Upper Missouri River Guides

Canoe Rentals - Gear Rental

Rent-A-Guide / Gear Boat Rental

In addition to our canoe rentals we also offer these services: 1) Hire a guide to paddle down the river with your party; 2) Hire a guide with a motorized gear boat to haul your equipment downriver and secure a choice campsite for your party. See below, or click here.

About our Rental Canoe
Our canoes are faster, safer, and more comfortable than the heavy mass-produced canoes in most rental programs. Our rental fleet consists entirely of canoes manufactured by Wenonah Canoe Company of Minnesota. The models that we offer are excellent choices for Montana's Upper Missouri River. They have high paddling efficiency to make them travel further with each paddle stroke, significantly reducing the effort during a day of paddling. We prefer long canoes, with high cargo capacity that will hold gear without stacking it high - this keeps the center of gravity low thus adding to the canoe's stability and seaworthiness, an important safety consideration. We offer six different models of Wenonah canoes for you to choose from. All rental canoes come with quality lightweight wooden paddles (weighing 21 ounces) and comfortable lifejackets included in the rental price.  


- Royalex Canoes -

Wenonah Sundowner: $35/day (Royalex)

The Sundowner is a 17 foot canoe made of Royalex, which is an engineered material consisting of layers of plastic (for strength) and foam (for weight reduction and buoyancy). The Sundowner has good paddling efficiency and will travel further for each paddle stroke than other canoes in its class. It weighs 68 pounds and and will outperform heavier canoes in its class such as the plastic Old Town Discovery 16'9"(85 lbs), the aluminum MichiCraft 17' (84 lbs), and the Coleman 17'5" (91 lbs). It has very good seaworthiness and stability, and will easily hold 2 paddlers and cargo for medium duration trips, such as the White Cliffs.


Wenonah Spirit II: $35/day (Royalex)

The Spirit II is a 17 foot canoe made of Royalex, the same material as the Sundowner. It weighs 68 pounds, making it 15-20 pounds lighter than competing canoes it this size class. This canoe has good paddling efficiency but its greater depth and width makes it even more seaworthy and stable, and increases its cargo capacity. The Spirit II would be good choice for shorter trips where you may want to carry more gear than usual -  such as a couple of coolers, and it would be a good boat to use as cargo hauler to accompany a flotilla of Sundowners.

For a short trip of 3-4 days it could carry a small child in the middle who is too young to paddle his or her own canoe.

Wenonah Champlain: $40/day (Royalex)

The Champlain is an 18 foot canoe made of Royalex, the same material as the Sundowner and the Spirit II. Its additional foot of length makes it a good choice for holding extra cargo for longer trips - such as a 6 day White Cliffs/Badlands trip. The Champlain weighs a light 73 pounds, at least 15 pounds lighter than other canoes in its class. It is a full-bodied canoe, which adds to its cargo capacity and also gives this canoe very high stability and seaworthiness, with good efficiency. The Champlain can also be fitted with a third seat to hold a small child on shorter trips.



Kevlar Canoes

Lightweight construction and sleek hull designs make Kevlar canoes highly efficient, and reduce the effort during a day of paddling. These are the same canoes that we use on our guided trips. NOTE: Kevlar canoes require a $500 damage deposit. These finely-crafted canoes require extra care - they CANNOT be dragged on any solid surfaces when launching and landing.


Wenonah Escape: $50/day (Kevlar)

Made of Kevlar, a high-tech, ultralight, strong material, the Escape is 17'6" in length and weighs an amazing 38 pounds. Its light weight combined with its sleek design makes it a highly efficient canoe. The Escape is well suited for longer trips with a relatively lighter gear load, or for shorter trips with some extra gear on board. Its length - combined with a relatively  high bow and stern, gives it good cargo capacity and excellent seaworthiness/stability characteristics. Because of this canoe's high paddling efficiency it is an excellent choice for solo paddlers.

