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      Do you rate campsites on BWCA.com?     
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10/12/2018 08:56AM
When planning trips over the winter, my son and I religiously check the ratings/photos from other users on this site of every campsite along our intended route, and others that may be nearby. I've found this not just entertaining, but helpful in planning our trip and getting our BWCA "fix" over the winter.

Recently I realized that while I've taken advantage of other BWCA.com members willingness to take the time and post reviews and photos, I've not reciprocated and posted my own.

So....I've gone back and rated our sites and posted some photos from our last couple of trips, hoping to stay in good graces.

I encourage others to post reviews and photos if possible. What do you do?
 
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LindenTree3
distinguished member(2459)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/12/2018 12:36PM
I've commented around 6 times of different campsites.
joeandali
member (17)member
 
10/12/2018 12:58PM
I rate them. I also find that we all have a different idea about what a good site is.
10/12/2018 01:21PM
I haven't done it often, but will try to do more. I'm usually solo and often use sites that most wouldn't so . . . I find ideas of what a good campsite is vary, and I find there's often a fair difference of opinion as to the rating. Then there's the fact sites change over time; many reviews are old. BUT I do still look at reviews - more to eliminate some than to choose one.

Same with portages.
10/12/2018 02:41PM
I have a few times but when your traveling about everyday it gets to be alot of campsites in fifty trips or so, I look before a trip to kinda see what some look like, but day to day you never know where your going to end up each night.
TominMpls
distinguished member (416)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/12/2018 02:49PM
I'll be honest that I don't think much about people's ratings of sites and I've realized I'd be a terrible site reviewer. Does it have a spot I can set up my little tent? Yes? Then it's a perfect site. I prefer a small, tight site but don't really care much.
A1t2o
distinguished member(612)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/12/2018 03:30PM
joeandali: "I rate them. I also find that we all have a different idea about what a good site is.
"


That's why comments, pictures and multiple opinions are important

For me the ratings are a part of how I plan my trip. I like to go straight for my first choice of a campsite when I get on that lake. Also, people give better ratings when there are better sights to see, fishing, and reasons to be there. Not that it is crucial or anything, but when I look at an area and all the sites are 2 stars then I think that is a red flag about how much I would enjoy it. I also look at the ratings for planning where to stop for the night on particular routes.
10/12/2018 10:48PM
A1t2o: "joeandali: "I rate them. I also find that we all have a different idea about what a good site is.
"



That's why comments, pictures and multiple opinions are important


For me the ratings are a part of how I plan my trip. I like to go straight for my first choice of a campsite when I get on that lake. Also, people give better ratings when there are better sights to see, fishing, and reasons to be there. Not that it is crucial or anything, but when I look at an area and all the sites are 2 stars then I think that is a red flag about how much I would enjoy it. I also look at the ratings for planning where to stop for the night on particular routes."


That's probably more to the point I was trying to make. Certainly, different people value different "amenities" at a site. I especially appreciate any pictures posted on a site to give me an idea of what it's like. I'm pretty confident if I see a sight that has 3-4 nice ratings, it will be fine for me, especially since our tripping habits tend to have us 2 nights at each sight, as I trip with my teenage kids.

We appreciate a fire grate with a view of the water, good trees to hang hammocks from and a place to relax and fish from shore. Not as important to us are the distance to the thunderbox or proximity to hiking trails, etc.. Others may have different priorities, and that's fine. We appreciate the input from the other members here.
10/13/2018 07:07AM
TominMpls: "I'll be honest that I don't think much about people's ratings of sites and I've realized I'd be a terrible site reviewer. Does it have a spot I can set up my little tent? Yes? Then it's a perfect site. I prefer a small, tight site but don't really care much."

This pretty much describes me, but A1t2o and johndku make good points in the last two posts. I have trouble recalling some details of sites I just stayed at a few weeks ago and would have to make notes while I'm there to jog my memory when I'd get around to the review after catching up on everything else.

A1t2o makes a good point about multiple opinions and pictures. I think that reviews under different conditions and at different times of year make people stress different aspects of sites, as well as their own different preferences.

I tend to just need a good fairly level tent pad for a small solo tent, and no sign of bear problems. I do tend to prefer elevated sites and nice granite to sit on and eat meals while enjoying the view. Not much concerned with the fire grate area and an area with 2-star sites might pique my interest as much as be a red flag.

