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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      What kind of pack does everyone use?     

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muddyfeet
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03/08/2019 10:44PM  
Solo is cool, but you sit in the middle so how does your pack balance the canoe?

I generally use a backpacking pack and single portage. In the boat, the backpacking pack goes just behind the seat. I also have a daypack that rides in the front of the canoe and holds fishing tackle, water bottles, rain jacket, and lunch. For portage, the daypack is just slung around the backpack. Sometimes I will take out my food bag and shove it to the front of the canoe if I need ballast, but it all usually stays in the main pack Right behind me.

How do you do it?
 
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bwcasolo
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03/09/2019 06:12AM  
i use 2 packs in my prism. gear pack is the granite gear quetico pack, which fits behind me. front pack is either my kondos day pack, or alps frame hiking pack. it depends if i take one food barrel or 2. perfect trim job every time.
 
03/09/2019 06:31AM  
I do similar with two packs - main pack behind seat and small pack in front. I have a variety of packs - CCS Pioneer, GG Quetico solo, Sea-to-Summit, Exped Torrent, SealLine. The Torrent is usually the small pack in front; I double portage and carry it with the canoe. Second pack varies with amount of food/gear.
 
HappyHuskies
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03/09/2019 06:42AM  
I just use one pack that I place behind my seat. The sliding seat easily adjusts for the weight of the pack. For longer trips I use a Granite Gear 3.5 and for short trips I just grab one of the rucksacks I use for hiking ... usually a Gossamer Gear Kumo.

I can stay out between 10 days and 2 weeks with the 3.5 and the Kumo is big enough for a 5 day trip. I will also occasionally use a Katabatic Helios if I want something in between the Granite Gear and Kumo. If just an overnight paddle and I'm really trying to keep things light and compact I've been known to use a Mountain Laurel Designs Newt.

All three packs ride low enough that I can easily single portage.
 
Banksiana
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03/09/2019 10:07AM  
Really depends on the design of the solo you use. Some hulls are much more trim sensitive, some hulls prefer to be stern heavy and can easily be trimmed through moving the largest mass (you) via the sliding seat.
 
SourisMan
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03/10/2019 07:05AM  
Looks like I'm the oddball here. I solo in a SR Quetico 16, a tandem canoe I paddle "backwards" (sit in the bow seat facing the stern). I use a large Granite Gear pack that goes in front of me. The trim seems fine, although I imagine a solo canoe would be better.
 
03/10/2019 08:03AM  
SourisMan: "Looks like I'm the oddball here. I solo in a SR Quetico 16, a tandem canoe I paddle "backwards" (sit in the bow seat facing the stern). I use a large Granite Gear pack that goes in front of me. The trim seems fine, although I imagine a solo canoe would be better. "
Same here.... SR Q16 facing backwards.....It's the perfect size for my daddy/daughter trips with a duckling in the bow and it works ok as my solo now. I have a CCS Guide pack right in front of me. I take out the stern seat (now the bow solo) and my 90lb lab rides up there helping with the trim.

Before I purchased the SR Q16 I would rent a Northstar Northwind Solo for my solo trips. 1 pack.... CCS Guide behind me and Echo up in the bow so I didn't need a 2nd pack for trim. With this set up I single portaged most portages.

The SR works ok solo, but the Northwind Solo was better, but I'm not willing to spend the money to rent a solo when I have a canoe that works fine. Hopefully someday a Northwind Solo finds it's way into my budget.

My Christmas purchase this year was a CCS Pioneer pack. I've refined my solo gear enough that it should all fit in the pioneer.


In the SR Q16

In the Northwind Solo
 
03/10/2019 08:41AM  
I don't travel ultralight so I double portage. Blue barrel and canoe first trip, kondos outfitter special on second. I don't have the pack super full so I cinch up the compression straps and it fits better in my solo canoe....behind me. Blue barrel goes up front and I push or pull it back and forth with my paddle to adjust my trim. My Indy is trim sensitive so this system works well.
 
NotSoFast
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03/10/2019 09:20AM  
I usually double-carry when solo. My smaller Duluth pack -- maybe No. 3? -- easily holds everything. Inside is a duffel bag that contains food, cooking gear, tarp, whatever I think could be needed during the day. In the canoe -- Wenonah Moccasin -- I pull out the duffel bag and put it all the way forward. The pack sits right behind my seat. Unless I break the load in two I can't get the trim right.
 
