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WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 03:35PM
Hello all,

Just starting "the process" for a Boundary Waters trip in 2019. One of the party has gone a few times so we will certainly hear his take on things, otherwise I'm going to investigate and prepare as if I know nothing, therefore I'll learn something.

The proposed group has various levels of experience in backpacking, kayaking (we will use canoes, I assume), backpack camping, river camping and on and on.

I look forward to reading these forums, and interacting with you all.

Mike
 
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pswith5
distinguished member(3082)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/06/2017 03:49PM
Hello Mike, welcome. 2019, that is a lot of planning! There is a wealth of knowledge here. That far out you may get too many responses. If you narrow it down as you go forward that will help. Good luck, Pete
hooky
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/06/2017 03:52PM
Welcome to the group.

My first trip was 2015. It sounds like our experience going into the 1st trip is similar and this board was a wealth of knowledge for me.
03/06/2017 03:56PM
Sounds like you have all the basic skills, that's obviously gonna flatten the curve. One thing I always suggest, after you get comfortable with the other members here, check out some of the photo galleries. That way you can see how people set up their camps, what gear they use, what clothes they wear, maybe even see something unfamiliar, something you might want to ask a question about.
QueticoMike
distinguished member(4023)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
03/06/2017 04:01PM
Welcome to the message board!
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 04:06PM
quote pswith5: "Hello Mike, welcome. 2019, that is a lot of planning! There is a wealth of knowledge here. That far out you may get too many responses. If you narrow it down as you go forward that will help. Good luck, Pete"

Agreed! I'll stay silent on plans as I know they will change. I'll head over to another forum and start talking about gear because if I pick something up starting now I'll want to make sure it's BWCA worthy. I think my normal items will do, but I don't know that for sure.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 04:08PM
quote hooky: "Welcome to the group.


My first trip was 2015. It sounds like our experience going into the 1st trip is similar and this board was a wealth of knowledge for me."


Thanks. I've been over reading trip reports starting on page 40. In time I'll read them all. I'm sure they will help.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 04:09PM
"Basic" is what I would call those skills. I've gone on remote trips where help isn't just around the corner so I hopefully don't have a false sense of security. Field First Aid is something I do have to improve at, though.

I'll be reading the trip reports to see what others have done. All going happen to be hammock campers and I think one thing we will have to know is that if the route we choose has enough trees to make that a good option.
schweady
distinguished member(6367)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
03/06/2017 04:11PM
Welcome to bwca.com! Yes, lots to digest here. 2-1/2 years should do it. :-)
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 04:11PM
quote QueticoMike: "Welcome to the message board!"

Thanks!
Grandma L
distinguished member(4963)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
03/06/2017 04:13PM
Wonder Monkey, Welcome to the Board.
As for your trip plans, give us specifics and we can give better answers.
Month you will be going into the BWCA? Base Camp or travel trip? Fishing? Ely or Grand Marais? Outfitter?
Check the specialty forums to check your interests, fishing hammocks, food......
Lots of info here!
SevenofNine
distinguished member(2069)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/06/2017 04:17PM
Welcome to the site. I'm sure you will learn a lot from the site. I have a few random thoughts to consider. In no particular order:
1. Being organized is really helpful whether in camp or on a portage so have everything in a pack and in a organizer if possible. Storage cube for kitchen and eating stuff.
2. People tend to bring too much food, eating three meals a day is excessive whereas 2 is usually the norm.
3. People tend to bring too much gear which is usually too much tackle or too much redundant gear.
4. If you want to drop weight from your gear consider the following, drop your own body weight, then think of the big items like canoe, tent, sleeping bag and camp chair.

Good luck!
Blatz
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/06/2017 04:25PM
Why wait until 2019? Rent gear this year from an outfitter and get some hands on training for the upcoming year. My first trip to the BW was planed the night before in a bar in Biwabik. I had some gear and borrowed the rest from some locals and what I could scrounge from my cabin. Was all my gear right for the BW? No. Did I take some stupid things along? Yes? But my friend and I spent 4 glorious days on Horse Lake despite not having everything just right. I learned a tremendous amount from that first trip. Way more than from reading about it. And You'll learn that everyone has their own BW style and what works best for them.
03/06/2017 05:19PM
Welcome to BWCA.COM WonderMonkey,

Have a ball going thru the forums, ask questions the more specific the better. Don't shy away from the "private forums" as most are open to all new members. The search function does work well and the many years of info from past membership can be outstanding!

butthead
03/06/2017 06:38PM
Welcome! You'll find that the backpacking experience and gear will translate well to a BW trip. The portaging aspect of canoe tripping is what trips up a lot of first-timers. Beyond the obvious aspect of planning a trip that suits the desires of all, you'll need to decide among the main areas of the wilderness - Ely/Echo Trail(west), Sawbill Trail, Gunflint Trail, or Arrowhead Trail - for entry. This is especially important if you plan to use an outfitter for rentals/service since you wouldn't want to pick a route out of Ely and an outfitter on the Gunflint Trail. The planning tab at the top is a good starting point. Just ask questions if you don't understand something. You'll find that people's methods vary quite a bit

BTW, you may want to limit your camping in burn areas if everybody is a hammocker.
03/06/2017 07:20PM
Welcome to the forums. This place was invaluable on my first trip, and still is! I spent hours using the search bar when looking for any topic I could think of, and whenever I did post it was met with lots of opinions, and nobody ever made me feel like a "noob".

Happy Planning! (I find this to be 1/2 the fun!)
03/06/2017 07:29PM
Welcome to the message board! If you hang around here enough your going to have all of the info and a ton of ideas to make your trip more enjoyable by the time your ready to go.
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(546)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/06/2017 07:36PM
Welcome MonkeyMike,
Everything you want to know can be found here. Like others have said, ask questions. "Enjoy the ride."
FISHONFISHOFF
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 07:57PM
quote Grandma L: "Wonder Monkey, Welcome to the Board.
As for your trip plans, give us specifics and we can give better answers.
Month you will be going into the BWCA? Base Camp or travel trip? Fishing? Ely or Grand Marais? Outfitter?
Check the specialty forums to check your interests, fishing hammocks, food......
Lots of info here!"


