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avs11054
member (11)member
 
05/25/2018 02:03PM
Hello,

I have a trip coming up near the end of June. While looking at maps of campsites, I see numerous campsites on islands throughout the park. I was wondering if anybody has any advice about potential benefits or drawbacks about camping on an island versus camping on the mainland.

Thanks
 
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05/25/2018 02:47PM
Drawbacks:
If the island is tiny, there are fewer places for disposing of human waste and you'll be more exposed to passing canoeists and weather.

Benefits:
Sometimes there can be more than one usable landing. I like being able to see the water and scenery from different angles.
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(804)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/25/2018 03:43PM
Ausable: "Drawbacks:
If the island is tiny, there are fewer places for disposing of human waste and you'll be more exposed to passing canoeists and weather.


Benefits:
Sometimes there can be more than one usable landing. I like being able to see the water and scenery from different angles."



There is no benefit of "fewer bears" because you are on an island. Most bears I have seen have been swimming... to islands!
marsonite
distinguished member(2144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/25/2018 06:00PM
Firewood can also be scarce.
Eyedocron
distinguished member (355)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/25/2018 09:10PM
With 30 trips over past years, I must say I prefer islands on the theory that bears can swim, but are lazy about it. That said, my crews have never had a bear raid. Most important is to never have food in your tent.
We have had rodent raids into the food packs.
The only scary animal situation was a full sized bull moose stomping around the tent on an island in Other Man Lake at 3 AM. Even tripped on the tent ropes. We kept very quiet.
Eyedocron
distinguished member (355)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/25/2018 09:22PM
Islands and points also tend to have better scenic views and sometimes fewer mosquitos.
Thwarted
distinguished member(1451)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2018 07:27PM
Island sites can be awesome or lousy, just like every other site. All the criteria that make a site good, apply. Landing, flat tent spots, fire pit, size, slope, breeze, available firewood, view, etc, etc. They are not predictable based on island vs. mainland. Small islands are usually disadvantaged as indicated by others but I have been on mainland sites where I could barely penetrate the surroundings and felt claustrophobic.
GraniteCliffs
distinguished member(1565)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2018 07:35PM
Depending on the size of the island you can be much more exposed to wind. Good to keep the bugs down but normally staying out of the wind is a good thing.
mapsguy1955
distinguished member(645)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/29/2018 07:50AM
All the above, but that being said, I like them!
GoSpursGo
distinguished member (290)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/29/2018 10:55AM
also depending on the size of the island you could have a harder time finding firewood close to camp.
Lailoken
senior member (63)senior membersenior member
 
05/29/2018 12:01PM
Coolest thing about an island is that it is an island!
Lotw
distinguished member (268)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/29/2018 02:23PM
Islands at times are much better for bugs, better exposure to breeze.
avs11054
member (11)member
 
05/29/2018 11:53PM
Thanks for all the replies everybody. I've got a couple of bigger islands that I'm looking at staying on. Can't wait for the trip!
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(804)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/30/2018 05:56AM
avs11054: "Thanks for all the replies everybody. I've got a couple of bigger islands that I'm looking at staying on. Can't wait for the trip!"

My group leaves Friday... and will likely stay on islands each night. Saganagons
rdricker
senior member (91)senior membersenior member
 
05/30/2018 11:35PM
Island sites are hit or miss. As was said earlier, if it's a smallish island, human waste can be an issue, as can firewood.

That said, they can be nice too, with a good breeze and views.

Basically, choose the nicest site, whether or not it's on an island.
HowardSprague
distinguished member(2739)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 12:39PM
Getting into the canoe with trowel and TP and paddling to mainland can be a bit of a hassle every time you need to take a dump... camped on a small island on Lonely, part of a group of 7, and wound up doing that.

TomT
distinguished member(5085)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/06/2018 06:22AM
Ive found island sites to be overused. You know, finding TP in the bushes and never sure where to even dig to dump the dishwater lest I stumble into something gross.

I'm happiest at the sites that people deem 2 stars. When I go solo I will always stop and have a look at these. Because I mostly hammock camp a flat ground doesn't matter. The landing is always the deal breaker for me.

That said, I think it matters where you are in the park. Islands close to entries and on main routes will be overused. Get into the interior and they can be incredible sites.

Luckee
member (30)member
 
06/06/2018 04:11PM
This brings up a question about rule-breaking . . . or bending? But as a solo traveller, how awful would it be to hypothetically camp on islands that don't have an official camp, but do have a decent landing and trees perfectly spaced for a hammock? Would this be grounds for being escorted to the exits by a ranger?

Naturally this hypothetical case would involve waste disposal similar to backpacking/wilderness practices anywhere: dig a decent hole well away from the water (so the island couldn't be tiny). Also no fire, which solo campers often eschew in favor of stars.

I think there may have been a guy who hypothetically did this on an island in Basswood lake last year, and the only ill effect was getting minor stinkeye from motorboaters (it was that part of the lake) who probably wanted to make their lunch in that hypothetical spot.

This would seem to be a benefit for all in one way: a big, spacious camp wouldn't be taken up by one quiet guy and mostly wasted.
inspector13
distinguished member(3928)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/06/2018 04:31PM
Luckee: "This brings up a question about rule-breaking . . . or bending? But as a solo traveller, how awful would it be to hypothetically camp on islands that don't have an official camp..."
I didn’t know there were "official camps" in Quetico. But it been awhile since I’ve gone there now.