Minnesota 2: $55/day (Kevlar)

This is our favorite canoe to paddle! The Minnesota 2 is the most efficient 2 seat canoe made by Wenonah, having been designed for use in the Boundary Water Canoe Wilderness in northern Minnesota. It offers a superb combination of cargo capacity and stability, and due to its length - incredible speed and efficiency. It is the canoe of choice for longer trips on the Upper Missouri, particularly if your itinerary involves putting on the miles. The Minnesota 2 is well suited for long trips due to its gear carrying capacity, and it is a good choice for shorter trips, where it can serve as a boat to carry extra cargo (such as coolers) while accompanying other smaller canoes; or, it can seat a child sitting in the middle of the canoe. This is the favorite canoe for our guides to paddle, and once you have paddled one of these quality canoes, its can be hard to go back to a heavier, less efficient model.


Wenonah Itasca: $60/day (Kevlar)

The Itasca, 19 feet long,  is Wenonah's premier expedition canoe; it weighs 48 pounds. Its design is very radical - it is wide in the midsection where it will hold huge amounts of gear - but the bow and stern are very narrow, a design element which makes this big canoe incredibly efficient, and easy to paddle. The Itasca has 1.5 inches of rocker which provides it with good maneuverability.

The sheer size of this boat makes it almost impossible to capsize, and it will plow through rough water should the wind pick up. We are the only outfitter offering a canoe in this class and of this quality.

For extended trips of 5-10 days this is the canoe for the job! On shorter trips it can be fitted with a middle seat for a child.

The Itasca is a top-of-the line canoe which retails for $2500. It is fitted with many extras including sliding seats - for trimming the canoe and for comfort, padded bucket seats, a stern footrest - to prevent overextension of the ankle, and knee padding - to cushion the outside of the knee from the edge of the gunwale. This canoe excels in every category: efficiency, cargo capacity, seaworthiness, stability, comfort, and lightweight high-tech design.

The Itasca is also a good choice for large parties who want  a larger, high cargo-capacity workhorse to accompany a flotilla of smaller canoes.

Wenonah Minnesota IV (four-seater): $75/day (Kevlar)

The Minnesota IV is a 23-foot long canoe that seats 4 persons. It is made of Kevlar, which keeps its weight low (64 pounds). It is remarkeably efficient, and even with only 2 persons paddling will easily keep up with other canoes. It is an excellent choice for a family with 2 kids

The Minnesota IV, when all four seats are occupied, is excellent for shorter trips (up to 4 days), and is also highly suitable for longer trips when only 3 of the seats are occupied, thus reserving space for the extra gear required on longer trips.  If four people are using this canoe on a longer trip, it would be suitable if they were accompanied by other canoes into which some gear could be distributed.

Because of its length the Minnesota IV is a little more challenging to pilot than a shorter canoe, and therefore is not a good choice for beginner-level paddlers, unless they are accompanied by an experienced stern paddler with established skills in steering and maintaining a course.

Rent-A-Guide / Gear Boat Rental

We offer the following two services for parties who do not want to take a fully guided trip, but who would like to take advantage of having an experienced guide accompany them on their trip. 

Rent-a-Guide An experienced guide will accompany your party as you paddle downriver, either as a paddler in one of your canoes, or in his/her own solo canoe. The guide will recommend good campsites, interpret the history, geology and ecology of the river, lead you on hikes to spectacular off-river locations, and be available in case of an emergency. This package includes a portable toilet which will be set up and maintained by the guide; new BLM regulations require that all parties use a portable toilet when they are camping in undeveloped campsites that do no have toilets, such as in the Badlands section. The cost for a guide to paddle with your group is $450 per day.

Gear Boat Service This service provides a guide who will pilot a gear boat downriver. The gear boat is a 17 foot boat with a small, quiet 3 horsepower motor that can hold a large portion of your party's gear, thus lightening the load that you'll carry in your canoes and making your paddling easier. The gear boat will leave camp early each day, and cruise downriver to secure a choice campsite for your party, allowing you to travel downriver at a leisurely pace, confident that you'll have a good campsite waiting for you. Your guide will help you plan your days on the river, and will lead you on hikes from camp. This package includes a portable toilet which will be set up and maintained by the guide; new BLM regulations require that all parties use a portable toilet when they are camping in undeveloped campsites that do not have toilets, such as in the Badlands section. The cost for gear boat rental with a guide is $450 per day.

