A Rain-or-Shine Wilderness Adventure

4-day
Wilderness Canoe Trip

Main Branch of Fox River and Upper Reaches of Manistique River


Upper Peninsula
Schoolcraft County
Seney, Michigan

October 2-5, 2020

Organized
by
Michael Neiger
Sierra Club Trip Leader

Three Lakes Group
Michigan Chapter

mneiger@hotmail.com
Marquette, Michigan
South Shore of Lake Superior



Register for trip Trip description Trip info
Warnings & advisories Cartography & land nav Gear required
Free Upcoming
Trips, Expeditions, and Wilderness Skills Classes

Trip description

This free, 4-day, Three Lakes Group Sierra Club wilderness canoe trip will involve paddling the down the main branch of the Fox River from the site of the old Wagner Dam to its confluence with the upper Manistique River, before taking out in Germfask, Michigan.

Boot Hill on the Fox River (Photo courtesy of Chris Ozminski, from the 2014 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

 

Cathy Susan on the 2014 Fox River canoe trip (Photo courtesy of Michael Neiger; click to enlarge)
 
The crew on the 2014 Fox River canoe trip (Photo courtesy of Michael Neiger; click to enlarge)

The 36.5-mile-long Fox River is a tributary of the Manistique River. The river, especially its upper reaches is choked with logs in spots. Some bridge the river completely, necessitating a lift-over, or drag-around on shore. Stumps dot the river too. While there are no rapids, the current is consistent, and inattentive paddlers quickly end up bumping up against a stump or log.

 
Fallen trees are common on the Fox River. (Photo by Michael Neiger from the 2016 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)
 

Fallen trees are common on the Fox River. (Photo by Michael Neiger from the 2016 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

Renowned for its trout fishing, Ernest Hemingway fished the River in 1919, after which he wrote a short story based on it. Entitled the Big Two-Hearted River, it contrasted the destructive nature of war with the restorative power of the outdoors.

 

Ernest Hemingway

 

The Big Two-Hearted River
by Ernest Hemingway

This trip is open to the public, and participants do not need to be members of the Sierra Club to participate.

Northland Outfitters will be shuttling us from our take-out point on the Manistique River in Germfask to our put-in point at the site of the old Wagner Dam on the Fox River, well north of Seney.

 

Northland Outfitters
Germfask Michigan

 

Our impromptu night bivouacs — rugged and unscouted — will be in the bush along the riverbank, wherever we can find a place to lay down when the sun sets. No toilets, no bear caches, no tent sites, no potable water — all water will come from the river.

Bivouac on the Fox River. (Photo by Michael Neiger from the 2016 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

 

Bivouac on the Fox River. (Photo by Michael Neiger from the 2016 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

 

Bivouac on the Fox River. (Photo by Chris Ozminski from the 2014 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

Participants in this trip should be fully-equipped, experienced river paddlers who are physically fit and prepared to be doing tons of negotiating river obstructions, including avoiding stumps, floating logs, and trees fully bridging the river and impeding our passage.

Canoes: Participants should have their own canoes, although rental tandem canoes are available at $50 a day from our outfitter. Parts of this river can be tough on lightweight hulls if the paddler is not careful and skilled at canoeing.

Trip leader Michael Neiger (Photo from the 2014 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

Participants should be proficient in controlling and maneuvering their canoe in light to moderate current (no rapids or rocks on the Fox, just steady, continuous current) with the following strokes/maneuvers:

  • forward strokes
  • back paddling
  • pries
  • draws
  • back ferries
  • forward ferries
  • parallel side-slipping
  • eddying turns
  • and paddling backwards down the river
In the spreads, where the Fox River braids into several narrow channels. (Photo by Michael Neiger from the 2016 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

 

In the spreads, where the Fox River braids into several narrow channels. (Photo by Michael Neiger from the 2016 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

 

In the spreads, where the Fox River braids into several narrow channels. (Photo by Michael Neiger from the 2016 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)
 
In the spreads, where the Fox River braids into several narrow channels. (Photo by Michael Neiger from the 2016 Fox River canoe trip; click to enlarge)

