BWCA Drinking Water Boundary Waters Winter Camping and Activities
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Winter Camping and Activities
      Drinking Water     

Author

Text

Rodgifier
member (8)member
 
01/03/2022 11:19AM  
Planning on camping in the BWCA in February. Last year I did a solo trip and melted snow for water which worked out, but this year I'll be going with a few others so thinking I should try to get water from the lake. Does anyone have recommendations on using a hand auger? Size, brand, etc? Or use ice chisel (thinking ice will be too thick)? Any advice or experience with using an auger would be helpful thanks!
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
01/03/2022 01:05PM  
Hand- cranked augers are a bit heavy and awkward to pack, but in my opinion are the only way to go. As you probably experienced, melting snow can take a while and tastes weird to me.

I have a Strikemaster Lazer, mainly because I found it for cheap on Craigslist and it has worked very well for me. All things equal, I’d probably go for Nils, maybe the folding one. I’ve heard great things about Nils.

Unless you are planning to fish for trophies, you don’t need a wide diameter. I think mine is 6 inch but I’d be happy with 5 and maybe even 4. Keep the blade guards on and treat the blades well. Once they go dull they really are slow and hard to get through the ice.

If I’m camped on the ice like usual, I like to drill my hole away from the tent a good 50+ yards, particularly if staying in the same spot for a few days. Once open, water will slowly start to come up the hole and cause slush close by.

Chisels have the big advantage of being lighter and easier to pack, but it sure seems like it takes a lot of time and energy to get a hole opened up.
Gadfly
distinguished member (428)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/03/2022 03:12PM  
Jaywalker is correct. Although they are a bit heavy the nils augers work great as long as they are sharp and if you are not fishing I would get the smallest one. I bring a 6" and am still waiting to catch a fish I can't fit up the hole. Waiting for someone to make a hand auger as light as the K-Drill although my guess is demand is low so it won't happen.
01/03/2022 08:24PM  
Oh, and a couple more little things. And I am also assuming you are hot tenting? A slush scoop is helpful at keeping the water open. I just use a cheap plastic one. You will need something to go down into the hole to scoop up water. I use an empty Foldgers plastic container which is just a little narrower than the hole. Lastly, think about what you collect your water in. Some put it straight into their pots which is fine if they have bales. I carry a 2.5 gallon collapsible plastic water jug to get water from the hole to my tent. That way I can refill my pots 2-3 times per night without going back outside. I just make sure to empty it out at the end of the night so it doesn’t freeze.
Rodgifier
member (8)member
 
01/03/2022 08:48PM  
Sounds good, I'll check out some augers!
Rodgifier
member (8)member
 
01/03/2022 08:48PM  
I actually will be cold tenting. Thanks for the advice!
Minnesotian
distinguished member(2108)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/04/2022 06:56AM  
Rodgifier,
Everything Jaywalker said is spot on. I have done both, brought a auger and a chisel and by far I like the auger better. Been using a Mora Strikemaster 6" the whole time and it has worked out, but this winter I was able to purchase a Nils Folding 6" and I can already tell I'll probably never use the Mora again.

Depending on where you live and if you are interested, I would be willing to sell you the Mora for $25. Blades are still good. I can toss in the old blades if you want, though they are rusted over. And I can also include a extension I made for the auger that can get the auger through 4' of ice easily.

The only thing I do differently is I also bring a gravity water filter. I find it is like having a kitchen faucet at the ready for fresh water. However, if you do bring a water filter, you need to keep it from freezing overnight. I do this by putting it in a watertight bag and putting it in my sleeping bag overnight.
01/04/2022 08:52AM  
in the winter there is no wave action to stir up the water. So we go out in deep water drill a hole, fill up my container and take a drink.
Both times I took a 8" strike master hand drill with an extension. At 63 it was a bit of work drilling through 2 to 3 ft. of ice. I think next time I'll take a six inch auger.
01/04/2022 10:06AM  
An advantage of bringing the ice chisel is it can be used to check ice as you're walking. If it goes through easily you may want to choose your next step carefully...
Rodgifier
member (8)member
 
01/04/2022 10:39AM  
Minnesotian: "Rodgifier,
Everything Jaywalker said is spot on. I have done both, brought a auger and a chisel and by far I like the auger better. Been using a Mora Strikemaster 6" the whole time and it has worked out, but this winter I was able to purchase a Nils Folding 6" and I can already tell I'll probably never use the Mora again.


Depending on where you live and if you are interested, I would be willing to sell you the Mora for $25. Blades are still good. I can toss in the old blades if you want, though they are rusted over. And I can also include a extension I made for the auger that can get the auger through 4' of ice easily.


The only thing I do differently is I also bring a gravity water filter. I find it is like having a kitchen faucet at the ready for fresh water. However, if you do bring a water filter, you need to keep it from freezing overnight. I do this by putting it in a watertight bag and putting it in my sleeping bag overnight. "



Hey Minnesotian, I think I'll take you up on your offer for the Mora. I live in Mpls. I'll send you an email. Thanks!
01/19/2022 09:12AM  
A 4" or 6" auger works well. They are a pain to pack on a toboggan.

We use a chisel which I think works better than an auger even in thick ice. I am always amazed at how fast they can get to water. I wouldn't use one to open a hole to fish with though.

WanderingWoodsmanMN
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
02/18/2022 04:10PM  
Agreed with the common thread here. I personally think the best tasting water while winter camping is to take a hand auger and scoop out water with a nalgene tied to a rope. Can also fish that hole too. If you love fire and cutting wood like I do, you can boil it to be safe. You can also put that water through a coffee filter to get rid of the little stuff in the water that will make it look and taste extra great!

However, if you are not by water boiling snow works too. Have done it many times. Benefit is that you don't have to bring the auger but the downside is that it takes a bit longer and has more "stuff" in it. But if you put it through a filter/cheese cloth/bandana it will be fine. Just be sure to start the pot with a bit of clean water already in it so it doesn't burn the water. Also feels a bit more "survivalist" to boil snow so that is good fun too. Nothing like winter camping! Send me a message if you have any other questions. Enjoy!
02/19/2022 09:15PM  
A 6 inch Nils if you can still get one. They sell out every year.
02/21/2022 08:51AM  
Chisel and Mors pots.
I am always amazed at the difference in ice thickness between lakes. Parent lake was what you would expect for this time of year 24"+ Dissapoinment west side, 8" (water flow and early snow cover)

02/21/2022 04:45PM  
I have a 4" Nils, and quite frankly I didn't find it a pain. I just layed it on top and clipped it in.



02/21/2022 06:32PM  
MN_Lindsey: "I have a 4" Nils, and quite frankly I didn't find it a pain. I just layed it on top and clipped it in.



"


I have used a 4 inch Nil before and you don't even know your cutting ice. So slick. I do see most Nils are sold out for the season, just like they are every year.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next