Rental Equipment

Our rental gear and camping equipment is the same gear that we use on our guided trips. The quality is superior, and it will serve you well. See below for information on reservations and deposits.


Cost per Day
Super-Light Canoe Paddles: High-tech paddles made of space-age carbon fiber, weighing an incredible 12 ounces! They are ergonomically designed with a bent shaft. These paddles virtually eliminate upper body fatigue during a day of paddling. $8.00
Canoe Backrests: Attach to canoe seats and provide excellent support for the lower back. $3.00
Dry Bags: Set includes one extra-large (110 liter) and one medium (30 liter). These will keep your clothing, sleeping bag, and camera bone dry. $8.00
Camp Mattress: Super comfortable ThermaRest self-inflating air mattress for a good nights sleep. Great for lounging around camp, reading, stretching. $4.00
Tent: Sierra Designs mountain tent (Clip 3 CD model) sets up easily, is very storm-worthy, and will keep you protected and comfortable in the most adverse conditions. The fly can be left off in fair weather to let in the evening breeze. $15.00
Camp Kitchen: Coleman propane stove, set of pots and pans, silverware, coffee mugs, spatula, serving spoons, and washbasin with scouring pad and detergent. You provide paper plates and napkins. Fuel included. $15.00
Cooler; Standard: 40 quart cooler good for shorter trips. $4.00
Cooler; Super-Insulated: Coleman Extreme Cooler will keep ice for 5 days at 90 degrees; for longer trips - 30 quart. $5.00
Dry Goods Storage Box: Rubbermaid boxes with lids used for transporting food and kitchen items; they fit conveniently in canoe and will stack. $1.00
Camp Table: Gets your food and cooking tools off the ground for sanitary and comfortable food service and makes a great table for dining. Rolls into a compact bag for canoe transport. $5.00
Camp Chairs: Lightweight, compact, comfortable chairs with a backrest for lounging in camp, dining, and relaxing. Gets you off the dirt. Folds up for easy transport in canoes. $2.00
Water Jugs: 5 gallon jugs for transporting fresh drinking water. $1.00
Portable Toilet: Check with us or with BLM for the most current regulations regarding necessity of this item. We provide these free with all canoe rentals. You'll need to purchase waste disposal bags from us or provide your own. FREE w/ canoe rental
Waste Disposal Bags: These convenient and low-hassle plastic bags with chemicals make waste managment easy. $4.00
Foul Weather Gear: Rubberized nylon hooded rain jacket and pants will keep you dry. $3.00


Shuttle Service

The table below summarizes the shuttle services that we offer. For complete shuttle information, go to our shuttle page.

Shuttle Description Cost
White Cliffs and Badlands Shuttle:
Pick you up at Kipp Recreation Area and transport you to Coal Banks Landing

Full Length River Shuttle:
Pick you up at James Kipp Recreation Area and transport you to Fort Benton

Airport Shuttle from/to Great Falls airport or hotel (one way):
To/From Fort Benton & Great Falls
To/From Coal Banks Landing & Great Falls
To/From Judith Landing & Great Falls
From Ft. Benton Hotel to Coal Banks Landing:

Cost to Shuttle your vehicle from your put-in point to your take-out point on the river:
Fort Benton to Kipp Recreation Area
Fort Benton to Judith Landing
Fort Benton to Coal Banks Landing
Coal Banks Landing to Judith Landing
Coal Banks Landing to Kipp Recreation Area
Judith Landing to Kipp Recreation Area (this shuttle can be weather dependent)

1st Car/ Add'l Car



(406) 622-3652 home .................. (406) 564-0723 cell