 

 

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Trip info
  • Type: Wilderness canoeing on narrow, twisty river — no rapids, no rocks, but tons of stumps, floating logs, neck-high trees spanning river, tight bends, and a long section of narrow, braided spreads. Numerous lift-overs and drag-arounds at obstructions required.
  • Destination: Main Branch of Fox River and upper Manistique River, Schoolcraft County, Seney and Germfask, Michigan
  • When: 8:00 a.m. Friday, October 2, to 5:00 p.m. Monday, October 5, 2020

    • Registration process: After thoroughly reviewing this webpage, reserve a spot on this trip by joining the Michigan Kayaking/Canoing private Facebook Group; clicking on the "Event" tab; clicking on the "going" tab for this trip; and sending Michael Neiger a 'friend request' and private message, after which he will send you a liability waiver form and a class registration form to print-out, fill-out, and return by snail mail.
    Questions: Private message or email organizer Michael Neiger at mneiger@hotmail.com
    NOTE: If you are interested in being part of the point land-navigation team on this trip, or learning more about navigation from them, please let the organizer know.
    Cost: Free, participants pay their own expenses, share any group expenses (estimated shuttle fee, with 8 participants: $25.00)
    Participant limit: Six (6), plus leader, and assistant leader.
    Sign-up deadline: September 25, 2020

  • Sierra Club Leadership:
    •    
       
        MibSAR
      Sierra Club Organizer & Trip Leader: Michael Neiger, Founder & Lead Investigator with the Long Range Special Operations Group (LRSOG), Michigan Backcountry Search and Rescue (MibSAR), Marquette, Michigan, Facebook, website, bio, mneiger@hotmail.com
    •    
       
        DWELL
      Sierra Club Assistant Trip Leader: Todd Theoret, Owner & Lead Instructor at Diversity Wilderness Earth Living, Marquette, Michigan, Facebook, website, bio, todd@diversitywilderness.com
  • Level: Intermediate-level, moderate-current with frequent obstructions
  • Physical fitness: Participants must be physically fit, capable of paddling and maneuvering around frequent obstacles in constant current, hour after hour, day after day, including dragging a fully loaded canoe over or around logs blocking their passage. Before participating in a strenuous multi-day adventure like this one, participants should consider getting:
    • A comprehensive physical exam
    • A stress test
    • Their doctor's approval
    • A thorough dental exam
  • Prerequisites: A participant must
    • be 18 years old or older
    • a non-smoker
    • have completed several overnight narrow-river canoe trips
    • be fully equipped for river paddling and bivouacking in hot, cold, wet, windy, buggy conditions
    • be a proficient swimmer
    • have an adventurous spirit with a strong mind and body
    • agree not to carry or wear cotton clothing — no cotton bras, t-shirts, undershorts, underwear, pants, jeans, shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, etc. — other than a bandanna, as they are deadly when damp (think hypothermia), and it is impossible to dry them out in foul weather.
  • Banned: Participants should leave these at home, or in their vehicles:
    • Firearms
    • Alcohol
    • Tobacco
    • Non-prescription narcotics
    • Cotton clothing
    • Pets
    • Speaker radios
  •    
     
