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What to Bring to The Boundary Waters

October 01, 2014

After recently taking my first trip to the boundary waters I want to share with you some recommendations in terms of gear.  I went with a 40 year old and two ten year olds.  We only made two portages, but I got a good handle on the gear that you should consider.

  1. Rain Gear - is absolutely critical.  In our experience it was crystal clear all day and then towards the evening storms would roll in out of nowhere.  Rain gear was a huge must for us.  I really like the columbia products.
  2. Fishing Tackle - I made a mistake and ended up bringing nice gear with me like a revo reel and higher end shimano rod.  20/20 hindsight I would recommend bringing tackle that can get dunked, dinged up, and scraped against rocks.  We saw the most success lindy rigging with a leech.  Slip bobbers also worked well too.
  3. Helo Shorts - the only pair of underwear you'll need for the whole trip! Buy them at www.heloclothes.com.
  4. Bug Spray - We had a miscommunication during our packing and no one ended up bringing spray.  I've heard from some people that bug spray doesn't really help, and heard from others that straight feet will work.  I did have the battery operated OFF fan, but it was useless and mosquitos would actually land right on the device.  I'd also like to try out a thermacell at some point.
  5. Water Shoes - during the portages your feet WILL get wet.  Unfortunately I had hiking shoes that did not dry out fast and as a result spent 3 of the 4 days with wet feet.  Highly recommend a quick drying shoe or sandal.  The portages are rocky and truly are the equivalent to a hiking trail so you won't want to be barefoot.
  6. Sunscreen - the sun was blaring, one of the ten year olds is a fair skinned red haired type and even with slathering on the lotion like there was no tomorrow he still ended up getting burned.
  7. Sunglasses - a must for cutting glare while on the water, definitely recommend polarized.  I like Costa or Native
  8. Canoe Seat - I upgraded for an extra $3 a day to have a cushion that also had a backrest on it.  This was the best money I've ever spent.  Spending hours for multiple days on an aluminum perch is painful on the rear.
  9. Standard Camping Gear - needless to say you'll need sleeping bags, mats, tents, fire supplies, first aid kit, head lamp, flash light etc.


Boundary Waters Canoeing


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