A high quality water filter - I use a Katadyn (PUR) Hiker. A MSR Miniworks is good, too.
Water purification tablets - These have a shelf life, so they need to be replaced periodically.
Something to start a fire - Waterproof matches, lighter, different types of fire starters.
If you have inflatable PFDs, spare CO2 cartridges are recommended.
Toilet paper - Hey nature calls!
Duct tape - It does wonders.
I don't know what kind of water you're fishing, or how angry a river it is, how remote you will be from help, or what the temperature is going to be like there, but if I were going to be fishing on a hairy river, way far out in the boondocks, here's how I would do it:
I would tie myself off with paracord and a carabiner to a floating dry bag. Tied off to it so that if the boat goes over, it's going to be with me, but use the carabiner and light paracord so that if you go in the drink and the bag becomes waterlogged or gets caught, you will be able to get shed of it to prevent drowning. A floating bag so that you can use it as additional floatation if you go in for an unplanned swim.
In that bag, I would have an extra set of warm wool clothing, a quality knife, 50' of paracord, a shelter half of some sort (this can be as simple as a plastic painter's drop cloth, an 8X12 sheet of the stuff rolls up as small as a woman's wallet. Shower curtains also work well), dry tinder and fire starting materials, perhaps one of those GPS distress signals, signal mirror, whistle, one of those emergency mylar blankets, first aid kit, any prescription medications you cannot go long without (insulin for a diabetic, heart medicine, etc.) some method for making water potable, some high calorie food such as protein bars.... that's all I can really think of for the moment. That very kit, sans waterproof drybag, resides in my vehicle, it's about the size of a carry-on bag for an airplane.
Hi Kevin, Not really for a specific trip or time of year, just curious to see the general stuff others keep in their boat for a trip down the river. However the weather or type of trip will certainly dictate a change in thought pattern and add a thing or seven to the list.
Some good info folks, keep it coming.
I'd add a couple extra drain plugs, and a spare oar lock.
I've lost an oar lock before, and fortunately had duct tape and a bungi cord available to adapt to the situation.
A floatplan and someone at home who knows it as well.
The appropriate licenses and registration depending on local laws and regs.
An anchor with its own line is always good.
Other gear I try to keep compartmentalized by purpose. I run dry bags and totes nearly exclusively. In a tote I keep all of the survival stuff. First aid kit, gps, and other goodies applicable to the size of boat you are running. Then a cooler for food. Then whatever tackle/gear stowage you have.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: Important stuff!
All very good ideas (especially the whistle!). But one thing I always carried was 200' of 5/8th inch Dacron** rope and a single AND double 'block and tackle.' Your (someone else's) boat gets really 'stuck' you'll never pull it out by hand. The combined power of a two pulley set up is amazing.
Edit: ** Nylon rope is stronger (about 20% -25% for a given diameter), but UV will degrade same. Dacron really doesn't care.
Besides what to carry on the boat every person should have on their person a knife, as much parachute cord as they are comfortable carrying and a fire starter. This is extremely important on wild water. If someone goes over board, or the boat is swamped, each person can take care of their self. Good chance you will be separated from your boat mates.
I like to carry a magnesium fire starter. You don't have to worry about it getting wet. It is light and works well.