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bwcadan
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12/17/2019 09:19AM
Other than thousands of worthless fishing lures over the decades by all who have ever fished, what would be your most useless item you have taken to the BW? Mine was a football sized "pillow". It would never do its intended job and only made one trip.

Another was a traveling partner who did not do anything not suggested by me and then only with attitude. One trip was enough by mutual agreement as he did not want to do anything and I did not need a repeat performance. I have been much more selective as to who goes north from then forward.
 
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12/17/2019 09:39AM
After tripping for almost four decades, I have whittled away any really useless items. However, last September I decided to bring a 3rd fishing rod (medium lite) and a new 3rd reel. Well, that's just one pair too many and I'll be sticking to the usual two pair from now on unless I go base camping someday.

 
GopherAdventure
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12/17/2019 09:51AM
That’s a tough one as I can be a little bit of a drill Sargent barking at my trip mates to keep the bulk and weight down as much as possible. A lot of people are going to disagree with me and that’s fine, but for me it’s a fishing net. They’re bulky, awkward, catch on every twig when portaging, and frankly are not necessary. Even the folding compact ones aren’t any better, they don’t open cleanly, they’re flimsy and too small for any big fish (which are the only ones worth netting in the first place). I just bring a fish grabber and I haven’t lost one fish at the canoe. Some people in my groups bring them, but I don’t. I get it if you need one along, it would stink to lose that big fish. I just don’t bring one along anymore.

Tony
 
Blatz
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12/17/2019 10:38AM
Any fishing gear. I used to be in to it, and brought some gear on my last solo trip. Never saw the light of day. I'm more of a wilderness traveler. Oh and binoculars never left the pack on a couple of trips.
 
Savage Voyageur
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12/17/2019 11:48AM
I too have had quite a few trip members that will never be invited back. I like the no Rookie rule, if you’ve never been camping before you are not going with me. Too many trips wrecked from people that don’t really want to be there.

Lots of fishing gear has gotten weeded out over the years. I used to bring huge tackle boxes, now just a Plano box, no net.

After I bought my Garmin Montana GPS I never take a map or compass out of the pack. Moving maps on my GPS is really nice.

After my wife quit going up there, I switched to a hammock, so no more tents go with.

I used to bring three or four rods/reels, now I’m down to 2 rods/reels.

We put our groups food in pails with gamma seal lids, no more hanging packs. We just leave them around the fire grate with pots on top of them as an alarm. No more long ropes and pulley systems for food packs.
 
12/17/2019 11:49AM
Big first aid kit. All I've ever used are band aids and Tylenol. So I trimmed that down considerably.
 
jillpine
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12/17/2019 12:17PM

3 pounds of bear barrel crap in 2017 (using Ursack now)
37 pounds of human fat: 2018
24 pounds of canoe and 5 pounds of tent in 2019.
Tilting toward the fishing gear for 2020.



 
12/17/2019 12:23PM
awbrown: "Big first aid kit. All I've ever used are band aids and Tylenol. So I trimmed that down considerably."
That’s what impressed me the most about the wilderness first responder course I took. In a scenario your given a small bag of basics and sent to go take care of the worst... you can do a lot with a little.

For me??? I just got old and quit going. Haha! My body beat odds for a number of years and I can no longer consider going. One of my biggest blunders is too much cooking stuff. Too much fuel, too much food... too much TP, (In my defense on the TP, I did realize I brought too much crap... haha.). Usually too much canoe!
 
straighthairedcurly
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12/17/2019 03:46PM
Chair this year. It was light and small, but I only used it once. It was more trouble than it was worth to take out, set up, and then put away. Maybe when my joints are crabbier.

Too many GoPro accessories. And they were packed in a stupidly bulky, awkward container. Too up too much room and made accessing that pack difficult.

I actually increased the type of items I carried for 1st aid this year, mostly because of the type of trip we did and the people along. I used more of it than I thought.

 
12/17/2019 05:36PM
I bring rhinoceros repellent. Either it's totally useless, or way more effective than I ever considered!

I also carry a PLB never used it. Will not leave it behind either.

Just a coment for consideration on this topic.

butthead
 
MikeinMpls
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12/17/2019 06:06PM
I brought a small battery operated fan one year. It just happened to be during a record heat wave... like 90+ in May, maybe 10 years ago. It was disgustingly hot, Africa hot, with zero wind. The fan ran on four D-cells, so it was heavy. And while it was modestly pleasant, it just did not push out enough wind to make the heat any less bearable. I don't know where it is now.

