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merlyn
distinguished member (161)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/13/2021 10:54AM  
As I was packing and re-packing, weighing and sorting, adding and rejecting to my gear for a May trip (been doing this since about December), I realized there is a Boundary Waters uniform. Check out pictures of almost every person shown on Trip Reports and they will have on zip-off nylon pants, long sleeve shirt with button pockets, a wide brim floppy hat and hiking boots.

I have three pairs of zip-off pants, two button pocket shirts, designated BWCA hiking/portage boots and wide brim hat only worn when canoe camping. Only 34 more days to go.
 
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R1verrunner
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
 
04/13/2021 11:18AM  
What works the best the only thing different is a wear a ball cap some times
 
Unas10
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04/13/2021 11:21AM  
I defy convention...sort of. I can't stand nylon pants, it feels like I am wearing a plastic bag. I wear a poly/cotton mix. I also use old running shoes for wet footing. Gotta stick with the old-man-tan color scheme though.
 
04/13/2021 11:22AM  
Classic nature look lol
Also heard it called the granola look
Now just be sure your long sleeve shirt has the ability to roll up the sleeves and snap or button them up. Then you've achieved the perfect BWCA uniform
 
04/13/2021 01:08PM  
We didn’t start out that way but by the time we were ending our tripping days we had the “uniform.” We didn’t roll up the sleeves of the shirts, though. Good protection from bugs and sun exposure.

I just went out for a walk in the sunshine this afternoon and wore my floppy canoeing hat because it is windy here and one of my usual straw hats that I wear for my walks would have ended up a mile down the road.
 
schweady
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04/13/2021 01:39PM  
When looking over photos of our trips, one of our guys laments the fact that nobody ever seems to change clothes and he can never tell what year they were taken...
 
andym
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04/13/2021 02:03PM  
I hate zip off pants. Will I be demoted for being out of uniform?
 
hobbydog
distinguished member(1977)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/13/2021 02:09PM  
andym: "I hate zip off pants. Will I be demoted for being out of uniform?"

You're not the only one who hates them.
 
naturboy12
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04/13/2021 02:47PM  
I refuse to wear the top half of that "uniform" as button up collared shirts with wrist cuffs and button pockets belong in an office setting or at some type of formal occassion. I much prefer athletic wear like my UA heat gear, Free Fly bamboo pullovers, or moisture wicking t-shirts of various sorts. Way more comfortable for me and *gasp* I get some color in my wardrobe. And the hat will ever only be a baseball cap, those other things I see people wearing are just not for me.
 
04/13/2021 02:55PM  
schweady: "When looking over photos of our trips, one of our guys laments the fact that nobody ever seems to change clothes and he can never tell what year they were taken...
"


So true haha
 
MikeinMpls
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04/13/2021 03:39PM  
Having been involved in managing marathon races, I have a lot of nylon technical shirts, long and short sleeve. I gauge the weather the week before and usually bring a mix of short and long sleeve... more long if it's cold, more short if it's going to be warm. That being said, I am partial to long sleeve more because it lessens my sunburn exposure.

I also have a ton of hats...mostly from hockey leagues and tournaments and the races noted above. I just bring a new one every year. By the end of the trip it usually goes right into the garbage due to the accumlation of dirt, sweat, and bug dope. I've tried surplus Army boonie hats a time or two. They work out, but they tend to look bad on me. Vanity accompanies me on my trips, too!

I have both zip offs and nylon non-zip off pants. I don't mind the nylon. It dries quick. I have heavier nylon cotton blend for the colder trips.

Mike
 
Savage Voyageur
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04/13/2021 04:28PM  
You nailed my wilderness attire to a tee. Everything is polyester or nylon. Sun protection, wash and wear, fast drying.
 
merlyn
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04/13/2021 04:32PM  
andym: "I hate zip off pants. Will I be demoted for being out of uniform?"

NO ZIP OFF PANTS!!?? You and hobbydog are hereby banished to the KOA crowd!
Per pamonster , I checked my shirts and they have little velcro tabs to hold up the sleeves, we need an intervention!
 
04/13/2021 04:54PM  
I'm guilty of wearing most of the uniform. Only difference might be that I wear keens depending on difficulty of portages. Used to wear a baseball cap but ended up with a couple bad sunburns on my neck and then came the floppy hat. I am not ashamed of rocking the look :)
 
martoonie
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04/13/2021 05:11PM  
Wide brim hat, but it must have a chin strap. Eyeglass strap that floats. Bandana/balaclava for the neck. Poly t-shirt, sweater, and a bug shirt for the upper torso. Rain gear always stays available. Layer up as needed. Lightweight poly long johns, topped with shorts, belt knife, and suspenders. Layer as needed. Underwear is overrated. Wool knee length sox, and portage boots of some sort. A PDF is part of the uniform. Dress for success and stay safe out there.
 