      COVID-19
    CDC COVID-19 protocols for this trip/exped/class:
    • Try to maintain 6-foot spacing intervals
    • Try to wash hands often, especially after contacting any shared surface
    • Try to clean shared surfaces regularly
    • Try to wear a mask (cloth face mask) when in close-quarters (e.g.: when point land-nav team members are working closely, first-aid situations, etc.)
    • Monitor ourselves and each other for symptoms of COVID-19
    • More COVID-19 info from the CDC
  • Campfires: No campfires or twig-burning stoves are permitted on this trip.
  • Bivouac notice: We will be bivouacking in the bush wherever we can find a place to lay down when the sun sets, likely far from established campsites. Our unscouted bivouacs will be very rugged and austere, with absolutely no amenities:
    • No toilet facilities, so you will have to bury your human waste and toilet paper (do not burn it due fire hazard)
    • No water, other than from the Fox River.
    • No garbage facilities, so please pack it out, don't litter.
    • No bear caches, so please hang your water-proof food bag so it is 10' off the ground, 4' below the limb, and 4' out from the tree trunk (a 1/8-inch-diameter, 40- to 50-foot-long chunk of slippery rope offers the most flexibility when hanging food).
    • No tent sites
  • Ration list:
    • 3 Breakfast modules
    • 4 Snack modules
    • 4 Lunch modules
    • 3 Dinner modules
    • 1 24-hour Back-up module (should be high-energy, ready-to-eat finger food)
      • Packaging tip: Package primary rations and back-up rations in heavy-duty, freezer-grade, ziplock plastic bags so they are waterproof, protected from rain and wet snow, as well as moisture from swamps, rivers, and lakes.
  • Permits: No permits are necessary, except for a Michigan Camp Registration Card (discussed below).
  • Pre-trip assembly location: Map with driving directions provided to participants via email as trip nears.
  • Emergency contacts:
    • All emergencies 911
    • Schoolcraft County Sheriff 906.341.2122
    • Michigan State Police 906.643.7582
    • Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital 906.542.4320
  • Tourism info:

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Warnings & Advisories
  • On-person survival kit: Several participants have become lost or separated from the group on past trips — especially when walking around a bivouac spot, such as when going to the bathroom or hanging their food at night, or going on a short walk to take a picture, watch a sunset, or replenish water stores — so make sure you have your essential survival items in your pockets, not in your ruck, which may be sitting on the ground in camp or at a break spot.

    • Pocket knife with locking blade
    • Whistle (plastic so it does not stick to your lips in the winter, and pea-less so it does not jam with sand, snow, etc.)
    • Windproof, waterproof, lifeboat matches
    • Adjustable-flame butane lighter
    • Waterproof, spark-ignitable fire-starters (must not require a flame, just a spark!!; SOL Tinder Quik is highly recommended)
    • Magnesium fire-starter (avoid cheap models as the striker falls off when glue fails; get a Mil-Spec unit used in U.S. Military survival kits — an authentic Doan
    • Small high-quality compass
    • Signal mirror (protect reflective surface)
    • Emergency blanket (2-person rip-proof SOL Survival Blanket is high recommended; put four lengths of 1.5-mm cordage in package to rig as overhead tarp, or fold over and tie together as a bivy sack)
    • Single-AAA aircraft-grade aluminum flashlight with long-life, deep-cold, lithium battery (wrap rubberband around switch-joint to prevent twist-on units from accidentally turning on; Fenix E05 recommended)