I do think the reviews would be of much greater interest if I was taking a group rather than just being solo or tandem.
10/13/2018 07:20AM
I've done quite a few. I could do a few more from our last couple trips. I've seen enough sites to rate them pretty straight forward. Thanks for the reminder. Don't forget to do the tricky portages too.
DrBobDerrig
distinguished member(661)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2018 07:53AM
Heather M. does campsite evaluations for the BW Journal which I have looked at and also emailed her for advice at times. The problem with those is that one down tree can totally reduce the rating from a 5 to a 1 or 2 (as I found out when checking out former 4 and 5 star ratings on Malberg).
dr bob
Captn Tony
distinguished member(1309)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2018 07:58AM
I rate all campsites that I spend the night at. I yet to find a perfect site i.e. a 5.
Some have been real close, 4.75, but just not quite perfect. Have to have at least 3 nice tent sites, a sand landing, good fishing at camp, cliff jumping near by, thunder box not too far from camp. This year stayed at 682 in Clearwater, great campsite except landing was pretty mediocre so got a four. 1479 at Parent Lake is a great site but no good fishing spots from camp so got a four.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13212)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
10/13/2018 08:38AM
Our groups are on the larger size. I wish the campsites were rated for how many exactly they hold. Like, this campsite has two good pads, one poor pad. That would tell me that this site holds up to 4 people, but you could squeeze 6 people in if you needed. They do list this information but seldom is it correct.
Jaywalker
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10/13/2018 11:44AM
I don't think I've ever rated a site, but maybe I should start for other's sake. I don't use the ratings myself much. In part I haven't had high confidence in some of the ratings, and in part knowing too much about where I am going diminishes my sense of adventure.

I did out of curiosity just go back and look at 5 lakes I was on this year. I found one site listed on our maps that does not exist, 2-3 sites listed in the wrong place on he map, and one entire entry lake that doesn't show up as a lake (Cross Bay Lake) - it's campsites just look like they are out in the woods somewhere. **Moderators** can these be cleaned up & corrected, or is it too difficult technically to change?
10/13/2018 01:43PM
I do when I remember to post up the comments and pictures I've taken of various sites. I haven't done this as regularly as I should though.
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2170)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2018 06:47AM
For me, paddling solo, most any campsite will do fine so I don't evaluate sites much. I do read (and enjoy) reviews to avoid any campsites that have mention of sloped ground.
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(4272)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
10/14/2018 08:48AM
I do.
HowardSprague
distinguished member(2840)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2018 09:03AM
I appreciate people's reviews and photos, and try to chime in on sites I visit as well. It's all relative, of course - I'll take a BW or Q 1-star site over a popular Jellystone Park site any time. And one site may be highly rated by someone because it's all shallow water around it and perfect for swimming, while another doesn't like it because of no good drop-offs for fishing. But that stuff is often in the comments. I do find it interesting, though, when I see a site and think, "Wow, you could fit six tents on this campsite", while someone else reviews it and says 1-2 tents max.

Thanks for your reviews everybody!
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2170)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2018 09:25AM
TuscaroraBorealis: "I do."
Ain't that the understatement. When I was typing my post I was also thinking of the myriad campsite reviews you & wife have evaluated. Every BWCA sector I've search for campsite reviews -- you two have been there.
10/14/2018 11:33AM
HowardSprague: "I do find it interesting, though, when I see a site and think, "Wow, you could fit six tents on this campsite", while someone else reviews it and says 1-2 tents max.


Thanks for your reviews everybody!"


I think the definition of a tent pad, much less a good tent pad, varies considerably . . .
10/14/2018 11:38AM
mjmkjun: "TuscaroraBorealis: "I do."
Ain't that the understatement. When I was typing my post I was also thinking of the myriad campsite reviews you & wife have evaluated. Every BWCA sector I've search for campsite reviews -- you two have been there. "


And they are certainly among the most comprehensive and accurate.
Jaywalker
distinguished member(1554)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2018 07:41PM
boonie: "mjmkjun: "TuscaroraBorealis: "I do."
Ain't that the understatement. When I was typing my post I was also thinking of the myriad campsite reviews you & wife have evaluated. Every BWCA sector I've search for campsite reviews -- you two have been there. "


And they are certainly among the most comprehensive and accurate."