All that ... no idea! For years I've wanted to go and now that my daughter is in her junior year of HS I know when I can head that way. Got my normal adventure buddies lined up.

As far as the specifics we aren't sure of those just yet though I do think that the one person who has gone a few times normally goes out of Ely. As for fishing some will, some won't. We will prepare as if we won't catch a fish and then enjoy eating them when we do. I think so anyways, I'm making all that up right now. So early in the process....

I'll go check out those sub forums, thanks for the point on that.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 07:58PM
quote SevenofNine: "Welcome to the site. I'm sure you will learn a lot from the site. I have a few random thoughts to consider. In no particular order:
1. Being organized is really helpful whether in camp or on a portage so have everything in a pack and in a organizer if possible. Storage cube for kitchen and eating stuff.
2. People tend to bring too much food, eating three meals a day is excessive whereas 2 is usually the norm.
3. People tend to bring too much gear which is usually too much tackle or too much redundant gear.
4. If you want to drop weight from your gear consider the following, drop your own body weight, then think of the big items like canoe, tent, sleeping bag and camp chair.

Good luck!"


I'm an avid google sheets user and I have all my gear with weights next to them. I can choose what's going and where it will be packed and it gives me final weights. Not exact but very close. I like the process of planning and organizing and hope that with the help of those who have gone before me I can do a good job on the first trip.

As for overpacking, which I call fear-packing, I try to fight that. On my normall trail hike/camps I always take a pad of paper and write down what I use and what I don't to help make decisions for next time. Having never done BWCA I am POSITIVE I will do a bit of fear-packing.

As for the eating I generally eat two meals. Nice breakfast, snack on the trail, and a good dinner.

For the weight I know I am a kayaker and we will be using the canoes, probably the very light ones. To help prepare for that I'll more than likely borrow a canoe that someone has offered to me and yoke it up and go walk it around a rarely used path across the street from me. Get used to carrying it, balancing it, etc. On the other weight I am conscious of that now and make sure that any purchases are for the purposes of hiking and this trip. Getting a camp chair for my birthday and I'm getting one for this purpose. Could use my normal folder stool but I do like to relax. For discussion purposes I'm getting the Helinox Chair Zero.

Also I've recently lost over 100 lbs. "Recently" means "over a period of time" and assuming I keep all that going I should be in pretty good physical shape to endure the trip.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 08:05PM
quote Blatz: "Why wait until 2019? Rent gear this year from an outfitter and get some hands on training for the upcoming year. My first trip to the BW was planed the night before in a bar in Biwabik. I had some gear and borrowed the rest from some locals and what I could scrounge from my cabin. Was all my gear right for the BW? No. Did I take some stupid things along? Yes? But my friend and I spent 4 glorious days on Horse Lake despite not having everything just right. I learned a tremendous amount from that first trip. Way more than from reading about it. And You'll learn that everyone has their own BW style and what works best for them. "

Mostly because my discretionary time is booked up until 2019. I coach fastpitch and a great deal of time is taken up with that. I have a four day trip with my adventure crew in the Daniel Boone National forest this year and next year a week long trip with my dad, who recently beat cancer.

I think in the end we will be like you in the fact that whatever we take will minimally do and we will have a great time. With the gear we already have I know that we could all pack it up and go there, fill in a few things and do just fine. The good thing is that we are all adventure ready and I trust that nobody in the group will just walk in with a pair of sneakers and a Twix bar.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 08:09PM
quote butthead: "Welcome to BWCA.COM WonderMonkey,


Have a ball going thru the forums, ask questions the more specific the better. Don't shy away from the "private forums" as most are open to all new members. The search function does work well and the many years of info from past membership can be outstanding!


butthead"


Thanks! I'll be doing more reading than posting. If I do post, it will probably be about gear as what trip we take and what the group wants the trip to be about is still very much up in the air.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 08:10PM
quote boonie: "Welcome! You'll find that the backpacking experience and gear will translate well to a BW trip. The portaging aspect of canoe tripping is what trips up a lot of first-timers. Beyond the obvious aspect of planning a trip that suits the desires of all, you'll need to decide among the main areas of the wilderness - Ely/Echo Trail(west), Sawbill Trail, Gunflint Trail, or Arrowhead Trail - for entry. This is especially important if you plan to use an outfitter for rentals/service since you wouldn't want to pick a route out of Ely and an outfitter on the Gunflint Trail. The planning tab at the top is a good starting point. Just ask questions if you don't understand something. You'll find that people's methods vary quite a bit

BTW, you may want to limit your camping in burn areas if everybody is a hammocker."


I'll certainly use the planning tab, haven't visited there yet.

I've portaged before, but not to the extent that will happen on the BWCA. I know that packing and how to carry all that is a big part. Being able to carry the canoe and the other carry the packs and not have to make multiple trips is a desire. Luckily one of the group has done various BWCA things and we can hear his experiences.

And you are right, a burn area is not quite what a hammocker needs!
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/06/2017 08:13PM
quote fishonfishoff: "Welcome MonkeyMike,
Everything you want to know can be found here. Like others have said, ask questions. "Enjoy the ride."
FISHONFISHOFF"


I plan my brains out but when the trip starts it's full on enjoyment. I enjoy it because I've planned. If something is forgotten, it's no big deal, most of us will live to talk about it.
03/06/2017 08:43PM
Welcome. The message board is a treasure house of information, be sure to check out the hammock special interest forum if your group intends to hang, but the site also offers a great search function. I have often had a question and knowing it had been previously reviewed used search to find what I was seeking. The maps function also offers information and often photos of various campsites and portages, good fishing and photo ops are also noted. Since there is so much here you really have not started too early and anyway planning and anticipation are a big part of the fun.
Jackfish
Moderator
 
03/06/2017 09:20PM
Welcome aboard, Mike. You're going to have fun here... so much knowledge and a great group of folks, too.

