10.) The quality difference between expensive and cheap dry bags is very slight. It's not worth spending lots of money on them, especially as they wear out.
9.) Having a weapon provides extra security for the wilderness. Being surrounded by coyotes in the middle o the night is much less frightening if you've got a knife or gun.
8.) Low water levels increase chances of hitting rocks or boulders. This might fall into the "well duh" category, but it's not always obvious on the water, until you take a spill.
7.) Planning a trip well is the key to its success. While I kind of knew that going into this year, what really saved my butt on a lot of trips was the fact that I was equipped with a map, GPS, and distance chart, as it allowed me to constantly navigate. Spending time before the trip going over the exactitudes of the route helped a lot too.
6.) Equipment can get stolen, and should never be left behind unsecured. I learned that the hard way in Morris this year. People will pick up and run off with your heavy boat.
5.) A good attitude will make or break your trip. Camping and boat is always a challenge. A bad attitude will infect and make a trip even more challenging than it ever needs to be. A smile and a can do attitude can fix and prevent many issues.
4.) Organized equipment will go further than a checklist ever will. The best way to not forget gear is to have things pre-packed. I've got a medical bag, emergency bag, fire starter bag, boat fix bag, and dish bag that basically keep all the same gear from trip to trip. I don't usually have to think about what goes in said bags, so simple things aren't usually forgotten. Please the repeat experiences of bringing the same gear help me be mentally aware of what I have/need to pack.
3.) Always pack bug spray, a bug head net, and sunscreen. Even for cold weather, you never really know when the sun or the bugs can come out to get you, and by then, it is too late.
2.) Pack good food. Canned foods and coolers might be heavier and take up extra space, but after 15 miles on the river, fresh food will hit the spot much better than any dehydrated food ever could.
1.) Try new things. Most of my adventure and excitement came from testing new routes, new gear, exploring, and pushing overall limits. I have no regrets, and plenty of excitement to keep pushing forward in the future. Being stretched might be exhausting at times, but it has always been worth it.