Isle Royale 2002

Across the Inland Lakes

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Common Gear, 5 persons, 6 days

1 Old Town Camper—16’, ABS, 60 lbs.

1 Wenonah MN III—20’, Kevlar, 52 lbs., seats for 3. Worked well for 3 200+ lb men.

5 Paddles, 5 Lifevests

100’ ¼" polypropylene rope.  As safety rope on the water and hanging food. Polypropylene floats, unlike most other rope.

2 #4 Duluth packs with 6 mil poly liners.

1 square bottomed food pack, with cardboard box and poly liner.

1 SeaLine Boundary Pack.

1 internal frame backpack (Lowes).

2 fanny packs, 1 dry bag, and 1 day pack. For carrying outer wear, cameras, etc. on the water. Too many, but we each wanted our own.

4-person Timberline style tent (Diamond Brand, no longer made). 12 lbs with everything including ground cloth. Slept 3 comfortably with 1 pack.

4-person Eureka dome. A little lighter and a little smaller. Slept 2 with 4 packs.

Noahs Tarp 12 by Kelty. Light and easy to set up between 2 trees or with poles. Rain cover at tent sites or to hang up on the front of a shelter, particularly those on Lake Superior when the wind’s blowing in.

2 Tarp Poles, 1 would probably do.

Nylon cord (100’).  For tarp, guys, etc.

Stove, single burner Coleman Exponent.  White gas, attached tank.

Stove, an old MSR.  Didn’t use it much after the first day, since it was very inefficient and noisy.

Windscreen for stove

Fuel Bottles and Fuel.  We brought about 50 oz and used most of it. The old MSR stove seemed to drink the stuff. We heated filtered water at the end of the trip to conserve fuel.

Waterproof Matches.  Regular stick matches dipped in paraffin.

Lighter.  Handy for melting cut rope ends, etc.

2 cooking pots, coffee pot, small fry pan/cover.

12" square, non-stick griddle.  Great for frying fish and steaks. Heavy though.


Plastic "wooden spoon". We didn’t bring one, and wished we had when stirring stuff into boiling water with a short spoon.

Small Wire Wisk

Fillet knife

1 plate, cup, and bowl per person. Plastic from Walmart. Lexan silverware.

1 Dish Rag, 1 Dish Towel, 1 Pot Scrubber

Camp Soap

1 roll Paper Towels.  Use to wipe out dishes.

2 Water purifiers.  Sweet Water Guardian with silt stopper. The silt stopper works great. We had 2 for 5 people and used both as we pumped 4-5 gallons a day.

1 gal Collapsible Water Bucket.  Intended to use for mixing powdered drinks, but we usually just did it in a couple of 2 liter Nalgene bottles.

Collapsible Water Bowl.  For washing dishes, hands, face, etc.

2 ½ gal Collapsible water jug.  Mostly to fill when on Lake Superior. Also handy for pumping lots of water at a time.

2 Platypus bags.  Easy to pump into and carry on the portages. Came with my water filter.

Garbage bags.  Pack clothing and personal stuff in them to help keep the packs organized. Extra layer of water protection.

Zip locks.  Pack all food in them, and have 1 large bag per meal.

Toilet paper.  Used 2 small rolls in 4 days. Toilets at the lakeside campgrounds get stocked, but inland campgrounds do not.

Leatherman tool

First aid kit

Duck tape

"Isle Royale – Foot Trails and Water Routes", by Jim DuFresne

"Wilderness First Aid – A Pocket Guide", by Paul G. Gill Jr., MD

2 Maps.  1 per canoe.

2 Compasses.  1 per canoe.

Small dry bags for cameras, binoculars, etc.

Fanny pack with 2 water bottles.  Keep stuff I need handy in the canoe and carry water on portages.

Mini Mag Light

Swiss Army Knife, "Camper" model, with saw, but not a lot of extra stuff.



Deck of cards

Cribbage board


Clothing and Personal Gear (including what you wear)

Long johns, top and bottoms.  Silk – light and comfy. I wear mine on the boat. Also good to sleep in on a cold night.

2 T-shirts.  Poly something.

2 Long-sleeve shirts.  Nylon.  Light and dries quickly.

2 Pants.  Nylon convertible with zip-off legs. I consider the extra pair essential in the event of a dunking.

Fleece pullover, warm layer.

Rain Jacket and Pants.  Red Ledge. Breathable, economical, and packable.

Swimming suit.  Can double as shorts.

Underwear.  1 pair every other day.

Hiking Boots.  I used a pair of lighter Vasque, meant more for day hiking than backpacking, but they have enough support for portaging and are more comfortable in the canoe. I put 2 coats of NikWax Fabric & Leather waterproofing on them and stayed dry, even when stepping in the lake.

Socks.  I swear by Ultimax by Wigwam

Sandals/Camp shoes.  I wear sandals almost exclusively around camp.

Hat, wide brimmed.

Polarized Sunglasses.  With strap.

Sleeping bag.  Older Northface Cats Meow. 20 degree synthetic. It’s lost a little loft and warmth over the years, but still good to 40 or so.

Sleeping pad.  ThermaRest CampRest. 4 lbs, but comfy.

Camp pillow.  Gotta have it!

Wash Cloth and Camp Towel

Tooth Brush/toothpaste

Lots of Ibuprofen

Suntan Lotion

Bug Repellent.  The 20% DEET didn't do the trick. The 100% DEET did.

Headnet.  Have never used mine, but it’s good insurance.

Notebook and pen