*Expedition Canoeing Gear List*
By Watcher

Canoes have been used for centuries to get people and supplies from one place to another all over the world.  Canoes have been used as a means for survival, as well as, for warfare.  In fact,  the idea of using a canoe for recreation is a comparably new idea.  Now days you can buy every size and shape of canoe for flat water, white water and wilderness tripping.  You can even buy sail kits and outriggers should you decide to let the wind do the work.

I am an avid canoeist who likes wilderness tripping and canoe camping.  I also like being prepared for any situation a river might provide.  Most of us like a good adventure, however, we really don't want epics.  The difference between an adventure and an epic is preparation and know how.

The canoe that I use is a 17 foot Old Town "Tripper."  It is designed for wilderness tripping which means that it must be able to carry a heavy load.  It's sort of a combination flat water/white water canoe--and I have done Class 4 rapids (at flood stage) in this canoe.

When I first obtained this canoe I made several changes that were recommended by the book, Canoeing Wild Rivers by Cliff Jacobson (excellent book), as well as a few of my own.  I drilled holes in the front and back of the canoe above the water line for tracking and lining ropes, added a "flip over" rope to the middle thwart, and lowered the seats by several inches to lower the center of gravity (I'm not a paddle on my knees person).  I also added front and rear air bags (and sometimes one or two large inner tubes in the middle) for additional floatation.  I always carry four paddles for inevitably you will loose one paddle, or if really unlucky, two paddles on some trips.  Elastic cord was attached along the gunwales and thwarts to help hold things down.  The finishing touch was attaching two drink holders to the gunwales for a cold one.

Add a cut-in-half Clorox? bottle tied to some cord, along with a sponge, and you have your bailer.  You should also have a good throw bag/rope and you should practice throwing it before you get on the river.  Now with the basics done you are ready for the long haul with the addition of a few more items.

Regarding PFDs, I add a very sharp dive knife (should I or someone else ever get tangled in a tracking & lining rope) and a very loud whistle (it's hard to yell for help over raging rapids).  In the PFD pocket I carry an Aviation Fire Starter (they work very well even when soaked), a Power Bar? (at least I have one high energy meal available should I loose the canoe and everything on it), and vehicle keys.

Another good idea is to make a spray cover.  As I write this, I haven't as of yet made one--though I intend to.  A spray cover will keep rain from getting in the canoe during bad weather.  It will also eliminates wind drag so the canoe doesn't get blown about on open water.  The details on how to make one is also in Jacobson's book.

So now to the gear list--I have compiled the following items from many years of experience on the river.  I vary this list greatly depending upon the river, the length of the trip and the amount of people in the group as a whole.  If you are paddling remote or dangerous rivers it is a good idea to have more than one canoe on the trip.  You will want to vary items on this list to suit your needs.  It also comes complete with an 18 day "big trip" food list.


GENERAL GEAR                       DITTY BAG/REPAIR KIT                    CLOTHING

Air Bags or Inner Tubes                    Duct Tape                                                  Rain Gear/Gore Tex
4 Paddles                                          Air Bag Repair Kit                                     Sweater/Jacket
Dry Gear Bags                                  Dry Bag Repair Kit                                    Pants (Long & Short)
Throw Rope                                      Leatherman? Tool                                      Shirts
Bailer & Sponge                               Small Adjustable Wrench                           Socks/Wool
2 PFDs with Rescue Knife               Spare Thwart Bolts                                    Shoes
50 ft Rope & Pulley                           Expedition Sewing Kit                                Bug Net Shirt
Ditty Bag/Repair Kit                          Nylon Cord                                                Hat
Canoe Carrier Kit                             Waterproof Note Pad & Pen                      Sun Glasses
Medical Kit                                       Waterproof Matches                                  Gloves
Spare Clothing                                   Expedition Sewing Kit                               River Sandals
River/Lake Maps
Camping/Bivy Gear
Fishing Gear & Fishing License
Survival Kit & Aviation Fire Starter
7X50 Binoculars/Night Vision Viewer
Glock and/or AR-7  Survival Rifle
25 ft Nylon Webbing
4 Carabiners
Sail Kit ?


