Canoe Fleet and Equipment
Descriptions of the gear that you'll be
using on your trip with us,
and recommendations on what personal gear you should provide
On a typical Upper Missouri River trip, you're
going to be paddling an average of
12-15 miles per day. The quality of the canoe that you're
paddling makes a phenomenal difference in comfort, safety,
and energy expenditure. We are proud to offer the finest canoes
available on Montana's Upper Missouri River. We are the only
outfitter and guide service using high-tech Wenonah
canoes constructed of fiberglass and Kevlar. These canoes
provide exceedingly high levels of comfort, safety, and performance.
Wenonah canoes are hand-built in the USA
in Minnesota and are widely recognized as the best canoes
available. They are simply in a totally different league from
the plastic and aluminum canoes that are commonly used on
the Upper Missouri.
the most important quality of our Wenonah canoes is what is
referred to as "paddling efficiency". The combination
of lightweight materials and quality design make these canoes
travel much further for each paddle stroke. An average day
on the Upper Missouri involves a 12-15 mile paddling distance,
at approximately 500 paddle strokes per mile. An efficient
canoe makes a huge difference in the amount of energy expended
in a day of paddling.
Another quality of our Wenonah canoes
is their degree of "seaworthiness", which is an
important safety feature. Our canoes will
do a superior job of riding through choppy water without capsizing.
Although the Upper Missouri is a calm, Class One river, winds
can sometimes make for less than calm conditions, and a seaworthy
canoe will get you through such conditions easily.
"Stability" refers to a canoe's
characteristic to resist tipping sideways. Building stability
into a canoe requires
subtle design elements to be constructed into the hull's cross-section.
Our hand-built Wenonah canoes possess much higher stability
than mass-produced aluminum and plastic canoes.
Finally, our Wenonah canoes are characterized
by having large "capacity". This means that they
are capable of carrying people and generous amounts of gear
without being overloaded. Most Upper Missouri River outfitters
use 16 and 17 foot canoes. Our shortest canoes
are 18 feet long, providing plenty of room for your gear,
generous legroom, and room for small children who are traveling
in the same canoe with their parents. Some of our other canoe
models are 19 feet long, and our Minnesota IV - a four seater,
is 23 feet long, an excellent choice for families with paddling
Our canoes are outfitted with many extra
comfort features: padded bucket seats, backrests to support
the lumbar region of the spine, and sliding seats which can
be adjusted for comfort.
The paddles that we use on our guided trips are unique. They
are constructed of carbon fiber, which is an amazing material
characterized by exceptional strength and light weight. These
paddles are hand build in upstate New York by Zaveral
Racing Equipment. They weigh 12 ounces each, and retail
for $150. A typical wooden, plastic, or metal paddle will
weigh 2-4 times more!
At 5oo paddle strokes per mile, and 2000
strokes per hour, these high-tech, lightweight paddles virtually
eliminate upper body fatigue. We offer these paddles to all
of our clients on our guided trips. Once you've used one of
these paddles its very difficult to go back to a heavier model.
Our tents are manufactured
Designs, a long established manufactured of
quality camping gear. They are comfortable and storm-worthy
and will keep you well protected during adverse conditions.
Our tents are rated as 3-person tents, but we do not recommend
more than two persons per tent. For individuals who prefer
the privacy of having their own tent, we will gladly provide
you with that option.
We provide Therma-Rest self-inflating air mattresses that
are manufactured in Seattle by Cascade
Designs. These top-of-the line mattresses provide a firm,
cushioned sleeping platform to help in getting a restful nights
sleep, and they also can be used for relaxing in camp, for
reading, and for stretching.
On a wilderness float trip
such as the Upper Missouri it is essential that your gear
stay dry. Rainstorms, and
the unlikely possibility of a canoe capsizing, can soak gear
and make for an uncomfortable experience.
We provide high-quality, dependable dry bags manufactured
by Cascade Designs in Seattle, for storing all of your gear.
Large dry bags hold your sleeping bag and clothing, and smaller
dry bags can be used for easy access to items such as cameras,
binoculars, sunscreen, and clothing for use while paddling
on the river.
Camp Tables and
Our camp tables and chairs
are manufactured in Spokane, Washington by Camp
Time. They have engineered a unique line of products that
are lightweight and extremely functional. The chairs have
backrests to maximize comfort. For some of our meals we have
sit-down dining at our tables, while for other meals we sit
around the campfire circle with food served smorgasbord style.
In addition to the
above equipment, we also supply the following on our guided
Complete Camp Kitchen
Comfortable Life Jackets
First Aid Kit
Equipment That You Should Supply
- Rain Gear - which should be of
good quality to keep you dry in the event of a storm.
We recommend Gore-Tex or rubberized nylon, both a
jacket and pants. Ponchos are a poor choice. We can
provide raingear if you need it.
- River shoes - Your feet will
be getting wet getting in and out of the canoes. Bring
along a pair of river sandals, river sneakers, or
even an old pair of tennis shoes.
- Sleeping Bag - during the summer
a light weight bag is sufficient, with nighttime temperatures
in the 40's and 50's.
- Hiking shoes - of light to medium
weight for our off river hiking and for wearing in
- Warm fleece jacket or wool sweater
- Sox, shirts, jeans
- Shorts and t-shirts
- Personal Hygiene Kit
- Insect Repellent
- Sunblocking long-sleeved shirt
and long pants for protection from excessive sun
- Sunscreen lotion - we recommend
very high SPF factor (25-50)
- First Aid kit
- Gloves - to protect hands from
- Drinking water bottle - at least
1 liter in size
- Hat with a wide brim
- Nature Guide Books