04/13/2021 05:24PM  
The first uniform: jeans, cotton t-shirt and sweatshirt with sneakers. I went to the sun blocking milk bottle shirts and zip off pants for while but now it is nylon and poly pants with pullover shirts I get in the fishing section that have hoods light enough to fit under my hat. Never thought of it as a uniform, but with a group my attire is pretty much a match.
 
DanCooke
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04/13/2021 05:25PM  
No zip off pants or velcro tabs to hold sleeves up for me.
 
missmolly
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04/13/2021 05:31PM  
I simply buy WWE costumes when the wrestlers are done. The bears have never seen all that spandex and sequins, so they leave me be.

Seriously, I wear that uniform, but only because I once wore jeans and paddled on cool days in cold denim.

Like RR, I also wear a baseball cap. I don't like a floppy brim.
 
jhb8426
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04/13/2021 05:49PM  
merlyn: "...zip-off nylon pants, long sleeve shirt with button pockets, a wide brim floppy hat and hiking boots..."

Yes, You mean like this? (except for the wet shoes substituted for boots)
I wear the long sleeve shirt for sun protection. Have 4 or 5 of them. Rarely, if ever, zip off the bottom of the pants.

 
JWilder
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04/13/2021 05:51PM  
hobbydog: "andym: "I hate zip off pants. Will I be demoted for being out of uniform?"


You're not the only one who hates them."


I as well personally hate wearing zip off pants.

I will admit I have two pairs. I wore them on my first few trips. My wife installed zip cords at the bottom of each pant leg so I could sinch them down and pull them up above the calf while portaging. It also kept them from dragging on the ground at my heels.

Did not change my opinion of them and they sit in the closet.

JW
 
04/13/2021 06:37PM  
Yep, that's pretty much me. Long nylon quick-dry pants, no zip off legs - I need the sun protection and I don't like them either - nylon quick-dry shirt with two button flap pockets and a zipper one behind the left pocket, with button tabs to hold up sleeves, which I rarely use to keep protected. Wide brim hat for sun protection - not having any more of my neck cut off if I can help it. Sun protective, insect shield buff around neck. Paddling gloves, wool socks, boots.
 
straighthairedcurly
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04/13/2021 07:11PM  
Described me to a tee. What has worked for 45 years is hard for me to consider changing :)
 
Pilgrimpaddler
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04/13/2021 07:42PM  
Embarrassingly enough, that describes me. My last wardrobe addition was a very lightweight, long sleeve, button down shirt. Of course, there’s hardware to keep the sleeves rolled up. I do have a plum-colored pair of nylon zip-offs so maybe I’ll wear them just to be different.
 
04/13/2021 08:14PM  
Once again I find myself out of step with canoe tripping dress standards. While I have a few pair of nylon pants and shirts (all purchased on sale or close out), I prefer military surplus BDU pants in 50/50 fabric. They are tough, comfortable, fast drying and my latest 2 pair came at my favorite price - free. A nephew retired from the army after a 20+ year career and gifted them to me. I have a few more that I purchased in the $10 - 20 range. I do bring the nylon stuff on trips but they stay in the clothing bag packed as spare clothing (only ever used on one trip).
 
skier
member (24)member
 
04/13/2021 08:50PM  
My wife and I first noticed the "uniform" while hiking all over Colorado. We hiked circles around these granola heads while wearing our cheap athletic wear from Target. We actually called their outfits the granola head uniform. I have since noticed the same uniform clothes here on canoe campers and hikers in Minnesota.
I have nylon pants, but they do not look or function like the uniform ones. They are just pants.
I wear chinese knock off ski pants when it's cold, and Kmart running shorts when it's warm.
I wear a lot of technical tshirts from past running events, and wouldn't be caught dead wearing a button up shirt in the woods. Not to buck the trend of proper outdoors fashion, it's just because I hate button up shirts and buttons on my sleeves.
I also do not own a single floppy brimmed hat. I get an endless supply of free baseball caps from trade shows and what am I going to do, NOT WEAR THEM???

The most absurd thing is when you see people piling out of their vehicles at the park completely decked out in the granola head uniform, complete with name brand day packs and trekking poles. All for a 2 mile walk on a woodchipped trail.

If you like to wear overpriced granola clothes, good for you. May all your adventures start out with cool mornings, followed by warm afternoons where you get to laugh at the rest of us losers while you unzip your pant sleeves!!

 
lindylair
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04/13/2021 08:54PM  
Is this pretty close to the classic BWCA look (naysayers withstanding)?

Comfortable, practical and efficient. Don't understand the haters:) Keen type water shoes (mid summer trip)



 
andym
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04/13/2021 09:43PM  
merlyn: "andym: "I hate zip off pants. Will I be demoted for being out of uniform?"

