Four-Week Pioneer Clothing and Equipment List

Click here for a printable PDF version of this list.

Investing in gear at this age is a tough call. It is always good to have the best when out in the wilderness. However, we understand that while children are growing, clothes have a short lifespan. Therefore, we recommend that you buy midrange items or second hand high quality items.

It is essential that all items (clothing and gear) be well labelled with your child’s name. Camp ends up with mountains of lost and found at the end of the summer. The best way to ensure all your child’s belongings come home is to label them. We recommend Mabel’s Labels – they sell full custom label kits. 30% of purchases made through their link are donated to the Wanapitei Camper Bursary.


☐ 1 PFD – ensure it is in GOOD shape, comfortable and government-approved. Check seams and quality of material for sun damage. If you are looking to buy a new PFD, we ask that, for whitewater canoe trips, a paddling vest should be purchased as your PFD. It allows for optimal mobility while paddling and also efficient swimming in whitewater should you dump.

1 flatwater paddle–If you decide to purchase a paddle or have one already, please consider the following: This paddle should be made of wood (more comfortable to hold and warmer than aluminum on the hands) and can be fitted at the retailer where purchased. If you have a paddle of your own and are unsure of the sizing, the paddle when vertical should roughly nestle in your child’s armpit or the grip end should be at about chin height. We rent paddles at camp.

1 whitewater paddle – Mid-range paddles can be purchased at MEC. A good whitewater paddle usually has a carbon shaft and a strong plastic blade. The least expensive versions, and a good choice for those unsure about returning to camp, have an aluminum shaft. We rent paddles at camp.

1 whitewater helmet – should be a snug fit with a good chinstrap. A bicycle helmet is not acceptable. We rent helmets at camp.

2 whistles – one on your lifejacket and one for around your neck or wrist

☐ 1 sleeping bag – Though down sleeping bags pack smaller, we believe that it is more practical for this age group to purchase a synthetic bag. It is cheaper, and dries faster. A temperature rating as low as ‐7 Celsius is recommended (it can be cool especially in early or late summer; this is not a winter bag but warm enough to take out the chill during the cool periods).

1 sleeping pad (Therm-A-Rest) – Ensolite pads are cheaper but less comfortable. While Therm-A-Rest style pads are more comfortable and keep the body warmer they are more expensive. We recommend that, if your child will be returning to camp for a few summers, to invest in a Therm-A-Rest.

1 personal backpack A good bag can last a long time and last a camper through their “career” at Wanapitei. Size, durability and comfort are the biggest priorities. Packs should be within the 65-70L range. Campers carry their own backpacks so it should fit well.

2 dry bags – One 20-30L for sleeping bag, one 30-40L for personal gear.

This will go inside your child’s personal backpack. Make sure they are in good shape and waterproof (welded seams, good closure, good material). Do NOT bring garbage bags.

1 small pillow (optional – for in camp)

1 flashlight/headlamp – and extra batteries (headlamp is recommended)

Mug and cutlery (large mug, knife, fork, spoon) – metal or plastic, WELL LABELLED with camper name.

1 1L water bottle – metal or Nalgene

1 pair of sunglasses and attachment string

1 towel

1 bug net for bed – recommended for July campers. Can be purchased at MEC or Canadian Tire.

1 pair of sunglasses and attachment string


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 your child does not bring cotton on trip. We recommend that your child bring clothes made of quick-dry or wicking materials. These clothes dry fast and keep your child warm. Good materials to look out for are fleece for sweaters, merino wool or polypropylene (example – Capilene from Patagonia) for long johns and shirts, and quick dry for shorts and pants. These rules about cotton apply to socks as well. Wool and SmartWool are good sock material. It is important to remember that there will be varied summer weather and temperatures, so you must prepare for a range of possibilities.

2 pairs of shoes – We recommend a light trail shoe (not a hiking boot) which is safer when paddling in moving water.  We suggest speaking with the salespeople at the store or giving us a call if you need further guidance For the campsite, light runners, closed toed sandals or Crocs are fine.  No flip flops.

1 rain jacket – Must be waterproof. Breathable is highly recommended, though not imperative.

1 pair rain pants – Must be waterproof. Breathable is highly recommended, though not imperative. Rubber rain paints are sufficient. Rain pants are usually worn during the day when raining and at night to keep dry while on the camp site if it is raining.

1 bug jacket – a baseball hat is recommended for under the bug jacket to keep the mesh away from the face.

2 t-shirts

2 long-sleeve shirts – 1 quick-dry material, 1 base-layer (merino wool or polypropylene – ex. Capilene)

2 sweaters – one for light day use, one for warmth in the evening. Both must be wool or fleece, no cotton.

1 pairs of quick-dry/light weight pants – no jeans or sweatpants.

1 pairs of quick-dry/light weight shorts

1 pair of fleece pants

2 pairs of long johns – merino wool or polyester – not cotton

☐ 4 pairs of socks – 2 pairs of Smartwool for day, 2 pairs of wool or Smartwool for night

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

1 bathing suit 


2 t-shirts/tank tops – can be cotton

2 long sleeve shirts

2 pairs of pants

2 pairs of shorts

6 pairs of underwear

5 pairs of socks – can be cotton

2 pairs pyjamas


Sunscreen – must have, should be waterproof

Lip balm with SPF

Insect repellent

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Sanitary products

Soap – liquid, biodegradable soap (i.e. Campsuds).

Contact solution/extra contacts/extra glasses

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 Teva or Chacos. No leather or flip flops.

Fishing gear

Reading/writing material – include a list of addresses or pre-addressed envelopes for letters home.

1 small, quick dry towel

1 camera and waterproof case

Sewing kit

Musical instrument

Playing cards

Favourite stuffed animal

Swiss Army knife – small blade 


Food – due to animals and allergies, 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 child needs a phone for travel to and from camp, we will store it in the office until departure day. We ask that you send your camper with a camera or non-cellphone for photos.