Equipment We Provide for Canoeing and Camping in the BWCA
Preparedness is everything for a successful and enjoyable trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Over our 80 years of being a BWCA outfitter we have carefully selected equipment that is practical, as light weight as is reasonable, easy to use, and our foods are as tasty as we can find. We do not pick the fanciest equipment with all the show-and-tell buckles and straps, but rather the good usable items you need for a first class trip.
You can select from two types of canoes—Kevlar and Royalex, including solo models. Kevlar are the lightest and we offer Wenonah, Souris River and Mad River canoes in a variety of models. The Royalex are tougher for day to day use, but they weigh a few pounds more. All come with comfortable portaging yokes (or at least as comfortable as they get). You personally select your paddle so it is sized correctly and is the style you prefer.
Our Duluth style packs are color coded to make it easier for you to know where your gear is. Personal packs are Duluth #3 style with quick release clasps (we also have some #4 larger packs if you need them), your equipment is in similar packs but with a different color, and your food is in a very special design that includes foam insulation on all sides, bottom and top. One thing we do is give each person their own personal pack for your trip convenience.
We use commercial grade tents, which means a double sewn waterproof floor, no-see-um netting for the screens and a rainfly. Three sizes are available with capacities from 2 to 6 people. Lightweight tarps are part of our outfitting equipment to use as a ground cloth and dining fly. We use sierra design cups as a multipurpose piece of equipment—from eating your oatmeal, to drinking your beverage, to eating your dessert—a very practical way to reduce the number of items you carry and wash at every meal. We also provide extra tall sleeping bags with our complete outfitting packages.
The equipment we use has been selected for quality, durability and light weight features. In some instances one value is more important than another, and we select what we hope will work best for all of us.
Eureka tents are made in a commercial model with the extra heavy duty floor material that is wrapped up on the sides. We always upsize them when figuring how many tents you need and what size they should be. In other words, if Eureka says it is a 5 person tent, we put 4 people in it, partially because everyone has a personal pack in the tent also.
We offer both Royalex and Kevlar canoes. The Royalex are made by Wenonah. They weigh about 68# and are reasonably tough and durable. The Kevlar are Souris River, and Wenonah- 16', 17' and 18' lengths. They weigh about 45# and paddle very fast, but they also need quite a bit of TLC, as they do not fare well on the rocks at the portages or in rapids. All of these canoes are nice and quiet in the water in contrast to aluminum.
Our PFD vests are type 2 with two buckles (three on extra large). These are paddling style vests that are open under your arm so they are comfortable to wear when paddling. They fold up nicely at night to use as a pillow.
Paddles are made by Carlisle and come in a variety of lengths. Our cook kits are simple, but have pots in all sizes and you are welcome to whatever you like. Griddles are the normal cast aluminum for light weight. You are expected to return with clean pots and pans. Our first aid kits come with band aids, gauze, tape, ace bandage, aspirin, antiseptic wipe, tweezers and burn cream.
Our packs are custom made Duluth style packs, or Granite Gear packs. With complete outfitting everyone gets a #3 personal pack for their own gear, sleeping bag and pad. The packs are all made of Cordura nylon and do not have any leather parts. Quick release buckles are used throughout. A Velcro pocket is sewn into the top of each pack for convenient access to small items during the day - lotion, maps, a snack, etc. Our food packs have special pockets build in to them to hold foam sheets to protect the foods, and to keep everything cooler. The frozen food we send out with you lasts an extra day in this style pack. The food packs have a hanging ring built in to them.
Sleeping bags are long rectangular ones with a full zipper down one side and across the bottom end. Your sleeping pads are thermo rest brand and are 3/4 length - the longer of their two models. We also have X-Large sleeping bags available for anyone needing something bigger.
Gas stoves are provided to all parties on complete outfitting, so you can get started faster in the morning, and have your bases covered if you have rainy days. We use one and two burner propane stoves, so you do not have open containers of white gas to be concerned about from a safety perspective.
These are our main items of equipment, but we have lots of other gear on hand. Just ask us if you have other needs.