Environmental Education 5343: Gearing up for Isle Royale

The challenge is to pack what you need to be comfortable with changing weather and temperatures, and comfortable carrying all of the gear! Each of us will carry our own gear, a portion of the group gear and a portion of the food. Ideally, the packs will weigh no more than 30% of each person's body weight. We must distribute our group weight carefully so that no one has more weight than they can handle.

Please review the following list, we will discuss other options and suggestions in class.


  • Sleeping pad (closed cell foam or Therma-rest style)
  • Sleeping bag (rated to 20 degrees F) in a compression stuff sack
  • Boots — durable boots with heavy duty soles & ankles support
  • Shoes — soft soled shoes for wearing in camp (think light and comfortable)
  • Backpack — internal or external frame — to carry all items

Most full size backpacks will work for this trip, but a good quality pack is often worth it in comfort. Make sure the pack fits you properly. An internal frame pack of around 4500 to 6000 cubic inches is what is needed. We will help each other with fitting and packing.

  • 1—2 Pair pants — loose & comfortable (wool, nylon, supplex, or light cotton)
  • 2 Piece rain—suit of durable material 1 Pair long underwear (no cotton)
  • 3 Pair underwear 3 Pair wool socks (possibly thin liner socks as well)
  • 2 Long sleeved shirt:wool or synthetic 1—2 T—shirt 1 Pair shorts 1 Heavy
  • sweater/pile jacket 1 Wind jacket (should be your rain jacket) 1 Pair
  • gloves or mittens and a winter hat (synthetic or wool)

On this trip the weather may vary from hot and sunny with a high of 70 degrees to cold, rainy, and windy and in the 40 degree range; overnight temps may dip below freezing. Plan your clothing items so they can be worn over each other in layers. During the coldest possible weather, you may be wearing nearly all of your layers. Avoid cotton and seek wool, silk and synthetic fabrics for warmth and moisture-wicking capabilities.

  • Baseball style or wide—brim hat for sun protection
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, soap in plastic bag, etc. (small containers)
  • 1—2 bandannas
  • Moleskin and band-aids for blister prevention and minor cuts
  • Any current medications (must be indicated on health information form)
  • Sunglasses with safety strap, spare prescription glasses with safety strap
  • Flashlight w/ fresh batteries
  • Pocket knife
  • Unbreakable eating utensils (plate, cup, bowl, spoon)
  • 1 liter unbreakable plastic water bottle
  • Class journal
  • Class text and (possible) one other IR text
  • Course presentation assignment
  • Pencils/pens


  • Toiletries: insect repellent, sunscreen lotion, hand disinfectant
  • Tents
  • Tarps
  • Stoves/fuel/matches
  • Cook kits and utensils
  • Water filters
  • First aid kit w/cell phone (emergency use only)
  • Trowel
  • 3 Maps
  • 3 Compasses


  • Camera with film
  • Binocs
  • Camp chair (e.g. Crazy Creek)
  • Other? Just ask.
  • Do NOT bring recreational drugs or alcohol.


  • If you do not have some of the major items, you can rent from the UMD Kirby Games and Outing Center, call (218)726—8734.