The first and most important tip for planning canoe trips is to map a route carefully and analyze that route to ensure it is within your skill level and your preparedness level for that specific trip. Some rivers will require that the canoeist do a portage, which involves carrying the canoe over land. If the canoe trips being planned included portages, some additional preparations will need to be made beforehand. Map out where these portages occur so all trip members can be prepared for them. If the trip is a multi-day excursion, meals and shelter will need to be planned carefully as well.
Participants can expect to get wet on canoe trips, so waterproof clothing and fast-drying clothing will need to be purchased and packed. If rain is a possibility, even if it is not in the forecast, the canoeists will need to have rain gear handy and ready to use at any time. It may be a wise decision to pack rain gear and other clothing in waterproof bags to ensure they do not get wet by accident during paddling. Canoeists should base their clothing choices on the season, and they should always have at least one good pair of warm clothing regardless of the season. Canoe trips can be dangerous, so it is best to be prepared in case someone falls in the water and needs to warm up quickly. Cotton clothing should be avoided, as cotton tends to get wet and stay wet, meaning a person will be uncomfortable and cold.
Review and inspect all gear being taken on canoe trips in the weeks or days leading up to departure. Canoes will need to be inspected for any damage, and bags or other equipment will need to be inspected for tears or rips that may lead to leaks. Paddles or oars should also be inspected for damage prior to use. It helps to make a checklist of items that need to be taken on the trip. The canoeist should think carefully about how all the gear will be packed, and where it will be stored during the trip.
It is important to check all local laws or regulations regarding canoeing down specific waterways. Sometimes parts of waterways are restricted, meaning canoeists should not be on the waterways at all. Other areas are only open seasonally; in some cases, it may be necessary to obtain permits to navigate the river or camp on its shores. The canoeists will need to research any regulations such as these before embarking on canoe trips.