Trip Planning


Friends of the Boundary Waters has put together an outfitting guide filled with tips and tricks for the art of packing for a canoe adventure. We've added a few comments including some of our recommendations and gear brands that you can now find at Frost River- you'll find our two cents highlighted in red.

Learn more about Friends of the Boundary Waters, here.

Personal Gear

  • Life Vest/PFD
  • Sleeping Bag (Find Enlightened Equipment Sleeping Bags at Frost River)
  • Medication
  • Pocket Knife (Find Pocket Monkey Utility tools at Frost River)
  • Two Paddles (We carry hearty, handcrafted Glorud Paddles)
  • Sleeping Pad (We've got Thermarest pads available now)
  • Camp Mug
  • Hammock
  • Fishing Gear
  • Camp Chair
  • Whistle (Grab a Wooden Whistle at Frost River before you leave)
  • Thwart Bag (Available for rental at Frost River)
  • Eating Utensils (Shop our Epicurean utensils and cutting boards)
  • Water Bottle (We've got you covered with a Frost River Nalgene)
  • Latern (Shop our made in USA Princeton Tec collection)
  • Trash Bag - Remember all trash needs to be packed out!

Electronics & Toiletries

  • Book (we recommend The Twenty-Ninth Day by Alex Messenger)
  • Pen/Pencil & Journal (Try out our Field Notes Notebooks)
  • Solar Charger
  • Headlamp (Lots of options from Princeton Tec at Frost River)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Camera or GoPro
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Biodegradable Soap (we carry locally made Camp Soap)
  • Emergency Spot Locator
  • Toilet Paper
  • Waterproof Protective Case (Try out our LokSaks)

The Wearables

  • (1) Raincoat
  • (1) Rain Pants
  • (1) Warm Pullover
  • (1) Longsleeve Shirt
  • (1-2) Short Sleeve Shirt
  • (1) Nylon Pants
  • (1) Pack Towel (We've got Packtowl Towels available)
  • (2-3) Pairs Wool Socks
  • (1) Camp Socks
  • (1) Long Johns Top
  • (1) Long Johns Bottom
  • (2-3) Pairs Underwear
  • (1-2) Bug Nets
  • (1) Sun Hat
  • (1-2) Bandana

Footwear: You'll want to pack two different kinds

  1. Day Boots: Plan on getting these wet and maybe staying wet.  The classic canoe boot is the LL Bean boot, but any kind of unlined leather boot will work well, just be sure to load them up with mink oil.
  2. Camp Shoes: These can be shoes that will stay dry and comfortable. Many people bring tennis shoes, moccasins, sandals, etc.

The Canoe Outfit (2-3 people per canoe)

  • Portage Packs (Not ready to invest? Rent a Frost River Canoe Pack Now!)
  • Pack Liner (Mandatory for our rentals and available for purchase)
  • Rain Tarp
  • Clothes Line
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cookware
  • The Food Packs - It's bear country in the BWCA, it's important to keep your food in a separate pack. (New! We have Bear Barrels available for purchase!)
  • 100ft of Rope - used to hang food
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishwashing Set - you'll need a scouring sponged and biodegradable soap
  • Camp Stove & Fuel (Frost River is now carrying MSR!)
  • Folding Saw or Hatchet (We've got great options of both for sale)
  • Tent & Footprint - a footprint serves as a protective ground layer for your tent.
  • Matches/Lighter - bring plenty and keep them in a waterproof case
  • Map and Compass (We've got McKenzie Maps of the BWCA available)
  • H20 Purification (Now carrying Platypus & MSR options)

Thwart Bag (Essentials you'll want easy access to in the canoe)

  • Bug Spray (we carry deter brand bug spray)
  • Sunglasses
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick (we even have Frost River Lip Balm)
  • Sunscreen
  • Multitool

Tips and Tricks from Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

With over 150,000 visitors a year, the Boundary Waters is the most visited Wilderness Area in the United States. It's important that every visitor do their part to minimize their impact and help maintain the pristine nature of this unique place for future generations.

Using Biodegradable Soap Properly

Biodegradable soap is an essential part of any wilderness kit. Just as essential is using it properly so that it properly breaks down! Never directly use the soap in water. Pots, pans, and bodies should be washed and rinsed 200ft away from water.

Food Storage

The is bear country! It's vital your group has a plan on how to keep your cargo away from curious critters. Hanging food in a barrel or bag is a common method, but bears are industrious creatures. Be sure to keep a clean camp.

(Frost River is now offering Bear Barrels! Buy or rent now.)

The Wilderness Needs Friends

To stay wild, the wilderness needs people. It needs you. For over 40 years, Friends of the Boundary Waters has been dedicated to protecting, preserving, and restoring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Our vision for the future of this national treasure brings together people communities and wilderness. Click here to learn more now!