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NEIowapaddler
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03/02/2023 01:18PM  
Do you take a tarp on your solo trips, or not?

I never have (other than the tarp for my Amok Draumr hammock), and I've never really needed one on my adventures up to this point. But I've wondered if there might be situations where it would be nice to have one. I can definitely see their benefits when camping with a group, but not necessarily by oneself.
 
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straighthairedcurly
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03/02/2023 01:52PM  
I have taken a tarp on some solo trips but I rarely bother to put it up. So now on trips where I will be traveling long days I save the weight. The only reason I would ever put it up is to create a bigger space by my tent door for getting in and out and keeping drier on a really rainy days. But I get so few rainy days on my solo trips...guess I'm just lucky.

I also don't bring a chair on solo trips, so sitting under a tarp means being perched on a log. I would rather be stretched out in my tent.
 
Tomcat
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03/02/2023 02:08PM  
I take a tarp or shelter in addition to a tent but only set it up when conditions require.
 
03/02/2023 03:47PM  
I always do. It's a lightweight 5' x 8' silnylon by Bushcraft Outfitters with Zing It for corner tie outs and 1/8th dyneema for ridgeline. 1 person or six, you still need a place to sit when it's raining and I certainly don't want to pass the time in my tent if I can help it.
 
03/02/2023 04:19PM  
I used to always take a 10x10 tarp on my solo trips when I had a tent and smaller tarp over my hammock. When I got a bridge hammock I had to go to a bigger tarp and don't need to take my smaller one with me.

I used to like having the smaller tarp to hang out under on rain days I didn't want to be cooped up in my small tent.

Tony
 
03/02/2023 06:00PM  
Only once and found it unnecessary
 
EddyTurn
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03/02/2023 06:27PM  
My tent is tiny, but my tarp is 10x12 and I spent many rainy days under it, reading, cooking, making notes. When it rains heavily I prefer to stay in camp - it's both more comfortable and more safe to avoid difficult/rocky slippery portages. Whenever possible I put up my tent so its door is covered by the tarp.
 
tumblehome
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03/02/2023 06:40PM  
I solo almost exclusively and I take a 10 x10 tarp. I don’t always need it but there have been a few trips where it saved me from certain death. Well not really but it kept me dry during extensive nighttime rains.

I set the tarp up over my tent leaving part of it as a spot I can sit if needed. The tarp over the tent during heavy rains is the most comforting feeling, knowing not a drop will reach me in my down cocoon.

I pack light, very light but a tarp is not something I consider optional.

Tom
 
MidwestFirecraft
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03/02/2023 06:49PM  
I bring an 8x10 CCS tarp on my solo trips. Like others noted I don't always set it up, but when It is raining it sure is nice to have a dry place to sit and read/look at nature. For me it is also part of the 2 is 1 and 1 and is none. If you have ever had something happen to your primary shelter it is really nice to have a tarp as a back up to sleep under!
 
03/02/2023 08:09PM  
I have a DCF hammock tarp, and can hang a bug tent under it, though last year I brought a second tarp for the bug net. That second tarp was the wrong size (5x10) but it was only 5oz. Better size would be 7x9. May go back to just using the hammock tarp.
 
03/03/2023 02:26PM  
I had an 8 x 10 CCS tarp that I always brough on my solo trips, and then I had Dan turn it into a bug shelter-and it kicks ass! I can roll up all 4 sides if the bugs are not an issue, and when they are, I have a place other than my tent to hang.

I also have a CCS Lean +1, and I may just use that when I head out for a week in late May in lieu of a tent and the bug shelter. I did that during a 10 day Hunters Island solo a few years back.
 
03/03/2023 02:55PM  
Frenchy19: "...I did that during a 10 day Hunters Island solo a few years back.
"


Any trip report on the Hunter Island solo? Thinking about starting to make preliminary plans for a possible trip in September.
 
03/03/2023 03:03PM  
bobbernumber3: "
Frenchy19: "...I did that during a 10 day Hunters Island solo a few years back.
"



Any trip report on the Hunter Island solo? Thinking about starting to make preliminary plans for a possible trip in September."


