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Basic Gear and Clothing

Canoe. A 15 to 17 foot canoe is best for the Winooski River. This length is large enough to carry a reasonable load yet easy to handle and portage.

Paddles. A third paddle provides a spare for emergencies and is handy if you use paddles of different lengths for smooth water and for rapids. The longer should be used to slam the stern of the canoe sideways in a rapid.

Rope. Attach a 20-foot, 3/8 inch in diameter rope to each end of your canoe. These lines are useful for tying up, lining past rapids, hauling up steep banks, and if worse comes to worse, they are a great help in rescuing a swamped canoe. Nylon resists abrasion, but some people like the plastic lines that float. Smaller lines may be strong enough but they are hard to grip with a cold, wet hand and tend to kink up and knot.

Waterproof Packs. All kinds of waterproof packs are available but some advertised as waterproof are only water repellent. Test in advance. Old army ammunition boxes, institution-size plastic jars with screw-top lids make excellent waterproof packing for small items and cameras. Plastic garbage bags are too flimsy to offer useful protection. All equipment should be tied into the canoe so it will not slide around or be lost in a spill.

Emergency Kit. Your small packet of emergency items should include a first aid kit and a roll of duct tape. The tape is indispensable for patching holes in canoes, rainsuits, and other items. A small sewing kit, complete with thread, needles, pins, buttons, extra cloth, and folding scissors is very handy on a long trip. Also take along a knife, a small tube of waterproof glue, extra cord, waterproof matches, and a compass.

Canoe Camping Gear. Consult books on the subject or talk with experienced canoeists and reputable canoe outfitters.

Clothing. Many people like to canoe in a bathing suit; this is fine for a while, but be sure to take along more protective clothing — a hat , a longsleeved shirt, pants , socks and gloves.

Carry a spare set of woolen clothing in case of an accident or a sudden drop in temperature. Blue jeans and sweat shirts are the worst possible choice; they hold water, are chilly when wet, and take forever to dry.

Wading shoes should be worn. Sneakers are usually sufficient.

A rainsuit is the best protection against the weather. Ponchos dangerously hamper your swimming ability and always get in the way of paddling.