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Packing Lists

What I pack depends on the length and/or intensity of the paddle. The style (flatwater, whitewater, surfing, or training) of paddle is also a factor. Along with the time of year and weather conditions. Being smart and safe out there is key! Plus, I am always testing and trying out new gear to slim down or improve what I bring along.

Short Day Paddles

Lightweight Long-Sleeve Shirt: Fair skin here, so I burn quickly and I run hot. These keep me cooler since my sweat has something to absorb onto instead of just evaporating. Yet, drys fast, acts as an AC unit, and is a physical barrier from the sun. I rarely paddle in a short-sleeve shirt, but if I do it tends to be later at night. All of my shirts are 100% polyester, hemp, or a blend, with little to no cotton. I love my Nike Dry Fit Pro or Patagonia base-layer, which I wear doing all the activities I partake in. Lightweight and fast drying is key!

Long Pants or Board Shorts: Just like the long-sleeve shirt, pants can do the same. Easier to have physical barrier from the sun vs putting sunscreen on. Also, helps with pesky bugs like mosquitoes. I have been digging my Outdoor Research pants made of lightweight nylon and spandex. Dry crazy fast and stretch! I also like the Coalatree Trailhead adventure pants for the same reasons. Later at night or on super hot days, you can catch me in board-shorts. I prefer pants for the sun protection. Ladies: lightweight hiking pants, yoga, or workout pants all work great. Swimsuits, shorts, and a top works too. Otherwise, whatever you feel comfortable wearing. I know some of ya love the sun. Anything made with polyester, nylon, blends, and other fast drying materials is still key.

Water Shoes/Footwear: Flip flops, bare feet, or shoes from Astral Footwear, I love my Hiyaks. Once on the board you can be barefoot. You might have to walk across asphalt, rocks, sand, and other types of rough terrain to access the water we are going to paddle. So keep that in mind. 

Sunscreen, Hat, Sunglasses, and Bug Spray: Take care of your beautiful skin and eyes. Plus, protect yourself from those persistent bugs. Please use biodegradable and eco- friendly sunscreen and bug spray from companies like Badger Balm. Their clear Zinc Sunscreen is awesome!

Rain Jacket: I always have one with me. Great for colder windy days too, since they block the wind. You can get pretty warm with one on too. I tend to only use mine in heaver rain, which it fits over my PFD. 

Towel: Travel towels that are microfiber fabric are fantastic! Typically made of polyester. I wrap my camera in one and tend to have a larger one that comes in handy all the time. Heck I used one as a blanket before. Of course, great to wipe your board down after a paddle so your vehicle does not get as wet.

Headlamp! A must on all paddles for me. There's been so many times paddling after work, I think I will be back before dark. No really ever the case, since I love to catch the sunset. So I am paddling back with limited light. Just smart to have one and helps boats see you.

Safety Gear: Whistle and knife, not needed, but I always have one on me. If paddling with other, I will have a throw rope and/or NRS straps. Just in case I have to tow someone or other situations comes up.

PFD (Life Jacket): I rock the Green Jacket from Astral Designs.

Dry Bag: Place to put your phone, keys, wallet, water bottle, snack, and any other layers you might want with you. I like to use a 20L Dry Bag for short paddles. 35L Dry Bag if I have my camera, hammock, and/or other layers with me. 

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Longer Day Paddles

Same as above plus the following:

Additional Warm Layer: Depending on the weather I tend to have a fleece, wool, or Polartec material sweater/hoodie. Keeps you warm wet and dry.

Flannel: Yup, your typical hiking flannel made of 100% polyester (or other quick drying material) is ideal. I love paddling in them and nice to have the chest pockets for snacks and GoPro. You will typically see me in one all the time, with my lightweight long sleeve shirt. Great camp shirt too!

First-Aid Kit:  Custom built for what tends to happen in the wilderness. I do always have a first responder field guide that highlights common injuries too. First aid training is highly recommended for anyone spending a lot of time the outdoor. Let others know where the kit is, in case you get hurt.