03/10/2019 09:58AM  
In the past in my Northwind Solo I used a Kondos Outfitter special behind my seat and my Osprey Tallon 22 in the front with Ursack food bag. As the food was consumed I would add other things to the Osprey Tallon to trim the canoe. This year with my Firebird I'm going to single portage. I plan using a 3/4 packed CCS Explorer pack in the back and a water proof stuff sack up front. I'll put the stuff sack in the Explorer pack during portages. I have mostly ultra light gear so keep the weight down and the pack small shouldn't be a problem.
 
OCDave
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03/10/2019 11:22AM  
CCS Pioneer Pack + CCS Rucksack with a Northstar Northwind Solo.

I always hope to be able to squeeze the Rucksack inside the Pioneer pack and single portage but, I always end up double portaging. Not because I can't make the Rucksack fit but rather, by the time I reach the portage, I'm ready for a leisurely hike to balance my more rigorous paddle. As I am traveling solo, I don't have a time table to which I need to adhere so, leisurly wins out.
 
Ajoutdoors
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03/10/2019 02:08PM  
I use a frost river isle royale jr. It might not be as comfortable as other packs but it looks pretty cool. Lol
 
03/10/2019 04:00PM  
I pack fairly light but always double. Old and lazy, I enjoy the walking. Main pack is GG Nimbus Trace Access 60 at under 30 pounds wet with fuel and water, and either a Nibus Core or Virga 26 for food and cooking, well under 20 pounds and carried with the canoe. I can go with the Access alone and tuck it tight behind my seat, paddling an Advantage.

butthead
 
03/10/2019 05:49PM  
This year I'll have a big granite gear pack in back and a CCS Wanderer and 50Lb. dog in front.

 
03/11/2019 11:56AM  
Great question Muddyfeet! I have debated this myself as I went with one pack for my first solo and it interfered with the canoe when single portaging because it was so bulky. Plus, it would have been nice having two packs for trimming reasons. With my pack behind me, a headwind could be problematic so I’d have to throw a rock in the bow to help.

So... I developed a new system that I’ve tried and love it. I made a little harness for my homemade food pack (a 3 gallon pale with gamma seal lid) and I wear that in front of my body with a small hiking pack on my back. Now I can single portage comfortably and still see adequately in front of me since my food pack sits right around my stomach. Everything balances out nicely and I have one pack in the bow and one on the stern for easy trimming. Here’s a pic of my new system.

Not for everyone, I know, but it works for me. Quick and easy.

Tony
 
sedges
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03/11/2019 04:35PM  
All my solo trips have been 10 days. I double portage. I am not ultralight, but pretty careful about weight. Each trip gets lighter. Shaving 2 pounds off the tent weight this year with a new tent. Last trip it was two 45-50# loads including the canoe.

I use three packs.

A #2 Duluth Pack(small envelope-style) which carries my two bear vaults and tent and same miscellaneous gear.

A canvas military duffel(moderate size) for sleeping bag and a stuff sack of clothes, tarp and a few more miscellaneous items. The duffel rests easily on top of the Duluth pack when portaging. It stays there, resting against the back of my neck and head, without having to have a hand on it.

A Duluth Pack day pack with the stuff I use during the day of travel. I carry it with the canoe when portaging.

My boat is a MR Independence and I have it set up with the seat and portage yoke both mounted to parallel rails. This allows a bunch of adjustment possibilities. I can push the seat way back and have all the gear in front of me. The duffel is narrow enough to go up in the bow, the #2 Duluth Pack lays flat and the day pack is handy in front of my feet. It puts me where the hull is narrowing toward the stern and gives me much easier steering control of the boat.
 
03/12/2019 08:40PM  
I only have one solo to talk about, but I put my heavier pack behind me, and my lighter one in front. All of this is relative as I over packed by quite a bit. :)

 
Tomcat
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03/13/2019 09:09AM  
70L backpack and 25L food bag.

Center kneeling thwart in tandem canoe.

Single portage.


 
Ajoutdoors
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03/19/2019 06:05AM  
I forgot I had this picture. I was able to fit everything in one bag for my 5 night solo in May last year.


 
Duckman
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03/19/2019 12:52PM  
I know they aren't loved on here, but I use the smaller Cabela's bdub bag, and then I have a small daypack/bag that hold food and fishing gear. I put one of those scent-proof liners in the daypack and Cliff Jacobson it.

In the canoe, bigger back in back, small bag and 30 pound dog in front.
 
04/26/2019 10:17AM  



My most often used solo ride is a Hornbeck Vlassic 10 so not a whole lot of room for excess gear.