    NOTE: Each item should be attached to a thin cord lanyard (Sterling 1.5 mm Mini Cord recommended), a loop on the end of which is then attached to a belt loop, button hole, or safety pin (attached to the inside of a pocket) to prevent accidental loss from your cargo pants pockets. Again, these items should NOT be carried in your ruck as you may become separated from your ruck, for a variety of reasons, and be left to survive with just what is in your pockets.
  • Hypothermia: The organizer has had to intervene on several cases of hypothermia in the past, 5 times in one year alone. These incidents were largely the result of trippers who were trying to go ultra-light and were not carrying the multiple, redundant layers of clothing as recommended. Reversing hypothermia takes hours of work on the part of others on the trip — a lot more work than is required to pack a couple extra pounds of warm synthetic clothing.
  • Eye-injuries: Always wear eye-protection when hiking in the woods as in the past, participants have sustained serious eye injuries from branches, etc.
  • Bee-sting allergies: If you may be allergic to bee stings, notify everyone on the trip and carry an injectable epinephrine unit, such as an EpiPen or Ana-Kit, as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Personal responsibility: A participant's failure to physically train and mentally prepare oneself for a harsh wilderness trip; acquire the necessary skills and equipment for the trip; and recognize, take responsibility for, and avoid the unknown and unpredictable hazards and perils that often present themselves on such a trip may result in serious injury, paralysis, or a slow, painful death. There is no emergency medical equipment, doctor, nurse, or other highly-trained emergency medical provider on Sierra Club wilderness trips.
  • Rescue services: Search and rescue services, emergency medical care, and evacuation of the non-ambulatory may be very difficult and costly to arrange on Sierra Club wilderness trips; in some cases, the wait could be very long, painful, and fatal. On wilderness trips through remote areas in Michigan and Canada, it may take considerable time, perhaps even several days of rigorous travel by uninjured volunteers, before emergency medical personnel or rescue personnel can be contacted for help. In the meantime, the Sierra Club organizer and other participants will only be able to provide the most rudimentary of first aid with nominal first-aid items gathered-up from willing participants.
  • Emergency comm: There is no immediate means of contacting emergency medical personnel or rescue personnel on this wilderness trip. A cell phone will likely not work on this trip. If emergency communication equipment is important to you, consider the following:
    • Purchase or rent a satellite phone by Iridium, Globalstar, Inmarsat, or Thuraya:
    • Purchase or rent a 406 MHz personal locator beacon (PLB) by McMurdo, ACR, or Ocean Signal which directly activate the international search and rescue satellite aided tracking (SARSAT) emergency signaling system run by NOAA.
    • Purchase or rent a satellite emergency notification device (SEND) unit by InReach, SPOT, or Garmin, that rely on private commercial operations to activate the international search and rescue satellite aided tracking (SARSAT) system run by NOAA.
  • Insurance: No insurance is provided to trip participants by the organizer, so give serious consideration to purchasing:
    • Evacuation insurance
    • Trip cancellation insurance
    • Medical insurance
    • Prescription insurance
    • Dental insurance
    • Disability insurance
    • Life insurance
  • Water & snack consumption: Some participants on past trips have failed to drink enough water and eat enough snacks at regular intervals to avoid dehydration or hypothermia because their water bottle and snack bag were buried in their rucksack where they could not access them without stopping and removing their ruck.
    • Avoid this dangerous habit by carrying your water bottle and snacks in pouches mounted on the waist belt of your rucksack for easy, on-the-go access.
  • Fireproof stove base: Unless your stove rests atop a canister or fuel tank, please bring a fire-proof base for it as participants have started ground fires in the past.
  • Water: Bring an adequate amount of water to the trip assembly area as water is often not available where wilderness trips start.
  • Equipment waterproofing: To help keep your gear dry, line the main compartment of your rucksack with a huge 55-gallon, heavy-duty, 3-mil-thick "contractor-grade" garbage bag; put sleeping bags, clothing, insulating outwear, rations, and other water-sensitive items in smaller, roll-top stuff sacks before placing them inside the plastic-bag-lined rucksack. Lastly, twist the top, unused-portion the plastic bag together and tuck it down inside the rucksack. If you're going to be doing some deep-water fording, or swimming a river, lake, or marsh, fold the twisted neck of the plastic bag back over on itself and tie it tightly with a piece of cordage. A rain cover can further protect the contents of a ruck in foul weather.
  • Biting insects: To manage biting insects — mosquitoes, no-see-ums, black flies, beach flies, and ticks — consider the following proven tactics:
    • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored cargo pants and a long-sleeve shirt; a partial or full head net under a light-colored, wide-brimmed boonie hat; and possibly thin gloves, depending on your personal preference and bush experience.
    • Treat your gaiters, cargo pants, shirt, head net, and boonie hat with permethrin to reduce the number of biting insects that will crawl on (and under or through openings) your clothing as well as bite through them.
    • Lastly, cover exposed skin with 100-percent DEET. If you are going to bring a natural alternative, please bring a back-up bottle of 100-percent DEET, or it could be a long trip for you, if your choice of repellent does not cut it, and most don't under challenging conditions. Using duct tape, attach a lanyard to your bottle of DEET so you don't loose it. Thread a loop in the opposite end of the lanyard through a button hole, belt loop, or safety pin clipped to the inside of a pocket.
    • If bug bites tend to irritate you, carry an after-bite treatment stick or other remedy.
  • Long-term parking: To reduce the chances your vehicle will be vandalized, always lock it up, keep valuables out of sight, and install a locking gas cap.
  • Safety around wild animals: If you are concerned for your safety with regard to wild animals — bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, etc. — consider carrying bear spray
  • Bivouacking on land owned by the State of Michigan: There is a substantial fine for camping on land owned by the State of Michigan without posting a Camp Registration Card, which is available from the Michigan DNR for free.
  • Bivouacking on land owned by the Province of Ontario: There is a substantial fine for camping on land owned by the Province of Ontario in Canada without purchasing a daily Crown Land Camping Permit

