4-Week River Runner Packing List
Investing in gear at this age is a tough call. We recognize that our participants are still growing, and outdoor clothing can be expensive. We recommend buying mid-range items or second-hand high-quality items. Sourcing clothing from thrift stores or used gear sales is a great option for Wanapitei campers!
It is essential that all items (clothing and gear) be well labelled with the camper’s name. We recommend Mabels Labels! They sell full custom label kits and 30% of purchases made through their link are donated to the Wanapitei Camper Bursary Fund.
Equipment and Gear
- 1 PFD – ensure it is in GOOD shape, comfortable and government-approved. Check seams and quality of material for sun damage. We ask that you have a “paddling vest” style PFD. This style allows for optimal mobility while paddling and efficient swimming in whitewater if you tip.
- 1 flatwater paddle (optional) – to size a paddle, hold it vertically in front of you. With the tip of the blade on the ground, the grip should reach your chin. We rent paddles at camp.
- 1 whitewater paddle – whitewater paddles can be slightly shorter than flatwater paddles. This allows for more powerful strokes and easier crossing over. To size, paddles should reach from the ground to between the armpit and chin. A higher quality paddle usually has a carbon shaft and a strong carbon or fibreglass blade. it is not necessary to invest in a high quality paddle at this age. We rent paddles at camp.
- 1 whitewater helmet – should be a snug fit with a good chinstrap. A bicycle helmet is not acceptable. If you are not interested in purchasing your own helmet yet, we rent helmets at camp.
- 2 whistles – one on their lifejacket and one for around their neck/wrist
- 1 sleeping bag – Although down sleeping bags often pack smaller, we find synthetic to be more practical for this age group. It is cheaper and dries much faster. A temperature rating of -7C is recommended (it can be cool, especially in early or late summer). This is not a winter bag, but warm enough to keep off the chill.
- 1 sleeping pad (Therm-A-Rest style) – Foam pads are cheaper but less comfortable and less warm. Inflatable Therm-A-Rest style pads are more expensive, but they are comfortable and keep the body warmer. These are worth investing in if your child will be returning to camp or taking part in longer canoe trips.
- 1 backpack – a good bag can last a long time. Size, durability, and comfort are the biggest priorities. Ensure the shoulder straps and closing straps are durable. Packs should be within the 60-70L range. Campers carry their own backpacks so it should fit them well. All of the camper’s TRIP belongings must fit inside the pack. A small duffel for in camp things can be left in storage when on trip.
- 2 dry bags – one 20-30L for the sleeping bag and one 30-40L for personal gear and clothes. Make sure they are in good shape and waterproof. These will be placed in the camper’s personal pack.
- 1 small pillow (optional) – for in camp
- 1 flashlight/headlamp – and extra batteries (headlamp is recommended)
- 1 mug – metal or plastic, used for hot drinks and soup.
- 1L water bottle – metal or Nalgene, labelled with the camper’s name
- 1 pair of sunglasses and attachment string
- 1 towel – cotton or quick dry for in camp
- 1 bug net for bed – for in camp, recommended for July campers.
Essential Clothing for Canoe Trip
Cotton on trip is cumbersome and at times dangerous. When wet it uses the body’s heat to dry itself, causing the person wearing the cotton to become colder. Thus, we ask that campers do not bring cotton on trip (in camp is fine!). We recommend that campers bring clothes made of quick dry or wicking materials. These clothes dry fast and keep the wearer warm. Good materials to look out for are fleece for sweaters, merino wool or polypropylene for long johns and shirts, and quick dry for shorts and pants. Wool and SmartWool are good materials for socks.
- 1 pair of “wet shoes” – a closed-toed pair of light hiking shoes or runners with good ankle support for during the day. This does not mean a high ankle (like hiking boots), but they should have a good grip and be sturdy. These shoes will be worn while paddling, portaging, and hiking (wet shoes = shoes that will get wet!). Make sure they are broken-in before camp to avoid blisters.
- 1 pair of “dry shoes” – this pair is for the evening around the campsite. They can be lighter and less sturdy but should still be closed-toed. Good options include Crocs, Keens, or a light running shoe.
- 1 rain jacket – Must be waterproof. Breathable is highly recommended, though not imperative.
- 1 pair of rain pants – Not optional! Must be waterproof. Breathable is highly recommended, though not imperative.
- 1 bug jacket – Not optional! A baseball hat is recommended for under the bug jacket to keep the mesh away from the face.
- 2 t-shirts – these should be a synthetic “quick dry” material, no cotton!
- 2 long-sleeve shirts – made of quick drive material.
- 2 sweaters – one for light day use, one for warmth in the evening. Both must be wool or fleece, no cotton.
- 1-2 pair of quick dry/light weight pants – no jeans or sweatpants.
- 1 pair of quick dry/light weight shorts
- 2 pair of long johns – base-layer top and bottom made of merino wool or polyester
- 1 pair fleece pants
- 4 pairs of socks – two for day, two for dry use at night (all should be wool or Smartwool)
- 8 pairs of underwear – quick dry/polyester if possible
- 2 sports bras
- 1 sunhat – consider packing two if your child is prone to losing things.
- 1 toque – wool or fleece.
- 1 pair of mitts or gloves – a light, windproof material is sufficient
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 pair of light pyjamas or sleeping clothes
Essential Clothing for In-Camp
- 2 t-shirts/tank tops – can be cotton
- 2 long sleeve shirt
- 2 pairs pants
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 6 pairs of underwear
- 1 pairs pyjamas
- 6 pairs of socks – can be cotton
- sunscreen – must have, should be waterproof
- lip balm with SPF
- insect repellent/bug spray
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- hairbrush and hair ties – if applicable
- sanitary products – tampons, sanitary napkins, or DivaCup
- soap – liquid, biodegradable soap (i.e. Campsuds)
- contact solution/extra contacts/extra glasses – if applicable
- personal medications – should be given to the camp staff at the bus before boarding or, if you are driving to camp, to the camp office.
- 1 pair sandals – sturdy for in camp, can be open toed.
- fishing gear – please research and ensure you have appropriate permits
- book(s) to read
- journal/writing material– include a list of addresses or pre-addressed envelopes for letters home.
- 1 small, quick dry towel
- 1 camera and waterproof case
- musical instrument
- playing cards
- favourite stuffed animal, photos from home
- sewing kit
- Swiss Army knife/Leatherman – with small blade
- Synthetic down/real down jacket – nice for colder August evenings but not essential
What NOT to Bring
- food – due to allergies and wild animals, we do not allow any food items in the cabins. Any food sent to camp will be confiscated and not returned.
- cellphones – our technology policy does not allow cellphones at camp or on trip. If your camper needs a phone for travel to and from camp, we will store it in the office for the duration of their stay. We ask that you send your camper with a camera or other non-cellphone form of technology for taking photos.
- valuables – we cannot be responsible for lost or damaged belongings.
- Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or vapes. Campers found with any of these items will be sent home. The cost of evacuation will be billed to the family and no refund given. Make smart choices.