An Educational Kayaking Adventure

Ensō Education Institute Presents

Basecamp Great Outdoors 2022

Sea Kayaking the Apostle Islands

This was the first! In August of 2022, we got to work together to help shape what a Basecamp Great Outdoors experience is all about. We leaned heavily on the tried and true principles of adventure and environmental education, but also looked to how other educational methods can help make environmental education a cutting-edge model that is effective in developing a world population committed to the preservation of our planet.

About the Adventure

The Apostle Islands are a beautiful series of islands that spread out into Lake Superior at the northern end of Wisconsin. We began our journey learning the skills of kayaking in the shallow beach waters of the mainland in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore near Bayfield, WI. Then, we loaded all of our gear into kayaks and headed out to the islands to camp and learn about Lake Superior, each other, and life in the wilderness. We explored secluded beaches, sea caves, cliffs, and old-growth forests with our circle of Enso friends. Everyone had a transformational experience while paddling, setting up camp, cooking, cleaning, and hiking.


Equipment – attached is an equipment list that includes what we provided and what participants needed to obtain.  We followed this closely; it is based upon extensive experience. We plan on weather that could range from the low 70s to the 40s and windy.  

Training – We paddled up to 10 miles in a day. So it was important to be prepared to be physically active.

COVID-19 – We encouraged everyone to get the vaccination! While vaccines are not mandatory, they boost your body’s defenses against COVID-19 and can lower the risk of spreading the virus to others.


We provided all group gear, food, quality paddling equipment, transportation, and expert instruction.


This itinerary was designed to be flexible based on many factors that include: weather, skill levels, and interests.  Listed are highlights of what we saw and did.

Friday, August 12

We met at the Little Sand Bay Visitor Center, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore at noon.

We went over introductions and expectations before setting up our camp. Then it was onto a sea kayak skills shakedown where we all got wet! We finished the day with dinner and solving the world’s problems.

Saturday, August 13

We took down our tents and ate breakfast. Then we loaded our kayaks and paddled to Sand Island. We explored the sea caves before setting up our tents. After lunch, we hiked to the Sand Island lighthouse and back before dinner. After dinner, it was more problem-solving and stargazing until we nodded off to sleep.

Sunday, August 14

Since we were staying two nights on Sand Island, on Sunday we just packed our lunch and explored. We walked beneath an old-growth forest enjoyed a round of disc golf! Then we made our way back to our camp for dinner and Great Lakes shipwreck stories! 

Monday, August 15

We broke camp, ate breakfast, and paddled back to Little Sand Bay. We said our goodbyes and headed back to Duluth.

Sea Kayaking the Apostle Islands Equipment List

On this trip, the weather may vary from hot and sunny with a high of 70 degrees to cold, rainy, and windy and in the 40-degree range.  We had to plan our clothing items so they could be worn over each other in layers.  During the coldest possible weather, you may be wearing nearly all of your layers.  Your gear will be re-packed into dry bags in each kayak.


-Double and single sea kayaks

-Maps for the group


-Paddling jackets


-First Aid kit

-Dry bags for each participant

-Life jackets    

-VHF radio


-Toilet tissue    

-Spare rope

-Kitchen and cookware    

-Each meal while on the trail

-All transportation from UMD


-Sleeping pad (closed-cell foam or self-inflating style)

-Sleeping bag (rated to 20 degrees F) in a stuff sack


-1 Pair pants (wool, nylon, or light cotton)

-2 Piece rain-suit of durable material        

-1 Pair light tennis shoes for camp use        

-1 Pair long underwear (no cotton)

-1 Pair shoes or sandals which will get wet (if you use sandals, make sure they have closed toes)        

-3 Pair underwear

-4 Pair wool socks                

-1 Small towel

-1 Long-sleeved shirt,

-2 T-shirts            

-1 Pair shorts and 1 swimsuit    

-1 Heavy sweater    

-1 Lightweight jacket                

-Toiletries: Toothbrush/paste, Soap in plastic bag

-Sunglasses with safety strap            

-Gloves or mittens and a winter hat         

-Sunscreen lotion

-Baseball style or wide-brim hat for sun protection     

-Insect repellant                    

-Spare prescription glasses with safety strap        

-Unbreakable eating utensils (plate, cup, bowl, k,f,s)    

-Flashlight/headlamp with fresh batteries

-1 quart water bottle

-Optional: Paddling gloves


Our Rental Center has many items including sleeping bags & pads, rain gear. Rental details can be found at

If you have questions about joining a future kayak adventure, contact Pat Kohlin at

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