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Expeditions - Camping Considerations (Summer/Fall)


Quapaw provides all necessary river gear & emergency equipment. Normally we prepare all food & refreshments, drinks include spring water, juices and milk. Alcoholic beverages BYOB. We will pack all necessary cookware and eating utensils, as well as camp tables and camp chairs.

Bring all personal gear and stuff into our waterproof drybags before launching (or use your own). These are backpack-style bags made of tough waterproof material - great for packing on a rainy day! It takes three complete fold to make them water-proof, be sure to lock all four buckles! If you have any questions, check with your guide.

Be prepared for rain or intense sun UV exposure! Sunlight is surprisingly intense on the river (you get the sun twice – once from above and once reflected from below). Sunburn is our number one complaint and has caused more than one Mississippi River paddler very painful days and sleepless nights. Be forewarned! Sunglasses, sun screen, long sleeve clothing and a wide brim hat are all good ideas, especially for anyone particularly sensitive.

We can supply tents & sleeping bags to anyone who needs them, $25/person. Otherwise, bring your own and pack with your gear into our dry bags.

Camping: Remote islands, sandbars, towheads, usually sandy places, in inclement weather it might be necessary to find shelter within the forest. This is primitive camping on a river island, no services of any sort. Bring everything you need to make yourself comfortable. Bring your own toiletry. Bring a change of warm clothing, including summer months, when mornings can be cool. It’s always cooler on the river.

Swimming: great swimming from ocean-size beaches and possible blue holes along the way. Blues holes are greenish or bluish pools of water carved directly into the sand & mud during high water, the low water leaves them in unexpected places. Best swimming in the Mississippi Delta! Pack swim gear and towels.

Please find following some ideas for what to bring for clothing & camping items. (Once again, bring your personal gear in duffle bags and stuff into our dry bags before pushing off).

My top five equipment "don't forget to pack" recommendations are
  1. Foot protection you don't mind getting muddy & wet. An old pair of tennis. River sandals. Go barefoot if you want, but bring old tennis shoes also for the rough places. Bring extra pair of shoes & pack into drybag to change into at camp.
  2. Head lamp for after-dark reading, eating, whatever. When the mosquitoes come out after dark, the only secure place is your tent!
  3. A towel. Towels are great for all kinds of things, not just washing your face in the morning, but wiping sand out of your tent, a makeshift pillow, etc.
  4. Sun protection: Sunglasses, sun screen, long sleeve clothing and a wide that doesn't blow off in the wind. I highly recommend sun-protective clothing for children and anyone particularly sensitive. We find ours at www.nrsweb.com or www.sungrubbies.com, but most outdoors outlets carry them.
  5. A knife. Useful for everything from cutting steaks to making tent stakes!
  6. Notebook, journal, sketchbook, camera. You will want to record some of your experiences and the amazing sights & sounds of the Mississippi River. Always a surprise when you least expect it! You might have life-changing thoughts, ideas for a new business, or maybe just a sweet note to a loved-one.
ALSO: bring several changes of clothes, and dress in layers in cool evenings. A sweater, fleece pull over & rain jacket for cool mornings/evenings. Camping close to the river is similar to camping on a Pacific Ocean beach in the Fall & Spring, the day might be warm, or even hot, but it feels cool by the water's edge, and even cooler if there is a breeze blowing over it.

Cooking & eating considerations: We do all of our cooking on the campfire with cast iron cookware, pans, pots & Dutch ovens. Smoked Cowboy Coffee (our specialty) poured from enamel coffee pots, we always keep hot water in a separate pot for soups & tea. We'll have on board big coolers with ice and several dry boxes for dry goods in case you have something extra you want to bring (ie: BYOB). Meals served on enamel camp plates, bowls & cups. Any personal food requirements? Let us know, otherwise we'll go with whatever looks freshest & tastiest!

Bug Protection: the Mississippi Mosquito has evolved way beyond DEET and other commercial grade repellants. Some people swear by Avon "Skin-so-soft." The only thing that really works for me is long sleeve shirt and pants and shoes, My personal preference is fleece. The skeeters still haven’t grown their noses long enough to get through a thin layer of pile fleece! If all else fails be prepared to jump in your tent after dark. Check beforehand to make sure your tent screens are complete (not a bad idea to double check stakes, poles and fly. Maybe apply seam sealer?) The persistent skeeters will find the hole you forgot about last year when you packed it away!

Any questions? Write john@island63.com or call 662-902-7841

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