Suggested Paddling Equipment

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(Items required by law are in blue bold.)

Note: Equipment listed below is not necessarily needed for all trips. Check with the trip leader ahead of time.

Before paddling, secure all equipment to the boat in case of a tip over.

  • Canoe or kayak of good design.
  • Roof rack to haul your boat to the "put in" or away from the "take out."
    When choosing the width of the rack, the ability to carry an extra boat is a plus, as it can help reduce the number of shuttles required. For safety, don't make it wider than the distance between your outside rear view mirrors.
  • For kayaks, a spray skirt.
  • For canoes, a knee pad.
  • Personal flotation device (PFD ) for each person in the boat. PFDs should be worn.
    Required by state law, all boaters on the water between November 1 and May 1 are required to wear a securely fastened, U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) when underway in a boat which is under 21 feet in length. (Violators could face a fine of $100 to $250.)
  • Whistle. (required by law). Don't wear it around your neck; it is a choke hazard!
    • Whistle signals to know:
      • 1 blast - attention
      • 2 blasts - stop
      • 3 blasts - someone needs help
  • Head Lamp, if paddling at night. (required by law)
  • Paddles. At least 2 if solo;3 if tandem.
    • Paddle signals to know:
      • Go river right - paddle of leader points to the right
      • Go river left - paddle of leader points to the left
      • Go river center - paddle of leader points straight up
      • Stop - paddle of leader held over head with both hands
  • Painter lines. 15 - 20 foot lengths of rope (3/8 inch diameter minimum) tied at each end of your boat.
    • Allows another paddler to recover your boat if you fall out of it.
    • Used to pull boats up or down over beaver dams.
    • Provides a way to secure your boat at stops during the trip.
  • Proper seasonal clothing:
    • Cotton is bad! Wool is good; polypropylene or polyester is better.
    • Dry suit, wetsuit ,or Hydroskin for spring and fall paddling. Reduces risk of hypothermia.
    • NOTE: When air temp + water temp is less than 100 degree wearing a wet suit is recommended.
  • Complete change of clothing. You can never have too many dry clothes!
  • Towel.
  • Dry bag to hold complete change of clothing, towel, and anything else that shouldn't get wet, like cell phones, cameras, car keys, lunch, etc.
  • Gloves for cold weather. Reduces risk of hypothermia.
  • Gloves for summer use. Protects hands over long paddles.
  • Wading footwear. Protects toes, reduces risk of slipping on rocks and injuries.
  • Rainwear. No ponchos. Ponchos pose risk of entanglement.
  • Wind suit. Reduces hypothermia hazard.
  • Personalized first aid kit.
  • Insect repellant and head net.
  • Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Reduces risk of hyperthermia, sunburn, and eye fatique.
  • Sponge & bailer. A plastic jug with the bottom cut out works fine.
  • Plenty of drinking water. 1 quart is good; 2 is better if it is hot. Reduces dehydration hazard and risk of hyperthermia.
  • Lunch and/or snacks. Chocolate, “gorp”, and/or trail mix are good. Keeps energy level high.
  • A pack to carry gear in, if there is a carry during the trip.
  • Dolly or yoke to carry boat, if there is a carry during the trip.
  • Waterway map, guide, compass and/or GPS.
  • Emergency contact information.

Wash your boat, paddles, and footwear after each trip to help stop the spread of invasive water plant species.


Suggested Paddling Equipment [Microsoft Word]

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