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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Winter Camping and Activities
      Heading in tomorrow -- first winter trip in years!     



member (8)member
02/05/2020 08:19AM
Hey hey! My name's Nate, and this is my first post here. Apologies in advance if it gets a little long-winded, but there are some pictures toward the end!

I'm not new to the BWCA but I haven't done a winter trip in over a decade. When our usual Fall canoe trip didn't happen this year, my paddling partner said "Well, we'll just have to go up again this winter!"

Hmm, okaaaay...

It wasn't an enthusiastic yes, but I was certainly open to the idea. The Boundary Waters is a singularly beautiful place and I love every season of it but MAN, it gets cold in Northern MN and the last winter I was up there, it hit thirty-five below on the first night!

All my winter camping thus far has been an extension of my backpacking style -- same gear, heavier coat, warmer sleeping bag. This time I've resolved to do it... differently.

I have an old copy of the Conovers' book A Snow Walker's Companion , and when I started researching gear I was thrilled to discover that the traditional gear described in their book is now available from various artisans and small businesses in the region. Since much of my camping gear is worn out and in need of replacement anyway, I've thrown caution to the wind (and money at the problem!), and I am headed into the wilderness tomorrow with a bunch of awesome new toys and an excitement for this trip like I haven't felt in years!

Oh yeah, I promised pictures...

We're doing the hot tent thing - BIG thanks to Duane at Snowtrekker Tents for my new shelter, and Don at FourDog for the stove!

And with some pointers from Dave at LotN and Chris of Black River Sleds, I built a couple of toboggans for the trip, too. Here's mine.

We'll be back next week... See you then!


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distinguished member(1745)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/05/2020 09:41AM

You got some good gear there starting out. That makes all the difference in the winter.
Where you planning on going?

Have a great time and enjoy the weather.

member (8)member
02/05/2020 10:12AM
Thanks @Minnesotian! I like to buy local when I can, and quality stuff is often cheaper in the long run...

We're planning to jump in at Lake One this time, with no real itinerary in mind. This trip will be all about new technique.
distinguished member(2381)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/05/2020 11:14AM
It looks like you are set up for a great trip. My only advice is to try to limit what you bring. There's a real tendency to over pack on winter trips since you have a sled. I have a tendency to bring too much clothing or spare gear that never gets used. Have a great trip.
member (8)member
02/05/2020 11:54AM
Good point, and thanks for the tip! I am a minimalist canoe camper and an ultralight backpacker, but I can see the potential for overloading that sled! My buddy's already talked me out of packing the dutch oven... but in my defense it is an aluminum oven! ;-)
member (8)member
02/12/2020 03:01PM
Well, we had an AMAZING trip!!

As we loaded our toboggans at the parking lot, the Border Patrol agent rolled by in his truck... He stopped to chat but we must not have looked sketchy enough to warrant any tough questions!

Our self-registered permit at the Lake One box was the first since mid-December, and only a single set of snowshoe tracks was anywhere to be seen... We followed them for a while.

Travel conditions were good! We encountered a bit of slush and some open water in the narrow spots early on, but beyond that it was good pulling in soft, fresh snow.

member (8)member
02/12/2020 03:19PM
We saw a lot of tracks, but very little wildlife other than birds.

Does anyone recognize the tracks on the right? Otter, maybe? They ended at a hole and what appeared to be open water.

member (8)member
02/12/2020 03:32PM
The day was partly cloudy, with periods of glorious sunshine!

(I'm still trying to figure out the photo hosting code on this forum -- is there a tutorial thread somewhere?)

...and another.

distinguished member(2381)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/13/2020 08:44AM
Glad you had a great trip. Sunshine is definitely nice to have on a Winter camping trip although the glare can be a pain at times. Did you stay at a campsite or bushwhack a new spot? Any lessons learned you care to share? Thanks for sharing.
member (8)member
02/13/2020 08:55AM
We camped on Lake Two and found a nice tent pad back in the trees. We certainly didn't intend to stay on a campsite, but later we discovered a latrine nearby. I'm still not sure if we were on the *actual* campsite but it may have been.

Lessons learned? Collecting wood is easier in the winter if you bring the toboggan to the wood source, instead of vice versa... Heh!

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