BWCA Let's Play Outfitter: Questions for a First-Timer Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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schweady
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11/23/2021 03:16PM  
In a related post, boonie hit on an important role that an outfitter plays in helping first-timers plan a trip:
"One reason people have pointed you to an outfitter is that they'll ask you a bunch of questions about you and the group to try to come up with the best options."

Well, let's try it here, and perhaps we can prep those folks for their first calls to the professionals.
Post a question here that you would ask someone planning their first trip to the BWCAW.

I'll start with a few obvious ones:

"How much paddling and camping experience do those in your group have?"
"How many days and nights do you want to spend in the wilderness?"
"What are the main things you want to see or do or experience?"
 
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11/23/2021 05:40PM  
Do you already have some gear, or will you need full outfitting?

Are you familiar with BWCA (or Quetico) maps and how to locate campsites, portages, etc.?

Are there any pertinent health issues that must be addressed when planning a route?

Does anyone in your party have dietary issues that will affect food planning? (examples: diabetes, celiac disease, low-salt, vegan)
jdoutdoors
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11/23/2021 06:16PM  
I came up with a big list of these types of questions a while back in response to a friend asking me where she and her friends should go for their first trip and if there's anything they should know. I ended up making a YouTube video about planning/scoping BWCA trips that walks through those questions and considerations so feel free to check it out here: YouTube video.

I will also post a Dropbox link to the list of questions here since this seems like the perfect place to share them! BWCA Scoping Questionnaire
schweady
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11/23/2021 07:06PM  
jdoutdoors: "I came up with a big list of these types of questions a while back..."
Well done! Thanks for sharing.
jdoutdoors
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11/24/2021 08:23PM  
schweady: "jdoutdoors: "I came up with a big list of these types of questions a while back..."
Well done! Thanks for sharing.
"


Thanks schweady. Honestly I love the trip planning process; my brain seems wired for problem solving, so give me a set of requirements and I'll design a solution for you. I almost enjoy it more than the actual trips themselves... almost. :)
saltdog
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11/25/2021 10:50AM  
We love planning -- its one third of the enjoyment of the Boundary Waters. Plannning/Actual Trip/Reminiscing over an adult beverage
lindylair
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11/26/2021 05:50PM  
A couple others:

How many travel days versus layover days

Loop trip, point to point with transportation or a shuttle or Out and back trip

How important is fishing and for what species

What challenge level of portages(on a scale of 1-10), and how many is the group capable of? Probably have to explain what portages can be like.
907Tundra
member (24)member
 
11/26/2021 07:32PM  
All of Jdoutdoors’ “Technically Rugged” YouTube videos are full of good info and a pleasure to watch!
11/28/2021 08:49PM  
For a first timer-- "What does 'Leave No Trace' mean to you"?
11/28/2021 09:37PM  
I've seen - and replied to - many posts like the one schweady refers to. It's difficult to know if I'm talking to couch potatoes with a camping trailer or thru-hikers or . . . ? In that post it's an "extended family" ? - grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins ? People from 8-80? or a bunch of 30-year-old endurance athletes ? Three days/two nights, short, not strenuous . . .

I've talked to family members, friends, acquaintances about whom I knew a lot or a little. The interest of many in "camping" was taking the trailer to the State Park, etc. and they lost interest when they found out it was backpacking with a canoe. So I think it's important to know who they are and what their expectations are.

There are a lot of good thoughts listed already along that line. I like the questions and suggestions already posted.

I usually ask obvious stuff about experience, knowledge, expectations, skills, abilities that are needed. The answers will likely lead to other questions for clarity. If there's not much information to go on and they don't answer, I don't go to a lot of time and trouble anymore. If they're responsive, I'll do more, even a "deep-dive" kind of thing along the lines of jdoutdoors.

Over the years I've given family and friends extensive information about the BW, rules/regulations, planning process, travel, accommodations, gear, food, clothing, checklists, portaging, weather, route plan and statistics. I want them to know as much as possible.

I have also shared that general information with others sometimes and helped them plan trip routes, etc.

If they ask for help/info but don't answer or ask questions . . . ? I like helping people, but only if I know it's useful and appreciated.
jillpine
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11/29/2021 09:20PM  
boonie: "I've seen - and replied to - many posts like the one schweady refers to. It's difficult to know if I'm talking to couch potatoes with a camping trailer or thru-hikers or . . . ? In that post it's an "extended family" ? - grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins ? People from 8-80? or a bunch of 30-year-old endurance athletes ? Three days/two nights, short, not strenuous . . .


I've talked to family members, friends, acquaintances about whom I knew a lot or a little. The interest of many in "camping" was taking the trailer to the State Park, etc. and they lost interest when they found out it was backpacking with a canoe. So I think it's important to know who they are and what their expectations are.


There are a lot of good thoughts listed already along that line. I like the questions and suggestions already posted.


I usually ask obvious stuff about experience, knowledge, expectations, skills, abilities that are needed. The answers will likely lead to other questions for clarity. If there's not much information to go on and they don't answer, I don't go to a lot of time and trouble anymore. If they're responsive, I'll do more, even a "deep-dive" kind of thing along the lines of jdoutdoors.


Over the years I've given family and friends extensive information about the BW, rules/regulations, planning process, travel, accommodations, gear, food, clothing, checklists, portaging, weather, route plan and statistics. I want them to know as much as possible.


I have also shared that general information with others sometimes and helped them plan trip routes, etc.


If they ask for help/info but don't answer or ask questions . . . ? I like helping people, but only if I know it's useful and appreciated. "


Always helped me a bunch, Boonie!
 
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