On short long weekend summer trips I can get away with a CCS Rucksak and small school sized backpack.

If I’m out for 6-12 days I use a CCS Explorer and CCS Rucksack for my two bags.

I have a CCS Pioneer pack as well that I use if I’m going for longer than 20 days so I can fit extra bear vaults in for the extra food. But I have a harder time fitting that into the Hornbeck.
 
muddyfeet
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04/26/2019 06:23PM  
Ajoutdoors: "I forgot I had this picture. I was able to fit everything in one bag for my 5 night solo in May last year.



"

THAT is some good packing!
 
05/03/2019 04:36PM  

Typical trip is 10-14 days.
Canoe: Magic
Packs: CCS Explorers (2), Wanderer, Rucksack. Configuration and gear of course depends on season: 2 Explorers for early Spring, late Fall, 1 Explore and Wanderer or Rucksack other times.
Trim canoe by sliding packs forward/backward as needed. Larger pack behind the seat.

 
WonderMonkey
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05/06/2019 06:41PM  
I have a NS NW 16 that paddles backwards solo. Packs go forward and a water filled dry bag all the way in the bow to add weight. I empty the water bag at a portage and fill it back up on the other side.
 
Banksiana
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05/07/2019 09:56AM  
WonderMonkey: "I have a NS NW 16 that paddles backwards solo. Packs go forward and a water filled dry bag all the way in the bow to add weight. I empty the water bag at a portage and fill it back up on the other side."

Does that NW 16 paddle well backwards? With a higher bow and differential rocker and I think the hull is asymmetrical (eg designed to proceed bow first) I would think you'd do better by creating a seating position forward of the stern seat and taking advantage of the design dynamics of the hull.
 
05/07/2019 11:57AM  
I moved the seats back on both of my solo's to account for a 80 pound dog that sits up front, and allows my portage yoke to be mounted full time.
I use a day pack and a Battle Lake pack, and trim accordingly if I do, or don't have my dog with.
I double Portage, dog carrys its food, folding bowl, tennis ball and thrower in her doggie vest.
 
tomo
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08/20/2020 11:08PM  
I've been using a kondos daypack, 30 liter barrel, and small duluth-esque pack. I double trip portages--canoe and kondos daypack on one trip, barrel with duluth pack on top for second trip, which I find quite comfortable. This gives me a lot of trim options.

The only downsides, I suppose, are having to unload one additional pack at the portage, and the fact that for very short trips the barrel is 3/4 full and the duluth pack is well short of full. I could easily fit things into a daypack and one larger pack, but I do like the trim options and I like the barrel as defense against little critters (might have to get a bear vault one of these days). My Swift Osprey has a sliding seat but it's a little janky so I find it easier to adjust the packs than move the seat frequently.
 
jcavenagh
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08/21/2020 04:32PM  
Like most everyone else I put the bigger pack behind the seat in my Prism.
My food pack goes in the bow and a small day pack underneath my seat so I can get at it easily.
 
08/21/2020 09:36PM  
My 50 lb dog is in front of me with a Grade VI mid size pack tucked in front of her. I’ll put a CCS Pioneer hybrid pack behind me.
 
Nigal
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08/22/2020 07:17AM  
I use a cheap Chemun portage pack I found on Amazon for about $65. It’s been an awesome pack despite reported problems from other users. Been using it for about 10 years now with no problems. I paddle a Wenonah Prism and put the pack behind me and the extra weight in the back trims the canoe perfectly.
 
08/22/2020 07:44PM  
Two #3 Duluth Packs.
 
TipsyPaddler
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08/22/2020 07:53PM  
Single CCS Pioneer Pack for solo trips up to a week. Food in an Ursack Allmitey at top of pack if I needed to separate but I haven’t yet. No problems trimming a Wenonah Prism with sliding seat and Pioneer pack behind me.
 
08/24/2020 09:10PM  
Single -CCS Explorer
 
Peter999
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09/12/2020 03:54PM  
I have a GG Nimbus Great Northern that was discontinued from VNO back in '06 and still love it. Took it on three or four long trips to Quetico and one to Wabakimi. It carries a ton of stuff comfortably.
This will be my first solo so I'm still figuring. Planning on exploring South Kawishiwi River Lake Four and Gabbro Bald/Bald Eagle regions in mid-October. I'm not gonna skrimp on food and warm clothing so I'm cramming the GG Nimbus with sleeping bag, tent, clothes, utensils etc plus my food bag which is a 20L dry bag. All the stuff that tries to slosh around in the bilge goes in a #2 Duluth pack up front along with first aid kit, tackle box, tarp, day hammock and should be light enough to carry with the canoe.
I have never been to this side of the BW but it seems like a lot of people like the scenery and the fishing.
 
