So this is the last step in planning your route. Once you’re here, you will have everything planned and booked. Now it’s time to make sure you can get to where you’re going. Why is this the last step? Because it’s the most flexible. For one, it’s possible to modify your route or change your site reservations if your travel, gear and accommodation arrangements don’t work out, but the reverse isn’t always true. But more importantly, there are a lot more options at this point.
Can’t book the motel or campground you wanted? There’s always another one nearby, or at least close enough not to ruin the entire plan. Can’t book at the closest outfitter? There are plenty of them out there. You can simply book at another one along the way, or even one close to home. It just means transporting the canoes and gear a little further than you may have wanted. Arranging shuttles might cause a bit of a problem in less popular areas, but I’d wager that the chances of that happening decrease because of that lack of popularity.
So what do you need to book? Well, the most obvious is the canoe. One for each 2 members of your group. Check out our list of known outfitters close to where you are going, or simply Google “Outfitters” and the name of the park you’re going. At the very least, they’ll have a contact number to call, but often they will have lists of the type of gear that you can rent along with their rates. Be sure to ask what comes with the canoe rental, because for every person you will also need a paddle and a PFD. For each boat you will also need a safety kit (to avoid a fine). As for the rest of the gear, most outfitters will have a large assortment of equipment to rent.
Check out our checklist and look for things on the list that you don’t currently own then make sure you can rent them from the outfitter. If you find that you don’t own much, or what you own is unreliable or inappropriate for portaging, check out some of the outfitters packaged options. Very often they will have whole kits available for you, where you simply have to tell them how long you’re going and they create one for you, and sometimes even pack it all for you. Often this can be a money saver because you’re renting in bulk. You can certainly find ways to save money as well by borrowing items required. (The best way to do this is find a friend who has all the equipment and be nice to him – remembering not to invite him on the trip though, or he’ll be the one using his equipment).
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