One thing you might want to do is plan a short weekend (or a long weekend) canoe trip someplace with your group. It wouldn't have to be the BW. Often times, they act like a dress rehearsal for the "real" trip to help you get the kinks out... and you get a fun canoe-camping weekend to boot!

Where are you from? Are you in the Midwest? Canoecopia is next weekend in Madison. Well worth the trip if you have time and you're within reasonable driving distance.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/07/2017 06:07AM
quote Jackfish: "Welcome aboard, Mike. You're going to have fun here... so much knowledge and a great group of folks, too.

One thing you might want to do is plan a short weekend (or a long weekend) canoe trip someplace with your group. It wouldn't have to be the BW. Often times, they act like a dress rehearsal for the "real" trip to help you get the kinks out... and you get a fun canoe-camping weekend to boot!

Where are you from? Are you in the Midwest? Canoecopia is next weekend in Madison. Well worth the trip if you have time and you're within reasonable driving distance."


Good suggestion! A few overnight or weekend shakedown cruises is something we have spoke about. We already occasionally camp out of our kayaks but it won't be with the same gear, pack load, etc. that we would take to BWCA. This will all happen each Fall as starting now it's full on fastpitch (high school, travel) until August.

As for the event in Madison, that's a good plan but we are at the forefront of our season. The first time I could go to that is the Spring of 2019.
Bumstead
distinguished member (122)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/07/2017 06:48AM
Welcome to BWCA.com. I've spent a few years on this site, most of which I just utilized the information before becoming interactive. Invaluable for planning my first two trips! Investigate the site, you'll start narrowing your options based on your desired type of trip.

If you backpack, then you're golden when it comes to BWCA. Just grab a few dry bags to assure your clothes and sleep system stays dry. You already know how to choose necessary gear, clothes, food weight, etc. (my wife makes fun of me for my weighted gear spreadsheets for backpacking) This is just like backpack trips, only better IMO. Main reasons: water for swimming / cooling off, water for drinking is always available, and especially water for fishing.....most of my backpacking destinations have not had those benefits all throughout the trip. Also, when you have water to 'carry' your canoe which carries your gear most of the time, you can pack in a few luxury items. You're going to love it as an option for your wilderness tripping.
ozarkpaddler
distinguished member(4819)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
03/07/2017 08:41AM
quote Bumstead: "Welcome to BWCA.com. I've spent a few years on this site, most of which I just utilized the information before becoming interactive. Invaluable for planning my first two trips! Investigate the site, you'll start narrowing your options based on your desired type of trip.
If you backpack, then you're golden when it comes to BWCA. Just grab a few dry bags to assure your clothes and sleep system stays dry. You already know how to choose necessary gear, clothes, food weight, etc. (my wife makes fun of me for my weighted gear spreadsheets for backpacking) This is just like backpack trips, only better IMO. Main reasons: water for swimming / cooling off, water for drinking is always available, and especially water for fishing.....most of my backpacking destinations have not had those benefits all throughout the trip. Also, when you have water to 'carry' your canoe which carries your gear most of the time, you can pack in a few luxury items. You're going to love it as an option for your wilderness tripping."


Welcome aboard! I started out as a backpacker and evolved into a canoe tripper. So many advantages, especially when it comes to the BWCAW. And since you're used to getting by with the contents of a backpack, canoe camping will seem luxurious.

I can relate to only having a finite amount of vacation and trying to spread it around. That said, maybe there will be a way you can make a short trip before 2019 to get a "Taste?" Warning, though, once you've been up there, it grabs a hold of you for life and becomes an "Obsession" with some of us!
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/07/2017 10:38AM
quote Bumstead: "Welcome to BWCA.com. I've spent a few years on this site, most of which I just utilized the information before becoming interactive. Invaluable for planning my first two trips! Investigate the site, you'll start narrowing your options based on your desired type of trip.


If you backpack, then you're golden when it comes to BWCA. Just grab a few dry bags to assure your clothes and sleep system stays dry. You already know how to choose necessary gear, clothes, food weight, etc. (my wife makes fun of me for my weighted gear spreadsheets for backpacking) This is just like backpack trips, only better IMO. Main reasons: water for swimming / cooling off, water for drinking is always available, and especially water for fishing.....most of my backpacking destinations have not had those benefits all throughout the trip. Also, when you have water to 'carry' your canoe which carries your gear most of the time, you can pack in a few luxury items. You're going to love it as an option for your wilderness tripping."


I have several dry bags of various sizes and qualities. My 30L and 20L are my main bulk items and usually don't take both, and smaller ones for different things. Stuff and compression sacks to keep things organized. For a BWCA I'd use my Winter backpack to allow for some of those luxury items you mentioned.

One thing I'll have to resolve is the cooking gear. Now I just carry my 750 ml pot and whatever stove I opt to take that time around. I even do that with my kayak camping. With BWCA I'm noticing that many take a bit more substantial cooking setup to handle the fish and other items.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/07/2017 10:41AM
quote ozarkpaddler: "quote Bumstead: "Welcome to BWCA.com. I've spent a few years on this site, most of which I just utilized the information before becoming interactive. Invaluable for planning my first two trips! Investigate the site, you'll start narrowing your options based on your desired type of trip.
If you backpack, then you're golden when it comes to BWCA. Just grab a few dry bags to assure your clothes and sleep system stays dry. You already know how to choose necessary gear, clothes, food weight, etc. (my wife makes fun of me for my weighted gear spreadsheets for backpacking) This is just like backpack trips, only better IMO. Main reasons: water for swimming / cooling off, water for drinking is always available, and especially water for fishing.....most of my backpacking destinations have not had those benefits all throughout the trip. Also, when you have water to 'carry' your canoe which carries your gear most of the time, you can pack in a few luxury items. You're going to love it as an option for your wilderness tripping."



