Like the prior post: For others who may be considering a similar trip. I did this type of trip with 3 kids and 3 adults. Involve the kids at the put in and any portages. I packed up most of the food and related items in quite a few double bagged grocery bags. Tied them off tight and guess who got the right and responsibility to carry all the food as well as loose smaller items. This kept them busy and an active vital part of the work. Also, small bags fit in everywhere in the canoe. I never said it was maximum efficiency, but it works.
Take a bag or barrel for protecting food at night.
Be sure to get child paddles as they will start off gung ho to paddle. Expect diminishing returns from this. Make it about him/them and all should go well. Ask your outfitter about them or see Wal-Mart, etc.
Take a bug whacker for intense battles in season against mosquitoes in the tent. This can be fun and sleeping is better if you win. In addition, you will have less blood on tent walls.
They are moisture sensitive, so bag separately and keep dry if you want to use them.
One per tent for obvious reasons.
Sorry didn't see the date of this post. Nonetheless for others...
I would not choose that time of year to trip with young children. I have been tripping with my daughter since she was about that age. It MAY be nice weather but just as likely cold, wet and windy. (Aside from the considerations of tripping with a partner who is not much more than ballast in bad water.) Those conditions will be hard on a person of smaller body mass and experience.
Do you have clothing and gear for him to be comfortable with actual highs in the low 40s and a wind-chill in the 30s the whole time? Those have been what I have faced that time of year lately. Even this year, the week after Labor Day, I experienced cloudy weather and highs in the 50s for an entire week.
Think drug dealer mentality. Make his first trip a great one and he will be hooked. :) If you do go, be prepared to call it and trip another day for their sake.
Decided to put off our trip just one weekend I hoped of less crappy weather. So far it’s shaping up to be a decent October weekend.
Thank you everyone for the amazing ideas! We are very excited and will be sure to report back on our trip.
Just returned yesterday from Big Moose Lake (Moose River South EP). It was a friend and his 10 yr old son, and myself and my 10 yr old grandson. The trip in is all river paddling. There are two portages and one beaver dam. The first portage is long (1/2 mile), but it's an easy trail. The second is short and easy.
The two boys both carried packs that weighed about 15 pounds (backpacking pack and a CCS Ruck). They had all their clothes, sleep systems, and tent poles. Tent body was in adult pack. They also carried paddles and small 2 gallon buckets with food in one and crawlers in the other. They did great. The Dad and I carried our packs and the boats.
We stayed at the first site up the western shore. The site was great. The boys did some parcore running up the rocks, they played cards in their tent, we play a bit of hide and seek, did some fishing and caught a few bass. They started the fires a few times and helped a lot with cutting wood. It was a very successful first trip.
It worked really well to have two 10 yr olds on the trip because they had a partner to play with the whole time.
Another thought I had remembering our first trip when my son was 9 year old, make sure you trim the canoe correctly and put extra weight up front.
I'm assuming you're much larger and heavier than your 10 year old son, and trying to paddle into the wind with the front of the canoe sticking up in the air will get you nowhere,,,,trust me, I've been there.
"SMB" is smallmouth bass, plentiful throughout the BWCA.
SMB is smallmouth bass. HT is hypothermia.
The crowds and mosquitos will be gone, but the risk of death by hypothermia takes their places. Paddle close to the shore and don't take your son out into windy lake conditions this time of year. Quality rain gear, layered clothing (see thread in solo tripping folder) and the right footwear. Watch the weather report. Hopefully you hit those golden fall days, but be careful if the weather looks / turns raw.
My first trip up to the bdub was with my 10 year old son and 3 of his school buddies and their dads. We went to Disappointment Lake and camped at the northeast end of it. Fishing was decent plus we had a great time day tripping to Jordan and Cattyman Falls.
Also one of the nicest campsites in the area is on Parent Lake if you want something a little less ambitious. The campsite # is 1479.
Wow! Such awesome ideas Thanks everyone! Any other ideas are greatly welcome!
Abbey: "We took our 7yo and 5yo to Daniels this year, and it was a great first trip for them. The portage is a bit longer than 30yds, but an easy path. Lots of little SMB to keep the kids busy. Sawbill entry would also give a lot of options.
Thanks for the great ideas! If you don't mind me asking, what does "SMB" stand for? I'm hoping by going in October most of the skeeters will be gone and the crowds will have died down.
