The following “books & gear” list is combination library and long-distance paddle gear shop, where travelers can see and source what’s proven to go the distance. Here we hope you’ll discover – or rediscover – the excitement of travel & expedition, along with inspiration to set your mind adrift. Click on a picture to check out a book, and scroll down to view a complete list of river-tested expedition gear! By making a qualifying “Amazon associate” purchase through this page, you are contributing to the “22 Rivers” expedition moving forward.
PADDLING ADVENTURES, WATERSIDE TALES & RIVER GUIDE BOOKS
MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT & RHODE ISLAND
(COFFEE TABLE PICTURE BOOKS)
UNITED KINGDOM & N. IRELAND
When CNN citizen journalist Neal Moore slid his canoe into the headwaters of the Mississippi River to begin a 2,300-mile odyssey across the midsection of the United States, he was acutely aware of another American who filled his tales with what he saw and heard along the river: Mark Twain. Neal was doing what every self-respecting Twain-enthusiast wishes to do. He was on The River. And in it. And alongside it. He was in bright sun and harm’s way. Neal was attracting characters as they attracted him, and their stories poured forth. Whether interviewing a Delta musician singing the economic blues, an Ojibwe dancer sharing a secret tradition, or an inmate doing 25 to life at “The Farm,” Moore’s stories are imbued with the most common of all American traits: optimism.
You can purchase a signed copy of “Down the Mississippi”, published by the Mark Twain Museum Press. Please send $20.00 via PayPal (including free shipping to the United States), or a check or money order to: Neal Moore, 477 E. Steep Mountain Dr., Draper, UT 84020. Be sure to include your best shipping address. You can also preview and purchase via Amazon.
WHAT I’VE GOT – NEAL’S COMPLETE GEAR LIST
If you’re supplying for a long-distance river sojourn, or merely wishing to learn about the gear necessary to go the distance, each selection has been thoroughly “river-tested”. Through trial and error, this is a complete list of what I’m quite happily hauling across America. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to drop me a line. I hope you’ll discover everything you need to get on with your journey.
EXPEDITION DRY DUDS
Muck Boots Edgewater – I’ve taken these down the Mississippi, and currently have a pair on my feet as I make my way across America. When you step into or out of the canoe, you want a pair of these. In cold weather they warm my feet, in hot weather, they cool me down. Most importantly, I stay dry, and the muck stays at bay. On all fronts, these are just excellent.
BAGS & DRY BAGS
Eagle Creek Dopp Kit — This dopp kit keeps all my toiletry items in one easy to reach place. I can hang it on a tree, in the camp, or on the towel rack – and because it’s red I rarely misplaces it.
DRY PAK Waterproof XL Duffle – I picked up a duo of these in Astoria, Oregon at the start of my present adventure. For the price, I was surprised how well they hold up. It’s not NRS quality (in 5 months of continual use and abuse, I’ve busted one strap), but for a secondary dry bag, I’m a fan and I’d recommend it.
NRS 110L Heavy-Duty Bill’s Bag – This is the workhorse I rely on – my current one has travelled with me over two thousand miles. In snow, sleet, hail, and bright sun, this bag holds up something serious. It’s easy to haul to and from the canoe – and although it’s an investment, I’ve got the peace of mind to know it’ll not only go the distance, but that everything inside will stay dry.
Watershed Animas Multipurpose Backpack, Coyote – Hauling this pack is a pleasure. It’s smaller than the Heavy Duty Bill’s Bag at 54L, and is likewise easy to place over my shoulder to portage in and out of camp. The 420 denier Cordura nylon ripstop fabric provides five times the abrasion resistance of PVC, UV and chemical resistant. It’ll never crack, fade, or lose its flexibility. There are a few different versions and volumes of this one — the Watershed Largo Tote at 25L, and the Watershed Mississippi Duffle Dry Bag at 111L, but I like the backpack style the best.
Big Agnes Battle Mountain 3 – The tent is like a fortress. There are times when you definitely want to get out of the cold and the wind and the wet, and this expedition-grade tent stands up. I like the three-man version so I can get all my gear inside with me. Then, when I walk into town, the canoe is locked to a tree or the dock, and everything else is left in my tent. With the storm shelter draped over, and my marine radio’s NOAA radio weather forecast left on inside, I like to think that folks don’t know if there’s anybody home. This model also comes in a 2-person version.
Exped Synmat 3-D 7 Inflatable Sleeping Pad, Medium – When you pull into camp and set up your tent, you want a comfortable mattress to sleep on. It takes me less than a minute to blow this one up, probably half of that to deflate and roll up. I think this one is no longer available at REI, but you can grab one at Amazon or on eBay. I like the size of the “7” — I started out with the larger Mega-mat 10 Self-Inflating Pad (which was too big). The “7” fits nicely in my tent, and at 6’2″, it does the job for me.
MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Water Filter – This is my go-to water purifier. It’s tested at MSR’s r&d lab in Washington, so it’s solid and highly rated. I once ran out of water on a hike across Northern Ethiopia — my donkey Gopher and I had been promised wells and water from farmers that never materialized — and swore I’d never make that mistake again. Now when I run low on the rivers and lakes that I’m currently up against across America, I’m sorted.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter – I keep this with me as a backup to the MSR TrailShot.
Reliance Rhino-Pak Heavy Duty Water Container – This contains the real thing – water I source as I make my way across the nation. It’s super rugged and is easy to haul to and from my canoe. On difficult, remote stretches where I’ll likely be away from people for weeks, I carry two of these with water filled to the brim.
COOKING SYSTEM, EXPEDITION GRUB & BEAR-PROOF CONTAINERS
MSR Trail Lite Duo System Cook Set – This handy set has got everything I need to boil water, heat up my food, serve, and eat. It comes with two bowls and two sets of utensils, so I’ve always got a clean set. It’s compact, durable, and hard to misplace. I absolutely love it.
WISE COMPANY FOOD SUPPLY, FREEZE-DRIED ENTRÉE VARIETY BUCKET, 120 SERVINGS — This is my go-to for long-distance travel. The Wise Company = Utah disaster food. It’s oh so easy to make – you just add boiling water. For every 4-serving bag I get two dinners. You do the math. It turns into about a handful of dollars per meal. That’s (still) ultra-economical. It’s great because I get 13 choices come suppertime. And a heavy duty bucket to sit on — mine was washed downstream on the Clark Fork River and when I got it back, everything inside was still dry. If you like to make up breakfast before you hit the river trail, you can also opt for the Wise Company Freeze Dried Breakfast and Entree Bucket, 84 servings.
GOOD TO GO (SELECTION) – When I really want to live, I indulge into this – proudly made in Maine! Long-distance paddler Martin Trahan turned me on to this company, and I love it.
BearVault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister – I’m travelling through bear country – both the black and grizzly variety. And so I carry a trio of these canisters with me — it comes in a slightly smaller BV450 model as well. An investment, but worth it in my mind, as I place the canisters on the far side of camp (no need to hoist them up a tree), and sleep easy.
GCI Outdoor SitBacker – I’ve taken this seat down the Mississippi River, and currently have an identical model on my cross-country canoe expedition – and it saves my back. There’s a set of straps that clamp below your canoe seat. I find this seat a comfortable must.