I have extensive journal jottings from that trip, but no trip report. I would be happy to chat with you about my experience if you are interested. The only complaint I had about the trip was that it rained literally every day; but what can one do about that?!?
 
NikonF5user
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03/03/2023 03:09PM  
Ideally there is not much need to use a tarp, but if you go through all of the expense, time, and trouble to get out in the beautiful wilderness, seems a shame to be forced to sit inside your tent on a rainy day. Would much rather have a tarp with me and the opportunity to sit outside under a tarp in the rain, then either getting wet or sitting in a tent staring at plastic all day...
 
03/03/2023 04:14PM  
Tarp always, even solo. 10 x 12. It's worth it for me for the inevitable rain day(s). Mine is a CCS, best tarp ever. It is the heavier material Dan offers.

Yes, I do tarp it over the fire pit. Never had a burn hole. I use the umbrella format, and it works great. I do what I do, and it works for me.

Tom



PS - I learned it from Butthead, who is the Tarpmaster in Chief
 
03/03/2023 04:51PM  
Frenchy19: "
bobbernumber3: "
Frenchy19: "...I did that during a 10 day Hunters Island solo a few years back.
"




Any trip report on the Hunter Island solo? Thinking about starting to make preliminary plans for a possible trip in September."



I have extensive journal jottings from that trip, but no trip report. I would be happy to chat with you about my experience if you are interested. The only complaint I had about the trip was that it rained literally every day; but what can one do about that?!?"


Thanks for the offer. I'm pretty sure I'll go, as my wife will be off for ten days on a "sister trip". I don't think September will be a rainy month, but I'll bring a tarp anyway. I have 2 weeks and my main concern is with the amount of time I've alloted. Being older (67 then), factoring in weather, and taking time for fishing, I think 2 weeks is doable?
 
RetiredDave
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03/03/2023 05:27PM  
I only solo now and I always bring a tarp. I have a small, very light tarp (can't remember the company and I don't want to go down to the basement right now). It's the kind of tarp that would hang over a hammock, but it works great for protecting one or two people from rain. I also stow non-food gear under it at night as I have a solo tent. Tomorrow's wood too, in case it rains in the night. I have been caught in brief, and not so brief showers, and it is so cozy to be able to sit and watch the rain on the lake, sipping a beverage. On my packing list it's a must!

Dave
 
TuscaroraBorealis
Moderator
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03/03/2023 06:08PM  
bobbernumber3: "
Frenchy19: "...I did that during a 10 day Hunters Island solo a few years back.
"



Any trip report on the Hunter Island solo? Thinking about starting to make preliminary plans for a possible trip in September."


If you haven't seen it already? Hunter Island trip report

And, I bring a tarp on my solo trips that are more than just a weekend trip.
 
YetiJedi
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03/03/2023 06:34PM  
Interesting for me to consider this topic based on my personal experiences in the wilderness. Yep, I've always packed a tarp on my solo canoe trips (and group canoe trips too). Guess I never really considered not bringing one into canoe country. In my former days of backcountry hunting and backpacking, I/we never took tarps and it never occurred to me to bring one. I'm not really sure why the difference between the two except weight and space are more of a premium when hiking versus canoeing.

The first thing I do when I arrive at camp in the B-dub is set up my tarp. I appreciate the shade when it's sunny and it's nice to keep things dry when it's raining. Otherwise, when my tarp is up...I'm ready for either.
 
NEIowapaddler
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03/03/2023 06:58PM  
YetiJedi: "Interesting for me to consider this topic based on my personal experiences in the wilderness. Yep, I've always packed a tarp on my solo canoe trips (and group canoe trips too). Guess I never really considered not bringing one into canoe country. In my former days of backcountry hunting and backpacking, I/we never took tarps and it never occurred to me to bring one. I'm not really sure why the difference between the two except weight and space are more of a premium when hiking versus canoeing.


