Equipment List for Madawaska Whitewater Kayaking

Official Papers

Paddling Clothing

This is the only things you absolutely have to bring, and some of this you can pick up in the shop at Madawaska. Keep in mind, the time during which you are kayaking greatly affects the clothing choices you make. I personally don't like to be cold, but also tend to overheat very easlily and sweat a lot so I have to be careful not to overheat. Typically, I dress to be slightly cold standing still, so that when I start working, I'll warm up to the right temperaure without having to remove any clothing.

Kayak and Kayak Accesories

Until you decide that you want to get into this sport, I suggest renting or borrowing as much of this stuff as you can. And even when you do decide to get into it completely, try and buy used. You can get a lot of this stuff at steep discounts and you really want to try out a lot of different equipment before you start to buy. As the sport becomes more popular, the equipment is getting better and better. Go to a shop, aska million questions, read as many cataloges as possible, repeat until you feel comfortable spending one or two grand on a full "kit"!

if you have this stuff already, by all means bring it. It's much better to lean on your own equipment if you have it.

Roof Racks

Sleeping / Camping Accessories

Optional Accessories

The grounds at Madawaska are first rate.They basically have everything you need. Unless you are camping out, you don't need to bring anything else except clothing and towel and toiletries.

I highly suggestyou let them cook for you and you stay in the bunk house. The food is really good and the bunk house is a welcome confort after a hard couple of days kayaking.




Wet and Dry Suits

NRS Hydroskin Wetsuit Shirt

The hydroskin shirt has a front that attracts warmth. Used incombination with a farmer john, it's pretty successful at keeping you warm.

Hydroskin Notes: My experienve with this has been pretty positive. If you want to be warmer, squeeze into a dry suit.

NRS Hudroskin Farmer John Wetsuit

The farmer john is very comfortable with a two sided zipper for wasy pee breaks and knee padding which is pretty thick. Used incombination with a hydroskin shirt or rash guard, it's pretty successful at keeping you warm.

Hydroskin Notes: My experienve with this has been pretty positive. If you want to be warmer, squeeze into a dry suit.


Outter Wear

EMS Summittech Fleece Jacket

i no longer buy regular fleece. Sure, if you are on a budget, go for it. But with the lower cost of soft shell fleece, today, that's where I go with my bucks.

Illiniza Notes: It was pretty cold on the climb, but only at the beginning, before I got going, and at the end, when we wre really in the wind. In between, I had to take it off.


Duofold Varitec Long Sleeve Hydroduct Tee

The first time I tried out a Duofold shirt, I was surprised at how it performed considering how little it cost. It's a great way to build up your gear quickly without spending all your money on some big brands advertising!

Basic base layer shirt. A staple in my pack.

Madawaska Notes: I brought this along specifically for those hot days where I might just want a t shirt in the water. I actually didn't use it but its always good to have just in case.

Patagonia Active Sport Boxer Brief

You need synthetic underwear because you are going to be cold and wet.

Although these are great briefs, i would not buy them today. I have switched to the Under Armour Boxer Brief because they don't ride up and are slippery enough to not cause your shorts or pants to ride up.

Duofold Ultra Tec Heavy Weight Base Later top

Once again, I went for value when picking out my base layers. My other base layer was the bergelene brand available at EMS.

Madawaska Notes: I brought this along in case it got really cold at camp. I used it to sleep in and was really happy I brought it along.

Duofold Ultra Tec Heavy Weight Base Later pants

Once again, I went for value when picking out my base layers. My other base layer was the bergelene brand available at EMS.

Madawaska Notes: I brought this along in case it got really cold at camp. I used it to sleep in and was really happy I brought it along.

Grand Canyon Notes: I decided to only bring a pair of bottoms for bnightime since I was already bringing my North Face Flash Jacket for the night. I was glad I did too, because it was cold each and every night.

Smartwool Socks

Smartwool's Expedition Trekking line was the winner of Backpacker Magazine's Great Sock Test. They expertly control temperature and moisture, cushion your digits and are extremely durable. Wicks and evaporates moisture to keep feet and shoes dry. Keep your feet cool in the summer, warm in the winter and not too bad for odor prevention either. I can't see myself ever buying another brand of sock

Madawaska Notes: Usually, I am using these socks for hiking. But here, they were just for walking around and in case I needed them for the cold water. But it was warm enough that I didn't need em at all.