NO ZIP OFF PANTS!!?? You and hobbydog are hereby banished to the KOA crowd!
Per pamonster , I checked my shirts and they have little velcro tabs to hold up the sleeves, we need an intervention!"


Umm, I currently wear Wintergreen pants when camping. You wanna tell Paul Schurke that his stuff is meant for a KOA?

I do have a long sleeve button-up shirt that I wear when it gets cool at night. Hope that gets me a bit back in good graces.
 
mschi772
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04/13/2021 10:58PM  
I didn't get the memo. I wear non-zip-off pants and wool t-shirts with a short-brim bucket hat and Astal Loyak shoes.
 
04/14/2021 04:38AM  
I'm likely the only guy out there wearing jeans at camp. Rugged and comfy.
 
04/14/2021 06:08AM  
andym: "I hate zip off pants. Will I be demoted for being out of uniform?" Same here
 
04/14/2021 09:26AM  
Spartan2: "We didn’t start out that way but by the time we were ending our tripping days we had the “uniform.” We didn’t roll up the sleeves of the shirts, though. Good protection from bugs and sun exposure.


I just went out for a walk in the sunshine this afternoon and wore my floppy canoeing hat because it is windy here and one of my usual straw hats that I wear for my walks would have ended up a mile down the road."


And here I am quoting myself! Our canoeing clothing does include nylon pants, but mine do not zip off, and I have never seen Spartan1 take the zip-off bottoms off of his either. We wear clothing for sun protection and bug protection. I would never go canoeing in the BW without my wool socks, and my preferred t-shirt is Merino wool. If we need a warm jacket, it is a Woolrich wool shirt.

Baseball caps don't work for us, as we don't really love putting sunscreen on our ears and necks so much. Once you have had a few skin cancer surgeries, you are much more careful about sun protection, particularly all day on the water.

 
04/14/2021 11:18AM  
Ha, that is very true; there is definitely a uniform you see when you are in the BWCA. I have the REI paddling hat (and I bring a baseball cap for in camp when I am out of the sun). I do have nylon shirts and yes, I have the roll up sleeves that button at the top. I have nylon zip off pants as well. I do have an outfit that I change into before I go back to the world. I don't want to look weird when I get back to the city.
 
jhb8426
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04/14/2021 01:38PM  
skier: "My wife and I first noticed the "uniform" while hiking all over Colorado. We hiked circles around these granola heads while wearing our cheap athletic wear from Target. We actually called their outfits the granola head uniform. I have since noticed the same uniform clothes here on canoe campers and hikers in Minnesota. "

Glad your gear makes you go faster.
BTW I don't eat granola.
 
afromaniac
member (41)member
 
04/14/2021 01:59PM  
Great post! haha :) this does describe me pretty well. I usually go later in the year though, so my underclothes are what is different. On the outside though I look the same. Aside from a big alpaca zip up hooded sweater that I wear on top of all of it.

I didn't take any of these other posts as judgments on me :) I came to my own conclusions based on my time in the woods - it's funny that we have all gotten to similar places.
 
R1verrunner
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
 
04/14/2021 02:20PM  
I gave up wearing cotton decades ago High tec all the way for me.

I use what works the best.

I could care less about fashion.

Light weight, fast drying High tec, multi use.

Now cold weather gear changes it a bit.
 
04/14/2021 02:23PM  
andym: "I hate zip off pants. Will I be demoted for being out of uniform?"

Same here. I might try on some of the new ones though with the zipper located on the thigh instead of the knee once using changing rooms is a thing again. I probably wont like it though. I have a pair of hiking shorts instead that can double as a swimsuit.

I also don't have the hat. I have a BWCA.com ballcap with built in LEDs instead. I never liked headlamps all that much, they were never comfortable for me to wear.
 
KarlBAndersen1
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04/14/2021 04:29PM  
Just look at original Voyager garb.
Or "cowboy" garb.
Don't be surprised we all wear the same clothing. It suits the task at hand.
 
beanpole
member (20)member
 
04/14/2021 08:13PM  
As someone who once got sunburned through a pair of jeans and textile jacket while on a 3 hour motorcycle ride, I much prefer to fully cover up in clothing with UV protection rather than apply sunscreen every half hour. This includes the large floppy hat. The zip off pants are for wearing at camp once the tarp is set up to protect from the sun.

Refer to it however you like. I'm happy with the uniform.
 
04/15/2021 11:23AM  
While the "uniform" is not for me, I don't knock it because it seems to be keeping REI stores going strong.
 
04/15/2021 11:33AM  


Everytime I think of zip-offs I think of this picture. All those ticks climbed up and got stuck in the zipper. (I was hiking around Snowbank)

Either way you go, spray your britches with Permethrin
 
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