Upper Missouri River Guides
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Our 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 for yourself.

 

Canoes

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.

Perhaps 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 with kids.

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.

Paddles

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.

 

Tents

Our tents are manufactured by Sierra 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.

Mattresses

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.

Dry Bags

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 Chairs

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.

 

 

Other Equipment We Supply

In addition to the above equipment, we also supply the following on our guided trips:

Complete Camp Kitchen
Comfortable Life Jackets
First Aid Kit
Drinking Water
Flashlights

Equipment That You Should Supply for Yourself


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.

Sleeping Bag - during the summer a light weight bag is sufficient, with nighttime temperatures in the 40's and 50's.

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.

Hiking shoes -  of light to medium weight for our off river hiking and for wearing in camp.

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

Sunglasses

Gloves - to protect hands from paddling blisters

Drinking water bottle - at least 1 liter in size

Hat with a wide brim

Camera

Binoculars

Nature Guide Books

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