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Cartography & land nav beta

Custom USGS topographic quads from organizer

Full set of 7 custom 1:24,000 USGS quads for the Fox River, courtesy of organizer

Full set of 7 custom 1:24,000 USGS quads for this trip
 

Optional full-sheet USGS topographic quads

  •  
      USGS Logo
    1:24,000 1972 Sunken Lake, Michigan
  • 1:24,000 1972 Seney NW, Michigan
  • 1:24,000 1972 Seney, Michigan
  • 1:24,000 1972 Germfask, Michigan

USGS map source for purchasing hard-copies, or downloading free PDFs for printing out on a plotter at a local print shop, architectural business, or builders exchange (avoid ink-jet printers/plotters as the print is not waterproof, and will run): USGS Store


Map waterproofing

  •  
      Waterproof your maps with Map Seal by AquaSeal.
       
    Protect your maps by water-proofing them with Map Seal by AquaSeal, or coating them with Thomp-son's Water-Seal, and carrying them in heavy-duty, freezer-grade, gallon-size, ziplock plastic bags

Bush compass rose (for point land nav team)

  •  
      Bush compass rose (Click to enlarge)
       
    Compass rose for our area of operation

  • June 2020 magnetic declination for meridian of longitude lines:
    • 06° 14' west

  • Deviation of UTM easting grid lines from meridian of longitude lines:
    • 00° 46' east

  • Magnetic declination of UTM easting grid lines:
    • 07° 00' west (we correct for this figure, rounded to the nearest degree, in the bush)

GPS setup (for point land nav team)

  • Grid coordinate system
    • 1000-meter Universal Transverse Mercator Grid (UTM)
  • UTM grid horizontal map datum:
    • 1983 North American Datum (NAD 83)
  • UTM grid zone:
    • Zone 16
  • UTM grid hemisphere:
    • Northern hemisphere
  • Unit of measure:
    • Metric
  • Battery type:
    • Lithium, for deep cold, or long-range use
    • Alkaline, for 3-season use
  • Battery type setting:
    • Select correct type of battery (lithium, alkaline, or Ni-Cad) as battery discharge-rate differences affect meter accuracy

Misc land nav equip setup (for point land nav team)

  • Roamer UTM plotter scales:
    • Michigan quads 1:24,000 & 1:25,000
    • Canadian quads 1:20,000 & 1:50,000
  • Ranger pace-county beads:
    • Nine 100-meter beads; four 1-kilometer beads
  • Magnetic declination setting on compass:
    • 0° of offset (zero-out as point land nav team will manually compensate for declination so azimuths will work on all compasses)

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Required gear

Special gear
  • COVID-19 face mask for close-quarters work with other trip participants
  • Hand sanitizer for cleaning hands as needed
Canoing gear
  • Canoe (sturdy hull recommended, one that can bounce unharmed off stumps and logs)
  • PFD (must be worn at all times while paddling)
  • Throw rope
  • Bow line
  • Stern line
  • Primary paddle
  • Backup paddle
  • Bailer
  • Sponge
  • Saw (for trimming branches or cutting trees blocking the river)
  • Dry bags. All water-sensitive gear should be secured in water-proof dry bags, which should then be secured into canoe so they:
    • Won't float away when the canoe overturns
    • Won't dangle from overturned canoe, and hang it up mid-channel obstruction
 

