St Croix River Association To Protect, Restore, and Celebrate the St. Croix River and its Watershed

Join Our Email List

Trip Planning

Many things go into planning a multi-day paddle. You may have questions about food, what to bring, outfitters, and more. If your questions are not answered here, please call 715 483 3300 or email

A Day in the Life of the Namekagon Paddle:

  • 8:30am

    Our fearless leaders share the daily schedule, forecast and river conditions

  • 10:00am

    Ya better be on the water!
    Paddle at your own pace throughout the day and enjoy a daily education program on the river

  • 2:00-3:00pm

    Off the water and free time for napping, reading, playing cards or taking a swim

  • 5:00-6:00pm

    Dinner! Most days of the paddle it is included and delicious!

  • 7:00pm

    Evening education program

  • 8:00pm →

    Free Time; turn it in early or socialize with your new paddle pals


Top 5 Tips for Nam Newbies:

5. Spend a little time each day getting organized for the following day.

4. Bring earplugs for sleeping; a few of our campsites are close to a road.

3. Choose a kayak for your Namekagon adventure. 10 – 12’ kayaks navigate the Namekagon best with its varying water levels and widths.

2. Be part of the Namekagon Paddle community. There is always a great mix of returning and new paddlers each year. Make friends and have a great time!

1. Our number one tip for Nam Newbies is to leave your worries at home. Refresh your mind and spirit with a week on the wild and scenic Namekagon River!

What Do I Need to Bring?

What to Bring:

Most people use two bags, one for food/large items, and the other for clothes/personal stuff you might want in the tent at night. Total of 50lbs per person, plus tent. Sturdy, stackable rubbermaid tubs can be substitued for bags. LABEL YOUR BAGS; THEY ALL LOOK ALIKE.

Keep in mind that your gear will be hauled with that of approximately 80 other people, so it should be sturdy and easily identifiable. Please remember that the ground crew is mostly volunteers, so be kind and keep it light. If you choose to bring a cooler, you’ll need to carry it in your vessel with you. DO NOT BRING LARGE COOLERS.

A list of suggested gear is below.

On Water Equipment – Required

A list of area outfitters is posted on the paddle website if you need to rent gear
– Paddle (2 pieces, if kayak) – some people carry a spare
– kayak or canoe, registration current, if required
– life jacket
– water bottle (2)

Highly Recommended
– dry bag for gear on boat and/or deck bag
– sun hat, sunglasses & strap
– sponge and/or bilge pump
– rope (short hank) for boat – handy for pulling in shallows
– sealable container for lunch and other small items
– pocket knife

Recommended List
– tent – including groundcloth, stakes, poles, & rope for clothesline
– sleeping pad, sleeping bag (liner is nice), pillow case (stuff with clothes for pillow)
– tarp to use as tent doormat & rain cover for gear
– wick dry shirts (3)
– camp shirts (3) (paddle t-shirt & others)
– light fleece & heavy fleece – could be cool at night
– windbreaker with hood
– rain gear, jacket & pants – worth investing in better than a poncho
– gloves, headband, hat for cool weather
– shorts – quick dry for paddling (2)
– pants (3) khaki, wind suit, synthetic knit
– undergarments, socks, longjohns (if it’s cold at night you’ll be happier)
– towel, wash cloth, soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm
– swimsuit
– water shoes
– lightweight boots or tennis shoes for camp, sandals
– mesh dirty clothes bag
– headlamp or flashlight, & extra batteries
– tiny-lightweight folding camp stool (NO FULL SIZE LAWN CHAIRS)
– sunscreen & insect repellant
– notepad/pen
– cell phone (TURNED OFF)
– games and/or book
– cash (shouldn’t need much-but there may be some “luxuries” or souvenirs)
– camera (fully charged & extra battery or memory card)
– personal first aid kit/prescription medicine
– map to destination & trip printouts
– SPORK or fork, spoon, knife, mug (double as bowl), plate

Total for transport weighing less than 50 pounds


What one item did you bring that was indispensable (or wished you had brought) that wasn’t on the “pack” list?

  • Earplugs
  • A separate dry bag for my tent rain fly. You never put it away dry
  • Waterproof bags for the gear that went on the trucks as having wet camping gear was a downer
  • Drawing/painting supplies
  • Synthetic cloth for drying tents before folding.
  • I used a couple of those hand warmers that you activate by shaking inside the end of my sleeping bag on that last night at Howell and my feet were toasty warm.
  • Tarp with poles so I could sit outside the tent if the weather wasn’t perfect.
  • A real pillow
  • Dry bags for the truck items
  • Wide brimmed hat for sun protection
  • Wish I would have had an inflatable pillow
  • Waterproof point/shoot camera
  • Warm clothes-stocking hat, nano puff down coat
  • Wished for – Pringles!
  • Hammer (for tent pegs)
  • Indispensable-beef jerky!
  • 2 large water bottles for the day,  never dehydrated
  • Long underwear

Download the Paddle Gear List


FAQs, Links & Outfitters


Don’t have a canoe or kayak?

You are fully responsible for taking care of all arrangements for your vessel, paddle, and PFD (required) – whether you bring your own or rent. Below is a list of outfitters we have used in the past. Alternatively, you can contact sporting goods stores in the Twin Cities such as REI or Midwest Mountaineering for rental equipment.

Since we use local outfitters for the shuttles, they are familiar with the Paddle and are happy to help you with equipment needs. Keep in mind that outfitters may not provide rental services to all areas of the watershed.

If you are renting from one of the outfitters below for the SCRA Paddle, please do let them know that your rental is for the SCRA Paddle.

Hayward Outdoor Sports

Pardun’s Canoe Rental & Shuttle Service

Wild River Outfitters Canoe & Kayak Rental & Shuttle

Log Cabin Resort and Campground


Frequently Asked Questions