The first thing I do when I arrive at camp in the B-dub is set up my tarp. I appreciate the shade when it's sunny and it's nice to keep things dry when it's raining. Otherwise, when my tarp is up...I'm ready for either. "


That's where I'm coming from too. I'm more experienced at backcountry hunting and backpacking, and a recent entry into the world of canoe camping. It never even occurred to me to ever take a tarp when hunting or backpacking, so it wasn't something I thought about taking canoe tripping either. But based on the opinions here, it sounds like I might have to invest in one. Dang, another piece of gear. That really sucks ;)
 
03/03/2023 07:51PM  
Like Yeti I always take a tarp and it is usually the first thing up. Made my first BW trip in 1973 and unlike a few others in this thread, I have been through enough rain that the tarp will always come along.
 
03/03/2023 08:47PM  
deerfoot: "Like Yeti I always take a tarp and it is usually the first thing up. Made my first BW trip in 1973 and unlike a few others in this thread, I have been through enough rain that the tarp will always come along."


Totally agree. It is a small piece of equipment, and I pack it at the top of one of my packs. Always the first piece up, rain or sunshine. Have been grateful to have a tarp with me and pitched on many trips where it never rained-as a reprieve from the sun. Really cannot fathom why anyone would not bring one on any trip.
 
Minnesotian
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03/03/2023 11:10PM  
tumblehome: "I solo almost exclusively and I take a 10 x10 tarp. I don’t always need it but there have been a few trips where it saved me from certain death. Well not really but it kept me dry during extensive nighttime rains.


I set the tarp up over my tent leaving part of it as a spot I can sit if needed. The tarp over the tent during heavy rains is the most comforting feeling, knowing not a drop will reach me in my down cocoon.

I pack light, very light but a tarp is not something I consider optional.

Tom "


Yep, mostly solo as well and I always bring a tarp. And just like you, I set it up over the tent so I can have the rainfly off the tent during the night and not worry about a sudden rainstorm. Wonderful way to wake up in the morning without a rainfly blocking out the sunrise. Seen lots of animals up before me that way too.

And sometimes I set it up over the firegrate area. Nothing like having a nice warming fire blazing away, cooking a steak, while the rain is coming down in sheets in late September.

 
03/04/2023 07:49AM  
TuscaroraBorealis: "Hunter Island trip report "


Thanks for the link... that's a classic trip report!
 
riverat
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03/04/2023 09:03AM  
quark2222: "Tarp always, even solo. 10 x 12. It's worth it for me for the inevitable rain day(s). Mine is a CCS, best tarp ever. It is the heavier material Dan offers.


Yes, I do tarp it over the fire pit. Never had a burn hole. I use the umbrella format, and it works great. I do what I do, and it works for me.


Tom






PS - I learned it from Butthead, who is the Tarpmaster in Chief"


Kind of a tarp newbie here.
Just wondering how you support the Middle point of the umbrella.

Thanks
Riverat
 
03/04/2023 10:08AM  
The center support is simply a line between two trees. Leave a big sag in the line, and tie a small loop in the line, guessing where the center point of the tarp should be when the whole thing is finally set up.

Attach the center of the tarp to the loop in the line with a cheap carabiner. Then, tighten the line to raise the whole tarp up high. Finally, tie out each corner of the tarp to achieve the "umbrella effect". You can tie more line to the edge loops if you have a sag you want to get rid of, or if you find an area that collects a lot of water.

Tom
 
iCallitMaize
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03/04/2023 12:32PM  
NEIowapaddler: "Do you take a tarp on your solo trips, or not?

I never have (other than the tarp for my Amok Draumr hammock), and I've never really needed one on my adventures up to this point. But I've wondered if there might be situations where it would be nice to have one. I can definitely see their benefits when camping with a group, but not necessarily by oneself. "


I always take a tarp. I love my hammock gear tarp. It would easily fit inside a Nalgene bottle. It's an 11 foot Journey. Weighs a whopping 17 ounces.
 
riverat
member (16)member
  
03/04/2023 04:09PM  
quark2222: "The center support is simply a line between two trees. Leave a big sag in the line, and tie a small loop in the line, guessing where the center point of the tarp should be when the whole thing is finally set up.