TomT
distinguished member(5085)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/06/2018 06:17PM
inspector13: "Luckee: "This brings up a question about rule-breaking . . . or bending? But as a solo traveller, how awful would it be to hypothetically camp on islands that don't have an official camp..."
I didn’t know there were "official camps" in Quetico. But it been awhile since I’ve gone there now.
"


Yeah, you can camp anywhere in Quetico. I would imagine any island with a decent landing probably has some kind of fire ring.

Eyedocron
distinguished member (355)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/06/2018 10:14PM
One of the nice things about the Quetico is that although there are crowded area within one day of most entry stations, most of the park is not overcrowded, and there are actually some recovered sites. A few years ago we took the Dead Man Portage into northern Saganaga, but it was too late to go west into the Falls Chain. We pulled onto a small island with no campsite, camped for the night, and in the morning found an overgrown camp and fireplace clearly not used for over 20 years.
Luckee
member (30)member
 
06/07/2018 12:36AM
Well damn! I see these red dots all over my new Quetico maps just like the ones on my BWCA maps, and just assumed they were "official" camps. Maybe they are good spots, but it's nice to know you go can go where you want.

Add that to the growing list of reasons to emigrate :D
rdricker
senior member (91)senior membersenior member
 
06/07/2018 01:06AM
The dots on the maps are "established" campsites. What that means is that they have been established for camping...a pretty good (usually) landing...a rock fire ring...mostly cleared somewhat flat area for tenting...possible some sitting stones or timber. No latrines though.

You can camp anywhere suitable in Quetico though. We actually had to do that my last trip there as the only site on the lake was taken. We paddled on down the lake until we found a spot that looked suitable. You will find a few of these "unofficial" spots that just aren't marked.
cburton103
distinguished member (286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/07/2018 06:39AM
Luckee: "Well damn! I see these red dots all over my new Quetico maps just like the ones on my BWCA maps, and just assumed they were "official" camps. Maybe they are good spots, but it's nice to know you go can go where you want.


Add that to the growing list of reasons to emigrate :D"


The red dots on Fisher and McKenzie maps in Quetico are pretty hit or miss. I always cross reference with paddle p lanner before my trip to have a better idea of what spots are actually campsites and which ones likely aren’t.
billconner
distinguished member(6568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/07/2018 07:52AM
I believe from a LNT point of view that it's desirable to use the established sites and not create new ones.

And there are a lot more "established" sites than any map shows.
vandolomeiu
member (44)member
 
06/08/2018 07:01AM
The fishing off of island campsites is usually better because of the structure near islands. I look forward to throwing my Zara Spook off of every possible spot and see what "pops up".
mastertangler
distinguished member(5020)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/08/2018 07:01AM
Did I read that islands were preferable because bears are basically "lazy" ? That's silly........water, land, steep mountainsides, it's all the same to a bear. They do what they want in search of food, and to cool off etc. in Algonquin we got pinned by a bear on an island.

One thing which I don't think was mentioned is the possibility of becoming wind bound.
billconner
distinguished member(6568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/08/2018 02:10PM
mastertangler: "One thing which I don't think was mentioned is the possibility of becoming wind bound. "

Well, the nice thing about an island is there is bound to be a leeward side. Can't say that along all shore line sites.
arctic
distinguished member(4788)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/08/2018 10:01PM
I enjoy camping on islands in lightly-used areas. Where a lot of people pass through the human waste issue becomes a big concern.

Also, if there are thunderstorms in the forecast, islands are BAD places to camp. Over the years a number of campers have been injured or killed by lightning in the BWCA/Quetico while camped on islands.

Unlike back in the day, I now carry a small weather radio on canoe trips.
mastertangler
distinguished member(5020)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/09/2018 06:58AM
arctic: "I enjoy camping on islands in lightly-used areas. Where a lot of people pass through the human waste issue becomes a big concern.


Also, if there are thunderstorms in the forecast, islands are BAD places to camp. Over the years a number of campers have been injured or killed by lightning in the BWCA/Quetico while camped on islands.


Unlike back in the day, I now carry a small weather radio on canoe trips."


That certainly sounds about right. I had never considered how an island is the high point on a lake.
cburton103
distinguished member (286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/09/2018 07:31AM
arctic: "I enjoy camping on islands in lightly-used areas. Where a lot of people pass through the human waste issue becomes a big concern.


Also, if there are thunderstorms in the forecast, islands are BAD places to camp. Over the years a number of campers have been injured or killed by lightning in the BWCA/Quetico while camped on islands.


Unlike back in the day, I now carry a small weather radio on canoe trips."


Makes sense with my experience. I was camped on the island site west of Williamson Island in northern lake Insula on my second trip ever trip to the BWCA/Q, and we watched a beautiful lightning storm with almost pink lightning roll in from the east while we ate dinner. Just as it began to rain and we got in the tent lightning struck 30-40 yards from us on our small island. It reversed the polarity on one of our compasses, popped open a number of foil packets, and burned the nylon near the zippers on my food pack at the time. Our gear was stored under a tarp probably 12 yards from the tree that was struck - glad it was the gear and not us!

Just a few days letter my friend who took the trip got married, and I was the best man. Talk about some easy fodder for my best man speech!
 
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