After almost 20 canoe camping trips I now know what I NEED to pack.
for more info, see: http://jimmar.hubpages.com/_3v4wkz561vqja/hub/Packing-for-a-Wilderness-Canoe-Trip
Step 1: Load carrying capacity
My cedar strip canoe has a maximum load in the “optimum” range of 450lbs. So with 2 paddlers of about 160 lbs each, 2 canoe seats about 5lbs, 2 PFD about 5lbs, two paddles about 5lbs, that only leaves about 105lbs total for gear. I found that carrying about 50lbs of gear per paddler, for a one week trip, is on the lighter side but is a good goal.
Step 2: Number and difficulty of portages
You will also want to have your gear organized into packs that are easy to carry, usually means shoulder straps, so that you are not stumbling and fumbling dropping things along the way.