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Want to Canoe and Camp in the Midwest but don’t know where to start?

Hello! Recently I have been asked where the heck to go for all these canoe  ry=400-10PIN trips that I keep posting about. Well, this post is for those interested in doing a trip of their own. I have compiled as much information as I can for you fellow adventurer/outdoor lovers in the Chicagoland area. Hopefully you can get out in the next few weeks! Then we can swap stories!

Assemble the crew. A group of 8 or under is pretty good. Any larger than that and it requires a LOT of planning. So maybe if it’s your first time, start small and once you get some experience, you will really get the hang of it and be able to expand the group, if that’s what you want.

This summer, I have been on two different sections of the Wisconsin River. Both are absolutely beautiful. The Wisconsinry=480PINRiver is very wide ( in some parts up to half mile ) and pretty shallow. There were few parts that the river was above my shoulders (although there are some deep sections), and at times the water was only up to my ankles!

You can choose a few distances with a number of canoe rental companies. They will set up you with the canoe and shuttle you back to your car once the trip is over. I have done a three day, two night trip or a single overnight canoe trip. If you are new to canoeing 10 miles is a good number for the whole weekend. If you want/think you can do more, try 15-20. We launched  fromry=400-2PINBlack Hawk River Runs in Mazomanie, Wisconsin. Here’s the link to the rental place: http://www.blackhawkriverruns.com/oc/profile?g=1510093 It’s about a 3 and a half hour drive from Chicago. The other trip I did on a different section of Wisconsin River was through this company at Boscobel, WN. And we used the lovely canoe renal company: http://www.travelwisconsin.com/canoeing-kayaking/wisconsin-river-outings-boscobel-203229

The river shore is hugged by so much greenery! Trees on trees on trees. Little Islands pop up all over the river, alongry=400-1PINwith sand bars, perfect for camping. Make sure you have a map and once you have done a good distance start looking for a place to camp.I advise camping at a sand bar jutting out from an island, to give you cover for the bathroom, and for safety ( you don’t want your island washing away at night!) <— Very unlikely, it would have to rain a lot, but if there are trees growing on the island, you know it’s been there for longer than a newly formed sand bar. Make sure you pull your canoes far up the shore and flip them over! overnight!

For the most part, everyone is responsible for their own gear. By that I mean: Tent and tarp (necessary in case of rain), Ice chest, Headlamps and lanterns, bug repry=400-5PINellent, sun screen, water bottles, swim suite, sunscreen, sunglasses, fireside chairs. I usually provide a list for people to give them an idea or just remind them of what to bring. A canoe can hold a lot of weight, so you can pack a lot in the center part of the canoe. I see people organize their stuff in plastic storage bins, which seems to work well!

Community gear: I love sharing food. So when I went during the Fourth of July, everyone was responsible for one meal for the whole group. I teamed up with Brian and had breakfast on the last day. Others had dinner or lunch and went alry=480-2PINl out for just one meal. It was awesome and we ate like Kings and Queens! We brought snacks just in case, and BYOB. We all pitched in to buy a bundle of firewood. I highly recommend buying something to help you cook over a fire. We also had just a food cooler, which we filled with ice and did not open until meal time! It kept all the eggs, cheese and meat nice and cold. Beer cooler and food cooler is a good idea.

We put kabobs on here, and also a frying pan to make the eggs for breakfast burritos. If someone has a pop up table, those come in hany too! But if you don’t have one. prop one canoe face down onto to canoes and make yourself a little food prep/table area.

ry=400-3PINHelpful hint: Tiki torches with Citronella. We made a perimeter around the hang out section on the sand bar, it kept all the bugs away and was super affordable. Absolutely recommend bringing that.  Don’t forget a trash bag and paper towels or a dirty rag for all the trash form cooking AND bring a lot a lot a lot of water. ry=400-9PIN

Prepare for Rain: Check the weather, wind and rain can really cause some problems out on thery=400-4PINriver. Make sure you pack rain gear and stake a tent. Youtube: anchoring a tent in sandy soil with the deadman. It’ll show you how to secure your tent in case you get hit with rain. I also was told, tarp on the outside and tarp on the inside of the tent helps keep you dry. All in all, is stunningly beautiful and a great way to get out and explore!


And Remember:

Bring  frisbee


Float down the river (Be careful of the current)


Jam out by the fire


And Enjoy being outside! Feel free to comment any questions and I can help answer!

Remember to pack in and pack out. Take care of the gifts nature gives us!

Pictures taken by Dave Rigg and Claire Snyder








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