Attach the center of the tarp to the loop in the line with a cheap carabiner. Then, tighten the line to raise the whole tarp up high. Finally, tie out each corner of the tarp to achieve the "umbrella effect". You can tie more line to the edge loops if you have a sag you want to get rid of, or if you find an area that collects a lot of water.


Tom"



Thanks Tom

I'll give that a try next time
 
03/04/2023 06:27PM  
Thanks Tom


I'll give that a try next time"

I used to just do the string up a rope between two trees and do a simple awning type setup. Once I saw the umbrella method from Butthead, I never went back, and that is probably at least 20 years ago now.

Tom
 
03/04/2023 06:30PM  
One very big tip - When you tie the loop in the middle of the overhead rope, put a smooth stick about the size of a finger in the middle of the knot as you tie the knot. It will make it a lot easier to undo that knot when you take everything down. When you take the stick out, the rope in the knot gets a lot looser. Otherwise, you could spend 20 minutes and a couple of ripped fingernails trying to get the rope knot undone.

Tom
 
HowardSprague
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03/04/2023 06:36PM  
I always bring one. It's great not only in case of rain, but also if it's 90 degrees out and sunny and you want a shady spot to sit in camp.
 
03/05/2023 08:10AM  
Always bring one, but don’t always set it up.
 
jhb8426
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03/06/2023 12:22AM  
A tarp was always on my list of must have items. It's also the first thing I would set up.
 
jillpine
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03/06/2023 07:03AM  
jhb8426: "A tarp was always on my list of must have items. It's also the first thing I would set up."


Same - solo or group.

The tarp is as important to me as the paddle and pfd.
It sits on top of the canoe pack, outside the pack right under the flap. My CCS green 10x10 tarp is like an old friend when I'm camping, especially when I'm solo. It has so many memories.



 
AlexanderSupertramp
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03/06/2023 09:05AM  
jillpine: "
jhb8426: "A tarp was always on my list of must have items. It's also the first thing I would set up."



Same - solo or group.


The tarp is as important to me as the paddle and pfd.
It sits on top of the canoe pack, outside the pack right under the flap. My CCS green 10x10 tarp is like an old friend when I'm camping, especially when I'm solo. It has so many memories.



"


I've got a CCS Green 1.1oz 10x12 sitting in my cart right now on CCS website and having a hard time bringing myself to check out. Wondering if 10x10 would be better for solo. I know that I want a tarp at least, but the one I brought last year was a cheap amazon 8x8 and it was awful and heavy.
 
schweady
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03/06/2023 09:14AM  
I can only imagine that a soloist's feeling of isolation would only be magnified by having to duck into a confining tent in every rainstorm. Sitting under a tarp, staying dry, making coffee, watching the storm pass... those are simple pleasures to draw from an otherwise less than optimal day.

Alexander - I guarantee that you will not notice the packed size or the weight difference in the bigger tarp. My 1.1 oz 10x14 CCS is much lighter and packs much smaller than previous tarps I've tried.
 
jfinn
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03/06/2023 12:11PM  
I did, but usually don't anymore. I do get lucky with weather fairly often but it really comes down to what type of trip. I often put in long days and rain or shine, I am on the water unless conditions get poor.

10x10 is good for solo, gives enough space in front of the tent to keep things dry. I have a Cooke 1.9 oz that is bomber. I do want to go with a bigger 12x14 1.1 in the future for tandem trips.

When I have it, I only set it up if weather is pending or in camp early.


John
 
tumblehome
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03/06/2023 12:25PM  
quark2222: ". Otherwise, you could spend 20 minutes and a couple of ripped fingernails trying to get the rope knot undone.

Tom"


Ripped fingernails. My toes are curling and I almost heaved!
 
