BWCA How to transport canoes in the BWCA? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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pretzelstyle
 
06/30/2021 11:54AM  
We are leaving from entry point 8, will have six people, three 2-person canoes, and two cars. One car has a hitch, neither have roof racks, and the car without a hitch is pretty small (Honda Fit), so I'm not sure that it could take a 17' canoe on top if it did have a rack.

We are hesitant to pay for a shuttle because, it's $$$, but also we aren't sure that we can accurately predict what time we will arrive back to the entry point on the last day.

Should we consider renting a canoe trailer? Where can we do that? Or maybe just roof racks? Or is the shuttle the way to go? We are thinking of leaving from Echo Trail Outfitters on Fenske Lake. Any other suggestions?

EDIT: Thanks for all the suggestions. I think we're going to make a simple extended rack for one car via foam pads and lumber and use just foam pads on the other. This will cover three boats. See here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL6GzPxiCo8&list=FL5mejhMfrZEnShCkHRqn2rw&index=1&ab_channel=ElyOutfittingCompany
 
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andym
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06/30/2021 12:10PM  
Can you rent a trailer cheaper than a shuttle? Outfitters are pretty good at dealing with uncertain arrival times. Talk to them about that.

Also, how far is it from the outfitter to the entry point. You can carry one canoe on most cars with just foam blocks. So, two trips would get all three canoes moved. If you want to do one trip then get a roof rack on the bigger car and foam blocks on the other.

There are even some ways to rig up a temporary rack with foam blocks and 2x4s. Then you can carry two canoes on that.
cyclones30
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06/30/2021 12:26PM  
See if the outfitter on Big Lake has canoes left to rent for your dates. They'd be the closest. Outfitters *may* rent you one of their trailers but not very often in my experience. You can easily move one canoe each on your vehicles. That leaves one left to go back and get with one vehicle again. (which is why a nearby outfitter would be best) Most outfitters will lend you straps and foam pads to move canoes yourself...no racks needed.

But Fenske would be another option down the road a little farther.
pswith5
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06/30/2021 02:36PM  
Yeah, I use foam pads all the time. The 3:2 ratio makes that harder. I think a lot of outfitters will drop canoes at a nearby e.p. for a nominal fee. Of course, then they will need to pick them up too. Unless, you are doing some sort of loop where you paddle right back to outfitters location. Good luck
andym
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06/30/2021 08:28PM  
Good choice on how to carry the boats. That outfitter has good videos.
VoyageurNorth
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07/03/2021 08:23PM  
You can also get racks (like the ones from Spring Creek of Mountain Iron, MN) when you rent a few canoes from an outfitter. No charge.
andym
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07/04/2021 08:14AM  
If the outfitter will loan out something as good as a Spring Creek that would be great. I have their kit where you use 2x4s. I use it for cars that don’t have racks and it is fantastic. Definitely call the outfitter and see what they suggest and can offer.
 
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