Repair Kit: For all things SUPing, Camping, and more. Has a patch kit, tenacious tape, athletic tape, ace bandages, super glue, and so on.

Water Treatment: Playtapus GravityWorks 4L system with Lifestraw and/or Aquamira as backups.

Maps: Paper and electronic of the route and area.

Hammock! Almost any longer paddle I will have a ENO hammock with me. Love to set it up on the shoreline or riverbanks for my break. 

Rain Jacket: I can not stress this enough for paddling! Even more so in the Mid-West. Rain and mixed weather can come out of nowhere. Depending on the season, I might have rain pants with me too, but not as common. Also, if/when you fall into colder water you can strip down and use your rain jacket to warm yourself back up, since your heat will not escape like it does with other materials.

Plenty of Food and Water! Nothing sucks more then when you run out of clean water or food. Cramps can set in quicker then people think. Better to error on the generous side and adjust as you get more used to your paddles.

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Destination Paddle - Multi - Day Trips

Combining short day and long day paddles plus the following:

ENO Hammock Sleeping System: Includes hammock, Bug Net (key), and rain tarp. Got to say I LOVE hammock sleeping and how weather tight it really is. Plus, when the weather is good I can rock just the hammock. If I am not using a hammock system, I do have a compact 2 person tent that sets up super fast. I will also bring along an inflatable ground pad.

Sleeping Bag and Liner:Depending on the temperatures will dictate what sleeping bag I will bring. Remember, most sleeping bags temp rating are for Survival not comfort, make sure to check. I love using a Sea to Summit Liner in my sleeping bags. Make the bag last longer and less washing, since you are in the liner not the bag itself. Plus, on hot days I sleep with just the liner on top of my bag. Use a synthetic sleeping bag if you don’t have your watertight systems down. Synthetic will keep you warm when wet, where down does not. But down compact way better. Ask if you are not sure what you have.

Stove: Jetboil and/or MSR Wisperlight (white gas stove), including fuel and extra lighter. Plus, some fire starter for bonfires/emergency fires in wet conditions or wet wood, which has almost always happens in the Mid-Wet.

Pots, Pans, and Kitchen Stuff: Frybake Pan all the way! I love this pan! Use it at home too. Sea To Summit Sigma Pot and/or X-Pot. Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dipper, but sometimes a coffee press. Camp cup for hot drinks, Delta Bowl (place to put cooked food and the lid is a great cutting board), spork, spices kit, chief knife, and anything else we need to keep cooking awesome meals.

Bear Mace and Bag: When going into bear territory.  I use my portage strap to hang my food up high, which tends to be one of my Dry Bags.

Hatchet and Saw: For cutting fire wood or any other need/reason.

Cooler: Typically, my RTIC soft cooler(30 can size). I like to bring fresh and real food along with me. Eat the same foods in the backcountry as I do in the frontcountry.

Extras: Set of fins, NRS straps (super handy for all sorts of stuff), Paracord, and sometimes I bring a pump too.

Pack: All of this goes into a single 65L or 95L Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack, but I might also rock a 35L Hydraulic bag too. Depends if I am taking my synthetic zero degree sleeping bag and/or added camera equipment. Light and fast is key!

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"Off Season" Paddle

When weather gets colder, icy water, or anytime you need extra layers to be outside. The key is to dress in layers! Allowing you to dress up or down based on weather. Should be chilly/cold before you start paddling, since you’re going to warm up. During break toss on a layer to keep your warmth contained. Everything from short and long paddle plus the following:

Gore-Tex Rain/Wind Pants: Aka my purple pants! I ski in these too. Just an outer shell I got at NOLS Alaska. With my paddle pants under.

Puffy Jacket: Synthetic or down, I like ones that are water treated. These pack super well and come in handy around the campfire early/late season.

Layering: my lightweight long-sleeve, wool base/mid-layer, flannel, and rain or ski jacket. Can always add other layers or remove when needed. Plus, wool socks and maybe long-underwear.