Duckman
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09/16/2020 07:19AM  
I've got a small frost river pack for carrying with the canoe.

My go to main pack, despite it's mixed reviews, is the Cabelas BDUB pack. It's basically just a giant dry sack with straps, but it serves my needs and I have no complaints.

If I have a first timer with me or someone who can only carry a lighter load, I usually bring one of my osprey backpacking packs. It means I carry the canoe every time, but I can adjust it to the person so it's more comfortable and it seems to make things more enjoyable for them.
 
PineKnot
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09/16/2020 03:10PM  
I double portage when solo in my Placid Rapidfire. I needed a taller narrower main pack that would fit behind me and the Mystery Ranch T-100 works perfectly and is more comfortable for me on the portages than standard canoe packs. I use a Granite Gear Leopard VC 46 for my clothing/tent gear carried with the canoe.
 
Nigal
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09/16/2020 07:17PM  
Nigal: "I use a cheap Chemun portage pack I found on Amazon for about $65. It’s been an awesome pack despite reported problems from other users. Been using it for about 10 years now with no problems. I paddle a Wenonah Prism and put the pack behind me and the extra weight in the back trims the canoe perfectly. "

After my trip a couple weeks ago I’ve decided to replace my pack. Going to get a Granite Gear Quitico. The bottle/side pockets on the Chemun catch on the gunwhales every time I took it out of my Wenonah Prism. I’ll save it for the tandem trips.
 
09/18/2020 02:09PM  
Granite Gear Quetico 5000 Portage Pack
which fits all this
minus the packboat
 
QuietSolo
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01/21/2021 09:43PM  
I am a bit late to the party. I put GG 54L behind me in Northwind solo and 30L Sealline (food pack, including stove and fuel) in bow. I carry the food pack with canoe, and bigger pack in a separate trip.
Anyone use the bigger Sealline 115 or 120L? I think it would fit in front. Would be nice option in strong headwind, and would obviate need for waterproof liner.
 
straighthairedcurly
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01/23/2021 03:10PM  
QuietSolo: "I am a bit late to the party. I put GG 54L behind me in Northwind solo and 30L Sealline (food pack, including stove and fuel) in bow. I carry the food pack with canoe, and bigger pack in a separate trip.
Anyone use the bigger Sealline 115 or 120L? I think it would fit in front. Would be nice option in strong headwind, and would obviate need for waterproof liner."


A Sealline 115L would be too big for my week long solos. I typically pack everything into an Earth-Pak waterproof backpack (55L). That holds all my food and gear for around the campsite. I carry a small rucksack for day time needs (lunch, water bottles, filter, camera, rain gear, suncreen, etc.).

Earth-Pak
 
01/23/2021 06:42PM  
Agree. That size Sealline is H U G E. I couldn't fit one in my solo.

They do make ones more the size of what you are using.
 
QuietSolo
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01/23/2021 09:36PM  
And the 55L Earth Pack is only 40 bucks! Tempting, not that I need another pack. I find I can usually justify it though. Thanks for calling my attention to that brand - had not heard of it. I was thinking that 115L would be too big for solo canoe. And it's not like I could single portage anyway even if I had pack big enough to carry all gear, food etc.
 
MacCamper
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01/30/2021 09:19AM  
Typical recent solos have been 2 week plus. I like a 60L blue barrel encased in the double pocket CCS pak for the bulk of my gear. It balances my boat nicely when I put my 20L waterproof day pack behind my seat and a water tight 20L with my tent/sleeping bag/chair/rod case... domain gear in the stern. Double poratage with day pack/canoe on the first trip and barrel with 'domain' bag on top for the second.

 
MikeinMpls
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03/02/2021 12:57PM  


A Battle Lake Grand Portage Pack. Considering I pack like Diana Ross, it works well.

I would do well by listening to SGT Elias (Willem Dafoe) from Platoon: "You're humping too much stuff, troop. You don't need half this shit."

Mike
 
03/03/2021 12:22PM  
I'm going to have a different DIY pack this year, but I've been using a 35L hiking backpack...with one item strapped outside.

That's it for a 7 day trip...single-portaging.

Oh, and the 50 lb dog carries a 7 lb pack with her food.
 
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