Required Equipment on the Middle Fork of the Salmon

To launch on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, you must carry the following equipment, at all times of the year, without exception:

  • Government Issued Photo Identification of the Permit Holder
  • Porta Potty
  • Metal Firepan (minimum of 144 sq in with 3-in sides) - even if you do not plan on having a fire
  • Fire Blanket - New Requirement in 2023
  • Ash Container (prefer metal) - even if you do not plan on having a fire
  • Mesh Strainer (fine enough to filter coffee grounds)
  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • State of Idaho Invasive Species Sticker for each boat, as applicable -->

Kayakers - scroll down for information about allowances for space limitations


Shovel and Bucket

Shovels that fold are acceptable. Buckets can be a large cooking pot.

Firepans and Ash Containers

A firepan can be any metal container with sides that are at least three inches high and that is large enough to prevent your fire and ashes from spilling onto the ground. Unmodified garbage can lids are NOT acceptable.

For an ash container, you must have a metal or hard-plastic container with a sealable lid, such as an ammo-can, five-gallon paint can, or a heavy-duty plastic bucket. Plastic bags or dry bags are not acceptable.

Fire Blankets - New Requirement in 2023

The fire blanket is a heat resistant cloth that is placed on the ground under the firepan and is meant to catch the embers and charred wood that inevitably escapes to the ground. The blanket makes it easier to meet the requirement of packing out all your ashes and leaving a clean camp for the next visitor. The fire blanket must be in good condition and be of sufficient size to catch coals and ashes around the fire pan.

Porta Potty

All boating parties on the Middle Fork Salmon River are required to carry porta-potties with sufficient capacity to carry out all human and pet feces for their group.

Commercial units are widely available and may be rented or purchased. Another way of transporting solid waste is to use airtight ammo cans (rocket boxes). 

Toilet systems that use disposable bags are only acceptable for self-contained kayak groups or for use as a day potty.

Your equipment will generally include:

  • Commercial porta-potty or ammo cans (the big ones – commonly 18ꞌꞌ x 8ꞌꞌ x 14ꞌꞌ). Sand and paint the inside of your potty for ease in emptying and washing. Coat with a non-stick spray or cooking oil before use. The number of people and the length of the trip determines the number of cans or tanks (a person generates approximately 1 lb of waste per day). It usually takes one large ammo can to hold 70 to 80 person-days of waste, so for an 8-day, 10-person trip, you would need at least one ammo can for waste and one for equipment.
  • Toilet seat and toilet paper (no wipes in the porta potty!)
  • Deodorant chemical that is compatible with the SCAT machine
  • Hand-washing bucket, soap, and a garbage container for feminine hygiene items, wipes, and/or other items. Only toilet paper and solid waste goes into the porta-potty. These other items will plug up the SCAT machine.
  • Straps to secure the toilet to the SCAT machine for cleaning (usually two 3-foot straps for ammo cans, longer ones for bucket and some commercial types).

Kayakers and Required Gear

Kayakers must carry all the required equipment; however, due to space limits, allowances are made for self-supported trips. Here are some suggestions for meeting the equipment requirements.

Firepan/Ash Transport Requirements

The firepan must be fire-resistant and provide a minimum fire surface area of 144 in2, and have sides at least 2 inches higher than the base of the pan. The firepan may be rigid, folding, and/or collapsible.

Suggestions for Firepans: large baking pans, a couple of heavy-duty disposable aluminum roasters with a fire blanket underneath, or homemade sheet metal pans.

The ash container must be metal or hard plastic, have a waterproof seal, and provide 300 in3 of storage space. Gallon paint cans or Tupperware-type containers work well. A one-gallon can and a half-gallon can, together, would exceed 300 in3.

Special Consideration for Kayakers and Fire: The fire-building kayaker will need to pay special attention to reducing the volume of ash or charcoal that accumulates during a float trip. When a fire is deemed necessary, the fire should be small, using only small pieces of wood and/or other fuel that will burn completely. The fire should be tended and stirred frequently to encourage complete burn down. The ashes and charcoal from the first fire should be laid under each subsequent fire to finish the burn down process.

When using relatively small firepans, there is increased likelihood that some of the fire may escape from the pan in the form of charcoal, partially burned wood, or ash. Carefully clean the firepan area of all evidence of any fire.

Porta-Potty Requirements

For kayakers, a Porta-Potty can be a plastic pail with a snap on lid (such as an ice cream container). The lid must seal tightly in order to be approved. Dry Clorox or Pine-sol helps reduce odor. The container should have some type of vent to release methane gas build up.

Biodegradable plastic bag systems (e.g., WAG bags) are allowed for self-support trips only if they are meant to be disposed of in landfills. These compact dry toilet systems are not SCAT machine compatible. These systems must be accompanied by a waterproof hard-shell container to hold the used waste bags.

Other Equipment Ideas

Strainer = cheesecloth

Bucket = cooking pot

Shovel = paddle

PFD Requirements

The State of Idaho regulates the use of PFDs. For more information and legal requirements, check these links:,skis)%20and%20fishing%20float%20tubes.