Last update: August 06, 2009
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Clothing,I have canoed many of the rivers of Ontario to the North, ending in James and Hudson Bays and some in southern Ontario, the Yukon, and Michigan, where I lived for 30 years. I made many mistakes early on, wearing cotton,, using a down sleeping bag, etc. Have used a variety of canoes (alluminum, wood from 15 to 20 feet, and 3 made of ABS), keel and keel-less, rapids and flat water. Marked and unmarked portages. I have srong feelings tho there may be new gear you can coment about. My old pilot friend flew our group into areas or out when commercial scheduled airlines didn't go there. Alwase used a fire and reflector oven. More if you wish. David Hawtof, 1037 United St., Key West, FL 33040 Aug 5th,2009
Clothing, Grab a pair of the cheap green or yellow cotton gloves found in any "work clothes" type shop. If you'll be paddling a lot of miles and your hands aren't used to it this can save some very uncomfortable blisters, breath well in the heat, and are quite warm when the weather turns against you. May 12th, 2006
Clothing, Bring at least one, maybe a pair of leather work gloves for working around the fire. You can grab pots, rocks, or sticks without using those words your daughter shouldn't hear. Also, cotton kills. Go for wool, silk or poly-propylene. Hypothermia is no joke, and not by any stretch only a danger in the winter. May 12th, 2006
Cooking, you can thank the cook by doing the dishes. When in the wild a clean sanitary kitchen is important. Better safe than sorry. While we're still eating I'll put a pot of water on to boil. At the end of the meal I'll make everyone lick their plate clean and wipe the goo out of the pots with paper towel. When it's time for dishes, I'll pour 1/4 of the water into another pot with 2 or 3 drops of dish soap. This is your wash pot and could be one you used for cooking. Cool with cold water just enough so you can stand it with rubber gloves and add a few drops of bleach, (carried in a plastic eyedropper) to both pots. I'll use a ladle and kitchen tongs to rinse the dishes in the boiled water. March 11th, 2009
Cooking, A small rigid cutting board of the white plastic variety is so handy. I used to carry a thin flexible one, and still do sometimes, but whenever space permits I bring my 10" x 14' and smile every time I use it. May 12th, 2006
Cooking, Look for a cook kit that has bails, those little wire loop handles. You can hang a pot over the campfire on a hobo stick and keep hot water going all night for coffees, cocoas, etc. without the need for a grill. The hobo stick also easily adjusts the height so you can simmer perfectly. May 12th, 2006
First Aid, If you saturate cotton balls in Vaseline and pack them into a film canister they can make a quick salve for first-aid uses, and are a fantastic ultra-light fire starter. No space, no weight, and multiple use! May 12th, 2006
Packing, Miscellaneous Items. Rather than paper towels, bring along a standard bathroom variety wash cloth for each person. Biodegradable NON-anti-bacterial camp soap will do for all your cleaning needs from hair to dishes. They're usually very concentrated so just one small container will meet all your needs. Well OK, it tastes lousy but it works. Bring a tooth-brush - that and clean water will do the job. Toothpaste despoils the environment, and even more compelling, the bears think it's wonderful. May 12th, 2006
Packing, When loading your canoe put the heavier items to the bottom, tie it in, and try to keep everything below the gunnels. If all your gear is in water-tight containers it will provide floatation and displace any water you might have taken in from a bit of white. If there's spare room in the boat blow up all gear bags you can like big balloons. Better floatation, and no additional weight. May 12th, 2006
Packing, Toss that old bulky flash-light. A small headlamp of any brand that turns your crank, a candle lamp similar to the UCO type, and one of the little Maglite Solitaires. These things are incredible! 25 grams or so includes the AAA battery and a spare bulb that you probably will never need! Between them they take almost no space, can be in three different places at once, and provide you with two back-ups. May 12th, 2006
Packing, Go Light! For sure a canoe can carry so much more than if you were back-packing, but avoid the temptation to over-pack. Make a list, check it 6 or 8 times, (twice only works for Nick!), and if at all possible try a one-nighter with all your gear before heading out for an extended trip. We all tend to get carried away and fill all voids. Remember, you have to push it through the water all day, and haul it to and from your camp each night. That can make a lot of extra work. May 12th, 2006
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