Northern Tier Canoeing Prep


This course is a weekend long mini-trek designed to raise your learning curve and eliminate many “got-cha” surprises long before you depart for your trek. It is a great "shake down" for your crew helping them to discover strengths and weaknesses that can be worked on before you find yourself deep in the Canadian wilderness.

In this exciting training program, you will learn: how to portage canoes and equipment between lakes; discuss first aid and survival issues specific to the boundary waters wilderness area; get experience using the same gear that the Northern Tier Scout Bases will provide; learn what personal gear to take north and how to pack it; learn meal preparation and menus that you can expect on your trek.... all from staff members who have been to the Northern Tier Canoe Bases!

Friday 8:00 PM Personal, Crew and Northern Tier Supplied Gear will be reviewed. Current Northern Tier Issued crew/food packs as well as personal gear Duluth packs will be issued.
Saturday 8:30 AM Break camp and assemble at the pavilion with gear you will carry for a gear shakedown. We will not camp on the main base for Saturday night. We will cover canoe loading, navigation, map reading, Safety Afloat and portaging.
  12:00 PM Lunch. After lunch we will paddle, practice navigation and portaging.
  3:30 PM We will find camp and set up.  Keys to camp setup and the organization of the idea campsite will be discussed.
  6:00 PM Dinner. Northern Tier menus, food preparation, baking and clean up issues will be discussed.  After dinner we will cover Leave No Trace topics like camp sanitation, water treatment and bears.
  10:00 PM Lights out.
Sunday 6:30 AM Wake up!
  7:00 AM Breakfast
  8:30 AM Break camp and paddle, paddle, paddle... Key today will be to put our new portaging and navigation skills to work.
  10:00 AM Worship services. Please be prepared with at least 5 to 10 minutes of a scout led service.  All crews will participate.
  12:00 PM Return to base camp, clean up and put away gear, and depart for home after checking out with instructor (usually by 12:30).

Crew size: 24

What to Bring:

Size is more important than weight: The more compact the better. There is a real possibility that everything will get wet, so pack in Ziploc bags or bring heavy duty garbage bags to line your personal gear packs! Checkout the resources below for detailed information to prepare for your trip to Northern Tier. The items you need to bring for our training weekend are divided into two lists, shown below:

Crew Gear Provided for Allatoona Weekend:

  • Granite Gear personal gear Duluth packs
  • Kondos Outdoors food/equipment packs
  • Tent (big enough for 4 people)
  • Cook kit (including utensils)
  • Tarp with lines
  • Cook stoves (backpacker type, 2 per crew)
  • Small shovel

Crew Gear Needed for Allatoona Weekend:

  • First aid kit

Personal Gear Needed for Canoe Trip:

  • Kitchen
    • Cup, bowl, spoon
    • Water bottle
  • Tools/Miscellaneous

    • Flashlight
    • Knife
    • Pencil & note pad
    • Fanny/day pack (optional)
    • Sit pad
    • Camera & film (optional)
    • Stuff sacks for personal gear
    • Fishing pole (optional)


  • BDU's (fast drying long pants – NO sweats or jeans)
  • Suspenders or belt
  • 2 changes of underwear
  • 2 crew t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of wool socks
  • 2 pairs of sock liners
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt
  • Camp shoes (dry shoes for use in camp)
  • Jungle boots (you WILL get them wet)
  • Rain gear (absolutely NO PONCHOS!)
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Bandana
  • Sleep shirt/clothing


  • Sleeping bag & sleeping pad
  • Hammock (optional)


  • Biodegradable soap (camp suds or similar)
  • Toilet paper
  • Bug repellant
  • Sun screen/sun block
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss


  • Safety Afloat Guidelines must be followed: 2 Trained leaders for 10 or fewer scouts or 3 Trained leaders for 11 or more.
  • Must be a swimmer (bring completed NT Swim Classification Record).
  • Must be at least 13 years old.
  • Current BSA Annual Health and Medical Record for the entire crew including advisors.
  • Canoeing Merit Badge HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Although the Canoeing Merit Badge is not specifically required by the Northern Tier, poor or nonexistent canoeing skills at best make for a miserable trip and at worst an unsafe trip. This prep course is not intended nor designed to teach basic canoeing skills.



The programs offered are for Troops, Crews, Ships, and Teams. Cub Scouts may not participate in our programs pursuant to the BSA's Age-Appropriate Guidelines For Scouting Activities. Select a date below and you'll be taken to the Council's registration system, powered by Tentaroo. If you're a parent registering your Scout for one of our programs log in to your account and you'll be taken to the registration page for the desired program. If you don't have an account create an "Individual/Family" account then navigate to the desired program. If you are a Unit Leader registering your unit for one of our programs log in to your unit's account. If you do not have your unit's login information please contact Veronica Bramlet.

File Name Description
Northern Tier Advisors Planning Guide Download
Northern Tier Canoeing Prep Weekend Schedule Download
Northern Tier Example Duty Roster Download
Northern Tier Expedition Canoeing Helpful Hints Download
Northern Tier Summer Participant Handbook Download