Canoe Country Wilderness Canoeing
by © Lee Hegstrand



Clothing should be functional, not gaudy or loud (blue seems to attract black flies and mosquitoes) and minimal. Your clothing must stand up to harsh winds, cold rain, voracious insects, and abrasive rocks - and still be comfortable in the sunshine. For a week trip no more than three changes of underwear are necessary - these items can be worn more than one day in a row (this is the wilderness, not civilization you will be in!) and perhaps washed once. Never wash clothes in lakes, you can use your extra plastic trash bags as a wilderness washing machine.*

Mid-season (July & August) wear can be weighted in favor of lightweight clothing i.e., a pair of dark colored, fast-dry type shorts and light-colored T-shirts. Early or late season trips should emphasize warmer items. Mid-season travel always should include a pair of khaki type cotton/polyester blend or nylon long pants.

Chang of clothesDo not bring blue jeans or other all cotton pants because they dry slowly. Sometimes Canoe Country July days will be no higher than the 60's, rainy and windy, with lows in the 40's so pack a dense weave, light-weight, long sleeved shirt ("chamois skin" type), a medium-weight (polar fleece) jac-shirt, long johns (optional) and a lightweight (nylon) windbreaker for warmth. Perhaps the most important reason to have a lightweight long sleeved shirt is for bug protection.

It is best if your pants or shorts have deep pockets or pockets with Velcro or snap closures to avoid losing items. Wear shorts only in very warm weather; the extra skin exposure invites insect attack, sun burn and vegetation damage on portages. Convertible pants with zip-out legs to make shorts are nice. Do not bring pajamas!!. It is recommended for youth groups especially that most clothing be duplicated, one set termed a “wet cloth” and the other a “dry cloth.” Always keep one set dry.

*Wilderness Washing Machine:
Fill double-bagged plastic 30 gallon trash bags with an appropriate amount of clothes and water, add a small amount of biodegradable soap and shake the bag to mix. Let stand about a half-hour, then agitate. Wring clothes into the bag and decant at least 150 feet in the woods. Return the clothes for a similar rinsing process.

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