Welcome aboard! I started out as a backpacker and evolved into a canoe tripper. So many advantages, especially when it comes to the BWCAW. And since you're used to getting by with the contents of a backpack, canoe camping will seem luxurious.


I can relate to only having a finite amount of vacation and trying to spread it around. That said, maybe there will be a way you can make a short trip before 2019 to get a "Taste?" Warning, though, once you've been up there, it grabs a hold of you for life and becomes an "Obsession" with some of us! "


There are a few narrow windows to get a taste. More than likely I'd use that time locally on a river or lake testing things out. I'm not horribly far (lower Ohio) but enough where the trip there and the trip back would each cost me one day, for a total of two.
QueticoMike
distinguished member(4023)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
03/07/2017 11:27AM
Another Buckeye! I'm by Dayton. Just make sure you have good boots and the best rain gear you can afford, worth their weight in gold. Any fishing questions let me know.
03/07/2017 11:58AM
quote SevenofNine: "Welcome to the site. I'm sure you will learn a lot from the site. I have a few random thoughts to consider. In no particular order:
1. Being organized is really helpful whether in camp or on a portage so have everything in a pack and in a organizer if possible. Storage cube for kitchen and eating stuff.
2. People tend to bring too much food, eating three meals a day is excessive whereas 2 is usually the norm.
3. People tend to bring too much gear which is usually too much tackle or too much redundant gear.
4. If you want to drop weight from your gear consider the following, drop your own body weight, then think of the big items like canoe, tent, sleeping bag and camp chair.


Good luck!"


+1 I would second all that advice. Cut the learning curve and expense and just go bare essentials, travel farther and enjoy more. I didn't take this route and have a lot of extra gear I don't use and won't portage to show for it. my .02
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/07/2017 02:28PM
quote QueticoMike: "Another Buckeye! I'm by Dayton. Just make sure you have good boots and the best rain gear you can afford, worth their weight in gold. Any fishing questions let me know."

Hello! I'm just North of Dayton (Vandalia).

As for rain gear, that's a research project. I have a normal light hike jacket and a heavier jacket I've used but I will be seeing what is "right" to take up there.
BuckFlicks
distinguished member (459)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/07/2017 05:16PM
Hey Mike... as you've already been assaulted with... welcome aboard!

You are in the same boat (heh) I was in for my first trip to the BWCA. The vast majority of my outdoor experience was backpacking and car camping with a handful of river canoe trips.

As someone who shares a similar background, I'll offer you a few bits of general advice that I wish someone had given me before my first trip. I learned a lot through mistakes and mis-judgements.

The majority of your backpacking knowledge and gear will serve you just fine in the BWCA. Some won't. If you get a gut feeling that something is wrong, listen to it. You may be over-reacting, but your instincts will serve you well.

Most of it is common sense. Most people find it easier to pack their gear and food in Duluth style portage packs, but I prefer a larger dry-bag type with backpack straps and a hip belt. Not that it's better, but it's closer to what I'm used to carrying. Whatever you do, don't plan on single portaging. Plan on making two trips, and if you find that you can do the portage in a single trip, you've improved your time management instead of damaging it.

Lighter is still better. This isn't as vital packing for a backpacking trip, but it still helps to have a pleasant stroll on your portages, rather than a backbreaking lug, so think more along the lines of packing like a backpack trip than a river canoe trip, where you can haul a cooler with drinks and steaks and the like.

Don't worry too much about covering so much ground. The BWCA is gorgeous territory, but it's not like hiking 8 miles up a mountain to see an alpine lake or bag a peak. Every lake is its own destination and if you set lofty distance goals and concentrate on covering a lot of ground, your focus on traveling takes your attention away from each lake's charm. We planned a large loop for our first trip and weather caused us to shorten our trip by a day and we had to scramble and re-route to accommodate the changes. If you do one day to a basecamp and plan day trips from there, you leave yourself an easier exit if things go sideways. The loops are fun because you are always seeing a new lake instead of covering the same territory twice, but the basecamp gives you some more options - if you want to only paddle for half a day or just spend the day lounging at camp or fishing from the shore, you can do all of that without inconveniencing the rest of the group and having to change your travel plans.

You mentioned kitchen kits and cooking gear and elaborate BWCA food prep Vs. the ease of backpacking food. Personally, my group has decided that it's nice to have some kind of fresh food the first night and maybe hot dogs for lunch the 2nd day, but after that, it's freeze dried backpacker meals. But that's our personal preference. We prefer the lighter portage load and less space taken up by food (and bear safety.) We also like to spend all day paddling and don't spend a lot of time in camp, so we don't have a lot of time and energy to devote to meal prep and kitchen cleaning - so we just take a big pot for water and a medium sized non-stick skillet. We each bring a LP stove like the MSR Pocket Rocket or the similar Primus model, and enough gas to last the length of our trip plus a day or two. If you have more people to divide up the weight and kitchen duties, more elaborate dining plans can certainly be doable. It's really up to what your group prefers.

Get some good shoes. Portages may be secondary or even an afterthought, but you'll still want something with good ankle support, and something tall enough that it won't get pulled off your foot if you step in some boggy mud. I like the LL Bean Bean Boot. The sole isn't the stiffest, but it has good ankle support and I can step in near a foot of water and stay dry. But also bring something comfortable to walk around camp. I like Crocs. Don't think that hiking boots will suffice. I wore some Merrell hiking boots my first trip and was miserable almost from the first put-in when both shoes and socks were soaked and added about 10 pounds to each step the entire trip. If you DO opt for hiking boots, get some light weight boots, not leather, and ones that drain and dry rapidly, and don't soak up and hold water. A lot of folks here like sandals and water shoes even for portaging, which I don't understand. My ankles wouldn't survive one uneven portage in a pair of sandals.