There are several options of varying difficulty presented here.
There are several options for no portage trips, including Lake One which was mentioned. That is a pretty area that is prohibitively busy in mid summer but at this time of year should be good.
But there are others as well, Sawbill is another good option but also consider Kawishiwi Lake. The Homer Lake entry has 3 campsites on the lake, two of which are before you even technically enter the BWCA but they are all pretty nice. Two short portages will bring you to Vern lake which is nice and good fishing. The Vern River is a great daytrip for adventure and fishing.
We just returned from Slim lake - we take entries like this because we are at the other side of the age spectrum and don't wish to work too hard on the way in. Very easy 95 rod portage in and 4 campsites to choose from. Very pretty lake and good smallie fishing. The fall colors were starting to pop pretty good in spots already last week.
Just a thought but some sort of portage would add to your sons experience and understanding of the way things work up there, especially with a little explanation from you. If they are short and manageable and the load is reasonable, they are just a nice walk in the woods.
In October, the easiest trip is lake One. The only portage required is about 100 feet or so down to the water and return when you exit. Many sites will be open then and base camping should lead to time for exploration trips you need to take up time. Fish the exit for the water and you should catch several bass. Keep in mind the age of your partner and have several non canoe things to do to keep interest high. This trip should be about him if you want repeat in future to go well.
I was thinking about a paddle to a campsite on the east end of Clearwater with my 11yo. From there we could do day trips to Johnson Falls, several other lakes, and to a portage along the Canadian border. There are also some hiking trails nearby.
My number one recommendation for you is Perent Lake (EP 36)
Here you have a 9 rod portage to give an idea of portaging. The rest of the way in is a river that is super easy to navigate and takes about 2 hours to get through it. Then you are on the lake. 1 portage and 2 hours of paddling in which is a little ways away from civilization. Perent is also a really nice lake. Good fishing. And in October it won't be filled up like it is in the summer months. Surprisingly enough with all the trips I have done there I only know what the islands sites are like. Those are the ones I would aim for but other sites might be just as good.
You could even do a day trip to the burned down area. A few short portages with just a canoe is easily done and could be considered an adventure.
So many other great things about this lake especially in October. Feel free to ask if it seems like a good spot :)
On the Gunflint side you can get a tow to Red Rock Bay, then there's a portage into Red Rock Lake that will take you 30 seconds, I think it's like 7 rods. A couple of nice campsites on Red Rock and decent fishing.
From Red Rock you can also go down into Alpine, another good fishing lake. It's a 40-something rod portage as I remember, but not too tough. No reason a 10 year old can't help with the portaging, that will make him feel he's contributing. My son was carrying his own pack, (small) at 8 years old.
You could go for some fun factor for your son and have an outfitter tow you on Moose lake and drop you off. No portaging heading east on Birch and you will love the submerged trees as you paddle.
Why not try Slim lake? Your son will dig the drive up the hill off the main road and down the forest road to the entry point. Easy 95 rod portage and very scenic even if you stay just on Slim otherwise portage into Rice. You will really enjoy the entry point and portage on a sunny day as I find it very scenic.
Baker lake entry is another easy route as well. I would at least paddle and portage to Jack. Check out Weird lake on a day trip.
Don't forget to have your son involved and carry his own small pack even if all he carries is some water and his clothing, inflatable mattress pad or light gear. Make sure he has his stuff in the pack waterproofed like in a small garbage bag or dry bag.
Have a great trip.
We took our 7yo and 5yo to Daniels this year, and it was a great first trip for them. The portage is a bit longer than 30yds, but an easy path. Lots of little SMB to keep the kids busy. Sawbill entry would also give a lot of options.
October weather could be cold. Just be ready for it, but also no shame in waiting until next year if cold is a concern for your first timer.
My first (and only) BWCA trip was over 10 years ago as a college student. I'm looking to take my 10 year old son out on his first trip in early October. I have a fair enough amount of canoeing and camping experience but my son does not.
Ideally, I'd like to find a great basecamp for the two nights we have available since he's only been out in the canoe once before, but still get far enough out to have a genuine "wilderness" experience. Also- because I'll be doing most of the carrying, a no portage access or very short (30 rods or less?) access portage is ideal.
Any suggestions on entry points would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!