BEDROOM                                  KITCHEN                                      BATHROOM

Tent                                               Stove & Fuel                                     Razors
Bivy Bag                                        Bowels                                              Toothbrush
Sleeping Bag                                  Spoons. Forks, Knifes                       Toothpaste
Thermarest? Pads                          Cups                                                  Dental Floss
Lantern                                          Water Bottles                                    Comb/Hair brush
Flashlight                                        Water Filter & Iodine Tabs                Small Mirror
Ground Cloth                                 Cook Kit                                           Shampoo
Tarp                                              Matches & Lighter                             Soap
Camp Chairs                                  Swiss Knife                                       Toilette Paper
Bug Repellent                                 Food                                                 Travel Suds?
                                                      Dish Soap                                         Sun Screen
                                                      Dishes                                               Skin Lotion
                                                      Cooler                                              Q Tips
                                                                                                               Lip Balm
                                                                                                               Eye Drops


WOUND CARE                                        RX                                   FX/SPRAINS

2 Lg Military Trauma Bandages                   Lomotil                              1 6 Ace Wrap
2 Sm Military Trauma Bandages                  Compazine injection           1 4 Ace Wrap
2 Individual Military Bandages                     Benadryl                            1 2 Ace wrap
Sterile 4x4s                                               Epi injection                        1 Sam Splint
4 Triangle Bandages                                   Cipro                                  1 Wire Splint
Assorted Band-Aids                                   Pen VK
Skin Closure Strips                                     Polysporin Ointment           MISCELLANEOUS
Minor Surgical Kit                                      Polysporin Eye Drops
Skin Stapler                                               Pyridium                             Cavit Dental Filling
Betadine Solution                                       Ear Drops                           Rescue Blanket
25 or 50 ml syringe                                    Ibuprofen                            Fine Point Tweezers
NS (irrigation)                                            MS IV                                Hypo.Thermometer
Tape                                                          Demerol IV                         Snake Bite Kit
                                                                                                            Pen & Note Pad
                                                                                                            Lg. Safety Pins
                                                                                                            EMT Shears
* Contents vary greatly depending upon location and length of trip.



4 lbs bulk oatmeal                  4 12 oz packets of dehydrated tropical fruit
2 lbs Creme of Wheat            1 lb dried bananas
2 lbs Malt O Meal                1/2 lb dried blueberries
2 lbs Creme of Rice               1 lb mixed dry cereal (granola, Grapenuts, Raisin Bran,       Cheerios)


58 Cliff Bars (Apricot, Chocolate, Chocolate Expresso)
24 Power Bars (Banana)
24 BTU Stoker bars (Orange Cranberry, Real Apple Oat)
30 X-TRNR bars (Apple Pie, Honey Nut, Choc-toffee)
2 Forza bars
24 Meal Packs

Quick cooking staples                                    Dehydrated vegetables, beans, nuts

56 oz Minute Long-Grain Premium Rice            1 lb corn, dehydrated
56 oz mashed potato flakes                               2 lbs frozen peas, dehydrated
28 oz cracked (bulgur) wheat                            2 lbs frozen mixed vegetables, dehydrated
2 lbs bulk couscous                                           3 1 oz packets dehydrated tomatoes
4 lbs small-shaped pasta                                    1 lb dehydrated cooked red beans
(tiny shells or macaroni)                                     1 lb dehydrated cooked black beans
                                                                         2 lbs pine nuts
                                                                         1/2 lb cashews

Dry mixes---sauce, gravy, soup

6 1 oz packets Mrs. Grass Onion Soup Mix
6 1.5 oz packets Mrs. Grass Homestyle Vegetable Soup
6 1.7 oz packets Durkee Brown Gravy
4 1.8 oz packets Lawrys Brown Gravy
5 2 oz packets Lawrys Turkey Gravy
5 1 oz packets Konriko Quick-Cook Pasta & Bean Soup
3 4.8 oz packets Silverado Fiesta Chile Dip
3 1.25 oz packets Rice-A-Roni fast Cook Spanish Rice
3 5 oz packets Papa Pepes Salsa Mix
2 2 oz packets Uncle Bens Creme of mushroom soup mix
6 4.2 oz packets Uncle Bens bean & lentil soup
6 4.2 oz packets Mayacamas Melange and Curry sauce mix


14 Kudos bars, desert
7 Brownies, desert
1 lb brown sugar, cinnamon, chocolate chips
1/2 lb hard candy
2 large boxes Gatorade (2 packets/day x 22 days = 44 packets)
1/4 lb homemade crackers
1 lb instant coffee
2 lbs spices:  ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, basil,
                     curry, powdered shortening, salt & pepper

Total Cost of Food:  $300-$400


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