Sunscreen. That far northern summer sun is intense. Even if it's not that hot, the sun still burns bright.

I will second the notion that you will be glad that you purchased the best rain gear you can afford. I find a jacket is more important than pants. I got some cheap Bass Pro rain pants that have worked just fine... but I've had two or three different rain jackets and the more money I spent, the better and more comfortable the jacket was, in both water repelling and ventilation.

Don't be afraid to take a luxury item or two, as long as they're not too elaborate or large/heavy. I won't go without a small MP3 player anymore. Or a comfortable but packable pillow.

Don't be afraid or embarrassed to use a GPS. Some of the bigger lakes can be confusing or discombobulating and the maps may not have all islands marked - it's easy to get turned around and not find a portage trail where you expect to. I don't think anyone would ever razz you for using one, I imagine most here use one. But don't think you have to be all macho and go without one. The maps are excellent for the most part, but it's better to have a GPS to verify your map-reading skills.

Take a camera and a journal. Write down a log of what you've done for the day before you go to sleep. You'll love re-reading it later and of course, it will be great to have pictures to go along with it... AND... everyone here loves reading other members' trip reports.

You're going to love it. I thought that nothing would ever take the place of Colorado as my favorite place to be outdoors, but BWCA has done so.



BuckFlicks
distinguished member (459)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/07/2017 05:50PM
quote WonderMonkey: "quote QueticoMike: "Another Buckeye! I'm by Dayton. Just make sure you have good boots and the best rain gear you can afford, worth their weight in gold. Any fishing questions let me know."


Hello! I'm just North of Dayton (Vandalia).


As for rain gear, that's a research project. I have a normal light hike jacket and a heavier jacket I've used but I will be seeing what is "right" to take up there."


I have an older version of this jacket that worked nicely - nothing too elaborate or overly expensive but still of decent quality. Not nearly as expensive as TNF or ARc'Teryx modelst that are similar.

REI Rain Jacket
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/07/2017 09:35PM
quote BuckFlicks: "Hey Mike... as you've already been assaulted with... welcome aboard!

Thanks!


quote BuckFlicks: "You are in the same boat (heh) I was in for my first trip to the BWCA. The vast majority of my outdoor experience was backpacking and car camping with a handful of river canoe trips.


As someone who shares a similar background, I'll offer you a few bits of general advice that I wish someone had given me before my first trip. I learned a lot through mistakes and mis-judgements. "


I love advice, and I appreciate it. I'll come back to this thread over the months and re-read. I am a pre-trip over-planner, which allows me to 100% relax once the trip begins.


quote BuckFlicks: "The majority of your backpacking knowledge and gear will serve you just fine in the BWCA. Some won't. If you get a gut feeling that something is wrong, listen to it. You may be over-reacting, but your instincts will serve you well.


Most of it is common sense. Most people find it easier to pack their gear and food in Duluth style portage packs, but I prefer a larger dry-bag type with backpack straps and a hip belt. Not that it's better, but it's closer to what I'm used to carrying. Whatever you do, don't plan on single portaging. Plan on making two trips, and if you find that you can do the portage in a single trip, you've improved your time management instead of damaging it. "


I've seen those packs. The one guy who has gone before has one like that. I'm also curious to see if my Winter backpack can work if I have everything that matters in dry bags. I have two very tough salLine Baja Dry Bags (photo) below. One is a 30L and the other a 20L. Additionally I have a few other smaller ones that I trust to help me organize. Also some stuff and compression bags. If a normal pack with contents protected is a "Ah... nice try. but no..." then I'll certainly listen to that.

[img]http://www.michaelhenry.rocks/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2019141_701_main.jpg[img]

As for portaging, are you talking solo or with a partner? My thought, and of course this is "never have gone" thoughts is that one person would carry and the other would double-pack, if the portage is a simple one. If not a simple one then we would not. I have no idea what is normal but by your comments I assume that what I was thinking is not what sane humans would do.


quote BuckFlicks: "Lighter is still better. This isn't as vital packing for a backpacking trip, but it still helps to have a pleasant stroll on your portages, rather than a backbreaking lug, so think more along the lines of packing like a backpack trip than a river canoe trip, where you can haul a cooler with drinks and steaks and the like."

Everything I purchase is in the name of going smaller, or to fill in a gap. I'm not a gram-weenie by any stretch but I am conscious about it. I don't scrimp on things I really enjoy but I do things like instead of taking three knives, I'll take one. Of course that needs to be trip specific so when I head into the deep woods I do carry an backup knife, etc.

Usually on my backpack trips I'll take a small folding chair that I can detach from my pack while on the trail. I've recently ordered a Helinox Chair Zero which is a bit heavier but very nice in camp.

Currently we do take a river trip once a year in our kayaks and we tow an extra kayak with coolers in it. We consider it an extreme luxary and don't put essential items in it. That way we know that we could take the same trip without the pack kayak and be just fine. Except without cold beverages, which is oh so good. Our rivers are tame, so no issues with towing it.


quote BuckFlicks: "Don't worry too much about covering so much ground. The BWCA is gorgeous territory, but it's not like hiking 8 miles up a mountain to see an alpine lake or bag a peak. Every lake is its own destination and if you set lofty distance goals and concentrate on covering a lot of ground, your focus on traveling takes your attention away from each lake's charm. We planned a large loop for our first trip and weather caused us to shorten our trip by a day and we had to scramble and re-route to accommodate the changes. If you do one day to a basecamp and plan day trips from there, you leave yourself an easier exit if things go sideways. The loops are fun because you are always seeing a new lake instead of covering the same territory twice, but the basecamp gives you some more options - if you want to only paddle for half a day or just spend the day lounging at camp or fishing from the shore, you can do all of that without inconveniencing the rest of the group and having to change your travel plans."

