Voyager II Packing List
Proper clothing and gear is very important for all VII trips. You will be travelling for 7+ weeks in a far-north, remote, wilderness environment. The environment here is unique, the weather can be variable and extreme, and gear takes a beating. It is critical that your clothing and gear are up to the task. You can expect temperatures from just below freezing to all the way into the 30s, sometimes in the span of 24 hours! When it’s hot it can be really hot (remember there is close to 24 hours of sun and often no trees for shade), and when it’s cold it can feel really cold. Rain and high winds (typical in the barrens) can make a chilly day feel downright frigid. If you are properly prepared, you’ll have no issues enjoying this incredibly beautiful and varied environment.
You will want to focus on packing light as well as warm. Huge heavy packs are not fun to deal with on VII. If you are bringing treats, make them small – talk with your leaders and group about “group treats.”
You may find you have a lot of your equipment already. Not all of it needs to be brand new. Mainly layers can be purchased secondhand. You will likely not be able to find good Gore-Tex or rain pants, but many things you will.
Remember: Day One of trip is not the time to be testing gear. Break in your shoes beforehand and make sure your clothing and gear fit, with layers! Also make sure everything fits in your dry bags and pack.
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.
- 1 flatwater paddle (optional and work dependent) – some find they are happy with just their whitewater paddle. Chat with your leaders about route-specific needs. Consider coordinating with other people in your group to package paddles together when flying.
- 1 whitewater paddle. Consider coordinating with other people in your group to package paddles together when flying.
- 1 whitewater helmet – should be a snug fit with a good chinstrap. Make sure you can fit a light fleece/wool hat or helmet liner underneath.
- 2 whistles – one on their lifejacket and one for around their neck/wrist
- 1 sleeping bag – Aim for a bag rated at least -7 to -12 degrees. A down bag will pack smaller and is warmer, but will cost more. If your sleeping bag isn’t quite warm enough, bring more long underwear/fleecewear or a sleeping bag liner.
- 1 sleeping bag liner (optional) – If you sleep cold, a liner can add warmth to your bag (and keep it cleaner). Silk or synthetic are warmest, but cotton is also sufficient.
- 1 sleeping pad (Therm-A-Rest style) and repair kit – We recommend a full-length sleeping pad as it offers more insulation from the permafrost ground. If you sleep clod, Exped makes down sleeping bags that are lighter weight and warmer but cost more. A repair kit is a must have!
- 1 backpack – Everything you bring must fit into this pack. NO BARRELS, mini or otherwise (they take up too much space in boats. Depending on the size of your clothing, 75-90L is typically a good pack size range. Try to get a pack with strong comfortable back straps because it will spend a lot of time on your back!
- 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.
Feet are important! 52 days of whitewater, upstream, portaging, etc. is very hard on shoes and can be hard on feet. Footwear will take a beating on a trip like this. Make sure soles, seams, etc. are all in top shape. Even new footwear is often ready for the trash after a VII.
- 1 pair of light hiking shoes/boots – to be your wet shoes. Look for something durable with good grip soles – you are going to do A LOT of walking. They should be comfortable to wear and fit over neoprene/Gore-Tex socks/dry pants. If ankle problems are not an issue, trail runners can be very light-weight and have good traction. You will be portaging, dragging, and possibly swimming in these. The mesh material on classic running shows is often not strong enough and tears when you walk through brush.
- 1 pair of runners (optional) – to be dry shoes/back up wet shoes. Hiking opportunities await you! This second pair of sturdy shoes is personal preference if you want variety in show type or are worries about your primary wet shoes falling apart during trip.
- 1 pair of plastic clogs (Crocs) or Keens – dry shoes which are nice around the campsite. They should have closed-toes – no flip flops or sandals.
- 1 pair of neoprene socks – You will be travelling upstream in very cold water and need your feet to stay warm. The neoprene socks should be warm enough to wear over your wool socks. Alternatively, dry pants with waterproof booties would be ideal. You must have either neoprene socks or a dry pants system, something to keep your feet warm when wet.
- 1 pair of Gore-Tex socks (optional) – Great for campsites on wet days when you want dry feet. They keep feet dry and foot-rot-free, but they are expensive. When you are dragging upstream, you will be in water too deep for Gore-Tex socks to be effective.
- 5-8 pairs of mid-weight Smartwool or wool socks – NOT cotton. Some prefer 100% wool; others prefer a mostly wool blend.
Make sure you bring enough warm wet clothing (clothing that is warm while wet – wool is best for this). You will find that you need more than you think – bring enough! It can also get VERY cold at night. A good strategy is to use layers.
- 2 pairs of quick-dry pants – they should be durable and quick-dry. Two pairs are a must.
- 1 pair of fleece or warm pants – for the campsite and cold days, no cotton!
- 1 pair of quick dry shorts
- 2-3 t-shirts – quick-dry polypro/synthetic or lightweight wool (e.g. Smartwool)
- 1 long sleeve sun shirt (optional) – a light long sleeve shirt to protect your arms without making you overheat
- 2 long sleeve tops/long underwear tops – at least one should be wool (e.g. Smartwool) as it is warmer than polypro. The second can be polypro. No cotton!
