Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      Low cost ideas for newbies and experts?     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

fishonfishoff
distinguished member(641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2020 05:17PM  
I have coming up to the BWCA / Quetico area for more than a few years. My trip count is way less than many on this site, but I thought I would pass along some low cost ideas for people who may want to try doing a trip. There is also some advice on a couple things. I am by no means an expert and anybody willing to add their own idea is more than welcome. Most of these ideas came from this great site.

1) Instead of buying new equipment, try buying used for a fraction of the cost. If possible borrow from friends, relatives, or others.

2) Tarp- I have a sil-nylon tarp, but we have gotten by with a cheap plastic tarp from a big box store (I just did on my solo, 1 1/2 weeks ago). You can also make one out of leftover Tyvek or Typar. They are noisier but work just fine.


3) Use food grade 5 gallon buckets and gamma lids for food storage containers. We have used them every trip and they are still going strong (and we do single portage loop trips moving every day). I painted each lid a different color and taped a ziplock on the side with the contents inside the bucket.

"Not a great picture of the bucket!"

4) If you are into making bread dough items you can use a clean, dry Nalgene as a pie roller. It works great.

5) For a leach locker, just use a gatorade bottle with small holes in it. I put the bottle in a gallon ziplock and at many portages I refresh the water. There is a piece of contractors string below the cap to tie to a branch or under a rock so it doesn't "walk away." We have one bottle that came on at least 4 trips with us.


6) When you get to the either end of a portage, get your gear out of the way of others that may be coming around the corner. This is especially true of when you double or triple portage.


7) If you do a solo trip try using a kayak paddle for traveling days.

8) BDB's or similar for tying up items in the canoe or in camp. I've probably made over 100 for our crew and the local Boy Scout Troop (sorry Old Scout) which I have helped out with.



9) After a week your gluteous maximus gets pretty sore, especially for us over the hill people. Try bringing a cheap hammock, it works great and a good cheap alternative to one of those lightweight camp chairs.

10) Make a tree table. I used mine for the first time on the Cherokee solo trip and couldn't believe how much it organizes a campsite. 18 ounces without the shower curtain rings.


11) Always check out all of your equipment before leaving home. This is everything! One of my partners got to the first campsite and found out mice ate holes in his Thermarest! He wasn't happy, but he lived.

12) Use a packing list and make sure everything is checked off as it is being loaded into the bags. Works for us.

13) Mostly for base campers or bigger groups. Make a reflector oven for baking. "I don't have a picture of mine! "

14) take some of the cheap cutting board plastic pieces you sometimes get for free from Menards to help with the cooking or even filleting fish. weigh next to nothing.

15) Take an old tennis bag with a small "X" cut in one side. If you can find a downed tree branch, sharpen on end, stick tennis ball on it and use for center tarp pole. Do not cut a live tree for this!

16) To make a tarp tie out in odd place, take a cheap small bouncy ball (or a stone) and tie a BDB around it. Then attach paracord to BDB.

17) Make an anchor bag out of a basketball net. Zip tie one end shut, fill with some rocks, and use a carabiner to attach anchor rope to opposite end. Don't forget to empty out the rocks when portaging to new lakes!!!!

18) Dehydrate food instead of the easy pre-made food pouches. Look into the recipe messageboard tab for ideas. Peppers, mushrooms, hamburger, apple sauce, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe, etc... all dehydrate well.

19) When packing boxed food items such as fish breading, take out of box and put in ziplocks to save space.

20) Take extra ziplocks of different sizes for trash, etc...

21) Have everyone in the group take a compass, not just 1 or 2.

22) Try to get everyone going on the trip involved in the planning process.

23) If using a bucket or barrel type of food container, store away from camp and attach a noise maker such as a bear bell from the container to a tree with paracord. This will not make it bear proof but may give you enough warning to scare it away before your food is gone.

24) Instead of expensive camping sandals, try an old pair of tennis shoes as your "wet shoes". Not as good, but you can always upgrade on future trips. I like to to donate the old tennis shoes to the trash can at trips end for a job well done.

25) Try Permathin to coat your clothes for bugs before your trip. Works fairly well for me.

26) For a ground cloth for under your tent (outie) just use visqueen or a leftover piece of Tyvek / Typar. For a tent inside water barrier (innie), use a piece of visqueen that is 6" longer on every side of your tent.

27) To quite the noise when laying a paddle down in a canoe while fishing, take pipe insulation and just slip over the gunwhales. Works good for extra lures etc. Take off when portaging and slip into a pack.


28) Take plenty of paracord, it comes in handy.

29) On the trip, stop and smell the roses, it's a great place!!!!!!!!!!!!

30) Weigh pack loads before leaving home, make them manageable.

