BWCA Camping Equipment List

Gear used on Boundary Waters trips by author of this website

Last updated: June 1, 2023

I frequently get questions about what gear I use on BWCA trips, so this is the current list:

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Canoe Stuff

Mostly using a Wenonah Fusion right now (2020-2023), but have used a Mohawk Solo 13 in the past (no longer manufactured because the only manufacturer or Royalex went out of business). Also have a North Star ADK, but haven't used it for trips related to the work of this BWCA website yet.

North Star ADK 12' 0" Canoe (weighs just over 15 pounds). Made of kevlar/carbon. Canoe is similar to the Mohawk (shown below) in dimensions, but much lighter because of more advanced materials (carbon/kevlar composite). Not nearly as hardy as the Mohawk though. This canoe easily handles the lakes of the BWCA (using common sense of course). This canoe would be particularly good for visiting rugged areas like primitive management areas (PMA's). It's short length makes it easier to maneuver through thick brush and trees. I use the same paddle with this canoe as I do with the Mohawk Canoe below. I don't typically use a kayak (double-bladed) paddle. You sit on the bottom of this canoe so it is harder to get in and out of, especially at difficult portage landings.

Mohawk Solo 13 Canoe (weighs 36 pounds with portage strap). Use this canoe for shorter and easier trips when fewer portages are expected. This canoe has a lot of lakes, rivers and streams under its yoke. Has dents, scratches and heavily worn surfaces splattered over the entire boat, but it keeps on going.

Wenonah Fusion Canoe 13' 0" (weighs 29 pounds). This is the canoe I now use the most. It is made of kevlar. I don't use the optional rudder attachment which would be a liability in the BWCA, as it is intended for use in deep water. It is a nice combination of weight, speed and stability. You sit on a seat in this canoe, but it is lower than the Mohawk (higher than the North Star ADK). Use a single bladed bent shaft paddle to power it, but a kayak paddle (double-blade) would also work.

Paddle: Bending Branches Java or Bending Branches Java 11. About as light as you can go with a wooden paddle. These paddles have an 11 degree bend and are very reliable and strong.

Personal Flotation Device: I've been using this same PFD for 20 years. Don't even know who makes it since the tag is gone.

McKenzie and Fisher Maps for planned canoe route

Electronics (about 5 pounds total)

Two GoPro HERO9 Black Cameras and a GoPro HERO11 Black camera mounted to a hand held pole (for filming campsites and portages) or mounted to hat (for in canoe videos).
As of 2023 using an iPhone 14 Pro Max for taking most of the pictures shown on this website
Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD: Used for recharging batteries for GoPro cameras and recharging iPhone
GoPro Rechargeable Enduro Battery: Batteries for the GoPro 9 Black and GoPro 11 Black cameras (both are compatible with these batteries)
Data cables
Samsung microSD memory cards
SanDisk microSD memory cards

Containers (about 2 pounds total)

Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack - Weighs 18.6 ounces
Ziplock bags for cameras, electronics and sundry items.

Clothes (about 6 pounds total)

Levi’s Jeans (jeans are good protection from sharp branches and rocks; bad if they get wet when it is cold)
T-shirt (grubbiest t-shirt I own because it is only gonna get grubbier)
Rotten New Balance trail running shoes (these shoes have seen a lot of swamps)
Athletic socks
Baseball hat - usually with some side flaps for sun protection velcroed to the sides (GoPro cameras mount on visor)
Rain poncho (kept in JanSport backpack unless I need it)
Polyester/Fleece pullover if visiting the BWCA during the colder part of the season
Nylon pants (for when jeans get soaked and it is cold out; I don't like using these because they don't hold up well bushwhacking/portaging)

Food - Day Trip List

About 2 pounds total -- excluding weight of water
Couple sandwiches or burritos, a few candy bars, freeze dried strawberries, freeze dried blueberries, lot of mixed nuts
One bottle of Diet Pepsi
Bottled water - Enough for half day so I don't waste time filling water bottles

Food - Multi Day Trip List

I never do more than 3 day BWCA trips when gathering material for this website, because I don't have enough battery storage to go any longer) (about 5 pounds total)
Couple cold sandwiches or burritos, a few candy bars (mostly Snickers), freeze dried strawberries, freeze dried blueberries, lots of mixed nuts (I almost never cook)
Diet Pepsi (One per day because I need to get caffeine from something)
LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw

Survival/Miscellaneous Gear

About 6 pounds total
Matches (in Ziploc)
Lighter (in Ziploc)
Toilet Paper (in Ziploc; it's a real drag when this gets wet)
30+ SPF Sunscreen
Duct tape (one of humankinds greatest inventions)
Bug spray (100% deet only). Use 100% deet so you only need a very tiny, lightweight bottle
Zpack Duplex Tent (weighs about 28 ounces) - About as light as you can go for a two person tent
Enlightened Equipment Revelation Sleeping Quilt - 50 degree (weighs about 12 ounces)
Therm-a-Rest-Trail Scot Self-Inflating Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad

For a solo day trip, my total gear weight, including the Wenonah Fusion canoe and food is about 38 pounds.

For a three day trip, my total gear weight, including the Wenonah Fusion canoe and food is about 45 to 50 pounds.

PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
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