I'm hoping the group wants to do a mix of moderate days with maybe a day of base camp. Maybe base camp trips like you mentioned? I like the idea of a loop with alternate routes in case of a need. I've been guilty of pounding miles on my hike camp trips. What I realized is exactly what you said, I focused on traveling instead of the experience. A fellow hammocker, Sean Emery, made himself take photos to slow down. On a solo hike I made myself document the trip so I had to slow down. It was everything I hoped for. Watch it below if you have the urge. The person in the video is me. Around 4:40 is when I speak about slowing down and looking up.




quote BuckFlicks: "You mentioned kitchen kits and cooking gear and elaborate BWCA food prep Vs. the ease of backpacking food. Personally, my group has decided that it's nice to have some kind of fresh food the first night and maybe hot dogs for lunch the 2nd day, but after that, it's freeze dried backpacker meals. But that's our personal preference. We prefer the lighter portage load and less space taken up by food (and bear safety.) We also like to spend all day paddling and don't spend a lot of time in camp, so we don't have a lot of time and energy to devote to meal prep and kitchen cleaning - so we just take a big pot for water and a medium sized non-stick skillet. We each bring a LP stove like the MSR Pocket Rocket or the similar Primus model, and enough gas to last the length of our trip plus a day or two. If you have more people to divide up the weight and kitchen duties, more elaborate dining plans can certainly be doable. It's really up to what your group prefers. "

I'm like you in that I take freeze dried food on my trips. Camp Chow, Packit Gourmet, etc. I mentioned taking a larger cook set as that's what the guy who has gone before has done. However the rest of us do what I currently do and we have already discussed making the trip way way easier by doing that. So it's good to hear that yo do the same. We cook over homemade alcohol fuel stoves, the cannister stoves like the Pocket Rocket, and some homemade wood gas stoves. We tinker about with it.


quote BuckFlicks: "Get some good shoes. Portages may be secondary or even an afterthought, but you'll still want something with good ankle support, and something tall enough that it won't get pulled off your foot if you step in some boggy mud. I like the LL Bean Bean Boot. The sole isn't the stiffest, but it has good ankle support and I can step in near a foot of water and stay dry. But also bring something comfortable to walk around camp. I like Crocs. Don't think that hiking boots will suffice. I wore some Merrell hiking boots my first trip and was miserable almost from the first put-in when both shoes and socks were soaked and added about 10 pounds to each step the entire trip. If you DO opt for hiking boots, get some light weight boots, not leather, and ones that drain and dry rapidly, and don't soak up and hold water. A lot of folks here like sandals and water shoes even for portaging, which I don't understand. My ankles wouldn't survive one uneven portage in a pair of sandals."

For my kayak shoes I have some Keen's with a covered toe. They can cinch up and do pretty good in muck. I've done some brutal "around blockages" in them and they have held up. Never done the longer portages so I'll have to listen to your thoughts. And like you, I have Crocs for camp shoes. There and around the house is the only place I wear crocs, because my dignity is still intact. For now.


quote BuckFlicks: "Sunscreen. That far northern summer sun is intense. Even if it's not that hot, the sun still burns bright."

Ah yes. On fly-in trips into Canada with my dad we used it, and I still got a bit burned. Water reflection helps that out.


quote BuckFlicks: "I will second the notion that you will be glad that you purchased the best rain gear you can afford. I find a jacket is more important than pants. I got some cheap Bass Pro rain pants that have worked just fine... but I've had two or three different rain jackets and the more money I spent, the better and more comfortable the jacket was, in both water repelling and ventilation."

I have a very heavy jacket but it's larger than I need. It may be one of those things that I'll say "Heck, I'm in a canoe..." and take with me rather than buy another. My light weight jacket is what I use for hiking and I'll take it as well.


quote BuckFlicks: "Don't be afraid to take a luxury item or two, as long as they're not too elaborate or large/heavy. I won't go without a small MP3 player anymore. Or a comfortable but packable pillow."

Music and audio books are my friend. I love to lay in my hammock and at times listen to the world, and other times let a bit of Pink Floyd play. I'll probably not take my guitar because it always sounds like a good idea but turns out to not be worth it. Also not everybody likes to listen to my same 10 songs over and over.


quote BuckFlicks: "Don't be afraid or embarrassed to use a GPS. Some of the bigger lakes can be confusing or discombobulating and the maps may not have all islands marked - it's easy to get turned around and not find a portage trail where you expect to. I don't think anyone would ever razz you for using one, I imagine most here use one. But don't think you have to be all macho and go without one. The maps are excellent for the most part, but it's better to have a GPS to verify your map-reading skills."

I am a pretty good map reader, and terrain reader, if I do say so myself. My brother is a survery turned large land management guy and he added to what I learned in the military and practice on my own. Additionally, I am a wholesaler for Delorme, and I have some of their devices. I have an older one I personally use but for the BWCA I'll get whatever is recent in the area of SAT texting, etc. My pride isn't hit AT ALL by firing it up and referencing the markers and routes I'll have pre-loaded.


quote BuckFlicks: "Take a camera and a journal. Write down a log of what you've done for the day before you go to sleep. You'll love re-reading it later and of course, it will be great to have pictures to go along with it... AND... everyone here loves reading other members' trip reports."

I've been reading the trip reports, starting back on page 40. As I mentioned above, I'm making a concentrated effort to document to ensure I slow down and see what there is to see.


quote BuckFlicks: "You're going to love it. I thought that nothing would ever take the place of Colorado as my favorite place to be outdoors, but BWCA has done so. "

I sincerely hope I will. I've built it up in my mind for years, and I can't see how it won't live up.

