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bombinbrian
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01/22/2020 04:07PM
I've done numerous trips to the BW. My son and step son have also. This year, my wife and 19 year old stepdaughter are going to go, also.

We are going out of Mudro to Beartrap and just base camp. If Beartrap is full, we'll stay on Thunder.

I'm not concerned about my wife, but the newbie on the other hand... Anyone have any suggestions on making her first trip to the BW as comfortable as possible?
 
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01/22/2020 05:00PM
Something not widely understood is how powerful our beliefs are in how we deal with life. Thinking about this young woman as princess triggers all kinds of ideas, mostly get lots of mattresses as roots and rocks are more than peas. Think about her as a brave young woman willing to step out of her element to do something important for her fiance and you get some different ideas. Mostly have some talks and find out what she is interested in and very much include her in the planning. And if it just doesn't seem to want to work out, find other ways to include her.

I get to share life with a wonderful woman who will do most anything for me. But as the rock song goes, she will do anything for love, but she won't do that. Sleeping in a tent or hammock will not be part of what we share.
bwcadan
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01/22/2020 05:35PM
Do away with the princess concept for the length of the trip. Include her as you do with the others and engage her as an equal partner in this trip.

As with any newby, fully explain what is going to happen and what her responsibilities are for the trip. Do not take any measures for her comfort you would not take for the others. I suggest that she will measure up to what needs to be done and, if not, you will have tried your best to make this trip as realistic as possible. Worst case, she will join the legions of ladies who never go or have only gone once. No harm in trying.
01/22/2020 05:36PM
When are you going? I can see bugs being an issue for some people. Make sure you have a good tarp to hang out under and she is as well outfitted as everyone else in terms of clothes and personal gear.

Perception is everything. Everyone should expect the unexpected. Helping to build excitement and desire in her for the trip will help immensely in how things actually go down.
01/22/2020 05:52PM
I think I will not be popular with my answer, but I think I was (in some aspects) sort of a Princess when Spartan1 took me on my first trip. I definitely wasn't ready in some ways for the experience, and I had to learn to love it. If it had been a basecamping trip, I would have hated it from the get-go and never would have gone again. I found I could buy into the adventure of seeing new lakes, exploring new portages, really going somewhere. i would have found it boring to stay at one campsite.

I guess that's why, for more than 40 years, we only had two basecamping trips. (And they are the two that were my least favorites.)

You are getting good advice about including her in the planning and finding out what makes her tick. I hope you have a wonderful time with her. And I hope she finds something to love about the experience, too.

bombinbrian
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01/22/2020 06:07PM
I don't want anyone to get me wrong, I love her to death but....

She's not an outdoor girl. She's a shopping for LuLu Lemon, make-up, dressing nice always kind of girl. I highly doubt she fishes any and I'm worried about her portaging even a small pack.

I'm giving her credit because I know this is way out of her comfort zone. I am planning on probably spoiling her a little more than anyone else because I know she could make the trip miserable for everyone. I'm planning on an actual air mattress for her too.

If we weren't basecamping, I doubt she'd even consider it. We'll do some day trips but not be going miles a day, every day.
dogwoodgirl
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01/22/2020 06:42PM
I would say figure out what her strengths are and get her involved. My daughter loves to dress nice and is way into makeup, and she loves the BWCA! Maybe she's good at organizing or making sure that nothing gets left behind on portages. Maybe food is her thing. Whatever it is, feed it and it will grow!
01/22/2020 07:44PM
Just do a good job letting her know what to expect. If she's still game, treat her like anybody else.