Canadian Rockies Notes: Once again, my favorites. Others say that the socks tend to slip or move on their feet, but i haven't had that problem. No matter what brand you bring with you, make sure you have wool socks for the hike.


Crocs are ugly, but they are the best thing ever thought of for anybody who needs easy to slip on footwear that doesn't get funky when wet. I love my crocs and I don't care how ugly they are.

The first time I saw a pair of Crocs was on the Deerfield river with the KCCNY. This dude was broncoing in a hole, and got out to portage over some rocks to do it again. He kept doing it over and over, and every time he would slide out of the yak, pull the crocs out of the hull, put them on, and pick up the yak. His crocks were and ugly orange, and all i could think was, they must be pretty functional, because they sure are ugly. And he confirmed. And from then on, I decided I needed a pair.

Madawaska Notes: I didn't own a pair of crocs when I did this trip. But I wished I did!

Canadian Rockies Notes: This trip I bought them and never will take a long trip without them again.

Grand Canyon Notes: I brought these as my camp shoes since they are light weight, and I want to get out of my shoes in camp. Well worth their weight. I need to air out my dogs at night and these help me do that.

El Potrero Notes: Do NOT leave home without them. The showers are clean enough, but I would not venture into that bathroom without my shower shoes!

Kayak and Kayak Accessories

Perception Blaze Kayak

The Blaze was positioned as a big mans kayak with a little mans kayak mobility. To my friend Joe, my kayak is the size of a battleship. But at 6'3", any boat I can fit in will be BIG!

Aquabound Paddle

I was advised not to spend too much on my first paddle, since it was likely that I would lose it within the first 2 years anyway. This advice was echoed by Joe, who told the story of how he lost his $250 carbon fiber stick and was hearbroken.

Good For:

Not For:

Aquabound Notes: Aquabound only makes paddles, so they are a good source of information.

Madawaska Notes: A paddle is a paddle as far as I am conerned, at least where I am in my paddling career. I'm sure as I progress, I'll get into the latest new thing. But for now, all I need is something reasonably light to get me down the river, so I took this middle of the line model.

Stohlquist Wedge PFD (Personal Flotation Device)

The wedge was recommended to me by the guy at Jersey Paddler. It has a side zip design with a mesh pocket to hold stuff and a knife clip right in front in case you get cught in a strainer. Also, its pretty low profile and out of the way so you have lots of arm and neck mobility.

Good For:

Not For:

Stohlquist Notes: Stohlquist makes pfds, as well as kayaking apparell. They are a very well known brand and their producst are very well designed and crafted. they have merged with Aqua Lung which makes diving equipment.

Madawaska Notes: I liked this pfd. It was really out of the way and comforatble for me to perfomr in. I didn't really feel like I had one on.

NRS Sprayskirt

Pick up a good spray skirt. It keeps the water out!

Good For:

Not For:

NRS Notes: NRS is a good mid level gear company for water sports.

Madawaska Notes: This worked well for me. No complaints.

NRS Mesh Duffel

When you are schlepping around wet gear for the whle week, it's imperative to let it breath. this mesh duffel allows your stuff to air out even when you are carrying it around to avoid that dreaded mold from attcking your stuff.

Madawaska Notes: Definately suggest bringing along onle of these. Since I left Canada and drove for 10 hours with wet gear in a warm car, I wanted to make sure it at least didn't get funky.

NRS Clear Drybags

I never realized how important it was to be able to see your stuff until I did my first trip. that was when I traded up and picked up these see through bags. Best decision I ever made.

NRS Split Stern Flotation

Without these, you pretty much aren't going anywhere. You can get them at any kayak shop and it really doesn't matter what kind you get. As long as they stay inflated.


Padz Kayak Deluxe Outfit Kit

I really haven't gotten a chance to use these yet, but I brought some just in case I have some fit issues.


Yakima Hullraiser

The hullraiser is specifically designed to cradle your boat on your roof and keep it there.

