One thing I’m trying to figure out in my head is how to go about resupplying and hitching into towns with a canoe! Do I take my bike lock and try to lock it to a tree? Must I carry all my accessories with me into towns so they don’t get stolen?
I’m used to having everything easily carry-able in my backpack, but I’m not sure it will be that easy with paddling gear… carrying paddles and lifevests while walking through a town seems pretty silly! But is that my only option?
There have been a few isolated issues with gear getting stolen but it’s not a huge problem(unless it happens to you). I wouldn’t bother with the lock, it’s usually pretty easy to find a spot to hide your gear while you portage or go into town. Don’t leave stuff where it’s easy for people to take it from, don’t pile gear next to a road or by a boat launch.
I am aware of three instances (over ten years) of through paddlers reporting having gear stolen on the trail. Two of these were in the Adirondacks, and one on the Nulhegan River in Vermont. All three involved drybags and other gear being stolen when left unattended along portages. I don’t have more details. My guess is that the risk is greatest when gear is visible and close to a road or other motorized access. I don’t worry myself about a hiker or paddler running off with my lumpy and ungainly drybag when I am two carries and ten miles from a road. In places where someone might be tempted to toss my gear in a truck and drive off I try to leave everything out of sight in an unobtrusive spot in the woods. In a couple of towns there are conveniently located paddler-friendly businesses where you might ask to park your gear while you shop and re-supply. – K
You could use a cable-lock and hitch a canoe and packs to trees if you’re near the official trail. When near any “official” route you just never know…. Haven’t witnessed anything stolen in all my times out in the woods, although I have to say that in the mid-90s, when living in Boston area, I left canoe(non-expensive Royalex OT) on shore to take a short hike only to come back and see it being used by a couple of 20-something guys…~60′ from shore, so luckily it was just an embarassing time for them…..but ditto Kalmia’s thoughts on definitely hiding stuff.