Fair chance she'll rise to the occasion. You never know, she might enjoy it and be back for multiple trips.
soundguy0918
member (46)member
 
01/23/2020 08:53AM
dogwoodgirl: "I would say figure out what her strengths are and get her involved. My daughter loves to dress nice and is way into makeup, and she loves the BWCA! Maybe she's good at organizing or making sure that nothing gets left behind on portages. Maybe food is her thing. Whatever it is, feed it and it will grow!"
I second this. If everything is a surprise to her and she doesn't feel like she had much say in the matter, she will probably be miserable. But get her involved and she will have a stronger sense of connection and contribution. Many young people have no idea what to expect or how to act the first time they set foot in the woods, but once they are tasked with setting up a clothes line with that new knot they learned, they gain confidence and can really blossom.
A1t2o
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01/23/2020 09:17AM
I also agree that you can only give so many concessions to only one member of the trip. People do get a little resentful when one person is coddled despite being an adult. If she was ten, then I would say that you are on the right track, but at nineteen, she should be able to carry her own weight. You wouldn't want anyone treating you differently or like you couldn't handle it, so why would she?

With about six months to prepare, she can get in shape so that she can paddle and hike all day. With this much prep time, there is no excuse for not being in shape before the trip. I would even recommend getting her a pack now if she doesn't already have one, loading it with 40lbs of weight, and letting her get used to carrying that much around the house.

For her gear, get her involved in picking it out and make her carry it. I would start with the firmer approach that she is responsible for portaging all her own gear and her share of the group gear, including tent and sleeping pad, then maybe soften up a little and take out an item or two to help her. Either way, make it so that if she wants an air mattress, then she needs to carry it. If she has some ownership of her gear, she is going to be much less unhappy about carrying it.

For the attitude, you need to stress the group mentality. The comment that you made about her ruining the trip for everyone else bothers me. It needs to be about making the trip a success for everyone. The right mindset going into it is incredibly important. The saying we have is that if you don't work, then you don't eat. Everyone contributes. We split into teams by canoe and rotate cooking and washing dishes. The important thing is to make her a part of the group, not an outsider.
straighthairedcurly
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01/23/2020 11:51AM
Use these next six months to get her acclimated to some of the needed tasks.

1) Take some day hiking trips at nearby parks. Have her work up to carrying a reasonable weight. Let her try carrying the canoe around the yard. Some people like packs, some people, like me, much prefer carrying a canoe. I hate when everyone assumes the man has to be the canoe carrier! Also remember that portaging is 90% a mental game. If you think you can do it, you can, so be encouraging.

2) Set up a tent (or hammock?). Have her help with set up so she feels knowledgable and competent and then sleep in it so she can figure out what works best for her in terms of gear. Everyone has their own needs when sleeping. (For example, I can't sleep well if I am uncovered, so even if it's hot, I need a thin sheet over me.) Let her figure out what her needs are before she is out there.

3) Make a list of campsite tasks, then have everyone, including her, pick tasks they want to be responsible for.

4) Make a list of daytime activities for the area you will visit, then have everyone choose their top couple of activities. Give her some resources to learn more about the history, geology, flora/fauna of the area.

5) Does she enjoy photography or taking video?

Then go have fun!
01/23/2020 12:00PM
Make sure she has good rain gear. Nothing worse than being wet and cold. 0Also, explain everything she can expect on this trip, i.e. mosquitoes, setting up camp, portaging, paddling, camp food, latrines, etc.

My suggestion is not to base camp. Maybe move every other day. I've taken many teenagers to the BW and one thing I learned is to keep them busy. Teach her how to gather wood, build a fire, fish, or any other outdoor skills you can think of. If things get bad, stay positive and don't get angry.
01/23/2020 02:09PM
bombinbrian:

If we weren't basecamping, I doubt she'd even consider it. We'll do some day trips but not be going miles a day, every day."


I wasn't necessarily suggesting a "miles a day, every day" sort of trip. And I have no idea how many days you will be out, so that is a factor, too. To me, anything less than 6 days isn't a trip at all, but some others are satisfied with a weekend trip. It's all OK. We didn't fish, others mainly go for the fishing. There is no one right way to do anything.

Rather than base camping and watching people fish all day (you said she probably doesn't fish), perhaps consider the concept of layover days. We liked a six or seven day trip with perhaps 3-4 campsites. Some layover days, but also travel days. Teenagers get bored very easily, or at least they think they do.

They also often don't want to work hard unless it is made clear to them that it is necessary. I agree that she should be practicing with a pack, and I would expect her to carry a pack just like any others in the group who are not carrying a canoe.

Rain gear, good rain gear, is a must. Wool socks to wear in the sleeping bag. If she likes to read, she could bring some small paperback books. Encourage her to think about photography--that is probably what "hooked" me on canoe-tripping more than anything else. Be sure she understands about the latrine; what it is (stinky), what it isn't (enclosed or covered), and that it can be a hike to get there. That is one surprise you could avoid.

Try to approach her with a positive view, not only of the planned trip, but also of her having a good time and contributing to the whole project. She may surprise you. :-)
Northwoodsman
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01/23/2020 02:11PM
I'm guessing that the hardest part for her will be lack of electronics and connecting to the world. It's not a female thing, or a 19 year-old thing, it's a modern day trend. I was at a couple of airports yesterday flying half way across the country and I was hard pressed to find someone that didn't have their eyes and thumbs on their phone. At 5:00 a.m. I saw only one person from where I was sitting that wasn't glued to their screen, and he was even older than me. Surely they couldn't be expecting a response that time of day. Make sure that any member of the group that doesn't realize that you will not be within cell-phone range of the world is aware of it so they can plan on finding something else to keep themselves busy. Hopefully they will enjoy the freedom from being tied to their device and enjoy nature, peace, and family time.
A1t2o
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01/23/2020 02:35PM
Northwoodsman: "I'm guessing that the hardest part for her will be lack of electronics and connecting to the world. It's not a female thing, or a 19 year-old thing, it's a modern day trend. I was at a couple of airports yesterday flying half way across the country and I was hard pressed to find someone that didn't have their eyes and thumbs on their phone. At 5:00 a.m. I saw only one person from where I was sitting that wasn't glued to their screen, and he was even older than me. Surely they couldn't be expecting a response that time of day. Make sure that any member of the group that doesn't realize that you will not be within cell-phone range of the world is aware of it so they can plan on finding something else to keep themselves busy. Hopefully they will enjoy the freedom from being tied to their device and enjoy nature, peace, and family time."

Think of someone being on their phone as the new book, newspaper, magazine, and laptop combined, not as a tool to text. Maybe they looking up their flight information or ticket. For me, the only reason I go on my phone is because I have nothing better to do and it is that or sit and stare at nothing. When people start getting judgmental about others being on a device without understanding any context, it bothers me.

01/23/2020 03:33PM
To Spartan 2, in our day a lady was expected to be a princess. Some part of you must have been interested in some way about the wilderness experience. I still think having a princess around helps me act with a little more chivalry.
And to the OP, if indeed she is not one of those who finds any interest in the wilderness experience and does not develop one it doesn't bode well. Explore with your son her reasons for wanting to go, I sure hope he has good insights as that bodes well for their relationship. If not either teach him how to listen or find him some help.
Understanding what is motivating her to go outside her comfort zone and clarifying expectations of what it is like are important. I support camping out, going hiking and going paddling before you launch on the trip. Nothing worse than trying to please someone and going outside our limits and making a mess of everything.
lindylair
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01/23/2020 09:43PM
To me it's all about expectations. Make sure she knows what she is getting into. Let her know that there could be times of discomfort and physical and mental challenge. But there will also be times of total relaxation and serenity. Nothing wrong with bringing a few extra comfort items for her, a comfortable chair, cushy pad or air mattress, etc.. Find out what she considers a treat and bring it if you can.

Given the weather possibilities i think that a solid tarp system should be a priority. If there is a dry area to retreat to, relax and eat in, etc. it can make a huge difference. Keeping dry should be a priority, being wet for a half a day or more is not fun. If you happen to hit a rainy spell, having a nice expansive tarp setup , or not, can make or break a trip.

I also agree with including her in the planning and decision making, she will have more ownership over the trip if she is part of that process. It's not for everyone but nothing wrong with tilting the odds in your favor.

Great area by the way, lots to like.
bombinbrian
distinguished member (175)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 10:33PM
I appreciate all the replies. I am talking with her about what to expect and what I expect from her. I let her know that she'll be carrying a pack with about 40lbs in it and she said she didn't think she could. I assured her that she could.

She's now asking about food and clothing so I believe that we'll be ok. I'll keep her involved in the planning and make sure that she has the right equipment.

I do agree that good rain gear may be key. It's an expensive item you hope you never have to use.

I'll keep everyone updated on her progress and will make sure that we do a trip report
01/24/2020 09:05AM
You are right about the rain gear, but sometimes it is another extra layer to keep warm, too. Especially on a windy day, I appreciated my rain jacket very much!.

She may absolutely love this! You never know.

The only family trip we ever took with our kids was when our daughter was 19 and our son was 17. Our daughter found great joy in watching crayfish--and she really appreciated butterflies. I think HER interest in photography began on that trip, even though she didn't have a camera with her. (But she wished that she did, and she soon bought one.) Our camp activities were varied; our son was training for X-country so he ran the portages and ran a loop around a campsite if that was possible. Meanwhile our daughter, not the athletic type, was sitting on a log or a rock reading her book, or down by the shore looking to see minnows and crayfish.

She found paddling with her brother in the bow to be challenging at first, but after a couple of days they figured it all out, and they did very well. I have always loved the photo of the two of them in the canoe.

It was a fun time. And yes, it was a long time ago. She turned 50 this past September. But we still occasionally bring up a memory or two from that trip. It was a six-day trip out of Fall Lake, and we had five different campsites. I see by my journal that we usually traveled about 10 miles in a day, although a couple of the days were much less.

The end result of this is that our daughter and her husband took their own canoe trip shortly after they were married. They never went again, but I think it was more because of him than her. And THEIR daughter goes to the canoe country with us every summer now.







bombinbrian
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01/25/2020 01:30PM
So she came back home this weekend. I had her try on a pack that has about 40 lbs of gear in it. She thought she'd tip over backwards, in the end I think she realized that 40lbs in a pack isn't a lot.

We talked about sleeping pad and sleeping bags. I've offered to take an actual air mattress with us for her to sleep on. She said she'd be ok with just the pad, not happy but would be ok. I sent her a screenshot of gear recommendations from some outfitter. She said she feels my 'vibe", whatever that means. Once I explained that she had to carry whatever she wanted to wear and whatever she wanted for sleeping, plus a little community gear, I think she understands a little more.

It's really cool seeing her start to ask questions and want to know more about the gear that we take. She's asking what I think are the right questions, so there is hope that she won't want to overload herself with personal gear.

Now her biggest fear is no hot shower for a week... I told her that she can bath in the lake and that she wouldn't be looking for a boyfriend up there anyways.

She's now wanting to talk about food, so I think she's ready to dive into this. I have a feeling a shopping spree is on the horizon, Lord help me...

01/25/2020 01:53PM
Growing up I learned you put it on your plate, you eat it. No whining.
She's asking good questions and that is a good indicator of interest. What will she want to do while there...fish, photography, read and enjoy the quiet, find a place and do some meditation. So many things to talk about. Have fun.
Northwoodsman
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01/25/2020 02:14PM
I don't think you mentioned, or if anyone else asked, but is she being convinced to go, expected to go, forced to go, or does she want to go on the trip? Whose idea was it?

I have two sons, 24 and 25, that both love camping, kayaking, state parks, and national parks. Neither one of them has any interest in canoe camping in the BWCA however. They have a variety of reasons which mostly circle back to comfort, hot showers, strenuous activity, mosquitoes, biting flies, wildlife (bears) and boredom. They like campgrounds so Sawbill Campground is a far as I push them. I suspect that they would like the BWCA once they tried it and the invitation is always open for them to join me. They enjoy hanging around the people I trip with but they both have other priorities (generally work, so I can't complain).
bombinbrian
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01/25/2020 02:54PM
Northwoodsman: "I don't think you mentioned, or if anyone else asked, but is she being convinced to go, expected to go, forced to go, or does she want to go on the trip? Whose idea was it? "
I actually just asked her and her brothers if they wanted to go. I would never force her to go. It is completely her decision to go.
andym
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01/25/2020 05:49PM
She can have a hot shower with a solar shower. Lots of people carry them. She just needs to carry 40.5 lbs.

Sounds like she will do great.
Northwoodsman
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01/25/2020 08:20PM
bombinbrian: "I actually just asked her and her brothers if they wanted to go. I would never force her to go. It is completely her decision to go."
I'm sure that she will do fine.
A1t2o
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01/26/2020 02:04AM
bombinbrian: " She said she feels my 'vibe", whatever that means.
"


This is the same as her saying that she catches your drift.

Glad to see that she is on board though. One thing that my tripping buddy's parents used to do with the "kids" is have a treat for in camp. Like hot cocoa, candy bars, or something they like. It's a bit of a reward that can make all the difference. Especially when they are not 21 and can't have a drink of choice. As long as she is emotionally invested in the trip and always has something to look forward to during the trip, I'm sure it will be a great trip for you guys.
2NDpaddlers
member (45)member
 
01/26/2020 07:23PM

A piece of gear that I picked up when I took my wife on her first trip was a Nemo 9x9 Bugout Tarp - keeps the rain out and the mosquitoes.

My goal was to make things as enjoyable as possible so she would join me for more trips. I have to say I to enjoyed sitting mosquito free while we ate and relaxed. Check out a Nemo Bugout - it gives you another place other than your tent to escape the mosquitoes, and hanging around camp way more enjoyable.

She has joined me in more trips!!!
soundguy0918
member (46)member
 
01/27/2020 07:04AM
bombinbrian: "So she came back home this weekend. I had her try on a pack that has about 40 lbs of gear in it. She thought she'd tip over backwards, in the end I think she realized that 40lbs in a pack isn't a lot.

We talked about sleeping pad and sleeping bags. I've offered to take an actual air mattress with us for her to sleep on. She said she'd be ok with just the pad, not happy but would be ok. I sent her a screenshot of gear recommendations from some outfitter. She said she feels my 'vibe", whatever that means. Once I explained that she had to carry whatever she wanted to wear and whatever she wanted for sleeping, plus a little community gear, I think she understands a little more.

It's really cool seeing her start to ask questions and want to know more about the gear that we take. She's asking what I think are the right questions, so there is hope that she won't want to overload herself with personal gear.

Now her biggest fear is no hot shower for a week... I told her that she can bath in the lake and that she wouldn't be looking for a boyfriend up there anyways.

She's now wanting to talk about food, so I think she's ready to dive into this. I have a feeling a shopping spree is on the horizon, Lord help me..."


This is all excellent news. I'd suggest you take her to a camping store and have her look over the gear. Even if the cost to buy is too high, you will be able to rent higher-end/premium/more comfortable gear from your outfitter (if you don't already have it).

The lack of a hot shower is a creature comfort that I miss while in the woods, too. Hopefully you are going when the lakes are warm and you can describe how good bathing with some Campsuds in the lake feels, and how GREAT that first shower back at the outfitter's feels.

Menu planning and food prep is one area that some people (myself included) get really geeked over. She may turn into your executive camp chef for the trip - and that could make all the difference.
Northwoodsman
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01/27/2020 10:03AM
For a shower I really like the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower. At just over 5 oz. it's an easy decision. I heat up a pot of water on the stove or fire and mix it will lake water and it's fine. A word of caution, don't over-tighten the valve on the shower. I have a ground cloth from a tent that weights a couple more ounces that I use as a "shower curtain" to block the breeze and makes it feel warmer. It's amazing how much better you feel after a warm shower.

You can also get some nice air mattresses that weigh under 20 oz. A Nemo Bugout as mentioned above will make a difference for the entire group. It's also surprising to see how many people take a chair as their "luxury" item. A Helinox, Big Agnes, or REI Flexlite are all good choices. All very light weight. The Helinox and BA have the highest capacity weight-wise. For me my luxury item is a Therm-A-Rest pillow.

The easiest place to cut back on weight is clothing and food. Reading through trip reports these are the two areas where many people over-pack, myself included. I think it's great that she wants to give it a try.

One more point, I would rather take an extra round trip across a portage than carry a pack over 35 pounds or so. Give her (and the group) that option as well. I'm guessing what she may lack in strength she can make up in speed. She could probably sprint across a portage with a 25 lb. pack.
TominMpls
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01/27/2020 01:55PM
Just an unsolicited tip, maybe change the name of this thread. She's 19 - a young woman, not a kid - and as this thread has evolved it's clear that she's actually investing some effort into this. The chance that she'll google "boundary waters trip planning" or something is pretty high, and if she does, there's a good chance she'll find this forum and possibly this thread. I hope she does, as there's lots of good advice here that will help her (and you) have an awesome trip. But she's old enough that if she gets enthusiastic about it, the subject line might seem a bit insulting.

I'll second the advice to move periodically - sitting in once place for days gets really boring if that's not your thing, whereas moving periodically makes it an adventure that you can appreciate even if that's not your thing.

Regardless, the advice here is excellent and it sounds like you're well on your way to a good trip.
bobbernumber3
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01/27/2020 04:44PM
TominMpls: "Just an unsolicited tip, maybe change the name of this thread. She's 19 - a young woman, not a kid - ….."

Best piece of advice I've seen here. Well said, TominMpls!!
MikeinMpls
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01/28/2020 02:42PM
soundguy0918:

The lack of a hot shower is a creature comfort that I miss while in the woods, too. Hopefully you are going when the lakes are warm and you can describe how good bathing with some Campsuds in the lake feels, and how GREAT that first shower back at the outfitter's feels.


Uhhhh….. unless I'm missing something, there is to be NO use of soaps, detergents or similar in the lake, even if they are "biodegradable" or Campsuds. Please do not teach anyone that bathing in the lake with soap is OK, because it is not.

Mike
soundguy0918
member (46)member
 
01/28/2020 09:09PM
MikeinMpls: "soundguy0918:
Uhhhh….. unless I'm missing something, there is to be NO use of soaps, detergents or similar in the lake, even if they are "biodegradable" or Campsuds. Please do not teach anyone that bathing in the lake with soap is OK, because it is not.
Mike"


Correct, per regulations bathe in the lake without soap and use Campsuds to wash your face with warm water from you camp stove or sun shower..away from shore.
mrballast
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
02/03/2020 04:34AM
Just a list for special attention...more so than you give for yourself...

Raingear (reliable not expensive persay)
Headnet for bugs (no seeum tight, otherwise useless)
Good hat
Deck of Cards or reading material (I often pick up a new "species guide")
Lounge hammock or chair or both...just for her.
Biodegradable wipes for daily freshening up. My girls get two per day for night before bed...and share a pack for latrine after TP.
Pack TP everywhere to limit search time when needed.
Maybe an extra change of clean clothes, definitely extra warm clothes if forecast looks cool.

Consider novelty food: reflector oven cookies?
Consider GOgirl product. My wife likes it, daughter doesn't.

Make all these concessions, then be clear...This is a team experience: dont expect others to carry you. (Mutiny does not end just bc a trip does.)
 
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