I also used the BWJ poly food box on one trip. Just the box, not Stu's silly "real food, really living" ice box contraption. I thought it might prove more efficient for packing food, but it ended up becoming a liability as the food supply dwindled, because we couldn't use it for other equipment as easily as I had thought.

Mike
 
12/17/2019 06:18PM
Going 'way, 'way back for this one.

A folding candle lantern. I think we took it on probably our first five or six trips. Of course, back then we hadn't heard of headlamps. Even so, it was much too dangerous to keep in the tent, and didn't make enough light for outdoors.

I was happy when I finally got a headlamp--using a flashlight was always inconvenient. Probably still have that candle lantern somewhere, but is definitely useless.
 
missmolly
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12/17/2019 06:32PM
MikeinMpls: "I brought a small battery operated fan one year. It just happened to be during a record heat wave... like 90+ in May, maybe 10 years ago. It was disgustingly hot, Africa hot, with zero wind. The fan ran on four D-cells, so it was heavy. And while it was modestly pleasant, it just did not push out enough wind to make the heat any less bearable. I don't know where it is now.


I also used the BWJ poly food box on one trip. Just the box, not Stu's silly "real food, really living" ice box contraption. I thought it might prove more efficient for packing food, but it ended up becoming a liability as the food supply dwindled, because we couldn't use it for other equipment as easily as I had thought.


Mike"


Same with the battery-powered fan. Just too big and heavy to justify again.
 
missmolly
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12/17/2019 06:32PM
Spartan2: "Going 'way, 'way back for this one.


A folding candle lantern. I think we took it on probably our first five or six trips. Of course, back then we hadn't heard of headlamps. Even so, it was much too dangerous to keep in the tent, and didn't make enough light for outdoors.


I was happy when I finally got a headlamp--using a flashlight was always inconvenient. Probably still have that candle lantern somewhere, but is definitely useless."


Good one, Linda. Those single candle "lanterns" were worthless.
 
12/17/2019 06:43PM
Ok ok, my favorite one speaking of going way back... we had a guy (and his wife) forgo any extra clothing or even a sleeping bag apiece... for what??? A BOOMBOX... this is eighties... very early eighties. So you can imagine the size. And to our relief he could get nothing! Hahaha! Can you believe they’re still married?
 
TreeBear
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12/17/2019 07:04PM
Blatz: "Any fishing gear. I used to be in to it, and brought some gear on my last solo trip. Never saw the light of day. I'm more of a wilderness traveler. Oh and binoculars never left the pack on a couple of trips."

And I just started packing binoculars this year. I don't use them too often either, but I have a small pocket pair that I keep in a life jacket. I find them handy for finding campsites if I happen to be stuck on a big lake with lots of sites. It helps answer the question "is that site full" without paddling over there. I know that it sounds lazy, but while guiding it really helped save time for "the cool stuff." Ha!
 
ZaraSp00k
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12/18/2019 08:03AM
I came to realize my fishing rod and gear was the most useless, and consequently rarely bring it anymore
 
MikeinMpls
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12/18/2019 10:59AM
missmolly: "Spartan2: "Going 'way, 'way back for this one.



A folding candle lantern. I think we took it on probably our first five or six trips. Of course, back then we hadn't heard of headlamps. Even so, it was much too dangerous to keep in the tent, and didn't make enough light for outdoors.



I was happy when I finally got a headlamp--using a flashlight was always inconvenient. Probably still have that candle lantern somewhere, but is definitely useless."



Good one, Linda. Those single candle "lanterns" were worthless. "


I used them for years when I first started tripping in the early 80s. I'd hang one from an adjustable length of 550 cord, so I could "adjust" the brightness. I found it adequate inside a four-person Timberline.

Of course headlamps are much more efficient. I still bring the candle lantern, though, in case the headlamp breaks. I also hang it from a branch where I shower. It gives off just enough light to make showering in the dark much easier.

Mike
 
MikeinMpls
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12/18/2019 11:03AM
nctry: "Ok ok, my favorite one speaking of going way back... we had a guy (and his wife) forgo any extra clothing or even a sleeping bag apiece... for what??? A BOOMBOX... this is eighties... very early eighties. So you can imagine the size. And to our relief he could get nothing! Hahaha! Can you believe they’re still married?"

Oh boy. The 80s. Gag me with a spoon. Did either of them bring leg warmers, Zoobas, or Aquanet for their perm?

Unsafe (the foregone clothing and sleeping bags) and likely obnoxious. I hope the boombox was kept at a volume level where it didn't impact others experiences.

