BWCA Gear List

PMA Gear used on trips for this website

Gear I use on trips for gathering data for this website. This gear list is mostly aimed at visiting Primitive Management Areas but is plenty good for trips to anywhere else in the BWCA too.

Canoe Stuff

I use either a Mohawk Solo 13, a North Star ADK or a Wenonah Fusion canoe for BWCA trips.

North Star ADK 12' 0" Canoe (weighs just over 15 pounds). Made of kevlar/carbon. Canoe is similar to the Mohawk (shown below) in dimensions, but much lighter because of more advanced materials (carbon/kevlar composite). Not nearly as hardy as the Mohawk though. This canoe easily handles the lakes of the BWCA (using common sense of course). This canoe is particularly good for visiting rugged areas like primitive management areas (PMA's). I use the same paddle with this canoe as I do with the Mohawk Canoe below. I don't typically use a kayak (double-bladed) paddle. You sit on the bottom of this canoe so it is harder to get in and out of, especially at difficult portage landings.

Mohawk Solo 13 Canoe (weighs 36 pounds with portage strap). Use this canoe for shorter and easier trips when fewer portages are expected. This canoe has a lot of lakes, rivers and streams under its yoke. Has dents, scratches and heavily worn surfaces splattered over the entire boat, but it keeps on going.

Wenonah Fusion Canoe 13' 0" (weighs 29 pounds). This is the canoe I now use the most. It is made of kevlar. I don't use the optional rudder attachment. It is a nice combination of weight, speed and stability. You sit on a seat in this canoe, but it is lower than the Mohawk (higher than the North Star ADK).

Paddle: Bending Branches Java or Bending Branches Java 11. About as light as you can go with a wooden paddle, have 11 degree bend and are very reliable and strong.

Personal Flotation Device
McKenzie and Fisher Maps for planned canoe route


Electronics (about 3 pounds total)
GoPro Hero 5, 6 and 7 cameras mounted to Feiyu G6 Electronic Gimbals
iPhone 6 Plus (backup pictures and videos in case I lose, destroy or sink other cameras)
GPS: iPhone XS Max with Gaia GPS app. You don't need a cellular signal to use this.
Anker Astro E5 15000mAh Dual USB Port Charger (can recharge an iPhone 6 Plus about five times)
Anker 2nd Generation Astro E7 25600mAh Multi-USB Port Charger (can recharge an iPhone 6 Plus about 8 times)
Batteries, cables and microSD chips (about 2000 GB of storage space) for all devices (fully charged and cleared before each trip)
Deeper Fish Finder with the iPhone app. This device has no wires and sends the sonar images to the iPhone via Bluetooth


Containers (about 2 pounds total)
JanSport Backpack (basic kind used by kids to carry books)
Two 8 inch by 16 inch by 8 inch, lockable, plastic, clear container to hold all electronics (they fit inside JanSport backpack)
Small, hard clear plastic lockable container that fits inside the above container (this holds batteries and microSD chips)
Collapsible cooler with frozen cooling bricks to keep my grub edible (stores garbage when empty)—Fits in JanSport Backpack too


Clothes (about 6 pounds total)
Levi’s Jeans (jeans are good protection from sharp branches and rocks; bad if they get wet when it is cold though)
T-shirt (grubbiest t-shirt I own because it is only gonna get grubbier)
Rotten New Balance running shoes (these shoes have seen a lot of swamps)
Athletic socks
Baseball hat (has bolt mounted in visor in order to attach GoPro camera sometimes; gets some strange looks too)
Rain poncho (kept in JanSport backpack unless I need it)
Polyester/Fleece pullover if it is colder part of the season
Nylon pants (for when jeans get soaked and it is cold out; I don't like using these because they don't hold up well bushwhacking)


Food (day trip only) (about 8 pounds total -- mostly the Diet Pepsi weight)
Couple sandwiches, candy bars, grapes, apple, cheese and crackers (nothing that needs cooking)
Diet Pepsi (enough for whole day - 6 bottles; I like my Diet Pepsi)


Food (multi-day – never more than 4 day trip) (about 15 pounds total -- half of this is Diet Pepsi)
Couple sandwiches, candy bars, grapes, apple, cheese and crackers (nothing that needs cooking; enough for each day)
Diet Pepsi (2 per day because of carrying weight issues)
Sawyer Mini or LifeStraw (attach to empty Diet Pepsi bottle or drink straight from lake; one of the best camping devices you will ever own)


Survival/Miscellaneous Gear (about 10 pounds total)
Matches (in Ziploc)
Lighter (in Ziploc)
Toilet Paper (in Ziploc; real drag when this gets wet)
Wrapped up Reflective Thermal Blanket
Sunscreen
Leatherman
Fishing gear (about 8 lures in tiny box)
Fishing pole (duct taped into canoe)
Duct tape (one of humankinds greatest invention)
Bug spray (100% deet only). Use 100% deet so you only need a very tiny, light bottle
$25 Target 2 person tent (weighs 4 pounds) – only on multi-day trips
$8 fleece blanket (very warm and light and dries easy – only on multi-day trips. You don't need a sleeping bag in the summer)
Bubble wrap (for sleeping pad; get the heavy duty kind so you don't burst your bubbles)


For a solo day trip, my total gear weight, including the Wenonah Fusion canoe is about 52 pounds.

For a four day trip, my total gear weight, including the Wenonah Fusion canoe is about 74 to 79 pounds.


 
PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
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