Complete List for Packing for a Trip on the Erie Canal

UPDATED March 15, 2024 — If you are looking for a list for packing for a trip on the Erie Canal, this is a good place to start.

The following list is what I packed for six-day Erie Canal boat trips. This Erie Canal packing list could be used as a packing list for a houseboat trip or a packing list for a sailing trip.

All those excursions are similar: you are on the water, you have varying weather conditions, and you’ll be living in tight spaces. So then, the following packing list takes all that—and more—into consideration.

Table of Contents

Pinterest graphics that reads "List for packing for a trip on erie canal barge":

Bags for your Erie Canal barge, houseboat or sailing excursion

Duffel bag

Pack your gear into a soft duffel bag for travel to your waterside destination. Duffels are easier to store once on board–you’ll unpack them, hang your clothes in mini-closets, and put personal items in small cubbies.

Although you can store small hard-sided suitcases under the beds, it’s much easier to simply roll up your duffle bag once it’s emptied and stuff it under the bed.

Bag for provisioning at port

We loved our extra large, heavy-weight beach/boat bag tote to carry groceries, produce from the farmer’s markets and other provisions to and from the boat when docking in the charming canal towns. Check out this nautical themed bag and add it to your list for packing for a trip on the Erie Canal.

Hanging toiletry bag

A hanging toiletry bag is the best way to utilize the small spaces in the head (the onboard bathroom).

See more about the best hanging toiletry bags in the “Toiletry list for packing for a trip” section below.

Apparel list for packing for a trip on the water

Boat shoes and wind jackets are practical on any type of boat trip, and here on the Erie Canal
Beyond swimsuits, sunscreen and sunnies, here’s what I packed for my 6-day Erie Canal boat trip:
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2-3 tops such as quick-drying T-shirts or golf shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt for sun protection and layering
  • 1 pair lightweight pants
  • 1 pair yoga pants or comfy pants for plane ride and evenings in port
  • 1 pair rain pants
  • 1 light-weight sweater or hoodie
  • 1 light puffer jacket or fleece jacket
  • 1 vest for layering
  • 1 light rain jacket – doubles for wind jacket or another layer when necessary
  • 1 pair boat shoes
  • 1 pair Tevas
  • 1 pair boat shoes
  • 1 swim suit
  • polarizing sunglasses with neck strap
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 rain hat
  • 1 baseball cap
If you forget something–or it’s not on this list for packing for a trip–not to worry. There are stores and shops along the way. It’s always fun to pick up a T-shirt or ball cap as a souvenir that you can wear while boating.

Your Buying Guide: Packing for a boat trip

Extra large, heavy-weight beach/boat bag totered button that says "check here"Large carrying capacity
Nautical styling
Carrying straps go under cargo
Carry groceries, beer and wine back to boat while at port
Sperry Women's Bluefish Boat Shoe red button that says "check here"100% Leather
Rubber sole
Rubber sole helps grip deck
Teva Womens Unisex-Adult W Hurricane XLT2 Sport Sandalred button that says "check here"Nylon shank stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain
Supplies greater traction
Women's New Englander Wind & Waterproof Rain Jacketred button that says "check here"Wind and waterproof
Heat sealed seams for weather protection
Extra layer for wind resistance keeps you warmer
Eye Glasses String Holder Straps - Sportsred button that says "check here"Adjust for wide and narrow glass frames
Choice of colors
Prevents glasses from slipping overboard

Toiletry list for packing for a trip

empty red hanging toiletry bag with items for your List for packing for a trip arranged around it
Hanging toiletry bag is on the list for packing for a trip in a boat

Pack up all your toiletries in a compact, lightweight toiletry bag. Make sure to get a hanging toiletry bag, so you can hang it on the back of the door of the head (on-board bathroom.) Check out my buying guide for the top hanging travel organizer now. 

Then fill it with:

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Moisturizer
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap, shampoo and sundries are not provided on the canal boat
  • Deodorant
  • Prescription medications
  • Ibuprofen
  • Neosporin
  • Comb or brush
  • Extra glasses or contact lens and supplies

What Not to Pack

Every list for packing for a trip should include "What not to Pack," in this case, wine glasses

Before I experienced the Erie Canal with Canal Adventures, I wondered if I should pack wine glasses. I’m not a fan of plastic glasses–or plastic anything–so we bought some wine glasses at the local grocer, Wegman’s. If only we had this “what not to” list for packing for a trip!


Boats and flipflops, the two don’t mix! It’s too easy to slip or knock your toes into boat housings or equipment. Instead, pack Tevas or Chacos sandals with arch support and ankle straps. Boat shoes are a must, too!

Lots of food

Grocery stores, wine stores are located near to the marina, so we provisioned with coffee, breakfast supplies, snacks, beer and wine before we checked into Erie Canal Adbventures. But we didn’t stock up on lots of groceries. “Every few hours you will happen through a town or village with grocery, convenience, drug, and liquor stores within a few steps from the canal or at worst an Uber away. We do provide a small refrigerator and a cooler (if requested). Also let’s not forget that each town has restaurants, diners, pubs, luncheonettes, breweries, and much more. Cooking is always an option but eating out is fun too!”

Wine glasses

Wine glasses, coffee mugs, cups, plates and kitchen utensils are provided in the fully-equipped galley (onboard kitchenette.)


The boat is equipped with potable water

Bedding and towels

Bedding and towels are provide on the canal boats. Check with your boat operator.

Work gloves

Work gloves for maneuvering ropes and pulls are provided and so is a rain jacket for the skipper.

Navigation maps

An Erie Canal navigation map book is provided. Had I known that, it would have saved me countless hours of research and printing maps at home.

Related stories:

7 Reasons an Erie Canal Boat Trip Should be at the Top of Your Bucket List

Canaling Adventure: 88 miles on the Erie Canal

The Ultimate Buying Guide for the Best Travel Clothes

UNSTOPPABLE Stacey, Tammy and Becky hugging on "Sal," the mule made famous by the Erie Canal song

As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

In addition, this blog, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Stacey earns a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the costs of keeping this travel blog active. 

Further, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for reading.

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