What to pack for a canal boat holiday

What to pack for your canal boat holiday

Today’s canal boats are like floating holiday cottages, so you’ll find many home comforts already on board.

Our galley kitchens are equipped with a fridge and everything you need to cook with, including gas cookers with hob, oven and grill, cooking utensils, saucepans, plates, bowls, mugs, knives, forks, spoons, etc.

There are shower rooms and flushing toilets on board.  Our operators include bedding and many also include towels.

To help you prepare for your canal boat holiday, we’ve put together a list of useful items to pack:

1. Wet & warm weather clothes

If it’s wet you’ll need a waterproof jacket and a large golfing umbrella for the skipper.  If it’s sunny, you’ll need a sun hat, sun glasses and sun cream.  Gloves are also useful for working the locks and steering when it’s cold.

2. Shoes & slippers

Trainers or rubber soled shoes are best for boating and lock working.  And it’s a good idea to bring slippers or warm socks to wear on board.

3. Shopping bags

Bring re-useable shopping bags as well as re-useable plastic bottles and coffee cups to help limit the amount of plastic you acquire on your holiday afloat.

4. DVD’s, cards & games

For cosy nights in, bring along some cards and board games, as well some DVD’s as a good TV reception isn’t always available on the canals.

5. A torch

If you do venture out to the pub for the evening, it’s best to take a torch as country moorings can be incredibly dark at night.

6. Toilet rolls

Some will be supplied but do bring some extra lightweight toilet rolls – not quilted as this could block the loo.

7. Washing-up liquid & tea towel

Pack an eco-friendly washing-up liquid and hand soap, and make sure your shampoos and face washes are micro-bead free, as the water you use to wash-up and shower with will empty straight into the canal.

8. Binoculars

Great for spotting wildlife.

9. A canal map

Buy a canal map online or at the boat yard when you arrive to pick-up your boat.  You can also plan your canal boat holiday online using the mapping tools on the Canal & River Trust’s website Canal route planner | Canal & River Trust (canalrivertrust.org.uk)

10. Drinks

The water on board is ok to use to make hot drinks and cook with, but it’s worth bringing a large bottle of drinking water to top-up with.  And wine boxes are great space savers and safer to transport than bottles.

11. Condiments

Pack some extra flavourings as well as the main ingredients, including salt & pepper, tomato sauce, herbs and spices.

12. Phone chargers

Narrowboats have 240 volt 3-pin sockets powered by the on board batteries so you can charge your phones and tablets on board.  But only do this when the engine is running to avoid draining the batteries. Blenders, cool boxes and hair straighteners can also be plugged in, but nothing above 1,000 watts is permitted – so no kettles, irons, hairdryers or heaters.

13. Your dog’s bed

Pets are welcome on board most hire boats, but remember to bring your pet’s blanket or basket as they aren’t allowed on the beds or chairs. Remember to bring poo bags too!

14. First aid kit

For any cuts, scrapes or grazes.