I packed the following items (# indicates item I never used):


Kayak Related

Extra Paddle

Paddle leash

Seat pad—just a $5 closed cell pad from the gardening dept at Home Depot

Bike lock and cable #

Large sponge

4 dry bags

2 nylon ropes for bow and stern



Hennessy Hammock–vastly preferable to the tent!  Only time I didn’t use it was on sandbars.

2 tarps

Sleeping pad



Wool blanket–sent it home when it got warm, replaced it with

Fleece blanket

Sheet–made from crib liner, which is soft on one side, waterproof on the other

Optimus Nova multi-fuel stove, fuel bottle–this thing concked on me and I ended up returning it to REI.  Can’t say I’d recommend…

Brasslite Alcohol Stove—as a back up, but probably could have just used it as the primary.

Pot, Skillet, Mug, Utensils

Small wood cutting board

Camp chair

Small LED lantern


Collapsible cooler #

Katadyn water filter #

2.5 gallon collapsible water jug

1 qt nalgene bottle

Lighters—kept in various dry locations

Microfiber towel #



Swim trunks

Quick drying pants w/ zip-off legs

Quick drying shirt

Polypro top

Wool longjohns

Fleece jacket

Wool cap

Rain gear #

Bike shorts—helped with chafing

Long-sleeved white cotton shirt—to block the sun

White cotton tube socks—to block the sun

Thick wool socks

Floppy hat—w/ built in mosquito net

Teva sandals—good for long walks or rough terrain

Flip flops—quick to get on and off



Ipod, headphones,

Water proof idod speakers

Stack of Books

Heavy duty trash bags, multiple sizes of ziplocks

Snake bite kit #

Various bungees, paracord, zipties

Umbrella—my only source of shade

Charts, maps, notes on towns


Lumix DMC TS1—waterproof and shockproof; great pictures, highly recommend!

VHF marine radio—it was very useful to be able to communicate with the locks and the tug boats.




Hammer/Hatchet combo #

Diving knife #

Needle and thread #


On Food:

Obviously this is a personal taste thing, but maybe it will give you some perspective.  I initially thought I’d be making coffee and oatmeal every morning, and frying up juicy steaks for dinner, but it only took a couple days for me to realize that I wanted to spend every daylight hour chipping away at the many miles before me and every hour of dark sleeping!  Fortunately, I seem to be blessed with the ability to eat the same things for days on end without complaint, so this was my typical routine.

Breakfast: Hostess Donette Gems.  High carb/calorie, available in any market, indestructible, tasty!

Snacks:  Trail mix, granola bars, sunflower seeds, bananas.

Lunch:  PB&J rolled up in a tortilla.  Nothing to refrigerate, and tortillas never get crushed.

Dinner:  Can of chili, or hearty soup, or 2 packs of ramen with canned chicken.

Bourbon:  Whenever possible.

All of these things require minimal cleanup, especially if you cook canned food in its can.  I found that between St Paul and St Louis the river towns were so plentiful that I could stop to order either lunch or dinner every day, sometimes both!  So if that’s in your budget, I highly recommend you take the chance to enjoy the many little eateries along the river.


Your comments and suggestions are appreciated!

6 Responses to GEAR

  1. David Stewart says:


    Thanks for putting all this information up, it is really helpful! I just have a quick question, did you take a kayak cart with you on this trip for portaging? It looks like your kayak weighed 69 pounds according to the link you provided. Just wondering if you think it would be a necessity to bring one. My kayak weighs under 60


    • Bronze says:

      I most certainly did! With all my food and gear I was portaging well over 100lbs. If you don’t mind emptying out your kayak and making several trips, I suppose you could get by without some wheels. But I think you would find it to be a huge pain. The portage around Blanchard Dam in particular would have taken most of the day if I’d had to do it in multiple trips.

      The wheels for the Hobie kayak are pretty uncumbersome and light, so it was no problem to take them along on my journey. Good luck!

  2. Dave Fink says:

    What did you use to recharge your iPod and other electronics?

    • Bronze says:

      I used a Solio Classic. It served me well. Not waterproof, so I kept it in a ziplock when charging on the boat, not sure how that effected its performance. iGo makes numerous adaptors for all the different devices you might have, so it’s very versatile. The Solio also plugs into A/C to charge devices off the wall, which I probably did more frequently than using the sun, since I was always stopping for a beer whenever I could! A handy device; I’m glad I had it.

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