31) Take a garbage bag for each person to put their "skanky" clothes in for the ride back home. Especially important for people driving many hours like us!

There is many others, feel free to add to list. I'm just trying to help out the low budget/first time trippers.

FISHONFISHOFF
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2020 07:28PM  
There should be at least one backup map for the trip. Each canoe should have a map or copy of the map.
 
Canoeinggal
member (34)member
 
06/16/2020 08:18PM  
I like to take a small piece of plastic to put at the entrance of the tent. Like a rug. We put our shoes on it at night. Helps keep inside of tent cleaner.
We always line our tent too.
Klymit blow up sleeping pads are the best. Inflated in 20 or less breaths. My hips do not hurt anymore!
Sometimes in the morning before we travel I cook a lunch or dinner and keep it in a pot. Bungee cord it well. Pull over on a travel day and have a no mess meal.
Have a back up stove. I accidentally caught ours on fire on day 2 of our 11 night trip. So sad. They’re light weight. Not worth the hassle of cooking over fire on warm days!
We take a battery pack with us too to charge phone.
Car battery— disconnect it so it doesn’t die while you’re out. We usually do 10 days or more.
Very important- chapstick with spf 30 and sunglasses. I got sun poisoning while paddling 7 hours in lake LaCroix.
We type up inventory of each pack and put in in a luggage tag on each pack.
We have a special small pack we call 1st day pack. It has maps, compass, cups, sunscreen, bug spray, head nets, lunch, snacks, rain gear, some toilet paper, etc. everything at your finger tips for a smooth first day and on travel days.
Have change of clean clothes packed in your car for after trip.
I can’t wait to read other suggestions.
 
4keys
distinguished member(790)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2020 10:46PM  
If you are portaging in several lakes, make sure you drink water throughout the morning. Don't be in such a hurry to get to the lake/campsite you want that you become dehydrated.
 
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2020 04:19AM  
If you take a camera, your first picture should be of your name, address, and phone number. This is just in case it loses you in it's travels.
 
Chuckles
distinguished member (173)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2020 08:12AM  
The first few trips, turn around a take a picture of every portage you just completed. Many of them look the same and if you're ever lost and need to back-track, pictures can be very helpful.

Don't be afraid to go with crappy, heavy gear; just go.
 
Canoeinggal
member (34)member
 
06/17/2020 10:45AM  
We take a small pair of binoculars . Comes in very handy to see if sites are taken an d to find portages .
 
Canoeinggal
member (34)member
 
06/17/2020 10:45AM  
We take a small pair of binoculars . Comes in very handy to see if sites are taken an d to find portages .
 
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2020 11:06AM  
Chuckles: Don't be afraid to go with crappy, heavy gear; just go. "
Excellent advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
scotttimm
distinguished member (423)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2020 11:25AM  
I love the tree table idea - been thinking of one other I saw that had legs, but I like this better. Happen to have more pics or plans? How does the base hold to the tree - cord also? Just got off an 8 day and am at our family cabin, next two days of rain, this may need to be a project to take on...

...my ideas to add, this year we bought a lifestraw water filter for each canoe ($18 at Walmart) and paired it up with one nalgene in our thwart bags. It was so much more convenient to just scoop up water in a bottle from the lake, and sip from the straw en route or on portages, and then we weren't filtering or lugging 5 heavy water-filled nalgene's along. Another handy trick is to just pour hot water directly into the oatmeal packet, set into a cup, eat it out of the packet with no dishes to clean.
 
tomo
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2020 01:05PM  
My summer BWCA tripping advice. Accept wet feet. So much time is wasted, and so many possible injuries incurred, from people doing everything in their power to keep their feet dry. Just make peace with wet feet and wade on in. Makes life much easier.
 
TominMpls
distinguished member(635)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2020 01:18PM  
Chuckles: "Don't be afraid to go with crappy, heavy gear; just go. "

Excellent advice. Now that I'm at a stage where I can afford nice, light gear my back thanks me, but honestly if I hadn't gone when I couldn't afford nice gear I'd be much less likely to still be doing it now.
 
merlyn
distinguished member (151)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2020 03:38PM  
Make a lap table out of dense foam or paneling . Mine is 8" x 21" x1/4" and made out of foil covered foam insulation and weighs 1.4ozs. No more balancing dinner on my lap.
Rescue about 1/4 to1/3 of the filler from an old bed pillow ( or don't be such a cheap ass and buy a cheap pillow from wally world ) and make a camp pillow to the size you like. Put in a soft drawstring bag. Mine is appox. 6x8 and compress to maybe 3x4. I have an inflatable pillow (hate it) a purchased "camp" pillow (too bulky) and have used my spare clothes bag (lumpy and a button or zipper always finds my ear)

I wasn't going to tell anyone but they say confession is good for the soul- so here goes- I have used an Osark Mountain brand 2 man tent for at least 15 years and at least 6-8 Bwca trips. Maybe I just got lucky or the Mart goofed but it has served me well even at 6.3#s and a faded teal color.
PS: Mad at your spouse? will trade my tent for a Big Agnes or an R.E.I 2 man even up.
 
1JimD
distinguished member (469)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2020 05:24PM  
A big Umbrella ! No need for a Tarp, sets up instantly, makes a great Wind break. Is perfect if you have to get up and go potty, when it's raining ! Mine is big enough I can cook under it with a single burner stove. Instant shade also.

Two 5 gal buckets fit easily in a GI Duffel bag. Love those Gamma lids !


 
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 11:14AM  
scotttimm: "I love the tree table idea - been thinking of one other I saw that had legs, but I like this better. Happen to have more pics or plans? How does the base hold to the tree - cord also? Just got off an 8 day and am at our family cabin, next two days of rain, this may need to be a project to take on...



The base is also held with paracord. I will try and remember to take another picture tonight.
FOFO
 
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 02:51PM  
fishonfishoff: "scotttimm: "I love the tree table idea - been thinking of one other I saw that had legs, but I like this better. Happen to have more pics or plans? How does the base hold to the tree - cord also? Just got off an 8 day and am at our family cabin, next two days of rain, this may need to be a project to take on...




The base is also held with paracord. I will try and remember to take another picture tonight.
FOFO"


This table was thrown together right before my trip and could use a little refinement.
It is 16" x 18" x a thin 1/4". could be slightly bigger if your canoe bag allows it. "I just happen to have a scrap piece this size and it worked great." The shower curtain rings worked better for hooks than the s-hooks, I just couldn't scrape up enough to fill all the holes! It's amazing how much you can hang from this setup!!!!!!!!! Probably one of the best (if not the best) ideas I learned from this site.
FISHONFISHOFF
 
scotttimm
distinguished member (423)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2020 12:14PM  
fishonfishoff: "fishonfishoff: "scotttimm: "I love the tree table idea - been thinking of one other I saw that had legs, but I like this better. Happen to have more pics or plans? How does the base hold to the tree - cord also? Just got off an 8 day and am at our family cabin, next two days of rain, this may need to be a project to take on...




The base is also held with paracord. I will try and remember to take another picture tonight.
FOFO"


This table was thrown together right before my trip and could use a little refinement.
It is 16" x 18" x a thin 1/4". could be slightly bigger if your canoe bag allows it. "I just happen to have a scrap piece this size and it worked great." The shower curtain rings worked better for hooks than the s-hooks, I just couldn't scrape up enough to fill all the holes! It's amazing how much you can hang from this setup!!!!!!!!! Probably one of the best (if not the best) ideas I learned from this site.
FISHONFISHOFF"


Thanks Fishonfishoff - made one up last night!! Looking forward to breaking this in late July! - Scott
 
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2020 01:36PM  
scotttimm: "fishonfishoff: "fishonfishoff: "scotttimm: "I love the tree table idea - been thinking of one other I saw that had legs, but I like this better. Happen to have more pics or plans? How does the base hold to the tree - cord also? Just got off an 8 day and am at our family cabin, next two days of rain, this may need to be a project to take on...





The base is also held with paracord. I will try and remember to take another picture tonight.
FOFO"


This table was thrown together right before my trip and could use a little refinement.
It is 16" x 18" x a thin 1/4". could be slightly bigger if your canoe bag allows it. "I just happen to have a scrap piece this size and it worked great." The shower curtain rings worked better for hooks than the s-hooks, I just couldn't scrape up enough to fill all the holes! It's amazing how much you can hang from this setup!!!!!!!!! Probably one of the best (if not the best) ideas I learned from this site.
FISHONFISHOFF"




Thanks Fishonfishoff - made one up last night!! Looking forward to breaking this in late July! - Scott"

Give it a good workout and let me know how it does.
 
ponddigger
member (27)member
 
06/22/2020 03:04PM  
I wasn't going to tell anyone but they say confession is good for the soul- so here goes- I have used an Osark Mountain brand 2 man tent for at least 15 years and at least 6-8 Bwca trips. Maybe I just got lucky or the Mart goofed but it has served me well even at 6.3#s and a faded teal color.
PS: Mad at your spouse? will trade my tent for a Big Agnes or an R.E.I 2 man even up."

I just completed my 3rd week long trip, as well as many other camping nights, with a Walmart tent. I don't want to spend more days working to pay for gear when I could be out using the gear.
Also, if the gear or system isn't broke, then don't fix it. Too many things that can possibly go wrong trying to make improvements.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next