What’s In YOUR Ammo Can?

3 Min. Read
What’s In YOUR Ammo Can?

Women choose a purse based on the style and the color, wanting to show the world who they are. Be it magenta with spiked straps or a plain Jane black leather satchel, they are sending out a clear message: Hello world! This is me. The look of the purse is just the outer shell; there’s a whole new level of understanding when you open it and look inside.

Ammo cans are to river guides what purses are to urban women.

We decorate them with paint and stickers, oil their hinges and routinely (or not so routinely) clean them out. Perhaps you’ve seen your river guide reach into their metal handbag and pull out their toothbrush in the morning, or maybe a tube of sunscreen in the afternoon. Here’s an inside peek at what other treasures are hidden inside my trusty ammo can.

My Open (Filled) Ammo Can
My Ammo Can Contents

Poetry, Books and River Interp

Those of you that have joined me on the river know that sometimes I read aloud to the group in the morning. I prefer to stick with the classics-Whitman, Abbey, Muir-something to get folks completely tuned into a day on the river and tuned out of their everyday life stresses. As for river interp, I like to be able to look up just how deep the river is at any particular mile marker. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle happened to be my book of choice for my latest river trip.

Personal Hygiene Items

No big surprise here. Considering I sleep on my boat, I think of the frame of my boat as my bedroom and my ammo can as my bedside table. Corn on the cob for dinner? No problem, I can floss from bed (i.e. my sleeping bag). Chapped lips? A quick pop of the ammo can lid and I’m covered. Forgot to put on deodorant in the morning? Mine is just an arm’s length away.

Gloves and Sunglasses

Protective wear is a necessity out on the river. It’s all about shielding yourself from the bright evil oppressor, a.k.a the sun. If my trusty pair of sunglasses aren’t on my face or hanging from Croakies around my neck, they live in my ammo can. Similarly, I always wear gloves when I’m rowing, rigging or washing dishes (during which I sport dish gloves). The constant wet-dry cycle that I’m trying to avoid will quickly lead to the need for this ammo can item.

Crack Repair – New Skin and All Good Goop

As I said, the wet-dry cycle leads to small cracks in my skin, particularly in my hands and on my feet. These tiny cracks which can only be a couple of millimeters wide, can cause a whole heck of a lot of pain. I use All Good Goop by Elemental Herbs to prevent the cracks, and New Skin to seal ‘em up after I have them.

List of Travelers on Roster

Who is allergic to peanuts? Which couple is celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary? What’s the name of the guy who “ran the bull” through Wildcat Rapid? All key info to be found on my sheet.


A headlamp is vital on a river trip, especially during those short days on spring and fall trips. You don’t want to trip on your way to the groover in the middle of the night, trust me!

Guitar Picks

I like to bring a ukulele on my river trips, and I attempt to play it. “Attempt” being the key word. When there are more musically inclined folks on the trip, extra guitar picks come in handy.


In case I forget which way is downstream.

Allen Wrench

I carry one in my Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and another in my ammo can. These are essential in tightening up your stanchions before big rapids.

Here are the final few items you’d find in my can…

  • Dayquil/Ibuprofen
  • Emergen-C and Clif Bars
  • Pens and Sharpie
  • Band-Aids
  • Extra batteries
  • Gum

And last but not least…

Business Cards

Since I’m a professional (a professional who gets to raft down the river every day for work that is).

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