Packing essentials on a narrow boat trip

Free Narrowboats on Canal on City Street Stock PhotoAround 352,000 people go canal boating each year in the United Kingdom, and 100,000 go on holiday boat trips. Once you hire your boat which costs between £350-£450 a week, you have to start thinking about the essentials you need to take with you.

Don’t overpack

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.

Bring your own food and drink with you

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 things

  • 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)


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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 Cheap flights with cashback

  • 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. There are more than 2,000 miles of British waterways and towpaths that serviced the Industrial Revolution and are now being used by holidaymakers. 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, so enjoy!

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