surprisingly pretty decent features such as a sternum strap, handle, waist belt, etc.

The backpack is perfect for young teens, who are willing to explore BWCA. You have to carry your gear in a waterproof garbage pack and dump it into this portage pack for your canoeing trip because the Chinook pack is not waterproof.


  1. A nice pack under the budget of $100.
  2. Comes with all the necessary features.
  3. This is a pick as per price to performance parameters.
  4. Nice exterior pockets to carry extra gear.


  1. Good material with bad stitching.
  2. Better to go with Granite gear canoe pack 4, for better build and much bigger capacity.

Traditional Rectangular Canoe Backpack

Rectangular canoe backpacks come with waterproof functionality. Not all backpacks are waterproof but most of them are. These backpacks provide extra space and come with nice shoulder straps, sternum straps, and hip belts.

4. Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack For Canoeing

This canoeing pack is for those who don’t have a budget to go with some top-notch canoeing backpacks like those listed above. The backpack is from Earth Pak. Have a look at its features.

Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack
Capacity: 35 & 55L
5 different color options
Weight: 2.51 pounds
Material: 500D PVC material

This waterproof backpack is very useful for those who want to keep their gear dry during canoeing. This is a pack from EarthPack.

The backpack is spacious and has tons of pockets inside and outside. Its zippers are splashproof, and its roll-top closer (folded 3 to 4 times) is helpful to increase the space a few inches to store extra gear.

It is a waterproof backpack that is made of 500D PVC. It has Molle System looping to hang extra gear outside such as your helmet, torch, harness, etc. Molle system looping helps to attach your backpack to your canoe.

This is a perfect waterproof & spacious backpack for your one-week-long canoe trip. To ensure your safety and comfort it has a hip belt, padded back panel, and thick padded and adjustable shoulder straps.


  1. 500D PVC makes it waterproof to keep your gears dry and safe.
  2. Available in 2 sizes and 5 elegant colors.
  3. Molle looping system to hang some neediest gears outside.


  1. Poor weight distribution.

Dry Pack For Canoe

Most brands launch their backpack with the tag of Dry Pack, but many times this is only a marketing gimmick. Let’s have a look at some Dry Backpack for canoe trips.

5. SealLine Boundary Waterproof Dry Pack

SealLine is available in three capacities 35L, 55L, and 115L. It means you have an option here, to choose a big waterproof backpack for a canoe trip if you want to pack lots of gear in a backpack.

 SealLine Boundary Waterproof Dry Pack
Dimension: 19 x 14 x 6 inches
Capacity: 115L, 35L, 55L
Available in 4 different colors
Material: Polyester

The Portage backpack or canoeing pack from SealLine is made of polyester that is 100% waterproof. The backpack is available in 4 attractive colors with 3 volumes. I really like its suspension system which is very helpful to manage the overall weight of your backpack when it is full.

Its light-colored interior makes your canoe trip hassle-free because it helps in finding the right gear quickly. The backpack comes with padded shoulder straps and a detachable harness.

The SealLine backpack is made in the USA and comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is a perfect waterproof backpack for your canoe trip.


  1. Made with polyester that provides complete waterproof protection for your gears.
  2. Available in 3 sizes and 4 elegant colors.
  3. Padded shoulder straps and removable harness.
  4. SealLine top closer provides an intuitive sealing.


  1. External pockets are missing for easy-to-access things.

Barrel Portaging Backpack

A barrel is not something that can be carried easily but some adjustable portaging packs are available in the market for toting a barrel comfortably on your back. Some best barrel portaging backpacks come with padded shoulder straps, thick & breathable back panels, and a nice hip belt and sternum strap.

6. Best Barrel Canoeing Backpack From Level Six Bad Hass

Canoeing with a barrel is really a tough task without a proper adjustable portage pack. This is good to buy a fully adjustable portage pack for your barrel so that you can keep enough food for your long canoeing trip.

Let’s have a look at this barrel adjustable portage pack. Check out its features.