In-pocket's survival gear

  • Pocket knife with locking blade
  • Whistle (plastic so it does not stick to your lips in the winter, and pea-less so it does not jam or foul with sand, snow, etc.)
  • Windproof, waterproof, lifeboat matches
  • Adjustable-flame butane lighter
  • Waterproof, spark-ignitable fire-starters (must not require a flame, just a spark!!; SOL Tinder Quik is highly recommended)
  • Magnesium fire-starter (avoid cheap models as the striker falls off when glue fails; get a Mil-Spec unit used in U.S. Military survival kits — an authentic Doan
  • Small high-quality compass
  • Signal mirror (protect reflective surface)
  • Emergency blanket (2-person rip-proof SOL Survival Blanket is high recommended; put four lengths of 1.5-mm cordage in package to rig as overhead tarp, or fold over and tie together as a bivy sack)
  • Single-AAA aircraft-grade aluminum flashlight with long-life, deep-cold, lithium battery (wrap rubberband around switch-joint to prevent twist-on units from accidentally turning on; Fenix E05 recommended)

NOTE: Each item should be attached to a thin cord lanyard (Sterling 1.5 mm Mini Cord recommended), a loop on the end of which is then attached to a belt loop, button hole, or safety pin (attached to the inside of a pocket) to prevent accidental loss from your cargo pants pockets. These items should NOT be carried in your ruck as you may become separated from your ruck, for a variety of reasons, and be left to survive with just what is in your pockets.

Rucksack

  • Dry bags for gear, carried inside portage packs

First-aid kit

  • Elastic ankle wrap
  • Moleskin
  • Vaseline
  • Band-Aids
  • Waterproof first-aid tape
  • Pain relief medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Personal medications
  • Other medications and first-aid items as recommended by your doctor or a trusted medical professional

    NOTE: Package first-aid kit items in a heavy-duty, freezer-grade, ziplock plastic bag so they are waterproof, protected from rain and wet snow, as well as moisture from swamps, rivers, and lakes.

Repair kit

  • Duct tape
  • 50' of 1/8-inch-diameter nylon lashing cordage
  • Sewing kit
  • Repair kit for inflatable sleeping pad
  • Repair kit for backpacking stove
  • Repair kit for canoe and paddle
    • Important hardware
    • Tools

Head gear

  • 1 very thin balaclava
  • 2 thick hats that can be worn together
  • 1 pair of sun/safety glasses (for bushwhacking; avoid dark lens if you have difficulty seeing through them in shady areas under heavy canopy)
  • Prescription glasses (spare if important)
  • Bandanna (this should be the ONLY cotton item in your kit)
  • Boonie hat (sun, optional)
  • Rain hat (optional)

Upper-body gear

  • 3 or 4 thin polypro tops
  • 2 thick fleece or micro-fiber-insulated jackets (hood is very handy).
  • 1 thin breathable nylon windshirt/anorak (hood is handy)
  • 1 nylon rain parka (should fit over all insulating layers for cold, rainy, windy weather; no plastic, no ponchos)
  • A heavily-insulated parka with hood is advisable on early spring and late fall trips

Hand gear

  • 1 pair of light mittens
  • 1 pair of rain mitts

Lower-body gear

  • 1 pair of 1/4-inch thick fleece or micro-fiber-insulated pants (full, side-separating zippers are ideal for adding or removing them while underway, or on a break, without taking pants and boots off); carry a second pair in spring and fall)
  • 1 pair of thin polypro long underwear (full, side-separating zippers are ideal for adding or removing them while underway, or on a break, without taking pants and boots off)
  • 1 pair of all-synthetic, light-colored cargo pants (non-DWR-treated and breathable for hot weather, and loose for buggy conditions)
  • 1 pair of nylon rain pants (should fit over all insulating layers; no plastic)

Footwear

  • 1 pair of sturdy, waterproof, boots
  • 3 pair of thick synthetic socks
  • 1 pair of short gaiters (to keep water, rain, mud, and forest debris out of boots)
  • 1 pair of river fording shoes/sandals

Bivouac gear

  • Tarp and bivy sack; or small tent with vestibule/fly to cook under when raining
  • Stakes and ropes to rig tarp or tent
  • 20 degree sleeping bag
  • Closed-cell sleeping pad (carry repair kit for inflatable pads)
  • LED headlamp
  • Spare batteries for headlamp (lithium in deep cold)
  • 9-hour candle

Bug-management gear (hot weather trips)

