What to take on a narrow boat trip?

If you are going on a narrow boat holiday, here’s a few tips on what essentials you need to bring with you. Narrow boats are quite big so there is lots of storage available for clothes and other essentials, if you are bringing a family with you, but it’s important not to overpack.

Free Boats Are Docked On A Seashore Stock Photo

Bring your own food and drink

Remember that canal boat holidays are self-catering, so you will need to bring your own food and drink.

If you are travelling in winter on a narrow boat, make sure its multi-fuel stove is working, as it will keep you warm.

Here is my list of ESSENTIALS to consider:

Standard Essentials

  • Soft bags are easier to store than hard suitcases
  • Torch is useful in the evenings when negotiating a towpath
  • Map book of the canal
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • for darkened towpath in the evenings)
  • Good quality camera
  • Hard wearing gloves (for working the locks)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sun cream (you might be surprised)
  • Toiletries (including a few toilet rolls)
  • First Aid Kit for any unforeseen accidents or tummy trouble
  • Bin liners (some will already be provided)


  • Comfortable clothes
  • Clothes that don’t crumple, as you may not have an iron onboard
  • Fleece or hoody
  • Raincoat
  • Hat or cap
  • Trainers (non-slip)
  • Wellies
  • Slippers/warm socks for evening
  • Sunglasses

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  • Board games
  • Books
  • CDs s and DVDs

Food and drink

  • Food for breakfast lunch and dinner
  • Tinned food, which is non-perishable
  • Drinks (including bottled water)
  • Snacks
  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Tea bags and coffee
  • Condiments
  • Cooking oil

Safety items to be aware of

  • Travel Insurance
  • Life jackets
  • Inflatable rings and buoys
  • Carbon Padlocks for additional security
  • Fire extinguishers and fire blankets
  • Keys for doors/windows, along with pump out and fuel cap etc. – tie a cork tied to your keychain which will float should you drop your keys into the canal.
  • Monoxide
  • Smoke detector
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Plenty of places to stock up

Don’t worry if you happen to forget something. If you’ve left something behind that is important, there are lots of little villages canal-side that you can visit. They are also good for replenishing any stock.

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