Mike
 
MikeinMpls
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12/18/2019 11:09AM
Blatz: "Any fishing gear. I used to be in to it, and brought some gear on my last solo trip. Never saw the light of day. I'm more of a wilderness traveler. Oh and binoculars never left the pack on a couple of trips."

Very interesting. I love to hear how others trip. I love my binos. I like how they extend my view of the lake. My wife uses them for birdwatching. They are essential for us.

Mike
 
GearGuy
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12/18/2019 11:12AM
MikeinMpls: "Blatz: "Any fishing gear. I used to be in to it, and brought some gear on my last solo trip. Never saw the light of day. I'm more of a wilderness traveler. Oh and binoculars never left the pack on a couple of trips."


Very interesting. I love to hear how others trip. I love my binos. I like how they extend my view of the lake. My wife uses them for birdwatching. They are essential for us.


Mike"


I've been thinking about buying a good set of binos, you just fueled that fire
 
MikeinMpls
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12/18/2019 12:02PM
GearGuy: "MikeinMpls: "Blatz: "Any fishing gear. I used to be in to it, and brought some gear on my last solo trip. Never saw the light of day. I'm more of a wilderness traveler. Oh and binoculars never left the pack on a couple of trips."



Very interesting. I love to hear how others trip. I love my binos. I like how they extend my view of the lake. My wife uses them for birdwatching. They are essential for us.



Mike"



I've been thinking about buying a good set of binos, you just fueled that fire"


Highly recommend it. We've been able to observe moose, deer, and otters we would not have otherwise seen so keenly. We've also been able to identify things that we thought were moose, but were just an object on a far shore. And, truth be told, I like to watch other canoers... like how they paddle, how they pack, etc. as they pass by.

We use full-size Eagle Optics binos. Though they are heavier and bulkier, we have found them more useful than mini-binos

I have torso strap that goes around my back and both shoulders that securely holds the binos close to my chest so I can paddle without them hanging down from my neck. The strap is adjustable, of course, so it can fit over my pfd. Investing in such a strap is well worth it.

Mike
 
12/18/2019 12:15PM
MikeinMpls: "missmolly: "Spartan2: "Going 'way, 'way back for this one.



A folding candle lantern. I think we took it on probably our first five or six trips. Of course, back then we hadn't heard of headlamps. Even so, it was much too dangerous to keep in the tent, and didn't make enough light for outdoors.



I was happy when I finally got a headlamp--using a flashlight was always inconvenient. Probably still have that candle lantern somewhere, but is definitely useless."




Good one, Linda. Those single candle "lanterns" were worthless. "



I used them for years when I first started tripping in the early 80s. I'd hang one from an adjustable length of 550 cord, so I could "adjust" the brightness. I found it adequate inside a four-person Timberline.


Of course headlamps are much more efficient. I still bring the candle lantern, though, in case the headlamp breaks. I also hang it from a branch where I shower. It gives off just enough light to make showering in the dark much easier.


Mike"


This is interesting to me. I still have brought one of the old candles from the set thinking we might want it to help start a fire sometime. But I am sure we gave up on the lantern by the mid-80's. Have never had a headlamp break, and we didn't take showers in the dark. . .(or in the daylight either) so I guess I am not sorry we gave up on the candle lantern. :-)

Fun thread. People have very different ideas about gear. As they should. It is all just a matter of opinion.
 
Savage Voyageur
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12/18/2019 12:32PM
ZaraSp00k: "I came to realize my fishing rod and gear was the most useless, and consequently rarely bring it anymore"

A guy who’s name is a fishing lure not bring any rods/reels??? Surely you jest.
 
nofish
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12/18/2019 01:06PM
Savage Voyageur: "ZaraSp00k: "I came to realize my fishing rod and gear was the most useless, and consequently rarely bring it anymore"


A guy who’s name is a fishing lure not bring any rods/reels??? Surely you jest. "


And oddly I like to bring a lot of fishing gear despite my name.
 
12/18/2019 01:31PM
butthead: "I bring rhinoceros repellent. Either it's totally useless, or way more effective than I ever considered!"

That repellent is not only effective for you, but for me, too! I haven't seen a single rhinoceros in the BWCAW, so whatever it is that you are doing, keep on doing it! My only question: do you slather it on yourself or is it like bear spray? If the former, could you let us know when and where you go to the Bdub/Quetico so that we can try to avoid being downwind of you? Thanks for the laugh :)

If I were to list the mostly useless stuff I bring, I suppose it would start with my fishing gear. The cost per fish caught is really high (especially if I include the annual cost of the ridiculously expensive fishing license for non-MN users).

