(BPT) - So, you're planning a trip to Ely to get up close and personal with nature. Great! But, newbie wilderness visitors might not be entirely sure how to go about doing that.

In Ely, we pride ourselves as being the gateway to the Boundary Waters. As such, we love to introduce newcomers to the wilderness experience that is such an integral part of what Ely is. We often hear the question: "What should I bring?"

For those who don’t have much experience with outdoor adventure travel or need some guidance on what to bring on their Ely vacation, here is the essential checklist for all you need when you’re headed up to the north woods.

Note: We left out some of the basics, like a toothbrush, soap and so forth. So just because underwear isn’t on the list, don’t think you don’t need it!

The basics

  • A pair of boots suitable to your excursion and the season you'll be here. For hiking they should cover the ankles; for canoeing, consider sandals or water shoes.
  • Lightweight wool hiking socks
  • Hiking pants with zip-off legs. These are easy to convert into shorts.
  • T-shirt (or two)
  • Hat (these protect against the sun and bugs)
  • Bug repellent
  • Bug net or big jacket. Bugs are a reality in the north woods, but when you’re properly protected, they will be an afterthought.
  • Lightweight top, sweater or other kind of long-sleeved shirt
  • Lightweight raincoat
  • Sunscreen (don’t underestimate the power of sun rays reflected off water!)
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • An extra pair of your prescription eyeglasses

Day trips, whether by canoe or foot

  • Some sort of water purification system (SteriPen or a filtered water bottle)
  • Two water bottles (stay hydrated!)
  • Bear spray (it’s highly unlikely that you'll need this, but it does bring peace of mind)
  • Swimsuit and small towel (optional)
  • A small daypack to put all of this in
  • A fully charged phone. Cell phones do work around the edge of the Boundary Waters, so be sure to bring yours in case of an emergency. Also, they double as a camera!
  • Small first aid kit. At a minimum, this should include bandages, antibiotic cream, alcohol swabs, blister pads and ibuprofen.

Now, this list could go on. Outdoor gadgets and gear tend to proliferate. Unfortunately, this can all be rather intimidating for the newbie who gets tricked into thinking they need 78 to 93 different pieces of gear in order to enjoy the wilderness.

With the few items on this list (maybe less!), you can be free to explore the lakes and trails around Ely and see for yourself why so many become addicted to the outdoor lifestyle.