Canoe Tripping

Perfect Camping Place
For many, going on wilderness trips is the ultimate way to enjoy canoeing. It could be a weekend family getaway, or a remote, multi-week river expedition. The canoe is unparalleled in its ability to handle the variety of challenges that tripping demands such as large carrying capacity, versatility in numbers of canoeists, excellent manoeuvreability, running rapids, open water crossings, ease of rescue and more.

New as of June 2018
A few small but important changes in the Tripping Program:
1) In order to facilitate running more Tripping Paddler courses for youth programs, a Tripping Instructor can now use a certified Tripping Leader as a second trip leader for a certified Tripping Paddler level course. This eliminates the need to have two Tripping Instructors for a typical group of youth (10-18 students). The inclusion of a Tripping Leader boosts the ratio of students from a maximum of 9 to a maximum of 18, based on the existing ratio of 9:1.
2) In order to make the Tripping Leader certificate more appealing to achieve, the prerequisites have been made more flexible. Instead of needing a Level 3 Advanced Tandem Lakewater certificate (even for leading on lakes), the prerequisite can optionaly be a Moving Water Tandem (Level 1) certificate. The Moving Water certificate includes all of the strokes contained in Advanced Tandem Lakewater. Many people would rather take a river course as opposed to an advanced lake course, and it is hoped that this change will attract more interest in the Tripping Leader program.
Note that the best way to train Tripping Leaders is to include them in an actual Tripping Paddler course and get first hand experience managing groups.

Canoe tripping brings one into the heart nature and wilderness which can be new or intimidating for some. Yet fun, comfort and safety are attainable if paddlers are properly prepared. The experience of paddling to your camping destination and exploring lakes, rivers and ocean are an experience that no one should deny themselves. Because of the need to prepare and carry your basic needs, tripping demands more of the canoeist than a day trip, including:

  • navigation and open water paddling skills
  • possible rescue of loaded canoes
  • packing and waterproofing gear and portaging
  • respect for the wildlife and environment
  • wildlife and food safety
  • possible canoe and gear repair
  • and more

Make sure that you are able to meet these challenges with the help of an RCABC tripping course.



The RCABC Canoe Tripping Paddler course is designed for people wanting an introduction to all there is to know about going on wilderness lake trips. There is a wide variety of content that is covered during the 2 day trip including an overnight camping experience. See below for more details on the content. The course is great for:

  • High school outdoor programs
  • Youth programs and organizations
  • Anyone interested in learning (more) about tripping
  • Outdoor or school teachers that wish to develop their skills to become leaders

PREREQUISITE – RCABC Lakewater Level 1 (tandem) or 2 (solo) or equivalent

DURATION – Minimum 2 days with one overnight

CONTENT (Note changes above will be added to the online version of the Instructor Manual)
Outline of RCABC Canoe Tripping - Paddler Level:  Tripping Paddler - Leader

The most notable content of the course is the experience of heading out on a BC lake or canoe route. With everything you need with you in the canoe, and the leadership of an experienced instructor, this overnight tripping experience offers endless opportunity to build skills along the way. Here is a brief summary of the course:

  • Properly loading canoes and waterproofing gear
  • Rescues of loaded canoes
  • Menu and food preparation, cooking and food safety
  • Navigation and group travel and safety
  • Environment and Leave No Trace
  • Best camping sites, tents, stoves and tarps

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The RCABC Canoe Tripping Leader course is intended to build sufficient skills and confidence to become the leader of a group doing a multi-day wilderness canoe trip. This tripping leader course can be taught on a lake or river (see prerequisites). The people this course is targeted at are:

  • School teachers
  • Canoeing guides
  • Outdoor program leaders
  • Canoe club trip leaders
  • Youth camp or youth organization staff
  • Recreational canoe trippers who want to take their skills to the next level
  • Lakewater Instructors wishing to become RCABC Canoe Tripping Instructors


  • RCABC Lakewater Level 1 (tandem) or Level 2 (solo) or equivalent
  • First Aid Certificate
  • RCABC Movingwater Level 1 or2 (tandem or solo) -  if leading on moving water.
  • RCABC Basic Ocean Canoeing - if leading on ocean.
  • Trip Log: experience must include at least three 2-day trips (can be done after the course)

DURATION – Minimum of 3 days with 2 overnights

Outline of RCABC Canoe Tripping Leader Level:  Tripping Paddler - Leader

  • Properly loading canoes and waterproofing gear
  • Rescues of loaded canoes
  • Menu and food preparation, cooking and food safety
  • Navigation and group travel and safety
  • Environment and Leave No Trace
  • Camping sites, tents, stoves and tarps

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The RCABC Canoe Tripping Instructor certificate is one of the most common instructor certificates held by the RCABC membership. As with any instructor certification, the candidate not only needs to know the material, but to know it well enough to demonstrate and teach it effectively. People that seek this certification are:

  • Instructors involved in youth camps and organizations
  • Outdoor program instructors or leaders
  • Professional guides
  • Recreational paddlers wishing to develop their skills to a higher level
  • RCABC instructors wishing to become Master instructors


  • RCABC Lakewater Instructor Certificate
  • Current RCABC Instructor membership
  • Tandem Moving Water Paddler Level 1 - if on river
  • Basic Ocean Canoeing Level 3 - if on ocean
  • Current First Aid Certificate, preferably Wilderness First Aid. (Minimum 32 hr course)
  • Trip log: Must be in the role of leader and/or assistant leader, must include pre-trip planning experience in 2 trips of a minimum length of 5 days each, plus other shorter trips.

DURATION – 5 days continuous with 4 overnights

The content of the RCABC Tripping Instructor Course is based on teaching the Canoe Tripping Paddler and Canoe Tripping Leader content. The instructor candidate must have a good background in canoe camping and a good attitude towards environmental ethics. Instructor candidates will be expected to teach topics to their peer or real students, such as:

  • Map and Compass skills
  • Rescuing loaded canoes
  • Leave No Trace principles
  • Trip planning, leadership and hazards assessment
  • Kitchen and cooking techniques and safety concerns
  • Pre-trip meetings
  • Canoe repair

For a full description of the RCABC Tripping Instructor course, purchase a Paddler or Instructor Membership for access to the RCABC Instructor Manual.

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