- 2 pairs of long underwear bottoms – at least one pair should be wool (e.g. Smartwool), second can be polypro/synthetic. Wool is always recommended for preventing smell, and gentleness on skin.
- 2 fleece/wool sweaters – no cotton!
- 1 synthetic down or real down jacket – HIGHLY recommended as this will keep you warm at the campsite during the cold and windy days. It’s a bonus if it has a hood.
- Underwear and bras, etc.
- Rain jacket and rain pants – Gore-Tex is a good option, but make sure it is durable and actually waterproof (old Gore-Tex may not be). Must be big enough to fit warm layers underneath. Rain pants are NOT OPTIONAL.
- 1 paddling jacket (optional) – allow you to change into a warm/dry sweater and dry roomier raincoat at the end of a wet day.
- 1 older raincoat (optional) – as an alternative to paddling jacket, you can bring an older raincoat as your ‘dry’ raincoat to wear on the campsite after a day of rain. It is great to be able to put a dry raincoat over the drey clothes you’ve changed into.
- 1 pair of dry pants with built-in booties (optional) – incredibly valuable during long stretches of cold upstream. Speak to your leaders about whether dry pants will be helpful for your specific route.
- 2 toques – fleece or wool
- 1 pair of mitts – fleece or wool. Note: mitts are warmer than gloves. Also consider a pair of winter waterproof gloves or waterproof over-mitts.
- Neoprene mitts/gloves (optional) – good on cold and wet paddling days. If not neoprene mitts, you need mitts/gloves you can paddle in that are warm when wet.
- 1 scarf or neck warmer – fleece or wool.
- 1 sunhat with a brim
- 1 pair of sunglasses – bring a solid case for them or they will probably get crushed. Consider a glasses safety cord as well. Remember – when it’s sunny, it is really sunny.
- 1 bug jacket – THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL. This is an item to spend more money on to get the good quality version, and it’s worth it. Bugs can be horrible. If you can get one that is roomy enough to get your arms and a dinner plate inside, it is very helpful (allows you to eat in your jacket). You will have a storm/bug shelter, but sometimes it’s nice to be outside even when it’s buggy.
- sunscreen – must have, should be waterproof. No aerosols for flights/
- lip balm with SPF
- insect repellent/bug spray – no aerosols
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- hairbrush and hair ties – if applicable
- sanitary products – tampons, sanitary napkins, or DivaCup
- soap – liquid, biodegradable soap (i.e. Campsuds). Please bring scent free – better for bugs and bears
- contact solution/extra contacts/extra glasses – if applicable
- personal medications – we strongly recommend having two sets of any vital prescription medications. This includes things like inhalers, epi-pens, etc. If you are prone to certain ailments (foot issues, UTIs), talk to your doctor about bringing a “just in case” treatment.
- Moisturizer – a good one, especially for hands
- Multivitamins (optional)
- Gold Bond powder (optional) – great for helping dry feet
- Keflex – 1 course of Keflex antibiotics (1 week). This is a prescription and is “just in case”. Keflex is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and will not be administered without a directive from a camp doctor. More information will be given to you about this at the VII meeting.
- fishing gear – please research and ensure you have appropriate permits
- book(s) or e-Reader
- journal/writing material
- 1 small, quick dry towel
- 1 camera and waterproof case – bring extra batters or a solar charger. Please speak to camp if you are considering bringing a drone.
- musical instrument (talk to the group if you are bringing an instrument – we don’t need 10 guitars on one trip!)
- playing cards or small group game
- art supplies
- sewing kit – might want a heavy-duty needle for thicker materials
- Swiss Army knife/Leatherman – with small blade
- Small binoculars
- Extra batteries
- Small dress up clothing – for Halloween (day 31)
- Pictures of loved ones
- Watches (optional) – some participants like to spend VII following the schedule of nature. It can be fun to experience the near 24-hour daylight without a watch. If you are going to bring a watch, please be respectful of others who are choosing not to. Your leaders will have watches if you need to take scheduled medications or want to know the time for specific events.
What NOT to Bring
- Drugs, alcohol, vapes. Bringing these items will cost you your VII experience. Getting caught with these items will result in a removal from trip, with no refund and the cost of travel from trip billed to your family. Make a smart choice!
- food other than a group treat– due to allergies and wild animals, we do not allow any food items in personal gear. You will be well fed! If your group treat is food, speak with your leaders to organize safe storing and allergy-friendly options.
- speakers or cellphones – VII is a valuable time to unplug from technology. As with all of our trips, we encourage making music with instruments and voices. Phones are at high risk of being damaged or lost on trip. We recognize you may need one for travelling, but please note that Wanapitei will not be responsible for lost or damaged equipment.
- valuables – we cannot be responsible for lost or damaged belongings.
- personal In Reaches/Garmins/sat devices – Your leaders have communication technology for connecting with camp. Camp will also provide updates to families over the course of the summer. Please do not bring a personal communication device with you as it can affect dynamics.