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Equipment Lists


All the Stuff That Fits

If we seem a little overboard on the subject of lists, it is probably only because you have never been on a canoe trip and forgotten something. There's no store to go to, no one to call for help. You're toast -- unless you had a toaster on your list!

As the start of a trip nears, a recurring dream, common among paddlers, jolts us awake at night in a cold sweat. It's worse than the one where you're standing at the bus stop and suddenly realize you have no pants and you've gone commando. It is about those dreaded forgotten items.

The good rule for trip packing is take everything you need -- and nothing you don't. Each item you take you must justify... Do you really need that anvil?... Can you make do without the Ninja Stars or the toothbrush on a 35-day trip? And it is good advice since you have to hump that stuff around for up to weeks on end. We have also left a well-defined trail of lost items (tooth brushes, ropes, pfds, rain pants pipes, and hats, among dozens of others) on the barrens, too... but that's another story.

It is better to have too much food than too little. We have found ourselves sharing oatmeal and popcorn for the last few days of a couple of trips. But keep your food list within reason. In '85 so much extra food was brought in by two additional paddlers (Dr. Bill King and Peter Brewster) for the last 30 days of our trip, that we looked like the Okies in Grapes of Wrath -- we had stuff piled in boxes on top of our canoe packs. We managed, however, to offload some of it three days later on two German kayakers while we were at Hornby's cabin on the Thelon. It seemed that despite our bounty we were desperately short of salt (check that list!). The Germans had lots -- I think they were drying fish for the winter -- so we managed to trade a couple of large (and heavy) bags of oatmeal, 16 packs of fruit crystals and two large bottles of honey for a large bag of salt. After making such a seemingly one-sided score, they then offered to trade some magic "peans and beas" for our watches. (We had to hide Brewster's watch to prevent him from making the deal.)

Of course, it's great to have all the lists you want-but you have to read them (remember salt). You must force yourself not to skip over the items you're "sure" you have. A forgotten jar of peanut butter is no big deal but on a trip like ours a forgotten cord or battery could be a huge problem.

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