The other stuff on the list would be emergency equipment, but that is because I've never had a reason to use it – and I thank God for that! But you'd never be able to pry that stuff away from me.
 
12/18/2019 02:02PM
+1 on the fishing net. I stopped bringing mine about 7 years ago. I got sick of snagging thing in it, trying to find a way to strap it in, and it not being big enough to use on the fish I really needed it for. I have caught many fish since and can't remember losing very many. I've had some really big northern that required going to shore to land due to the fact that it was impossible to got them in the canoe. My wife, kids and I are getting really good at fishing with out the net.

I too have lessened my first aid kit contents some but still bring a lot of stuff thankfully I've never used. I do write the year purchased on everything it so it's easier to go through it and replace old stuff.

Still have my old candle lantern but haven't used it in 10-12 years a least.
 
SevenofNine
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12/18/2019 02:28PM
A tripping partner I had to make every accommodation for just to get him up there. In the end I found going by myself a lot easier to plan a trip around. There was always something (easy or no portages picking him up from his house,etc.) I had to do just to get this guy to go. What a pain.

Okay so this is about gear so for me the small candle lanterns no longer come along. Usually I do not bring a hatchet any more either as it was hardly used and batoning with a knife is simple enough.
 
12/18/2019 02:54PM
Trimming back and better gear has resulted in very little, other than safety back up, that does not get used. Jillpines not carrying 37 pounds is the best response I have heard and confirm somewhat less than that, but the loss of the mostly useless item was adipose tissue.
 
12/18/2019 07:40PM
Whether it comes under mostly useless, rarely used, not really necessary, not worth the weight or whatever, I no longer take a lot of the same things as others - no fishing gear, no chair, no candle lantern, no flashlight, no hatchet, no saw, no binoculars, no extra camera gear, no extra pot, pan, utensils . . . AND no solar shower!
 
carmike
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12/18/2019 10:19PM
Hmmm...I suppose sometimes I bring a book that doesn't get opened for eight days. The next trip I consider not bringing it, only to be glad I did when I'm stuck in the hammock/text reading through rainstorms.

 
Abbey
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12/18/2019 11:36PM
Not much that I would deem useless. I started out backpacking in Arizona before moving back to Midwest/MN and started canoe tripping. My first BWCA trip, I thought it was a super luxury to have a small frying pan and some food that wasn’t dehydrated. My baseline was really minimalist.

I would have to agree with the fishing net for most trips, but our first laker trip saw many lost at boat side. So now depends on the target.

Most useless thing now is that extra pack space that could have fit the last flask that we should have brought.
 
12/18/2019 11:47PM
boonie: "Whether it comes under mostly useless, rarely used, not really necessary, not worth the weight or whatever, I no longer take a lot of the same things as others - no fishing gear, no chair, no candle lantern, no flashlight, no hatchet, no saw, no binoculars, no extra camera gear, no extra pot, pan, utensils . . . AND no solar shower!"



We know about the solar shower... they were handing out clothespins in Ely. Haha!
 
ZaraSp00k
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12/19/2019 08:11AM
Savage Voyageur:

A guy who’s name is a fishing lure not bring any rods/reels??? Surely you jest. "


I took the name of it because I bought the lure many decades ago and have never caught anything on it, so I figured taking the name was the only way to get my moneys worth out of it
 
12/19/2019 04:00PM
nctry: "boonie: "Whether it comes under mostly useless, rarely used, not really necessary, not worth the weight or whatever, I no longer take a lot of the same things as others - no fishing gear, no chair, no candle lantern, no flashlight, no hatchet, no saw, no binoculars, no extra camera gear, no extra pot, pan, utensils . . . AND no solar shower!"

We know about the solar shower... they were handing out clothespins in Ely. Haha!"


Somebody (maybe you) told me to go jump in the lake, Ben, so that's what I do :)

 
salukiguy
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12/19/2019 05:32PM
I’ve brought a compass many times but never used it. The maps alone are plenty good enough for navigation.
 
12/19/2019 06:31PM
salukiguy: "I’ve brought a compass many times but never used it. The maps alone are plenty good enough for navigation."

Hmm, I think you made a funny! You must have a freak-of-nature like sense of direction.
 
12/19/2019 09:34PM
Fishing equipment. Stopped trying to fish after 2008 season when I bought an annual Wisconsin resident seasonal license, a 1 week non-res Minnesota license and a 1 week non-res Ontario license. Recall spending something like $100.00 total for 1 -10’ walleye. Now I make sure to always travel with a known good fisherman.
 
