Why Kayaks and Canoes are Essential Survival Items

Why Kayaks and Canoes are Essential Survival Items

In any survival scenario, having access to different forms of transport is a big advantage. In locations on the coast or where there are rivers, lakes or other waterways, having a kayak or canoe can help you move around. In this article, we’re exploring the ways in which these watercraft can also help in the search for food and shelter. Some of these methods are pretty straightforward whereas others are more along the lines of survival ‘hacks’ and unorthodox uses of your kayak or canoe.


Fishing is one of the ways kayaks and canoes can be of great assistance in a survival scenario. Fish are a great source of protein and can usually be easier to catch than hunting for mammals for meat. Going out on the river can be a far more effective way of fishing than riverbank fishing, and allows you to reach different bodies of water. You can reach areas that a trolling boat simply wouldn’t be able to, and don’t need fuel in order to do so.

Relying on fuel in a scenario where it won’t always be available is of course not advisable, and kayaks and canoes can be a really effective alternative. Covering long distances doesn’t have to be overly difficult or take forever. This means you can head to more fruitful fishing spots simply and easily by jumping in your kayak. And you’ll be able to fish for species of fish that usually stay in deeper water.

You should ensure that your survival kit includes fishing tackle of course, and that sufficient hook and lures and include catching different species of fish. If you are not a regular fisherman, you may be surprised how many different types of fishing lures are available. Take a look at a fishing tackle site like MO Tackle & Outdoors and you’ll see what we mean.


Scouting is another benefit of your kayak or canoe. Do you suspect that a mile or two downstream or just over the other side of the lake there might be a better spot to camp? Wondering if there is anything to hunt in the local area? Traveling quickly and easily with kayak or canoe can mean that you don’t have to expend a lot of energy to see what is in your local area. The extra distance a kayak can allow you to cover makes it a key survival item.


Foraging for food and other resources is also made easier by having a mode of transport such as this. You can cover a far bigger area over the water than you could on foot, meaning an increased area to forage from. If you know there are multiple sources of food which are miles apart, traveling to these regularly is much easier over the water. For the same reasons, you can also set traps in multiple areas if you know that your kayak or canoe is going to allow you to return regularly. On foot, the area you can do this is far smaller, which reduces the chances that you are going to catch anything.


If you find that you need to relocate in a hurry, transportation over the water can be a good way to do so. Depending on the survival scenario you find yourself in, and the local wildlife, you might end up suspecting you’re in an area with dangerous animals, or you might just need to leave having exhausted the resources in the area.


Kayaks and canoes also have dry storage as this is essential when you are out on the water. For instance, if you have any electronics to keep safe. This can double up as storage space even when you aren’t in your kayak, and can be a good place to keep an emergency stash of food and other goods. Keeping a few days worth of food and drinking water within along with spare emergency survival items is good practice anyway in case you need to make a quick getaway. Instead of an emergency stash, your dry storage within your watercraft can just be somewhere to keep things dry in case there is a storm.

One less obvious benefit of kayaks and canoes as a survival item is the fact that they can provide one of the quickest and easiest ways to create a dry shelter. By tipping a canoe or kayak over and propping it up, you can create a platform to drape a cover or tarpaulin over it and create yourself a dry area for either yourself or storing your essentials. This isn’t a long term solution, but if you find yourself unexpectedly in adverse weather conditions or needing to spend the night somewhere you wouldn’t ordinarily, your canoe or kayak can give you this option.

As you can see, some of the survival benefits of kayaks and canoes are obvious, such as the ability to go out fishing and not be restricted by using an engine that requires fuel or just being able to fish from the riverbank. Alternatively, hacks such as using your kayak or canoe for storage or even for emergency shelter are less obvious ways that these watercraft can get you out of a pinch. If you’re planning an emergency survival kit, a kayak or canoe of some description should definitely be in it.

About the Author

John O. Brooks loves to introduce himself as a passionate blogger. Apart from writing John loves new adventures, discover new places around the world. And yes, fishing, boating, camping in disguise of traveling been his hobby along the decades.


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