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What to Pack

READY TO GO?….Here’s a handy list of suggested items to pack.

WHAT TO PACK…for your Boundary Waters trip

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. (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 (zip code of 55731) before beginning to pack…


  • Broadbrimmed 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


Waterproof hiking boots or shoes 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.)

Remember:  Sometimes the portages can be perfectly dry and other times, due to recent rains, they can be wet and even muddy.  But, the hike across the portage is always worth it no matter the conditions, because that beautiful, blue, clean water is waiting for you at the end of the portage!

Miscellaneous Items:

  • Handkerchief
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal toiletry articles (soap, shampoo, etc.)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 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

Note: Showers are available at River Point. Bring your own towels, soap, and shampoo.

Remember: Pack light!

What you pack you will have to carry!


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 there can be no cans or glass bottles in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area except for items in cans such as insect repellent, sunscreen, medicine.

The Wolf Den Gift Shop and Bait & Tackle shop at River Point has a number of 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, leeches and crawlers 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.

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