Madawaska Notes: Its so easy to keep your boat where it's supposed to be, you can't even beleive it.


Dermatone Lip Balm with biner

I really like this balm. Its very much like "Unpetroleum" that i took on Alaska trip and loved.

Grand Canyon Notes: Do not forget to bring lip balm on this trip. You will regret it if you do.

Mt Rainier Notes: If you have never been on a glacier in the middle of the summer, you can't really understand how important it is to have lip balm. I buy these 6 at a time every time I go to the camping store. I avoid chapped lips at ALL costs.

Packtowel Camp Towel

Bottom line, this is not ever an optional item. I have to have at least one on my trips. It's really water absorbant but rings out like a shammy and packs away dry right after you've used it on your whole body!

El Potrero Notes: Bring a camp towl because they don't have them readily available at the Posada.

Grand Canyon Notes: I'll bring my small towel just so I can wash my face, or if I want to go down to the river.

Nalgene Water Bottle

These bottles are indestructible and supposedly, they don’t promote bacteria growth or hold odor. In every picture I see of someone camping or on a mountain, I see them holding a Nalgene bottle. I’m not even sure they have any competition they’re so well entrenched. And what makes them even better is most water filtration systems are built specifically to fit Nalgene bottles!

I always wrap some clear and some gray duct tape around my bottles. First, it helps to tell whos they are and it also is an easy way to keep duct tape which is the most important item you can take on a mountain! It fixes everything from blisters to leaky tents. I always bring 3 liter bottles for summit day. I also sometimes bring an extra to pee in if im too lazy to get out of the tent! just be careful. Aim smart.

Bullfrog Sunblock

I like gel sunblock better than the normal lotion kind because I tend to sweat a lot and it lasts much longer. I also use bullfrog but couldn't find it this time around in the camping store.

Madawaska Notes: On this trip, I brought along the bullfrog sunblock, but for the most part, I barely ever used it. But I would definately lug it along in case you have that burnable skin type.

Julbo Nomads

The Julbo Nomads are my favorite shades because of how closely they wrap around my face and their low profile. What I also liked about them was that they have plastic clip on side sheilds rather than the botton on leather ones.

Kilimanjaro Notes: I forgot them in the tent on summit day! But they worked great every other day!

Madawaska Notes: I went back and forth between using shades and not. in the end, I found that what i really wanted was just somehting to stop water going in my eyes, but clear. I'll get something for next time.

Grand Canyon Notes: Even though it was really bright, I usually don't use sunglasses unless I am driving or riding my bike. On this trip, I just squinted a little the whole time! :-) But I carried them the whole way just in case I needed them.

Petzl Tikka

Since I bought the Petzl Tikka to replace my Black Diamond Gemini head lamp, I have never looked back. The Tikka is the perfect size and wieght, and it has all the functionality you really need in a head lamp.

While there is no spotlight on it, I have found that I rarely use the spotlight, so this is perfect for my needs. And when you are trying to limit the weight in your backpack, every ounce counts. I actually have 3 of these to give to my non backpacking friends when we go out together.

Why I bought it: I had the Black Diamond Gemini before this, which was great, but big and bulky and just overkill. After actually using these things, you only need a small lamp with a few lighting settings.

Madawaska Notes: You don't really need this if you are staying in the bunk house. But if you are camping, you know the drill!

Grand Canyon Notes: You have to have a head lamp on any trips in the backcountry. And since we were in a primitive area, I brought an extra as a back up. And a good thing too, because Drill Sgt left his in the car at the trailhead!


Gatorade Packs

Gatorade is one of the best tasting electrolyte replacement drinks. I't probably not necessary when mountaineering because you are not sweating, but it can't hurt. But if you're out there in the heat, you need to replace those electrolytes.You can get them in 1 quart packages which are perfect for your nalgene liter bottles.

Mt Washington Notes: Adding gatorade to your water on a freezing cold mountain helps to keep it from freezing. It's high salt and sugar content will add at least a few degrees to your drinks max freezing temperature.

Grand Canyon Notes: You should definately bring at least one liter per day. It gets really hot in the canyon.

Action speaks louder than words, but not as often!
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