Banksiana
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12/19/2019 09:47PM
salukiguy: "I’ve brought a compass many times but never used it. The maps alone are plenty good enough for navigation."

Second this. For thirty years. Still bring the compass.
 
burrow1
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12/20/2019 12:15AM
I also bring a compass but have never used it.
 
burrow1
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12/20/2019 12:17AM
Never turned on my gps either have stopped bringing it.
 
12/20/2019 08:30AM
When I retired in 2004 my fellow teachers gave me a GPS. It was a thoughtful gift, as they knew that we ventured out into the "wilderness" but it just wasn't anything I was interested in learning to use. A few years ago I sold/traded it on this site, and I hope it worked well for someone else.

Spartan1 always had a compass, and used it from time to time. Otherwise, maps were good enough for us. Old-school for old folks, I guess. When we quit tripping we were still using the original aluminum cook kit that we purchased at Canadian Waters after our first trip in 1971. Had replaced the awful 'silverware' with lexan utensils, though. :-)
 
jillpine
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12/20/2019 09:00AM
I'm pretty amazed at the no compass crowd. How do you navigate a lake like insula or little sag?
 
12/20/2019 09:21AM
jillpine: "I'm pretty amazed at the no compass crowd. How do you navigate a lake like insula or little sag? "

I rarely if ever use a compass. It got me in trouble leaving Burt Lake last year but I just match islands and points to the map. I carry 2 though but sometimes never use them.

It also helps if you are following someone who knows the route as I did last year on Basswood. Pineknot (also solo) made it easy for me as we traversed its length.
 
Savage Voyageur
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12/20/2019 09:43AM
jillpine: "I'm pretty amazed at the no compass crowd. How do you navigate a lake like insula or little sag? "


Last few trips the maps and compass had not come out of the pack. I use my GPS because it has a moving map. It also has an electric compass in it. I still bring a map and compass just in case.
 
LindenTree
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12/20/2019 11:57AM
deerfoot: " Recall spending something like $100.00 total for 1 -10’ walleye. "

A 10 foot Walleye is nothing to turn your nose up to. I think most fishemen would spend 100 dollars for one that size :-)

Compass, I've taken it out a few times in the last 10 years or so, that is when crossing a big lake and I have to hit a point on the otherside 5 miles away exactely at a spot.
When I did that, I drew a line on the map before leaving the shore, then I figured out the Azimuth from that line on the map and hit my points on the other side pretty much spot on.
 
12/20/2019 01:32PM
jillpine: "I'm pretty amazed at the no compass crowd. How do you navigate a lake like insula or little sag? "

Some have an innate sense of compass directions and ability to interpret and remember map features. I'm one of those to the dismay of travel partners. Still bring maps and compass and a GPS (primarily for the tracking).

butthead
 
Tomcat
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12/20/2019 02:32PM
 
CRL
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12/20/2019 10:28PM
I had a No Snowmobiling sign stashed on me on one of my dosledding/skiing expeditions with Outward Bound. The irony was nice. Plastic army men were a stashing staple--especially if you could get them in someone's granola in a food pack that wouldn't be opened until day 15 or so...
 
mutz
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12/21/2019 10:27AM
I’m very surprised at the number who consider fishing equipment to be items no longer needed. For us if we didn’t have fishing equipment we wouldn’t need the canoe.
 
Tomcat
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12/21/2019 11:37AM
Not useless but certainly not necessary I have taken a sound grenade to attach to my food bag .
 
12/21/2019 05:11PM
Tomcat: "butthead: "jillpine: "I'm pretty amazed at the no compass crowd. How do you navigate a lake like insula or little sag? "



Some have an innate sense of compass directions and ability to interpret and remember map features. I'm one of those to the dismay of travel partners. Still bring maps and compass and a GPS (primarily for the tracking).



butthead"



I get lost in the local mall."




A compass should be as mandatory as a life jacket. And mandatory to know how to use it! I’m guessing many that don’t take one don’t know how to use it with their maps and such. But I suppose if your going up certain routes it's no big deal. But I agree with jackpine jill... there are places you can get turned around or whatever. And ironically little sag is one of those places I had to dig out the compass. Haha!
 
Captn Tony
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12/22/2019 07:28AM
I take a compass every year and have never used one yet.
I've taken a basketball net to use as an anchor and never used it, but will continue to take it. Hopefully I'll remember to use it When i find the next honey hole.
 