  • 1 bottle of 100% DEET (attach thin cord lanyard to avoid loss when bushwhacking)
  • 1 spare bottle of 100% DEET
  • 1 headnet
  • 1 spare headnet

Navigation gear

  • GPS (optional)
  • Spare batteries for GPS (lithium in deep cold)
  • High-quality, liquid-filled,base-plate compass
  • High-quality, liquid-filled, wrist compass (optional)
  • USGS topographic maps of area
  • Park or county map for area
  • Protractor (if not carrying non-baseplate compass)
  • UTM Roamer plotter (optional)
  • Ranger pace-counting beads (optional)
  • Waterproof notepaper
  • Waterproof pen (optional)
  • Pencil

Hydration gear

  • 2 to 4 one-quart durable water bottles
  • 1 two-quart water bladder for hauling untreated water stores to bivy site
  • Water purification system (iodine tablets recommended; attach a lanyard to bottle to prevent loss)
  • 1 spare bottle of iodine tablets (in case of loss or moisture damage)
  • Repair kit for water purification systems

Ration-heating gear

  • NATO solid-fuel stove, or lightweight backpacking stove
  • Solid fuel tabs for NATO stove or fuel for backpacking stove
  • Repair kit for backpacking stove
  • Lighter
  • Windscreen for stove
  • Fireproof base for stove
  • Pot holder
  • Pot
  • Lid for pot
  • Spoon
  • Mug
  • 50-foot food-hanging rope (use cheap, hard, 1/8-inch-diameter, SLIPPERY rope to reach high limbs, and haul a heavy food bag up on a with high-friction-bark limb)

Personal items

  • Personal medications
  • Driver's license
  • Passport (for Canadian trips)
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Credit cards
  • Cash and travelers checks
  • Medical and dental insurance cards
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with sunblock
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Wrist chronograph
  • Paperback book (optional)

Personal hygiene gear

  • Toilet paper (double waterproofed)
  • Synthetic pack towel
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpowder
  • Toothpicks & dental floss
  • Hand cleaner (optional)
  • Plastic cat-hole spade (optional)

Vehicle gear

  • Extra car key on lanyard
  • Vehicle registration papers
  • Vehicle insurance papers
  • Locking gas cap
  • Road map (Michigan 1-800-292-2520; Canada 1-800-268-3736)
  • County map book of Michigan
  • Spare tire (check pressure!!)
  • Tire jack and lug nut wrench
  • Shovel (spade in summer)
  • Vehicle safety checks:
    • Tire pressure
    • Wiper blades
    • Wiper fluid
    • Oil level
    • Radiator fluid
    • Transmission fluid
    • Battery condition checked
  • Jumper cables (optional)
  • Nylon tow strap (optional)
  • Axe (optional)
  • Bow saw (optional)
  • Hi-lift bumper jack (optional)
  • Hand-operated winch (optional)
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Free Upcoming Trips, Expeditions, and Wilderness Skills Classes
(subject to change)

August 7-9, 2020, MibSAR Basic to Advanced Land Navigation Class, Hiawatha National Forest, Chippewa County, Abandoned Raco Army Airflield, Raco, Michigan

September 4-7, 2020, Sierra Club Grand Island National Recreation Area Backpacking Trip, Alger County, Munising, Michigan

October 2-5, 2020, Sierra Club Fox River Wilderness Canoe Trip, Schoolcraft County, Germfask, Michigan

December 4-7, 2020, Sierra Club Winter Backpacking Trip, Pigeon River Country State Forest, Otsego County, Vanderbilt, Michigan

January 27-31, Sierra Club 5-day Snowshoe-and-Sledge Winter-Camping Trip, Alger County Highlands, Munising, Michigan

February/March, Sierra Club 15-day Snowshoe-and-Sledge Canadian Arctic Ocean Expedition, Ontario, Canada

More trip & exped info

~~~~

The best way to convince people to defend
the wild areas is to take them out and let them see wild splendor for themselves.

— John Muir 1838-1914
Also known as the Father of the National Parks, Muir was an influential Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States of America.

Sierra Club
Michigan Chapter
Three Lakes Group