The narrowboat holiday kit list: what to pack for your staycation
Our canal boats are like floating holiday cottages, so you’ll find many of the comforts of home waiting for you on board. This includes a galley kitchen equipped with cutlery, crockery, cooking utensils, saucepans, a gas cooker with an oven and grill and a fridge with a small freezer compartment. Bed linen and towels are supplied and you’ll also find hand towels in the bathrooms and tea towels in the kitchen.
There’s a surprising amount of storage space on board for your belongings, but you should still pack sensibly. To help you prepare for your narrowboat holiday, we’ve put together a list of useful items to pack:
- Extra towels – While bath and hand towels are provided on board our boats, we do recommend bringing some extra, especially during the wetter months, or if you’re bringing pets along.
- Re-usable items – to help to reduce the amount of plastic you acquire during your holiday, don’t forget to pack your re-useable shopping bags. Re-useable plastic bottles and coffee cups are also recommended to help minimise single-use waste.
- DVDs & games – cards and board games are a great way to spend cosy nights afloat. You might also wish to pack some DVDs, as a consistent TV reception cannot be guaranteed on the canals.
- A torch – country moorings can get very dark at night, which is fantastic for stargazing, but not so much for finding your way back from the canalside pubs in the evenings!
- Extra toilet roll – we supply some toilet roll in our loos, but do bring along extra. Please ensure that they are not quilted and please don’t use wipes.
- Shampoo & body wash – the water you use to wash with will empty straight into the canal, which is why we recommend you pack eco-friendly, micro-bead free shampoos, conditioners, face and body washes.
- Prepare for all weather types – if it’s wet, you’ll need a reliable waterproof jacket and a large golfing umbrella for the skipper. In sunnier weather, you’ll need a hat, sunglasses and sun cream. Gloves are recommended for working the locks and for steering when it’s cold.
- Sensible footwear – trainers or rubber-soled shoes are the best choice for boating and lock working. It’s also a good idea to bring slippers or warm socks to wear on board in the evenings.
- Binoculars – wildlife spotting is one of the most special things about a canal boat holiday, so pack some binoculars if you own them to enhance your experience.
- A canal map – there are some great canal maps available to buy in advance from our Booking Team or in our boatyard shops, for example the Nicholson’s or Pearson’s guides. You can also plan your trip online using the mapping tools on the Canal & River Trust’s website, but be aware that mobile phone signals can be patchy along the canal network.
- Drinks – the water on board is drinkable once boiled, but we recommend that you bring a large bottle for drinking water to top up at water points. If you want to enjoy a glass of wine after a day of exploring all the canals have to offer, boxed wine is a great space saver and safer to transport than bottled wine.
- Condiments – the galley kitchens on board our boats are fully equipped for home cooking, but don’t forget to pack some extra flavourings, such as salt & pepper, sauces, herbs and spices.
- Phone chargers – our boats have 240 volt 3-pin sockets powered by the onboard batteries so you can charge your phones, tablets and cameras on board. But to avoid draining the batteries, we advise you to only do this when the engine is running as there is a limit to power available. Anything below 1000 watts can be plugged in, for example blenders, cool boxes and hair straighteners, but nothing above 1000 watts is permitted – so no kettles, irons, hairdryers or heaters. See our electrical safety page for more info.
- Your pet’s bed – all our boats are pet friendly, and maximum of two pets are welcome on board provided you let us know at the time of booking. Remember to bring your pet’s blanket or basket with you as they are not permitted on the beds or chairs. Don’t forget to bring poo bags, too!
- First aid kit – we recommend you pack a basic first aid kit, including antiseptic, plasters & bandages, in case of any cuts, scrapes or sprains. Remember your trusty hand sanitiser, too!