But instead of hip waders, which can fill with water in a moment of inattention, I would choose either thicker wet suit shorts, or thinner wet suit pants. The backs of the knees can be cut out so kneeling is comfortable.
Dry pants would bring similar problems to hip boots, unless one wore an entire drysuit. And I think a drysuit would be to vulnerable on a series of scrubby portages.
If the portages are more wet than dry, maybe you could drag the canoe through with the gear still in it. Wade a ways, find a bit of solid ground, and pull the canoe to you with long rope. Or, hire a moose.
PFD's (Life Jackets)
Gedi Convertible Helmet
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