I apprecitate the lengthy post you made. Hopefully at some point I can help YOU in some way.

WM



"
BuckFlicks
distinguished member (459)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/08/2017 01:20PM
Here is the pack I use:



It's a Seattle Sports Canyon bag. It's been great on all my canoe trips, river and lake. I've seen some of the SeaLine packs that are similar and they'd work well too.

I also use a giant Ziploc clothes storage bag for an extra layer of protection for my clothes and sleeping bag.

By single vs. double portage, I mean carrying everything in one trip down the portage trail, or carrying half of it, dropping it off, walking back, and picking up the rest of it, and making a second hike. On our (we are a two-man team the vast majority of the time) first trip, we attempted single portaging on our first few portages, and while it was possible, it was very taxing and awkward to carry everything. BUT, we also packed a lot of fresh food on that trip and instead of having one pack with food and other stuff, we had two bags with only food, plus our gear, and the canoe, and the paddles. We quickly abandoned the single portage theory. If you have enough guys on the trip, it might be easier to spread everything out and make your portages in one trip. Lots of people single portage and have their packing down to a science. We generally have the canoe, paddles, two gear packs, and two thwart bags... so it's not doable to carry everything in one trip. That may be where the portage packs come in handy, I've seen a lot of people carrying a canoe, a portage pack on their back and one on their chest to single portage.

Loop vs. base-camp out-and-back: The basecamp option is nice because you don't spend time every morning and evening setting up and taking down your camp. You pitch your camp, and can spend 2 or 3 days or more spending more time on the water if you wish. There are some nice hubs that give you lots of options to cover ground, fish, explore, and what have you. If you're wanting to cover a lot of ground, a loop is good, but as you're a pre-planner - look for bail-out routes in case you need to improvise. Or you can combine them, do a loop but plan for an extra day to base camp. You'd be surprised how much a day without having to hit the water early and potentially fight for a campsite can recharge your batteries. Also, traveling without all your gear in the canoe is fun, and portages are a lot easier. Just about everyone in the BW will start early and grab a campsite by mid-afternoon, so if you're like us who like to cover ground during the day, waiting until 4:00 or 5:00 to find a campsite could be a problem, especially if you're heading for a busy area.

Is your homemade alcohol stove the one that uses the soda can? I had a buddy who wanted to try that. I didn't trust myself to build one properly, and I already had a Pocket Rocket that works like a champ.

Shoes - I also wear Keens for river trips - I have the Arroyo. I also have some Salomon Amphibians which are quite nice. But I needs me some ankle support.

Unlike you, my dignity is no longer intact. I will wear Crocs to run a quick errand if I have to. Crocs also make shoe inserts which are the most comfortable insoles I've ever had. Way better than Superfeet inserts for hiking shoes.

Good luck - planning will set you free!

WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/08/2017 05:11PM
quote BuckFlicks: "Here is the pack I use: STUFF

I like that pack as it looks like it rides well.

Our group is up for whatever is suggested but I think I'm going to go with something like you brought up. Loops with either a base camp and forays or options to hang out for a day here or there. Options.

The one guy who has already gone said they distribute and make it so that the extra camp items are a shared burden. How we will do it is still up in the air. I'm not wanting a treacherous portage with dropped canoes, bloodies appendages, and foul moods so we will pick what ever is the most stress free for the portage at hand and go with that. If someone wants to He-Man it then I'll give them the opportunity with my pack.

As for the alcohol fuel stove, a few are the type made with cans, soda, beer, etc. Drink beer, make a stove. Drink beer, make a stove. After a while it is "Drink beer, fight with neighbor about trowel he borrowed three years ago and returned but your wife didn't tell you."

Do you know why the Crocs have the little holes around the toe box? So your dignity can run out. Cover those holes with painter's tape and I think your dignity will recharge.

Again, thanks for all the info.
IceColdGold
distinguished member(711)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/08/2017 09:57PM
2019, heck, why wait. Grab some gear and go for a short trip.
BuckFlicks
distinguished member (459)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/09/2017 02:30PM
We also distribute weight on community items (stove, tent, rain fly, water filter, etc.) when we go backpacking - it's worked well. On canoe trips, we never know from one portage to the next who will by carrying what, so we just make the two Canyon Bags as close to the same weight as we can while putting stuff we might need during the day on the top.

I think the last trip, we kind of settled into a groove where I would carry the canoe on one leg, then the paddles and thwart bags on the next leg, while my friend carried one of the gear packs on each trip. Our first trip, we decided that whomever carried the canoe got the easier load on the 2nd leg. He preferred pack to canoe, and I didn't care much either way, but liked the lighter load on the 2nd leg.

Funny line about the holes in Crocs!

WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/09/2017 02:42PM
quote IceColdGold: "2019, heck, why wait. Grab some gear and go for a short trip."

Schedule, mostly. I have four open days that are available this year. Next year I'm mostly booked as well.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/13/2017 09:59AM
Small update: As I get more knowledgeable about the BW I'm able to add or eliminate routes, etc. I know that certain entry points are more associated with certain FS Offices. With this in mind I'm pretty sure we will focus on those routes that are near Ely.

That is all for today.
03/13/2017 10:22AM
quote WonderMonkey: "Small update: As I get more knowledgeable about the BW I'm able to add or eliminate routes, etc. I know that certain entry points are more associated with certain FS Offices. With this in mind I'm pretty sure we will focus on those routes that are near Ely.


That is all for today."


