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What do I pack?

We provide the canvas canoe packs for you to use on your trip, and will send a detailed packing list before your trip. The weather in Minnesota can change quickly so be prepared for anything from 50 to 95 degrees, knowing that you may somewhat wet during the day. Please remember the equipment you bring does not need to be expensive. You can get good quality items from thrift shops, or borrow from family and friends. We also have a good-sized stash of clean and organized lost-and found items we can let you borrow.

Fifty years of experience have taught us that to stay safe and comfortable on a canoe trip, each person needs four different outfits, as described below:

Wet clothes that you wear while canoeing—they get wet!

  • Quick drying pants (nylon wind pants or light cotton, not stretchy yoga pants and NO jeans)
  • T-shirt
  • Long sleeve cotton or nylon shirt to protect from sun and bugs
  • 1 pair wool socks
  • Underwear
  • Rain jacket and rain pants. These are important! Stearns or the sturdier type of “Frogg Toggs” are fine. No ponchos! Rain gear that is a little bulky is better than too-tight. Bigger rain jackets can fit over life jackets and are easier to get on and off.
  • Boots: Sturdy, broken in, not waterproof. These boots will be wet all the time. The “Merrel Moab mid-hiker” was a hit in 2015, but many similar and less expensive options are available.
  • Some girls wear a swimsuit under their wet clothes, too.
  • A hat with a brim that fits you securely, to wear in the canoe.

Dry clothes that you change into in the afternoon when you arrive at your campsite. This is totally separate from your wet clothes, and it is very important that they stay dry. Bring several small (quart or gallon) ziplock bags to pack them in! You do not need one outfit per day- most participants just have one outfit for "wet clothes" and one outfit for "dry clothes", with a couple of added items for comfort (ex: one extra T-shirt, pajamas). 

  • A dry outfit (shirt and long pants- we recommend a long sleeve shirt or flannel and pants to protect from sun or bugs).
  • Underwear 
  • Cotton or wool socks
  • Tennis shoes (closed toe and closed heel)
  • Shorts (if you want- for around the campsite, or layover day!)
  • Pajamas
  • Cotton or wool socks (optional)

Cold Weather Clothes: The weather is unpredictable, and it is important to always carry extras just in case.
  • Warm wool or fleece sweater/pullover (no cotton sweatshirts)
  • Lightweight stocking cap

Miscellaneous items: 
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste (travel size is best!), comb/brush, soap and shampoo to use on base.
  • Pads, tampons, or menstrual cup. Consider bringing a small stash of these items even if you feel you may not need them- the wilderness is full of firsts! 
  • Optional: camera, journal or small book, deck of cards

Sleeping Bag. Sleeping bags should be packed in a stuff sack with a garbage bag liner (on the inside of the stuff sack). Any summer or three-season sleeping bag will do, with a rating of, for instance, 30 degrees or so. Mummy shape is the best (most efficient with keeping your heat in), though it’s not totally necessary. The less bulky, the better, since sleeping bags are packed with all of your other personal belongings. Adult participants should also feel free to bring a lightweight closed cell or Thermarest-style sleeping pad.

Do not bring Keen sandals, Crocs, aqua socks or Teva-type sandals. They are not allowed on trips, as a substitute for either your “wet boots” or your “dry shoes.” All shoes must have a closed toe and closed heel.

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NLCBAA works closely with Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines on promoting this small but mighty program.

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