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!

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