PatrickE
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12/22/2019 08:54AM
We packed a large Nemo Bugout and hauled it over 50 miles. Didn't get unpacked once. I'm sure its a great piece of equipment but definitely staying at home next trip.
 
muddyfeet
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12/22/2019 09:29AM
Spartan2: "Going 'way, 'way back for this one.


A folding candle lantern. I think we took it on probably our first five or six trips. Of course, back then we hadn't heard of headlamps. Even so, it was much too dangerous to keep in the tent, and didn't make enough light for outdoors.


I was happy when I finally got a headlamp--using a flashlight was always inconvenient. Probably still have that candle lantern somewhere, but is definitely useless."


It all in perspective, I guess. I love my little uco candle lantern. Especially on a solo, the flicker of light is just enough to see around camp or to read by- and the warm glow is so much more inviting and friendly than the harsh, low spectrum of an led headlamp. Don’t get me wrong- a headlamp has its own strengths and usage and still comes with on trips- but I have come to prefer the UCO candle light.

Maybe that’s actually a good answer for me: it is the headlamp that rarely gets taken out of the pack.
 
12/22/2019 11:31AM
I bought a dish cleaning station a few years back. Heavy, inconvenient, used one time.
 
12/22/2019 09:00PM
muddyfeet: "Spartan2: "Going 'way, 'way back for this one.



A folding candle lantern. I think we took it on probably our first five or six trips. Of course, back then we hadn't heard of headlamps. Even so, it was much too dangerous to keep in the tent, and didn't make enough light for outdoors.



I was happy when I finally got a headlamp--using a flashlight was always inconvenient. Probably still have that candle lantern somewhere, but is definitely useless."



It all in perspective, I guess. I love my little uco candle lantern. Especially on a solo, the flicker of light is just enough to see around camp or to read by- and the warm glow is so much more inviting and friendly than the harsh, low spectrum of an led headlamp. Don’t get me wrong- a headlamp has its own strengths and usage and still comes with on trips- but I have come to prefer the UCO candle light.

Maybe that’s actually a good answer for me: it is the headlamp that rarely gets taken out of the pack. "


Well. . .I just looked up the Oco Candle Lantern and if I had had one of those I might feel differently. Ours was from 1971, was just a folding metal thing that fastened with a little clip that would come undone easily (and dump the candle out.) When it was put together it resembled a little "house" in shape, with a metal roof. I always felt it was dangerous to use. The light was pretty, and I enjoyed warm glow, too, but it just wasn't practical for us.
 
Tomcat
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12/22/2019 09:57PM
 
12/23/2019 02:04PM
This is what ours looked like. We cannot find it anymore. It probably went to metal recycling. :-) In the second photo, it was more like the one on the right.

It took about a 3/4 inch diameter candle, probably 4" tall or a little taller. And that "clip" on the front just slid in there, meaning that it was very easy to come unhooked. Safe enough on a table or a rock, but it worried me in a tent.



 
Cc26
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12/24/2019 10:50PM
Pocket dogs
 
mgraber
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12/26/2019 12:28AM
mutz: "I’m very surprised at the number who consider fishing equipment to be items no longer needed. For us if we didn’t have fishing equipment we wouldn’t need the canoe."

+++1! If I was forced to leave the fishing equipment behind on a trip, I would most likely need therapy when returning home. I can picture myself rocking back and forth and mumbling incoherently:)
 
ZaraSp00k
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12/26/2019 08:53AM
jillpine: "I'm pretty amazed at the no compass crowd. How do you navigate a lake like insula or little sag? "

maps
BTW, the sun and moon are reliable direction indicators.

nowadays I plot my course at home and print out maps with my course and refer to them often, for example a recent Woodland Caribou trip I had seven 8x12, it was an out and return trip.

Before the internet age I did pretty much the same thing for example when I am at the portage I look at the map and plot out my course, usually a far point, then as I'm approaching that point I refer to the map again, plotting my course, rinse and repeat

OK, on a lake like Saganaga or Alpine it is easy to temporarily get lost, and nowadyas I turn on the GPS on to figure out where I am solves it, but again I go back to my maps

before the GPS I'd keep paddling using the sun and maps to where I best thought I should be heading, none of the lakes in BWCA, WC, Q,or even Wabakimi are that big that you are going to be lost foever, if you keep moving sooner or later you are going to figure out where yo are, to me that's part of paddling, getting lost and then discovering where you are, let's remember, the original explorers to paddle these areas didn't have maps, and neither did the indigenous people
 
Learningtofly
member (19)member
 
12/26/2019 02:52PM
Crawdad trap. I bought a nice square one at cabelas. Brought seasoning for the crawdads I thought I would catch. I didn't catch one dang crawdad with that thing. My brother still gives be grief about hauling that thing around.
 
