Gear List: Flatwater Paddling

There are many amazing places, near and far, to go canoeing or kayaking! Among our favorites for a backcountry paddling trip are the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Wilderness in northern Minnesota and Quetico Provincial Park just north of the BWCA in Ontario, Canada. Here is the comprehensive gear list we recommend for any flatwater paddling adventure.

The Essentials

Be sure to have these essential items along:
□ Fire – matches or fire starter
□ Shelter – tent, tarp, bivy
□ Navigation – map, compass, GPS
□ Weather protection – for sun, precipitation and cold
□ Illumination – flashlight or headlamp
□ First aid – appropriate for the activity and group size
□ Repair supplies – multi-tool, duct tape, sewing kit
□ Hydration – water bottles and/or bladders; filtration
□ Nutrition – one day’s extra calories for an emergency
□ Identification – license/passport/credit cards/cell phone
□ Dry bags – waterproof drysacks and ziploc bags

Primary Gear List

Large Camping Gear
□ Portage packs or other waterproof duffels
□ Small day pack
□ Canoe or kayak with portage yolk
□ Life jackets
□ Paddles – including a spare
□ Tent with fly
□ Ground cloth/tent footprint
□ Tent stakes – include some spares
□ Sleeping bag
□ Waterproof stuff bag for sleeping bag
□ Sleeping pad
□ Bear boxes and/or bear hang supplies – for overnight food storage, if in bear country

Small Camping Essentials
□ Water bottles or hydration system
□ Water filtration/purification system
□ Water purification tablets (as a backup to filtration)
□ First aid kit – including foot care, tweezers
□ Survival kit – magnifying lens, fire starter, survival cards, whistle, etc.
□ Waterproof matches in waterproof container
□ Emergency fire starting supplies
□ Equipment repair supplies
□ Duct Tape
□ Rope
□ Sewing kit
□ Flashlight or head lamp and/or small lantern
□ Spare batteries
□ Whistle – floating type recommended
□ Mosquito head net

Cooking and Kitchen Items
□ Stove
□ Fuel for stove
□ Matches in waterproof container, lighter
□ Cook set/pot grip
□ Camping kitchen and/or cooking supplies – spatula, large spoon, pot holder
□ Knife – Swiss Army™ or other quality folding model
□ Cup, plate
□ Utensils – knife, fork, spoon or spork
□ Dishwashing supplies – remember to only use biodegradable soap, if anything
□ Trash bags
□ Flask (optional)
□ Food (see food suggestions below)

Food Suggestions
You need extra energy during paddling trips. Take lots of high energy foods.
□ Breakfast foods – instant cereals, breakfast bars, high energy bars, etc.
□ Lunch foods – peanut butter, crackers, beef jerky, cheeses
□ Snacks – trail mix, nuts, granola bars, high energy bars, etc.
□ Dinner foods – freeze dried dinners, rice, easy to cook entrees
□ Beverages – powdered drink mixes such as Gatorade, Crystal Light or Tang, coffee, tea, hot cocoa
□ Optional food choices – camp oven, fresh veggies, meat or fruit for start of trip, spices

Clothing
□ Waterproof boots
□ Camp shoes or sandals – you'll want to try to keep one pair of footwear dry at all times
□ Spare laces (optional)
□ Socks that wick moisture – Forget all cotton socks! Use merino wool.
□ Bandana
□ Waterproof hat
□ Brimmed hat (may be same as above)
□ Stocking cap or ear band (depending on weather and location)
□ Gloves
□ Rain gear – waterproof, breathable jacket and pants
□ Fleece, or wool shirt or sweater
□ Long sleeve, light weight shirt – great for sun and bug protection
□ Long sleeve, medium weight shirt
□ Light weight camping pants
□ Shorts
□ T-shirts – synthetic, wicking are best in most situations
□ Underwear
□ Light weight synthetic thermal underwear
□ Swim suit
□ Belt (optional)
□ Watch – waterproof
□ Eyewear – sunglasses, prescription glasses, contact lenses and supplies
□ Glasses band — so they can’t float away if you capsize

Personal Hygiene
□ Personal medical supplies – prescriptions, inhaler, antibiotics, etc.
□ Pain reliever
□ Sun screen
□ Sunburn cream
□ Insect repellant
□ Lip balm – with SPF
□ Bathroom supplies – trowel, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products
□ Toothbrush & toothpaste
□ Hair brush/comb
□ Pack towel
□ Antibacterial gel (optional)
□ Moist wipes (optional)

Navigation
□ Maps
□ Map Case — waterproof, can get one that hangs off thwarts
□ Compass
□ Pedometer (optional)
□ Backup compass and maps
□ Field Guide (optional)

Optional Items
Nice to have, but each adds weight to your pack, so select sparingly.
□ Camp pillow
□ Dining fly/canopy
□ 1-2 gallon water bag/carrier
□ Candle lantern/candles
□ Book
□ Journal & pen
□ Playing cards
□ Binoculars
□ Spare batteries, battery packs, or solar charging panel
□ Fishing gear
□ Hammock
□ Spare eyewear