FYI, while you can pick up your permit as the FS office, alternatively you can name a cooperator as the permit issuer. Outfitters (almost certainly without exception) are cooperators and generally have longer hours than the FS, plus it saves a stop if you're using an outfitter anyway.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/13/2017 11:23AM
quote boonie: "quote WonderMonkey: "Small update: As I get more knowledgeable about the BW I'm able to add or eliminate routes, etc. I know that certain entry points are more associated with certain FS Offices. With this in mind I'm pretty sure we will focus on those routes that are near Ely.

That is all for today."


FYI, while you can pick up your permit as the FS office, alternatively you can name a cooperator as the permit issuer. Outfitters (almost certainly without exception) are cooperators and generally have longer hours than the FS, plus it saves a stop if you're using an outfitter anyway. "


Though things can change, I certainly plan on using an outfitter. I'll most likely rent a canoe and will want things to go right. I figure with an outfitter there is a much higher chance of that happening.
03/13/2017 02:16PM
quote WonderMonkey: "quote boonie: "quote WonderMonkey: "Small update: As I get more knowledgeable about the BW I'm able to add or eliminate routes, etc. I know that certain entry points are more associated with certain FS Offices. With this in mind I'm pretty sure we will focus on those routes that are near Ely.


That is all for today."



FYI, while you can pick up your permit as the FS office, alternatively you can name a cooperator as the permit issuer. Outfitters (almost certainly without exception) are cooperators and generally have longer hours than the FS, plus it saves a stop if you're using an outfitter anyway. "



Though things can change, I certainly plan on using an outfitter. I'll most likely rent a canoe and will want things to go right. I figure with an outfitter there is a much higher chance of that happening."


I just wanted to point out you can get it all done at one place, avoid multiple stops, and most outfitters open earlier and close later. You don't necessarily have to use an outfitter, to pick it up there and the hours are usually longer if that's a concern. Most people like to pick up the permit the day before if they are there, so they can get an early start. I'm not sure of the USFS office hours, but I believe they are something like 8-4 - I'm sure you look them up online or call to verify. Plus you can get fishing license from most outfitters.
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(4101)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
03/13/2017 07:08PM
Welcome to bwca.com!
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/14/2017 06:16AM
quote TuscaroraBorealis: "Welcome to bwca.com!"

Thanks!
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/14/2017 01:38PM
I have a master list of all my gear with how much each item weighs. I certainly don't obsess over those weights but I do think it's good information.

On each trip of consequence, I use this list to make sure I don't forget things that I actually care about. I use it to pack and off I go.

Even though it's a few years away I started a list of the things I'll need, or want, to take. It will help me organize my head and plan for things that I may want to purchase. Those items will make good things to put on a list for those that still insist on buying birthday and Christmas presents.

For fun I started an area on the place I use to write. Nobody reads the site, which I'm good with, and will be somewhere I can use to go back and look at past trips.
03/14/2017 06:12PM
quote WonderMonkey: "I have a master list of all my gear with how much each item weighs. I certainly don't obsess over those weights but I do think it's good information.


On each trip of consequence, I use this list to make sure I don't forget things that I actually care about. I use it to pack and off I go.


Even though it's a few years away I started a list of the things I'll need, or want, to take. It will help me organize my head and plan for things that I may want to purchase. Those items will make good things to put on a list for those that still insist on buying birthday and Christmas presents.


For fun I started an area on the place I use to write. Nobody reads the site, which I'm good with, and will be somewhere I can use to go back and look at past trips."


All good ideas, WonderMonkey. I'd suggest making sure everyone has a list, as well as making sure others bring any group items they are responsible for. I also have lists of things to do and when, i.e. permits, travel and equipment reservations, gear checks, food, lists of what to pack in the car, etc. I check it off when it goes in the pack and check off each pack (bag, whatever) when it goes in the car.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/14/2017 07:48PM
quote boonie: "quote WonderMonkey: "I have a master


All good ideas, WonderMonkey. I'd suggest making sure everyone has a list, as well as making sure others bring any group items they are responsible for. I also have lists of things to do and when, i.e. permits, travel and equipment reservations, gear checks, food, lists of what to pack in the car, etc. I check it off when it goes in the pack and check off each pack (bag, whatever) when it goes in the car."


Good thinking boonie, and thanks for all the information you have provided.

As with each of these spreadsheet and planning things, about seven years ago my brother and BIL used to tease me about them. Then, over time, they would start to use them as well. One year I told them I wasn't planning the next trip, they could do it, and they started to panic as time came closer. Ah... validation.

Here is a partial screenshot from when I was first making it. I even made a spot so I could capture if I used it or not and if I felt I needed it.

scat
distinguished member (390)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/15/2017 06:05PM
It's not hard. Just have a good basic gear list, a somewhat flexible itinerary , get a permit and go on a canoe trip. Nothing to it. You certainly don't need 2 1/2 years of planning. You can do that in a couple weeks.
scat
distinguished member (390)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/15/2017 06:09PM
It's not hard. Just get a good basic gear list, a somewhat flexible itinerary, a permit and go and have fun. You certainly don't need 2 1/2 years of planning. You can do that in a couple weeks. You're not planning the Normandy DDay invasion for heaven's sake.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/15/2017 06:56PM
quote scat: "It's not hard. Just have a good basic gear list, a somewhat flexible itinerary , get a permit and go on a canoe trip. Nothing to it. You certainly don't need 2 1/2 years of planning. You can do that in a couple weeks."

Yes, I know. However, I'm not going until 2019. I didn't set that year because I needed it. Since I DO have that much time I'll start planning now. It's fun. If someone wanted me to go in a few days I could probably scrape together what I have and do just fine.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/15/2017 06:57PM
quote scat: " You're not planning the Normandy DDay invasion for heaven's sake. "

People enjoy trips differently. Since I have the time I choose to prepare now, to the nth degree. If you don't enjoy that then do it your way. I like planning things and writing about them, if given the extra time.
WonderMonkey
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
03/18/2017 11:09AM
EDIT: This post should go in the gear forum
 
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