GearGuy
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12/26/2019 03:44PM
Funny enough I thought my Granite Gear Foldable sink would be way cooler than it is. It fills up with nasty dirty water and then we end up not using it much after that. Easier just to clean all the dishes in the 10" skillet I bring. Won't be bringing that anymore. I think with the purchase of a Garmin 66i, I'll no longer bring a compass. BWCA is so easy to navigate with a map and a good sense for direction, that there's really no need for a compass and I never used it much.
 
scat
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12/27/2019 06:43PM
I can’t imagine not bringing a compass. It weighs nothing and is invaluable finding your way to a portage thru a lake with many islands and bays. I bring less fishing gear now, not so many lures and use live bait more. Spinner rigs and jigs. The rest of my gear is the same since the day I bought it, except for my tent, a leaky Taj3 which I want to lose and go back to my Timberlite 3. Need to get the zipper fixed and I’ll be back to all my original stuff.
 
alpinebrule
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12/31/2019 06:20PM
Planisphere, have probably carried it for 30 yrs and rarely bother to dig it out.

 
straighthairedcurly
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12/31/2019 07:52PM
jillpine: "I'm pretty amazed at the no compass crowd. How do you navigate a lake like insula or little sag? "

I rarely need a compass on a big lake. I am blessed with a brain that can translate real world info (islands, bays, etc.) into map info very easily, especially on a lake. I always bring a compass, but the only times I have ever used it were when completely fogged in (couldn't see the shoreline at all) and when bushwhacking through the woods (PMA this summer). When I was 14, my camp group was paddling Lake Saganaga. I told my counselor we needed to turn into a big bay to locate the portage. She said I was wrong and the next bay was where we needed to go. I argued briefly and then let her have her way. We paddled an extra few miles to get to her bay. She quietly said, "Um, you were right." She never questioned me again.

Fortunately my husband and son have the same ability and so we only rarely have a disagreement about where we are on a lake. I have never had a desire to use a GPS, I think I would just find it annoying. I just love paper maps too much.
 
Stumpy
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01/02/2020 01:36PM
I never use a compass, unless I'm bushwhacking.
I skip the bug dope too.
 
srust58
member (36)member
 
01/08/2020 12:59AM
There are things that I have taken, and still do, that may be unnecessary or unused but the only truly useless item I can think of would be the cooler I took on my first two trips. Probably the most often brought and least used would be the small one burner butane stove. We always cook over a fire and I can think of only five times in 20 trips we have used it. One small can of butane and the tiny stove take up little space so it's not an issue.

Some of the things mentioned by others are things we usually bring along. We use binoculars for stargazing so they come along on trips when we don't have much moon to wash out the sky. Mine are a 7x50 Meibo (Fujinon) from around 1950 Japan. Beautiful optics and construction.

A sun shower has been on every trip. We like being clean and use it usually every other day. 2 1/2 gallon size is enough for two with washing hair. Most often we heat water on the fire, a gallon of hot with the rest cold gives a nice hot shower. If we are staying in one place for a few days we can use the sun. We certainly don't want to soap up and jump in the lake so this is a better alternative. It weighs little and rolls up to take little space in the pack. It's the same one from the first trip.....long lasting piece of gear.

I can't imagine not taking a compass. To me a watercraft without a compass is not complete. As a lifelong sailor I have spent more time in a sailboat and am just used to having one and using it. It has come in handy many times. One trip we traveled Crooked Lake from Friday Bay to the portage at Curtain Falls in pea soup fog using the compass and a watch. I do have experience navigating in fog from sailing on Lake Superior, much of it on the Canadian north shore well north and east of Thunder Bay. It also can come in handy on island studded lakes likes Insula or crossing a larger body of water aiming for a specific point on a far shoreline without many obvious landmarks. Traveling on misty days when the shoreline may be obscured or landmarks hard to pick out. A compass is like an old friend to me and I like knowing what course I am on.....even when I don't need it.



 
01/09/2020 01:15PM
A GPS I used to take it every year and never turned it on, in fact it sits on the shelf with my camping stuff for 15 years almost never used. Don't know why I every got it. prefer maps
 
dex8425
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01/09/2020 05:28PM
My wife and I are ultralight backpackers and do about 2 canoe trips a year, so we don't bring much, period. We don't bring any fishing gear.

