Suggested clothing and personal items for your BWCA canoe trip

Some items may be available for purchase in our small but well-appointed outfitting shop.


Note: Cotton fabric does not insulate when wet and can be very difficult to dry on trail.

Reliably waterproof rain jacket and rain pants. Ponchos are discouraged.
1 or 2 light weight long-sleeved shirts (at least one made of nylon or poly)
1 warm non-cotton long-sleeved top (fleece, poly, or wool).
1 or 2 t-shirts (at least one non cotton)
2 pairs of non-cotton (nylon or quick dry) pants. Jeans are discouraged.
1 pair of shorts
2 pairs of quality wool socks for traveling. Wool keeps your feet warmer and more comfortable than cotton. For trips longer than three days, add extra pairs of wool socks.
1 pair of cotton or wool socks for camp
1 pair of non-cotton long underwear tops and bottoms
Extra underwear


Wet shoes. These will be wet while canoeing and portaging. Old sneakers generally work well. Hiking boots with good ankle support for portaging work well, but keep in mind that they will get totally submerged. Flip flops, crocs, or open-toed sandals are discouraged. During cool conditions, some people prefer to wear knee-high rubber boots with an aggressive tread to keep their feet dry.
Dry shoes. These are your lightweight camp shoes. Tennis shoes, heavy duty closed-toe sandals, boat shoes, or moccasins work well.


Hat with wide brim for sun protection
Non-cotton knit or fleece warm hat


Sunscreen and lip balm, both with SPF protection
Sunglasses and lanyard
Lanyard for your prescription eyeglasses
Insect repellent. DEET is an effective insect repellent for use on skin and clothing. 25% to 35% DEET is the recommended concentration. Higher concentrations damage equipment and are not significantly more effective. Treating clothing (not skin) with permethrin is also an effective insect repellent.
Toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, and dental floss
Small bottle of hand sanitizer
Personal hygiene products
Prescription medication
Small hand towel or washcloth
Waterproof camera, or a non-waterproof camera with water protection
Lightweight reading material, paper, and pencil


Small flashlight or headlamp with good batteries
Pocketknife or multitool
Fishing rods, tackle, fillet knife, and license. Click here for our suggested fishing tackle list.
First-aid kit


Canoe Trip Gear List

Our Complete Outfitting Package includes all of this.

Ultralight canoes (with portage pads)
Life vests
Detailed waterproof navigation maps
Navigation compass
Lightweight backcountry tent
Waterproof rain tarp (ie, dining canopy), with attached rope
BWCA-approved food (no cans or glass bottles)
Food pack
Specialized portage packs for gear, clothing, and personal items
Sleeping bags
Self-inflating sleeping pads
Therm-A-Rest trail pillow
Cook kit with pots, fry pan, plates, bowls, cups
Coffee press, or coffee pot
Utensils, including forks, spoons, knives, serving spoon, spatula and ladle
Cook grate and trowel (Quetico only; BWCA campsites have fire grates and latrines)
Water treatment or water filter
At least one water bottle per person
Camp stove and fuel
Crazy Creek camp chairs
Toilet paper
Hand sanitizer
Folding bucket (for doing dishes and dousing the campfire)
Dish cleaning kit including biodegradable soap, sponge, abrasive cleaning pad (SOS pad), and non-scratch pot scraper
50′ of utility cord (handy for a clothes line, extra guyline, securing a canoe, etc.)
Matches and lighter
Bear rope system for hanging food out of reach of bears
Trail saw
Compact trail hammock
Slap straps for safe, simple, and tree-friendly hanging of hammocks
Small roll of duct tape