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Traveler's Gear List: Paddling In The Parks


Don't leave home without it. Traveler's gear list for paddling. Kurt Repanshek photo.

Paddling trips in the national parks take more than a little planning. To help ensure you cover all the bases and leave nothing necessary at home, here's Traveler's gear list for overnight paddling trips.


* Tent(s) with ground cloth and rain fly.

* Sleeping bags and sleeping pads, with repair kit for inflatable pads.

* Rainfly or mesh room (such as Kelty's Bug Blocker) for dining area.

* Cookstove, with fuel and repair kit. Some stove manufacturers prepackage repair items in a handy waterproof bag.

* Eating utensils, plate, bowl, cup. Larger cook kit and frying pan depending on your menu.

* Biodegradable dish soap and nylon scrubbing pad.

* Lantern for camp.

* Waterproof matches or butane lighter stored in plastic bag or dry bag.

* MSR Dromedary water bag or similar.

* Solar shower.


* Canoe, kayak, or raft.

* Paddles with a spare.

* Paddle leash for kayakers.

* Paddle jacket.

* Life jackets/PFD/spray skirt.

* Whistles attached to life jackets/PFDs.

* Throw rope.

* Painter (rope attached to boat's bow for tying up or towing)

* Maps/GPS unit/compass.

* Plastic map sleeve.* Dry bags for tent, sleeping bag and pad, rainfly, clothing.

* Smaller dry bags (one per person) of personal items such as wallet, car keys, camera, cellphone).

* Bailing bucket and sponge.

* Kneepad if canoeing.


* Water bottles.

* Water filter or other purification system.

* Bear spray if you're paddling in bear country.

* Bug juice.

* Headlamps and or flashlight, with extra batteries.

* Rope for hanging food from tree or bear bar if available.

* First-Aid kit with bandages, butterly closures, compresses, gauze rolls, adhesive tape, Ace bandage, triple-antibiotic ointment, safety pins, aspirin or similar, antibiotics such as Cipro, tweezers, needle, moleskin, wilderness First-aid book. You can make this easy by purchasing a prepackaged medical kit from REI, Adventure Medical, or similiar outlet.

* Towel.

* Sunglasses.

* Hat.

* Sunscreen.

* Camera.

* Binoculars

* Paperback book, deck of cards.

* Rain gear: jackets and pants.

* Footwear: One pair for wearing while on the water, another pair of lightweight hiking shoes or something similar that's comfortable for hiking short distances and/or wearing around camp.

* Clothing: A quick-dry, short-sleeve synthetic T-shirt or two for paddling in; swimsuit or shorts for paddling in; long pair of pants (preferably quick-drying), long-sleeved shirt, maybe fleece jacket or windbreaker for off the water depending on season, long-range forecast. Socks. Undies.

* Toiletries: TP, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, Chapstick, deodorant, etc. A travel-sized packet of anti-bacterial wipes, or similar, is great to have.

* Meals, including snacks while paddling, seasonings, and possibly an extra day's meals just in case.


* Trowel for digging "cat holes" if necessary.

* Emergency shelter.

* Duct tape.

* Multipurpose tool.

* Trash bag for hauling garbage out with you.

* Duffle bag of clean clothes left in car that you can change into after ending the trip.

* Camp chairs.

* Notebook with pen/pencil.

* Boating permit picked up at visitor center or park entrance station.


Fishing rod??

Don't forget the cooler for the first night's steak dinner, and bacon and eggs the following morning!

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National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide