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member (41)member
03/20/2018 02:56PM
I was introduced to the BWCWA in 2014. For each annual trip since, I've picked up one or two new "things" that really improved my experience during the next trip. Just a few examples so far are Bungee Dealee Bobs, Sawyer Water Filter /Gravity Filter in Camp, and Keen Closed Toe Sandals (I know there is a healthy debate on appropriate footwear). For this year, I'm looking closely at Svante Freden reflector oven, Fry Bake Pan and the CCS Tundra Tarp

What are some of your favorite things that you've picked up over the years?

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member (49)member
03/20/2018 03:25PM
Gravity Water Filter (Platypus) and CCS tarp are high on my “experience upgrade” list as well.

A Helinox Chair One was a welcome comfort after a long day of paddling and portaging. A high quality air mattress, Therm-a-rest Large NeoAir Xlite, made a big difference in sleep quality.

Shifting from hanging to stashing the food pack on the edge of camp and then going from a large Harmony 60L blue barrel and CCS pack to two large bear canisters then two Ursacks Allwhites has lightened the portaging load significantly.

Finally, simplifying the food menu to reduce kitchen gear, prep time, and clean up has made for more enjoyable trips.

03/20/2018 03:39PM
You already hit most of my highlights, but I have to say my Spirit II is up there as far as favorites go. My Windpro has also been a very reliable piece of equipment.

Our first trip we had a portable propane grill that we brought for a stove, plus several cans of propane. The grill alone clocks in around 6lb, add in the weight of fuel and we carried nearly 10lb just for cooking! Other upgrades have been tent (used to be a cheap dome now I have several depending on the size of the party), fishing gear, lighting, etc. The $20 H2Zero portage pack (aka the Green Monster) is still going strong after 6 canoe trips and countless weekend campouts.
distinguished member (362)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/20/2018 03:45PM
Flexlite or similar chair
Nemo Bugout
03/20/2018 03:56PM
Nemo bug shelter # 1 hands down . MSR reactor , and helinox chair probably next on the list.
distinguished member(5332)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
03/20/2018 05:18PM
CCS Tarp

03/20/2018 06:43PM
A lot of the same stuff already mentioned - Sawyer Water Bottle for drinking on the go with gravity filter setup for camp and BDB's (& similar Nite-Ize twist ties).

Upgrading to a CCS tarp and then the Ridgeline stuff sack with the tarp pre-rigged for the ridgeline setup. Seriously look into this if you get the tarp.

Like tipsy paddler, I switched to a much simpler meal plan, which minimized fuel usage, prep time, clean up, and gear. This was accompanied by the switch to stashing with Bear Vaults, then Ursacks. It also allowed a switch to a JetBoil stove, which had several advantages for me.

I gradually got other lighter, better, more compact gear - switched to an Exped Synmat, then got a Thermarest NeoAir XTherm, which is lighter and more compact, while being just as warm and comfortable. A lighter shelter and sleeping bag - going from synthetic to 650 down to 800 down. That goes in another favorite - the Sea-To-Summit eVent Compression Drysack. Clothes also go in one.

Another switch I made several years ago was to a waterproof P & S camera which stays in my shirt pocket (on a lanyard - it's waterproof, but doesn't float). I take a lot more pictures now.

Besides all the things you can get that are better, lighter, etc., sometimes it's the stuff you simplify and the things you leave behind that improve the experience.
distinguished member(2218)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/20/2018 06:53PM
CCS Pioneer pack
Bell Magic canoe
Black Diamond headlamp
Luci lantern
BDBs of course
03/20/2018 08:56PM
Wenonah bent shaft carbon fiber paddle.
A dry box for my camera gear.
Chota Quetico Trekker boots.
distinguished member(1458)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/20/2018 10:03PM
Gravity water filter, if I had to choose one.
distinguished member(2064)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/21/2018 04:23AM
Helinox Cot Max Convertible. Room to toss and turn. I didn't think it would make such a difference. It did!
distinguished member (212)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/21/2018 08:17AM
Chair has to top this list. I did 4 nights without a chair once and rocks and logs and even canoe seats get oooooooold. Got a chair the next year and love it.

I'll also plug the figure 9 carabiner. If you're a dunce with knots like me (or even if you're anything less than excellent with them), these things are sweet.
distinguished member(1042)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/21/2018 08:33AM
Hammock/quilts. Just about all my CCS stuff - tarps, packs, thwart bag/map case. Zav Ultra-Light paddle. Swivel Chair-One. Helinox table - I was appalled at the tripping extravagance when the wife bought it, but I love it now! Chota Caney Fork boots w/ Chota socks.
distinguished member (399)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/21/2018 02:11PM
My Advantage and Black Bart Paddle have to be 1A and 1B...

Planning is probably my other favorite thing I've learned from this site. Reading trip reports on where to go, where to stay away from or just general knowledge. I feel that is the one thing that I can't ever get enough of. Grandma L has also posted some awesome DIY stuff that I've found to be very helpful as I continue to evolve my own gear closet that is becoming more DIY every day.

Camp Chow...if you travel with anyone who is gluten free, or even if you don't, they have the BEST food to chose from in my mind.
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
03/21/2018 02:31PM
Gravity Water Filter and a Compact Camp Chair

If I had to pick one of those, Gravity water filter system.
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
03/21/2018 02:51PM
It may not be the lightest option, but I love my trangia alcohol stove. I have only used it for solo trips. The things that I really adore with this stove are the near silence of cooking with it, and it is fairly bullet proof - no moving parts. I suppose the seal on the burner could fail and cause fuel to leak in my pack, but its just alcohol that will simply evaporate. I can prepare my morning coffee without disturbing a peaceful morning with the roar of my MSR.

Like others, my CCS tarp is a must have.

distinguished member(547)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/21/2018 03:16PM
Favorite thing for paddling: Crazy Creek seat cushion and seat back

Favorite thing for portaging: freeze dried meals instead of fresh food

Favorite thing for camping: Big Agnes sleeping bag - more shoulder room, able to roll over at night without getting tangled up (side sleeper.)

I also bring a small MP3 player that holds 50# hours of charge to listen to at night to combat tinnitus.

My next trip, my favorite thing will be my Resmed Air Mini travel CPAP and battery pack.
03/22/2018 05:23AM
I think you have chosen well Grasshopper, well maybe not with the sandals, but otherwise pretty good. My first choice would be the Tundra Tarp. I like my DYS/DIS reflector oven[ lots of simply easy plans out there]. Buy the best gear you can afford now and it will last a long time, a few things every year don't seem as bad as buying a lot at one time, plus these gear guys always seem to be coming up with new and better gear. For that I want to thank everyone. FRED
senior member (67)senior membersenior member
03/22/2018 05:44AM
Going to a hammock and CCS tarp.

distinguished member (228)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/22/2018 08:40AM
Hands down, my Snow Peak Giga Stove has made life so much easier. It’s so small, light, fuel efficient and reliable and yet still brings a 2 quart pot to a boil in a few minutes. I got one for my dad this year as a birthday present. I’m a single portager when solo and it’s made all the difference. I got a used CCS tarp this year for a group trip, that purchase may just trump my Giga stove as my new favorite.

Honarable mention: anchor bag, lifestraw, firestarters, utensil roll

distinguished member(1034)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/22/2018 09:16AM
I could probably list a new favorite from every year. But a all time favorite has to be:

Opsak's and an Ursak - less bulk & less weight than a barrel and the food is endlessly more pack-able all the while maintaining critter proof status.
03/22/2018 05:48PM
Hanging a hammock under a Nemo Bugout. I finally get some sleep.
03/22/2018 07:51PM
Replacing sleeping bag(s) with a quilt
Helinox chair
Zav 10 oz. paddle
Nemo Cosmo sleeping pad
distinguished member(751)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/22/2018 09:20PM
In no particular order:
-Helinox chair 1 or chair 0
-Solar shower(we go in the spring for aprox. 2 weeks and a warm shower is heaven!)
-CCS tarp with stuff sack and the quick set-up technique as shown on CCs sight and Youtube
-Neo Air Xtherm Max sleeping pad-Very warm, very light and RECTANGULAR!!! Yay!! MUCH better than my old Exped Synmatt9( HEAVY!!!!) and inflates in about a minute with inflation bag.
-Sawyer gravity filter and mini filter. (The squeeze is good too)
-A full size rectangular down sleeping bag under 3#(20deg LLBean that is overrated but excellent to mid 30s) NO MUMMY'S FOR ME!
There is probably more, but these are some of my favorites for comfort. The longer you are out, the more comfort matters, especially in your 50's lol. And with all this luxury we still travel fairly far every year, 80-over 100 miles per trip. On a shorter run and gun trip I would of course leave a lot of this behind.
Oh yeah, light weight paddles,kevlar canoe, and a 4 man tent for 2 that weighs 6#...heaven.
member (41)member
03/23/2018 08:43AM
You all reminded me of my number one favorite that I now take for granted - Hammock and down quilts. When I was preparing for my first BW trip, I came here looking for an ideal sleeping system for a bad back. I was quickly intrigued by the hammock set-up and now I'll never sleep on my back again.

I'm also intrigued by the Fenix HL60R headlamp. A bit pricey at $75 (I might wait for a sale) but I think it will replace quite a few pieces of gear. Usually, I bring a headlamp with 3 AAA batteries and another 3 AAA batteries as spare. I'll also bring a very small flashlight with 1 AA battery and another AA battery as a spare. I'll also usually bring a spare USB charger (that itself weighs a good bit) as backup power for my camera.

The HL60R is first and foremost an extremely powerful and rechargeable headlamp but also has an illusive red light, which I love for reading late at night or early in the morning. And it is rechargeable with the included 18650 lithium ion battery. And I can use the juice on the 18650 battery to charge other items if necessary using this sort of a charger. With the powerful rechargeable battery, I'll be able to ditch the extra AAA batteries, USB Charger, flashlight, and AA batteries. I haven't done the math, but I'm guessing that will lighten my load a bit.
member (44)member
03/23/2018 11:39AM
1. Upgrading to down sleeping bags. We initially used the cheap and bulky Colemans.
2. Lightweight camp chairs. One year we took some we bought at Sams Club because they were comfortable. They became a nightmare to portage. We weighed them when we got home and they each weighed 9 lb 5 oz. Yikes.
3. Luci Light
4. Alps Shasta 4200. It's a backpacking pack so the person carrying the canoe doesn't use it but still really nice.
5. Klymit Static V Insulated pad.
6. New for next year we have a Kelty tarp, Whisperlite stove, Tevas.

Our first trip up we went in on Brule where there's no portage necessary and thank goodness. It would have been a nightmare to portage all of our heavy/bulky gear and misc. backpacks. Each year we've worked to cut down out gear to smaller and lighter. This year I think we're at a pretty good spot after finally getting rid of the Coleman 2 burner suitcase stove. Planning out our meals ahead of time has helped cut down on the overlap and bulk too.
distinguished member(517)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/23/2018 04:05PM
REI Flexlite chairs and a cheapo Coughlins bug net make things more comfy than they've ever been.

Dehydrating at home makes things more delicious than they've ever been.

Using the fish finder is pure luxury.
distinguished member(1435)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/23/2018 04:50PM
I can think of 6 things over the last couple years that have really made a big difference for me. Roughly in order:
1. Platypus gravity filter: Cuts the water chore from 15 minutes to nothing and no effort - huge for solo travel.
2. CCS type tarp: I made my own, but the 1.1 oz silnylon ridgeline style is great. Stuffs easy, packs small, sets up and takes down fast.
3. REI Flexlite chair: I used to snicker at the chair lovers, then for some reason I tried one. Not just about comfort - I really like that it allows me to set my tarp up anywhere I want if I'm using my stove.
4. Blue Barrel: I considered myself a master bear bag hanger, but this cuts 15-20 minutes and is just easier.
5. Exped Downmat 7 UL: Very small and light compared to my old pad, and much more comfort. I use in July and January.
6. Luci Light: Super compact, no battery bright light for tent. Most important spring and fall when less daylight.
03/23/2018 10:10PM
Forgot to mention my wife, Deb. She is a keeper.
distinguished member (261)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/24/2018 12:34PM
Helinox Chair and nice thick Thermarest pad!
distinguished member (183)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/24/2018 03:24PM
One I haven't seen anyone post yet - a pillow.

I love my Sea to Summit Aeros ultralight pillow. Packs down to nothing, weighs nothing, very comfortable. I like the ultralight as I am a backpacker but friends have the other models and love them as well.

When I first got it I thought it a bit silly but figured "what the heck" at the packed size & weight. I had always packed extra clothes in a fleece for a pillow.
Now I can't imaging going without the Aeros.
distinguished member (470)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/24/2018 03:51PM
All things all ready mentioned. . . as others have said. . .leave the sandals at home. We bring Muck Boots (Wetlands) as we go in middle to late September. Side note: two years ago one of my boots had a tear in it from an exposed stick. I called Muck to ask them about it and they sent me a pair of new boots. Can't get that from the sandal/tennis shoe guys.
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
03/25/2018 11:41AM
All items mentioned are great. My best purchase over the years would have to be the Chota Hippies-great for portaging and minimizing canoe damage at the end of a portage.
distinguished member(7183)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
03/25/2018 11:58AM
i have two paddle partners that make tripping fun, exciting, adventurous and safe.
but i only go with one at a time. two people to a trip, best party size.
03/25/2018 12:47PM
Wasn't gonna join this, well here I am. I have enough gear that choosing is geared to how I feel when I pack. Type and size of shelter, how I'll be cooking and what. Paddling, backpacking, vehicle based, moving or staying put.

All the choices! I do wind up with 2 always used sets of gear, a pair of custom made leather hiking boots (I do wet-foot with $500 handmade boots, year after year, first pair still in very good shape after almost 20 years), and a sleeved 800 fill down bag air inflated down insulated pad combination.

distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/25/2018 11:08PM
--Sangean pocket radio. Cheap, great sound.

--This lantern: Solar charging is minimal but charged electrically it lasts about 24 hours on low, which is actually quite bright. Collapses down to a flashlight.

--Exped Synmat 3D-7
-- . . . paired with Helinox Cot One. Amazing comfort used together.
distinguished member(1634)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/27/2018 01:43PM

1. Alite Butterfly Chair - Just has two legs, so not for everybody, but I like it because it becomes like a rocking chair for me. Alite Chair

2. MicroRegulator Stove from Soto - has a pressurizer built into it so that it doesn't loose heat output as the air temperature gets colder. This means I can bring it during all seasons. Soto MicroRegulator Stove

3. Grayl Water Bottle Filter - tried a couple of these types of filters and really liked them, but this Grayl product is the first where I could fill up in the middle of the lake and chug down some water instead of having to suck it up through a straw. I find I stay a lot more hydrated and comfortable when tripping. Grayl Water Filter

4. Muck Boots - I have the Artic version, but I use it year round. Breaths excellently and stays warms down to -30. I used to wet foot, but one October, when temperatures were getting chillier, I didn't want to anymore so got a pair of Muck Boots. I haven't gone back to wet footing it anymore.

5. CCS Tarp - can't add to the praises for the product other then I got the ridge line bag as well and it makes throwing this thing up real quick. Learn the Siberian Knot.

6. This Nalgene Flask - Holds the perfect amount of a good whisky.
nalgene flask
distinguished member(1241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/27/2018 04:37PM
Base camping as I get older.

Bug Whacker for each tent. Quicker than by hand and no mess on tent

Cot for under the Therma-Rest. Small rocks and sticks, no issue. Tie at feet with bunge cords.

Extra light tent for replacement if needed ( Did use that once). Take on on day trips if stranded overnight.

Foldable rocking chair for shade trees. Flexlite for tent.

See Base Camping Basics at bottom of subject selections for more ideas
Guest Paddler
03/28/2018 09:18PM
Costa polarized glasses, a poor man's depth finder...and much lighter.

Leatherman, bigger badder and better than a Swiss Army knife.

Cheapy foam earplugs, the difference between a hellish night or a heavenly one...don't leave home without 'em!

Headlamp, frees up both hands and adds a measure of safety in the dark.

03/29/2018 04:48PM
Gravity filter has been nice. Just bag the water and let it do the work.

Camp chairs (REI) have been appreciated after a long day, or just lounging around camp.

Simplified food menus that use Camp Chow or Cache Lake products make cooking quick and easy.
distinguished member (130)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/29/2018 09:22PM
I enjoy my Light My Fire Swedish Firesteel Army 2.0.

I use it to build campfires, light my stoves, light my backyard charcoal grill or just to make pretty sparks when its dark.
member (37)member
03/31/2018 07:49PM
-Hands down Kermit Chair. It has arm rests which my Helinox doesn’t.
-Big Agnes memory foam pad for my Thermarest NeoAir
-Luci Lantern
-BWJ cast aluminum frying pan
-CCS 10x10 bug net tarp
-Zpacks TriPlex tent for my dog and I and gear.

I care about weight when I’m backpacking, not canoeing.
04/01/2018 08:58AM
My new favorite toy of the day is the Vargo stove I bought yesterday. Played with it for a couple hours and am really excited to try it out on a trip.
distinguished member (112)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/02/2018 09:41AM
4 inch fluke minnows/ worms for wife
good spinning combos
good life vests
platypus gravity filter
a good pack
We love the Bugout Tarp idea, that is something we might get for this year.
We just invested in chairs too.. 2 pack of chairs for wife and I

good polarized sunglasses
our stove/anodized camp mess set
protein bars and most important
a positive attitude

and some more stuff we forgot to mention, I imagine
04/06/2018 07:39AM
Svea 123 stove, Sven saw ,cast aluminum fry pan, Huntly Gardens canoe packs, Dri-ki paddles and a Loring pack basket.
distinguished member (345)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/06/2018 11:34AM
1. CCS tarp...has saved many trips when it's raining. I hate to sit in a tent during daylight hours when it's raining!

2. Helinox sunset chair. Worth it's weight!!!

3. Exped Synmat 9 DLX.

4. Nemo Fillo. Just bought this last trip in Ely and I have never slept better in the bush!!!

5. Boreal 21 saw. Also bought in Ely last trip and it is a really well made pack saw.

distinguished member (249)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/07/2018 04:33AM
Headlamp with red light option.

Alite Mantis and Monarch nice having a backrest when around camp.

Kelty Noah's Tarp 12's, 2 of them. Outdoor living in rainy / windy conditions.

Crazy Creeks for canoe seats.

Nite Ize wire tires.

My favorite clothing piece: $20 polyester Champion hoodie

Coughlin's Bug head net.

1/2 gallon thermos for leeches, easy to reach in a grab the slippery li'l suckers

04/08/2018 05:09PM
Bear vault hands down. Can be used as a seat and food is instantly ready. It is priceless to watch my buddies trying to find a suitable branch to hang their food, then the hilarity ensues when they can't get the rope over the branch or it gets tangled. Good times.
distinguished member (470)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/08/2018 06:31PM
+1 on BearVaults. We switched over to the larger size years ago. Same reasons. Rodents can't get in. Bears can't haul away. You can see what's inside and you can use them as chairs or tables.
distinguished member (494)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/09/2018 12:40PM
I feel like Steve Martin in "the jerk"...all I need is this....pillow, mug, teapot..

Awesome Nemo Fillo pillow, who knew I could sleep uninterrupted for a few hours? Nemo's $$, totally worth it. Washes beautifully...which is essential.

Nemo fillo backpacking pillow

GSI mug for hot/cold beverages. My coffee stays hot for a nice long while. Necessary for me since I'm usually cooking & breaking camp & sipping in between. It seals, I can make oatmeal in it & put it in the bow of the Canoe & bring it with me. Cleans easily, handle is kinda floppy, but I don't care.

GSI outdoors infinity backpacker mug

MSR Alpine teapot for boiling water..its fast, efficient, pours cleanly. I like it..I haven't burned myself yet.

MSR Teapot
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