+1. My confidence in many reviews is not high, but I do find TB's reviews to be spot on.
GraniteCliffs
distinguished member(1682)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2018 08:37PM
I agree with many of the others in that what I value in a campsite is often not what someone else values.
I have a rating system that works for me. For many, many years I have marked my Quetico maps with a rating system. If I get a new map I transfer the ratings.
And, quite honestly, I am not always too anxious to spread the news about a site I like and have used for years without it ever being occupied.
10/14/2018 10:22PM
This has been something I've been meaning to do more of for a long time. Maybe this winter I'll finally get to it. My wife has religiously taken a picture of every campsite we've ever stayed at from the canoe just far enough away to capture it all. I think the ratings from other members are very useful when planning a trip, especially to a new area.
A1t2o
distinguished member(612)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/15/2018 08:19AM
Savage Voyageur: "Our groups are on the larger size. I wish the campsites were rated for how many exactly they hold. Like, this campsite has two good pads, one poor pad. That would tell me that this site holds up to 4 people, but you could squeeze 6 people in if you needed. They do list this information but seldom is it correct. "

If you have 6 people isn't it easier to use 2 4p tents with 3 each, than 3 tents with 2 each? I know it can be nice to only have 2 in a tent, but aren't there usually 1 or 2 good tent pads and the rest are somewhat lacking? If you don't have 2 tents for 4 people then a hammock for one, 2 people in one tent, and 3 people in a 4 person tent.
PointMe2Polaris
member (48)member
 
10/15/2018 08:27AM
I have replied on a few of the trips I have taken and try to be descriptive with photos as I realize that everyone has a different opinion of what good and what's not. I always appreciate the feedback and especially the photos from others when planning a trip. I realize that not all people are going to be honest about their posts, but believe that most are, so I do rely heavily on what people are posting about sites and portages. Also, As a whole, I naturally find that BWCA Adventure Goers seem to be good honest people with a good work ethic and a fair level of morality toward others. It's one of the things that attracts me to the BWCA. #Kumbaya:-)
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(4272)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
10/15/2018 08:34AM
Jaywalker: "boonie: "mjmkjun: "TuscaroraBorealis: "I do."
Ain't that the understatement. When I was typing my post I was also thinking of the myriad campsite reviews you & wife have evaluated. Every BWCA sector I've search for campsite reviews -- you two have been there. "



And they are certainly among the most comprehensive and accurate."

+1. My confidence in many reviews is not high, but I do find TB's reviews to be spot on. "


Thank you all.

I also enjoy browsing the reviews before trips. For me the comments/photos are more important than the rating because everyone has a different idea as to what makes a perfect site. Also, I find it interesting to see what others say about sites we've been to. It's one of the things that make bwca.com such an awesome place.
10/15/2018 08:37AM
No. And I seem to be in the definite minority. I didn't check ratings ahead of time, either. For me, a lot of the fun of canoe-tripping was the mystery of it all. Just a red dot on the map. There were only two of us, so our needs were pretty basic. We would pull up to a site and (usually) I would climb out of the canoe and clamber up the hill to take a look at the situation. If I felt like it, I might or might not follow the trail to the biffy. Sometimes Spartan1 would come along, especially if I lingered and told him it "has possibilities." If I rejected at first sight, we would paddle on. Of course if sites were scarce, we would take it no matter whether I liked it or not.

Sometimes the ones I didn't like at first sight ended up being favorites in the end. One on Alder comes to mind right now when I make that comment. And another one on Pine.

And sometimes ones that I thought were wonderful turned out to be "meh" and completely forgettable.
TominMpls
distinguished member (416)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/15/2018 01:16PM
boonie: "This pretty much describes me, but A1t2o and johndku make good points in the last two posts. I have trouble recalling some details of sites I just stayed at a few weeks ago and would have to make notes while I'm there to jog my memory when I'd get around to the review after catching up on everything else. "

Right? Even *with* notes I can rarely remember more than one or two sites from any specific trip, and then it's often snapshot memories of some things at the site that I particularly liked or didn't. Don't get me wrong, some sites are definitely better than others; but in the grand scheme they don't register too highly unless there's something unusual.
 
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