Mississippi River Trips

My trip is scheduled to begin the first week in June. I plan on leaving from Lake Itasca and ending at Venice. LA. I will go to Mile 0 and the back to Venice by way of the Gulf of Mexico and a channel that goes to the back side of Venice.

I plan on averaging about 40 miles a day covering the 2,300 miles or so in 60 days.

The boat is an Eddyline Nighthawk 16. It is 15’9" and weighs about 47 pounds. Nighthawks have a skeg and are 22" beam. Paddles are by Swift, carbon fiber Mid-Swift (215) and carbon fiber Wind-Swift(220)

I plan on resupplying myself by U.S Postal Service augmented with odds and ends purchased in river towns such as gas for the stove and bread.

I will be camping the whole way and cooking most of my meals planning on getting an occassional treat along the way if the opportunity presents itself.

I am traveling pretty light, about 35 pounds of gear and 15 pounds of food. Water will come out of the river.

Good luck!
I have plans to do the same. Next year. Going to spend a week or two on the Missouri River this year. I’ll be in a canoe however. Enjoy!

That 's gonna be an adventure!
When my kids are out of collage I’ll be able to take a couple months off for a trip like that; that’s the plan, I hope.

Your traveling pretty light. I’d suggest bringing along a couple days water with you and refill whenever you find a tap. you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding good water; lots of towns and parks along the way. You need about a gallon a day. I live in Mn. and except for the very northern part of the river, I’d feel concerned about filtering. I know my filter will remove the usual stuff but what about agricultural, industrial and urban run off? Almost everything dumped in whole country east of the Rockies eventually runs down the Mississippi.

Stay close to shore and watch out for those huge barges, they can’t stop or turn on a dime.

A couple more years and I’ll be going with ya!


I have . . .
. . . a Katadyn Pocket filter. I will have about 1 1/2 gallons of water storage, a Cammelback and a Platypus. I won’t pass up city water that is convenient. Beyond Cairo city water won’t be easily available.

Like you said, the filter won’t remove agricultural chemical runoff but for the short term I don’t think it will kill me. Many of he local cities and towns take their supply from the river and their filtration/treatment doesn’t remove it either.

Do you plan on having a way to communicate with the Corps at the dams to lock through? If so, what kind of radio is it and how do you know when to communicate and frequency to use? The canoeing, supplies I know about. Just don’t know about getting through or around locks.

I have a Standard-Horizon . . .
. . . handheld VHF that runs on AA batteries. I think the channel the locks operate on is 14 but they have their own frequency. The radio was pretty cheap, around $70.

Oh yeah, . . .
. . . there is also a signal rope so you can get through without a radio.

good trip
I am planning on doing it as part of a larger trip probably in 2010 - maybe this year if I can. Have to let us know how it goes. I will probably have questions. I lived near the headwaters for most of my life (now only about 100 miles away) and I can say the upper portion is pretty nice. Could be real weedy/buggy by June though. Plenty of places to camp on the MN portion. Water is clean there too. My former roommates brother in law did it last year…62 days. He said it wasn’t much of a problem paddling it. Have fun!!

Talkin’ to myself - the boat
The boat is an Eddyline Nighthawk 16. It has the kevlar hull option that is no longer offered. Deck is yellow, hull white. This is a skeg boat. Overall length is 15’9"(advertised 16’). Weight is 47lbs (advertised 42) and the beam is 22" (tipy). I bought the boat used from the original owner. It wasn’t used much. The boat was built in 2001.

I redid the deck rigging using 550 cord (pretty small but very strong a versitle) and discarded the plastic fitting and went with fitting I fabricated using nylon strapping. Also replaced all the bungie for paddle and chart park going up in size on the paddle park and making it a continuous loop.

I also added a deck compass, Ritchey (somethin’ or other can’t remember). I broke one of the plastic seat brackets that hold the back band tryin’ to learn to roll. Got some spares from Eddyline.

The boat has plenty of storage for what I plan to carry, rear hatch oval maybe 10x18 and front about 10" round. Both are seperated from the cockpit by bulkheads which are nominally watertight (small leak somewhere) I plan on keeping tent/sleeping stuff in the rear, food and cooking in front. Paddlefloat, bilge pump and spare paddle on rear deck. The only item that really need to be in drybag is sleeping bag.

Mississippi River Trips
You probably know to be flexible in camping options. I have found that some of the DNR river access campsites are not where the map says they should be, and found one site north of Aitkin with the access completely washed away by the spring floods. A 10 foot vertical bank where a trail should have been. Lots of very muddy river banks making it hard to land. Even some of the DNR or county boat landings had 10 inches of mud on top of the cement. When paddling south out of Little Falls, the Blanchard dam makes a lake that is about 7 miles long. If the wind is from the south, it can be quite a challenge. With a 15 mph wind from the south I made about 1.5 mph progress. The portage on the west side of the river at Blanchard had a lot of poison ivy and the portage on the east side of the dam is very long and goes up and over a railroad embankment.

Have a good trip.


I just finished reading Mississippo Solo last week and have been daydreaming about this adventure. I hope you will come back and post a trip report for us!