The stuff we do bring that sometimes doesn't get used on a trip:
1. compass
2. extra batteries for the gps

After one trip where the etrex batteries died and my wife's Garmin fenix watch also died, I will always throw in two spare lithium batteries. Not for navigation per se, but for recording after the fact so I can post to strava and remember where we went and how far. But also because we're faster following a gpx track than we are navigating with a map.

I have to bring the compass for bushwhacking. Especially when navigating pma's.
 
bottomtothetap
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01/13/2020 02:05AM
I had one of those candle lanterns as well and after bringing it one year did not really see any benefit to it at all
 
bottomtothetap
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01/13/2020 02:11AM
Banksiana: "salukiguy: "I’ve brought a compass many times but never used it. The maps alone are plenty good enough for navigation."


Second this. For thirty years. Still bring the compass."


+1
 
AussieShep
senior member (73)senior membersenior member
 
02/12/2020 09:15PM
TreeBear: "Blatz: "Any fishing gear. I used to be in to it, and brought some gear on my last solo trip. Never saw the light of day. I'm more of a wilderness traveler. Oh and binoculars never left the pack on a couple of trips."


And I just started packing binoculars this year. I don't use them too often either, but I have a small pocket pair that I keep in a life jacket. I find them handy for finding campsites if I happen to be stuck on a big lake with lots of sites. It helps answer the question "is that site full" without paddling over there. I know that it sounds lazy, but while guiding it really helped save time for "the cool stuff." Ha!"


Yeah I agree for exactly that reason. They're a bit heavy and bulky but likely worth it.

As for useless...one of my passions is snorkeling. Brought the mask, snorkel and fins on one trip in 2003. Unfortunately, Quetico waters may been clean but they're not necessarily clear. And to my disappointment, there's a disturbing amount of subterranean refuse in the pristine wilderness. Best left unseen.
 
AussieShep
senior member (73)senior membersenior member
 
02/12/2020 09:15PM
TreeBear: "Blatz: "Any fishing gear. I used to be in to it, and brought some gear on my last solo trip. Never saw the light of day. I'm more of a wilderness traveler. Oh and binoculars never left the pack on a couple of trips."


And I just started packing binoculars this year. I don't use them too often either, but I have a small pocket pair that I keep in a life jacket. I find them handy for finding campsites if I happen to be stuck on a big lake with lots of sites. It helps answer the question "is that site full" without paddling over there. I know that it sounds lazy, but while guiding it really helped save time for "the cool stuff." Ha!"


Yeah I agree for exactly that reason. They're a bit heavy and bulky but likely worth it.

As for useless...one of my passions is snorkeling. Brought the mask, snorkel and fins on one trip in 2003. Unfortunately, Quetico waters may been clean but they're not necessarily clear. And to my disappointment, there's a disturbing amount of subterranean refuse in the pristine wilderness. Best left unseen.
 
Banksiana
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02/13/2020 12:56AM
AussieShep: "
As for useless...one of my passions is snorkeling. Brought the mask, snorkel and fins on one trip in 2003. Unfortunately, Quetico waters may been clean but they're not necessarily clear. And to my disappointment, there's a disturbing amount of subterranean refuse in the pristine wilderness. Best left unseen. "


Plenty of very clear water in the Quetico for snorkeling. Just need to pick the right route.
 
Frenchy
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02/13/2020 05:56AM
I loved reading these entries. Looking back over the years I have brought and “NOT” used most everything listed. To this day, many of the useless things continue to find their way into my pack. (Just in case)
I guess as long as my back can still carry them, they will continue to make the trip.
 
A1t2o
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02/13/2020 09:06AM
I've brought many useless small items on trips when I was just getting started. Spare tent stakes that could be used on a railroad, tools for tying up the food bag when a knot would suffice, an oversized spotlight because I didn't have a small torch at the time. Part of it is just experience. Without experimenting, I wouldn't have a better understanding of what tools are and are not useful.

For the compass discussion, I stopped bringing my heavy military style compass. I simply never use one. I've been on Little Sag too and can't see myself getting so turned around that I would dig the compass out. If you pay attention to where you have been and keep an eye on the map so you recognize landmarks then you will always know where you are. If you are fishing then you will be watching contour maps. I'll usually still bring a little cheap compass for emergencies, but I don't use it.

The only times that I am on the water and need more than a printed map, is duck hunting when we are navigating a few hours before dawn. The one time we did take the wrong portage, a compass would not have helped. We simply missed the correct bay and took the wrong portage going in generally the same direction. It wasn't until the lake dead ended instead of continuing around the bend that we realized our mistake.
 
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