What to Pack for Your Next Canoe Trip


River Point Resort and Outfitting Co

By River Point Outfitting Co.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, is a 1,090,000-acre wilderness area within the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. Beautiful, wild and huge, it’s a perfect choice for any canoe trip! Although this list is tailored to this area, it can easily be applied to many more fun canoe trips!


It is most important to be prepared for any type of weather condition since you will be living in a wilderness setting and your happiness and comfort depends on your level of preparation for your wilderness adventure. The key is to stay dry and warm, and you probably have most of the personal items you will need right at home.

Bring two complete changes of clothing, in addition to the clothing worn on the trip to and from nearby Ely, Minnesota. Wear one set on the canoe trip and pack the second set in a packsack, which is provided with a completely outfitted trip. Typically, 2-3 persons’ stuff sacks will fit into one packsack. You may purchase stuff sacks at our lake-base outfitting station. (A heavy duty plastic trash bag can serve as a stuff sack.) However, keep it light…what you bring, you have to carry.

LIST OF PERSONAL ITEMS…Always check the projected weather for Ely, Minnesota (zipe code of 55731) before beginning to pack…


  • Broadbrim hat

  • 1-2 pair pants (zip-off type of pants work well; jeans are not the best because they do not dry well when wet

  • 2 long-sleeve shirts (cotton in summer, wool in spring & fall)

  • 2 sets underwear

  • 2 pair heavy boot socks (spring & fall)

  • 2 pair light socks

  • Heavy wool sweater or heavy flannel/chamois shirt

  • Nylon wind jacket or fleece jacket

  • Raingear, including hat (completely waterproof!)

  • Swimsuit, if desired


Footwear: Waterproof hiking boots or shoes – like the Rassler from Astral – with ankle support; sturdy sandals with straps, moccasins or tennis shoes. Sturdy sandals work well in the canoe when your feet may get wet, and when in camp. (Suggestion: Bring two types of footwear.)



Miscellaneous Items:

  • Handkerchief
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal toilet articles
  • Wash cloth and towel
  • Sunscreen and burn lotion
  • Compass
  • Matches and waterproof case
  • Bic-type lighter
  • Knife (Swiss Army type or multi-tool work well.)
  • Small sharpening stone
  • Small flashlight and spare batteries
  • Headlight
  • First Aid kit (medication)
  • Insect Repellant…good idea to bring more than one repellant, as what works on one person may not work as well on another. Recommend having Deet in one of the repellants.
  • After Bite or calamine lotion
  • Pillow
  • Plastic water bottle
  • Rod and reel and tackle, if you will fish
  • Your Crazy Creek of course!!!


Optional items for your Boundary Waters Minnesota canoe trip:

  • Shorts and swim suit from Memorial Day to Labor Day

  • Long underwear or sweat suit

  • Insulated vest or wool jacket

  • Wool hat and gloves before Memorial Day or after Labor Day

  • Rubber boots

  • Paddling gloves

  • Camera and film

  • Rainy day items (cards, book)

  • Journal and pencil or pen

  • Fishing gear

  • Fillet knife

  • Pliers

Remember that other than toiletry items and medicine, there can be no cans or glass bottles in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

The well stocked Wolf Den Gift Shop and Bait & Tackle shop at River Point have most miscellaneous items for sale, including insect repellent and head nets, should something be forgotten for your Boundary Waters Minnesota canoe trip. Rain gear, sweatshirts/tees, fishing tackle and leeches are available for purchase, also.

Always check the projected weather forecast prior to packing for your trip. Weather patterns can change quickly, so be prepared to ensure a comfortable trip.

Check out River Point Outfitting Company for more!!!


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