 Level Six Bad Hass adjustable barrel portage pack
Dimentions: ‎22 x 14 x 5 inches
Material: Polyester, Nylon
Weight: 2.99 pounds
Color: Charcoal

You can not survive on a long water boundary trip without a barrel. It is very useful to carry extra food, gear, and other stuff dry and bear resistance. Whatever barrel (30L, 60L) you carry portaging with a barrel is really a tough task without a compatible carrier.

Note: Barrel is not included with this portage backpack.

This adjustable portage pack works like you are hauling a backpack on your back. Its padded shoulder straps and thick padded back panel make it very convenient and comfortable to tote that heavy and rigid barrel on your back with ease.

If you are planning for your next canoeing trip then must go with this adjustable portage pack.


1. Dual barrel size adjustable harness.

2. Keep the barrel steady during portaging.

3. Highly durable shoulder straps and sternum straps and waist belt.

4. The design of the waist belt with padded foam makes it comfortable for barrel toting.


  1. Not suitable for all sizes of barrels.

7. WaterProof Floating Canoeing Backpack From Skog Å Kust

I’ve listed another waterproof backpack for your canoe trip in the budget category from Skog Å Kust. Its features are listed below:

Skog Å Kust floating pack
IPX6 waterproof protection
Material: 500 Denier Waterproof PVC with high-frequency welded seams
Available in 25L & 35L capacity with several color options.
Weight: 2.3 to 2.5 lbs (as per different capacities)

This budget waterproof backpack ensures that your gear and food be dry inside it during your canoe trip. It is made of 500D waterproof PVC and the addition of Vinyl lining makes it waterproof.

This is a top-accessible backpack that is available in tons of eye-catching colors and in two capacities 25L & 35L. The backpack comes with a sternum clip and padded back panel to comfort your body during the trip. To maximize your comfort its has cushioned shoulder straps, that could be adjusted.

External D rings for attaching water bottles and other gear are also very useful. The downside of this backpack is its zippers are not sturdy and smooth.

Overall the backpack from SkogA Kust is best for a short canoe trip.


1. A backpack with a splashproof front pocket and waterproof interior.

2. Available in a variety of colors and in two sizes.

3. Lightweight 2.5 lbs.

4. Side D ring to attach water bottle.


  1. The quality of zippers needs improvement.


Canoeing is something that is enjoyable and surprising if you have all the needy gear for that trip. Carrying all the needy gear is one thing but keeping them safe and dry is the other thing. Not every backpack is suitable for a canoeing trip.

Here, in this article, I’ve paid attention to this matter with great responsibility and have listed some top-quality backpacks for your canoeing trip so that you can enjoy more than thinking about your backpack.


Q.1 Which Backpack Is Best For Hauling Canoe?

Traditional backpacks do not tend to haul a heavy canoe comfortably. You have to go with some canoe backpacks either, envelop style, Rectangular style, or barrel style backpacks.
All the best possible backpacks for canoeing trips are mentioned in this article. Check them out.

Q.2 What Capacity Backpacks Are Best For A Canoeing Trip?

It totally depends on the nature of your trip, how long the trip is, and how many types of gear you are willing to tote with your backpack.
Ideally, for a newbie, a backpack with a capacity of 30 to 50L is enough for his/her 4 to 5 days boundary water canoeing trip.

Q.3 Which Backpack Material Is Best For Canoeing?

For a boundary water canoeing trip, you have several choices to select a backpack according to its material.
Whether it is polyester-based, Nylon based, PVC-based, etc.
PVC is a high water resistance material but it is inflammable, polyester is best for its water resistance capability and it is not inflammable, apart from that polyester is highly resistant to stretch, and wear or tear. It also does not mold easily.

Q.4 Which Backpack Is Best On The Water And On The Canoe?

The performance of a canoe backpack or a portage pack is matter most on the water or on your canoe.
Because the length of most of the water boundary is only 1-3/4 miles or sometimes 1/2 to 1/4 miles long. It means you don’t have to haul your backpack for hours on your back.

Nick Johnson

I love travelling and buying backpacks for my trip. I love to share the backpack buying guide and some useful tips on this website.