What to take on a Narrow boat Holiday

A Narrow Boating Article.

Having made the decision to book a Narrow Boating Holiday you may now be wondering what to bring with you. There is nothing worse than getting to your holiday destination, in this case your narrow boat, and realising that you have brought all the wrong things.

Lots of people ask for advice on what to pack for their Narrow Boating Holiday and we hope the following information will be of some help.

What should I take on a Narrow Boating Holiday?

Narrow boats are self catering, so we recommend that your bring the essential such as tea, coffee and maybe the first days food with you. Don't buy too much, as part of the fun of a Narrow Boating Holiday is discovering all those wonderful canal side pubs and shops selling fresh local produce. Although you can drink the water from the tap, when boiled and cooled, you may like to bring some bottled with you.

Your canal boat will be well-equipped and all the necessary cooking utensils and crockery will be on board. You should check with your provider whether towels, linen and bedding is supplied.

Get the clothes right and make sure you are comfortable come rain or shine, we can not predict the great British weather so be prepared for all eventualities.

What to Pack - The Essentials

Non slip, flat, rubber soled shoes are a must and a pair of boots can be useful if you want to do any walking.

Casual, warm and comfortable clothes. Layers are a good idea so as the sun comes out you can peel and when it gets a little cooler you can slip on a warm fleece.

Waterproofs coats and trousers are a good idea so if you do get a rainy day the weather will not spoil your holiday.

Nightwear and comfy indoor shoes, slippers or slipper socks.

Toilet/wash bag and contents as normally toiletries are not provided.


Anything else?

Binoculars – If you want to get even closer to the wildlife.

Camera – You will want to capture your Narrow Boating memories.

Fishing rod and rod licence – Narrow Boating Holidays are the perfect excuse to do a spot of fishing.

Maps and guides - Part of the fun is planning your route before hand so it is advisable to purchase a map or guide before you leave home.

Kindle or books - You will have plenty of time to relax so pack those novels you have been meaning to read.

DVDs – Check first as some canal boats come equipped with TV and DVD players.

Mobile phone - and, depending on your boat class, 12v or 240v charger

First aid kit – You never know.

Lip salve – For protection against the sun.

Insect repellent – There will be more flies and insects by the water.

Sun tan cream - The sun does reflect off the water. Sunglasses, to avoid the glare off the water, and a sunhat is useful too.

Torches – To help if you are going to be away from the boat at nighttime.

Walkie talkies - Just a bit of fun for the kids.

Board games and cards – Narrow Boating Holidays are a great way for families to spend time together and you can't always guarantee the sunshine.

A small amount of cash, sterling – You may find that the smaller canal side shops or farm stalls do not accept cards.

Hard wearing gloves – Helps when working the locks. Gardening type gloves are ideal.

Wildlife books and note pads – The kids will love to make a note of what wildlife they see.

Bicycles – Bikes are a brilliant way to explore more of the lovely countryside and a great way of spending the whole day together. About the only place to store bikes is on the roof of your boat, so check with your provider to make sure they are happy for you to bring along your bikes.

Pet Bedding – If your provider allows pets on board and you are bringing you dog with you please pack their own bedding. Don't forget their food, bowls, leads, toys, poo bags and a towel.

What shouldn't I take on a canal holiday?

Due to the limited electrical output on canal boats, you are advised not to bring and sort of domestic appliances.

Stilettos and evening wear, canal side pubs welcome narrow boaters where casual is the only dress code.


Narrow boats do have storage space but hanging space can be limited.

Use soft bags, hard suitcases take up a lot more space. If this is not possible we suggest that you unpack and then leave suitcases in the car.

It makes things a lot easier for you if you don't have heaps of unnecessary gear to pack and unpack so pack as light as you can.

Life Jackets are recommended for children and non swimmers so check with your provider if these are provided. You can purchase life jackets for the whole family, even your dog, from a chandlers or from an on line company such as Amazon.

If you are on any medication bring enough to last you for the duration of your holiday as you may not always be close to a chemist

If you wear glasses it may be a good idea to pack a spare pair.

If you are brining you pet make sure that the telephone contact number on his/her collar is a mobile - your home number is no good as you will not be there.

Don't forget to bring along any paperwork as this will assist at check in.

Travel Insurance is not just for foreign travel you can purchase insurance that covers you for UK holidays.

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