Knee-High Waterproof Boots! I have been loving my LaCrosse hunting boots rated for -10 degree weather. Super warm for those winter paddles.

Hands and Head: Gore-Tex Gloves with windblocking liner gloves, buff, and beanie.

Wet/Dry Suit: When you know you are going to be falling into the water, paddling whitewater, or just not comfortable paddling in clothing on icy water get a wet/dry suit. They are both great options and work differently. Wet-Suit traps a layer of water between your body and the neoprene suit, which your body warms it up keeping you warm. Great if you are in the water longer or falling in all the time. Not the best if you get wet once and stay wet the whole paddle. I like the Farmer-John style wetsuits so my arms are free to paddle, but I don't wear it a lot.  Dry-Suit is just like it sounds, a suite that keeps you dry. Has gaskets around all the openings to create a water tight seal. No water enters the suit, ideally, and you can wear warm fleece layers under it. 

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Specialty Gear: Camera Bag

Cameras: Sony A6300 and Sony Ar7lll with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar FE 4/24-70mm ZA OSS and Sony FE 70-200MM f4 G Lenses and kit lens. GoPro Hero 7 and 5 too.

Camera Bag: is a 20L Sea to Summit Big River Bag.

Camera Strap: is from Peak Design.

Power Source: Goal Zero Venture 30 portable power pack. Multiple batteries for all cameras, headlamps, and anything electronic.

Extras: memory cards, gear straps, GoPro accessories, and cables to charge.

Headlamp is typically in my camera bag due to easy access.

Ear Plugs!! You are very welcome.

Wilderness Medicine Field Guide: Awesome book and easy to read for others that might not be trained. Plus, athletic tape and super glue.

Snacks: since my camera bag is always easily accessible.

Hammock extension strap: what I double as a backpack sling/harness with the two carabiner.

GPS: inReach Garmin Satellite Communication device is a pretty awesome system. Allows you to text SOSs and much more.

Specialty Gear: Fishing Gear

I'm typically fishing for Bass (small and big mouth). But I also fish for Northern Pike, Walleye, Crappies, Sunnies (Bluegills), Perch, Lake Trout, different River Trout species, and really anything thing that bites my line.

Rod and Reel: Shakespeare Ugly Stick Elite - 7' medium 6-14 lb. line, which breaks in half for easy traveling and portaging. with Regal LT 2500D-XH Reel.

Small Tackle Sleeve: with all my rubber bait and variety of hooks. Tubes with weedless hooks work well for me for catching Bass. Plus, top water whatever. Mepps for Pike. Jigs for walleye. Small hook and bobber for Sunnies/Crappies.

Steel Leaders: 6″ to 12″ depending on the fish, with quick release. Quick Release makes it easier changing out your tackle.

Bobbers: use all the time. Toss a line out, kick back, relax, and see what ya catch. I also like light up bobbers when the sun is getting low. I have even done some night SUPfishing.

Bait: I have a lot of rubber gear, but I try to use live bait as much as possible. Nightcrawlers, leeches, and minnows are all great options. Depends on what kind of fish you are going for.

Net: Handmade wooden net from a local Wisconsinite. Floats and is beautiful. Plus, rubber net so fish don’t get hurt and less snagging hooks. Super handy to scoop up the fish, while you are holding your pole up in the air to keep tension on the line.

Stringer: I attach a stringer to my side back most D-Ring for my daily catch. Have also used baskets and a cooler as a live-well too, typically for pan fish. Just depends what you are fishing for.

Crazy Creek Chair: great to sit flat on my SUP deck or on top a hard cooler. Nice to be able to sit back and relax when you have a bobber chilling in the water.

Drift Sock or Anchor: I love using a drift sock. Really makes your board stay in one place, packable, and easy to use. I have used a 10lbs (5kg) anchor as well, which is not bad if you are not traveling or portaging much.

5 Gallon Bucket: only really need one if you are targeting pan fish and you are planning to keep them. You can strap it down with an NRS strap to your D-Ring loops and have a lid to sit on too.

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