For those of you who have booked the Boutique Narrowboat over the next couple of months, you will probably already have Packing Plans. If you’ve been on a canal boat before, you’ll know all about the limited storage and nonslip shoes – both are standard bits of advice from holiday boat operators and pretty obvious even to the most virgin of boaters.
As we prepare Lesley Ann for her first hirers, we’ve been tweaking the boat inventory to make sure we have all the essentials on board, and a bit more besides. That way, you won’t have to debate the tea towel/no tea towel decision or have a conversation about whether to bring salt-and-pepper. We want only nice surprises to greet you when you step on board.
We’ve also undergone some rigorous testing: the first two can openers we bought didn’t work – what is it with can openers? – and the top-heavy wineglasses were prone to toppling when another boat passed us.
As we spend increasing amounts on can openers and wineglasses, we’ve also pulled together a few top tips for those embarking on a canal boat holiday for the first time. Packing for a stay on a barge is all about keeping things minimal as there really isn’t a lot of space for nonessentials.
Packing tips for your luxury canal boat holiday
1.All holiday pack lists advise you bring non-crease clothing but we actually mean it. Just know that at a very early planning summit (read – evening in the pub) it was a toss-up between an ironing board and a larger shower enclosure. The shower won out.
2. Use “soft” luggage where possible. There aren’t a lot of storage options on narrowboats, and holdalls are generally easier to accommodate. On Lesley Ann, your suitcase storage space is 26 x 100 x 116cm.
3. Take beer bottles and nectarines out of their cardboard packaging. Your rubbish stays with you on a canal boat and you may have to live with it for a while, until you find a waste-disposal point. Far easier to leave it in your wheelie bin at home.
4. Check which consumables are already aboard. Do you need to bring toilet rolls or bin liners? We have a full Boutique Narrowboat inventory here.
5. The towels on our boat are the Hammam Turkish type. These take up much less room than fluffier varieties and dry very quickly but if you can’t live without a fluffy towel, then by all means bring one with you.
6. Don’t be tempted to bring a collection of kitchen or bathroom cleaning products. It’s really important that all detergents are environmentally friendly, as they ultimately end up in the canal. We provide suitable washing-up liquids, dishwasher tablets and cleaning sprays.
7. Bring laptops, tablets and phones. We have loads of charging points on board. We already have free Wi-Fi and a Bluetooth speaker.
Here’s to a stress-free pack!