Gear requirements for canoe country are unique. There are two items which require special mention to assure your safety and comfort on the 2012 Canoe Voyage. Scheduled for August 22 to September 1, you will paddle from the Nothern Tier’s Donald Rogert Base at Atikokan, Ontario to the Northern Tier’s granddaddy base, the Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base near Ely, MN. You will receive the participant’s awards from both bases and possibly complete your Triple Crown requirements as well.
Wet boots are boots that let the water which flows into your boots, flow out of your boots. You will need wet boots because your feet will be wet. You will get out of your canoe in knee deep water and you will get into your canoe in knee deep water. In addition, some of the portages will be covered with pools of knee deep water and mud called “moose muck”. “Dry-footing” in canoe country is not an option.
Water sandals do not work and are not permitted by the Northern Tier. The most common injury in canoe country is foot and ankle injuries caused by sharp, slippery rocks. You will encounter lots of sharp, slippery rocks while getting into and out of your canoe, and on the portage trails as well. Water sandals do not offer the necessary protection.
The most recommended type of wet boots is American-made jungle boots—the imported jungle boots are poorly made and will not hold up. American-made jungle boots can be purchased at surplus stores or may be purchased directly from the Northern Tier.
Wet boots can also be made by taking an expendable, but still serviceable, pair of hiking boots and installing grommets – or simply poking a lot of holes — along the in-step and out-step and around the toes.
Waterproof Compression Bags
Waterproof compression bags are highly recommended. These bags allow you to compact your personal gear and sleeping bag very tightly. This is important because you will be sharing a Duluth pack with 2 other Voyageurs, and
if everyone is using compression bags, getting the personal gear into the Duluth packs will be easy.
Waterproof compression bags also offer the assurance that, in the event of a canoe swamping – and it does happen — your personal gear will remain completely dry.