The Equipment We Depend On
These are the manufacturers whose products will make our trip possible.
We have procured their equipment on our own over the years, because we believe it is the best available.
Please see the Partners page for organizations that have shared vital information and logistical support
and our Sponsors page for those who have taken the extraordinary step of donating money or discounted equipment to support our efforts.
Gone but Still Revered
BCW was the predecessor company of Northstar Canoes. Founders Ted Bell and Bear Paulson, and designer David Yost, are canoe-building legends. This summer, we'll be proud to take a 2003 Bell Northwind down the Catawba Chain of Lakes. It's a 16'6" tripper, regarded as one of the most versatile Royalex tandems ever made.
Handmade Paddles from Wisconsin
We are delighted to use beautiful and functional Bending Branches paddles (Java ST and Java 11). They propel the boat with authority AND can be hung on the wall as art! Jeff was awarded a significant discount on these paddles after winning Bending Branches' short story contest in January 2021.
PFDs and much more
NRS has a huge line of paddling equipment. We use their comfortable and feature-rich Surge PFD (which has since been replaced by the Oso model) and their PTE Economy Paddle as backups to our Bending Branches. We also use their Universal Canoe Blocks when cartopping the boat. As for future purchases, we've got an eye on their 110-liter Bill's Bag. You can get a whole lot of campsite luxuries in a dry bag that size!
Food n' Water
There are few backcountry stoves as iconic as the MSR Whisperlite. We are proud to use one and note with some amazement that it has only required routine maintenance over more than 20 years of use. We also have a pair of MSR's Dromedary bags and a SweetWater filter, which are essential parts of our water management system.
Shelter is Vital
Along with food and water, shelter from the elements is a top-three consideration in the outdoors. Some shelter we wear in the form of our clothing, but a critical shelter is the one we crawl into at night! We're happy to call a Mountainsmith Morrison 3-person tent home, when we set up camp in the evenings.
Proper rest is critical to maintaining the effort required for multi-day trips. We are proud to use a combination of closed-cell and self-inflating sleeping pads from a company synonymous with comfortable outdoor sleep.
Sleep, Part Deux
Jeff uses a Cat's Meow bag to keep him warm and cozy through the backcountry nights. Insulated with synthetic fill, it keeps him toasty, even if he messes up and gets it wet.
Capilene base layers keep us cool through the exertions of long days afield. Polyester undergarments help us avoid being chilled by sweat and the clammy feeling of saturated cotton, both of which can be dangerous in colder temperatures.
No, we're not taking the socket set into the woods. However, we are very happy using a 10-gallon Craftsman box as a sort of modern polymer wanigan. With the lid latches secured and lined with a contractor bag, it's a great solution. Alas, no tumpline or checker-board top...yet.
Not Just for Cat Food
These ingenious lids turn the free 5-gallon pails you got from the supermarket deli into screw-top waterproof storage. Too bad they don't help with the pickle smell. (Time is likely our only ally on that front...)
"The Pan That Started a Revolution"
Jeff's been using a Banks Fry-Bake pan in the backcountry since he first encountered one on his 1997 NOLS course in Olympic National Park and Squamish, B.C. The Banks Fry-Bake is camping cookery without peer!