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Pack, Paddle and Camp
Skill-Building Overnight

Have you dreamed of taking on a paddling/camping expedition, but not been sure if you were ready for that? We’ve put together a planning/packing class followed a few weeks later with an overnight camping/paddling trip to help you build planning and packing skills and then test them out with your canoe or kayak on Middle River. On the water, you will learn by doing, paddling with the extra weight, sitting lower in the water than you may be used to. This will be a 2-day paddle trip with one night of overnight camping.

Not all paddle craft work for camping because they just cannot hold enough gear.  If you are unsure if it is even possible to do paddle-in camping with your particular boat, send us a picture of your canoe or kayak and we’ll weigh in on whether it is practical for you to try this trip.

Sign up for the Class and/or the Trip at the button left.


June 23, 2022   6-7:30pm Packing and Planning Prep Class


Location: the Rotary Pavilion at Montgomery Hall Park, Staunton


A few weeks before the trip, we will hold a class about paddle trip planning and packing, with a section specifically on packing to camp. This will be a combination lecture and hands-on class taught by FOMR member and outdoor recreation professional Guy Debrun.  You will be able to get consultation about your particular boat via photos/email. Class registration priority will be given to persons who are signed up for the trip. If we have space left in the class, we will open it to persons interested in only attending the class, only, and not the trip.

The class will include how to pack your gear, how to store gear in a boat, route planning, equipment, food planning, and more.

Some of you may want to practice paddling with a packed or partially packed boat on easy flatwater prior to our river trip to get a feel for how a loaded boat handles sitting a little lower in the water. You’ll have a couple of weeks between the class and the trip to practice your packing and/or flatwater paddling on your own prior to getting on a river.

About our instructor:  Guy DeBrun was born in the White Mountains of N.H. He has lived in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Lesotho (Africa). He spent 18 years managing college outdoor recreation programs at the University of Maine, Hampshire College, and James Madison. Guy has completed multi-day canoe trips in the Adirondacks, Florida, and throughout Maine. A paddling highlight was a 5-day trip on the Allagash river with friends and family.

July 9, 2022 Paddle Trip Day #1

 Trip   Day 1: will be about 3 hours of paddling as a group on Middle River. We will launch in the early afternoon, giving all of us time in the morning to complete our shuttles, and take the extra time we need to get our gear properly packed in our boats. We’ll take it easy and get used to paddling with gear and extra weight.

Camping: Then we’ll stop and tent camp at the Shenandoah Valley Campground for the night. This trip will not be “glamping” (glamor camping). Think more like backpacking camping. But at least there will be modern bathrooms at the campground! In order to fit all your camping gear in your boat, you will have to pack as minimally as possible. At the camp, we will all share tent space on 2 sites reserved riverside for us. And we have an enjoyable evening with live music for you!


July 10, 2022  Paddle Trip Day #2

The next morning we will have a leisurely morning to strike camp and repack our boats followed by another 3-hour group paddle to the take-out and we will wrap up by mid to late afternoon on Sunday.


What skills are required of participants?

We recommend no first-time river paddlers for this trip. From your previous paddling experience, you should be comfortable handling class 1-2 rapids without gear. You should be able to steer and stop your craft in moving current. You should have enough strength and balance to get yourself to shore unassisted if you overturn.

Motivated teens are welcome, but this is generally not a family trip to bring all the kids on. This is a skill-building trip to develop confidence and competency in a new skill.

What kind of boat does one need to have to participate?

Persons with canoes and some models of sit-in kayaks are most suitable for packing gear. Sit-on-tops generally don't have enough storage for a multi-day trip, but then many traditional recreational sit-in kayaks don't either. If you are unsure if it is even possible to use your particular boat for paddle-in camping. Send us a picture of your boat and we’ll weigh in on whether it is practical for you to try this trip. Go ahead and sign up, prior to sending the pictures so we can hold your space while we help you figure out your boat’s capabilities.

Send pictures to

I want to paddle and I want to camp, but I do not want to paddle with all my camping gear in my boat, or I already know my boat can’t handle it. Can I still do the trip and set up my camp ahead of the float?

Maybe. Priority will be given to folks who are trying to use this opportunity as a skill-building/practice exercise of learning how to pack their boat and paddle with their gear. But, if there are unfilled openings in registration, we will add in persons who do not want to paddle with gear and want instead to set up their camp prior to the paddle. Tent camping only, of course.

What if I signup for the class and trip, attend the class and --after consulting with Guy-- I find out my boat just isn’t appropriate for packing the necessary gear?

If you KNOW when you sign up that your boat can’t carry your gear, then indicate that on the sign-up. We’ll still try to fit you on to the trip if we can, but we’ll give priority to folks who are packing gear to camp via boat. If we can fit you onto the trip, you will be able to set up camp prior to paddling.

If you are UNSURE if it is even possible to use your particular boat for paddle-in camping, go ahead and sign up, then send us a picture of your boat and we’ll have Guy weigh in on whether it is practical for you to try this trip with hauling gear..

If, during the course of learning about packing/planning, experimenting with packing your boat and consulting with Guy you FIND OUT your boat can’t quite handle the gear you need, don’t worry. We’ll let you drop some or all of your camping gear off at the campsite the morning of the float you can do the paddle without your camp gear, camp overnight, paddle next day without gear and we will transport your gear to the take-out. This is a learning experience for all of us!

What if I cannot make the class?

You don’t have to go to the class to participate in the trip. It’s just a free, bonus opportunity. If you do NOT go to the class, we strongly encourage you to do even more self-educating, planning and practicing on your own so that you will not have any last-minute (bad) surprises.

What if the weather is bad?

This trip will not have a rain date. We will hold the trip rain or shine and will make dealing with the weather a part of the learning experience, except in the case of high water in which case we will have to cancel the trip and we will not reschedule. Another factor that we cannot control that you could have to deal with is low water. There could be times you will have to get out of your boat and walk it through the shallows. .

How much does the trip cost?

There will be a fee of $25 per participant. Your fee will be refunded if we cancel due to high water.

How and when do I pay?

You do not pay until you receive a confirmation that you are registered, but then you can pay via the website or mail us a check to P.O. Box 131, Verona, VA 24482.

I want to do the paddle on one or two of the days, but I don’t want to camp. Can I sign up?

No. FOMR has 4 other day trips we are offering this summer for people who do not wish to camp.

PFD and Whistle Requirement

As per state and federal laws, FOMR requires the use of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life vest and whistle by all paddlers. (A sufficient means of making a sound signal (4-6 seconds) in duration—like an air horn, whistle, or bell). All vessels, including paddle craft, must carry a sound-producing device.

What amenities are available at the campground?

You can read all about the campground at:



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