TreeBear
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03/06/2023 12:50PM  
I pretty much just go with my hammock tarp which is a Ripstop By-the-Roll Winter12 Tarp kit. It's lasted about 40 BWCA trips with me now and is showing that abuse (there are a few major patches.) That said, I love the tarp because it has so many configurations and set up possibilities. Then I leave anything I want to keep dry tucked inside the pack liner and pack and under the hammock.
 
MagicMan1
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03/06/2023 04:44PM  
This idea fascinates me. Would you describe the particulars of the setup over the fire grate? Thanks.
 
YetiJedi
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03/06/2023 06:09PM  
MagicMan1: "This idea fascinates me. Would you describe the particulars of the setup over the fire grate? Thanks."


Pitch the tarp high and keep the fires low!

I've only done it once and it worked well because we really did try and keep the fire small. Hopefully others with more experience share their tips and tricks.
 
Minnesotian
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03/07/2023 03:22PM  
YetiJedi: "
MagicMan1: "This idea fascinates me. Would you describe the particulars of the setup over the fire grate? Thanks."



Pitch the tarp high and keep the fires low!


I've only done it once and it worked well because we really did try and keep the fire small. Hopefully others with more experience share their tips and tricks."


Like YetiJedi said, high tarp and small fire. Also, don't burn any paper products as the ash tends to get caught in the updraft and soar higher then expected but likely to land on the tarp and burn a hole. I also, if the trees permit it, like to set up the tarp with the firegrate just on an edge instead of the center of the tarp. More room to spread out under the tarp with the grate on the edge. And if you pitch the tarp on the opposite edge from the grate lower, a small draft can be possible that will naturally draw the smoke away from you as you lounge under the tarp in a heavy downpour.
 
JohnGalt
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03/08/2023 12:36AM  
I bring a tarp & a backup tarp - CCS tarps are small/light enough that I surely could find weight to cut elsewhere if I was concerned. I only set up the tarp if I was expecting rain during the day so that I'd have a place other than my tent to be dry under. Using the Lean+, I did on occasion set up a tarp over my shelter if I was expecting a particularly heavy rain or if I wanted to keep the sun off of my tent to keep it cooler. I also used the one tarp to cover my gear while I set up the other tarp while it was raining (mainly to keep the bag I had open dry & because some stuff is just nice to keep dry if possible, i.e. my PFD & camera/electronics/fishing bags).
 
03/09/2023 12:04AM  
I personally could never see canoe tripping without a tarp, be it solo or with a group.

As other posters have mentioned, hang’n out under a tarp on a rainy layover day, is a better alternative than being confined to your tent. This is especially the true considering that most solo trippers use jungle hammocks, small, single person tents, or in my case, a small two-person tent.

A tarp also provides a shelter for your gear and a more practical place to prepare meals. Trying to safely prepare meals, boil water, or make coffee, even with a large vestibule, can be problematic. With the potential of damaging your tent with a stove flare up, or just getting a stove or a hot pan to close to the tent or vestibule walls can make for a bad day. Not to mention food odors and/or food spills in the vestibule or tent isn’t ideal in ‘bear country’ either.

Furthermore, on more than one occasion, I’ve been chased off of a lake or river by a fast approaching storm, or have arrived at a campsite in a steady or heavy rain. Under those conditions, once I land and secure my canoe, I string up a small tarp. I then have a sheltered location to stow my packs, unload my packs and assemble my tent.

My solo tents of choice are two older North Face models; the ‘Tadpole 23’ and the Big Fat Frog’, (pictured below). Like many modern, backpacking tents, both of these tents have a considerable amount of mesh on the upper portion of the tent. The main body of the ‘Big Fat Frog’ is almost entirely constructed of a mesh material, with the exception of the floor. Setting up these types of tents under a tarp in a downpour, or even a light rain, prevents the interior of the tents from getting drenched. Been there, done that!

Depending on the time of year, I use either a 9x9 Kelty ‘Noah’s Tarp’, or a Nemo ‘Bugout Shelter’. The latest version of the 9x9 ‘Noah’s Tarp’ is now known as the ‘Noah’s Tarp 9’. It’s basically the same tarp as my older ‘Noah’s Tarp’ with a different color scheme. It’s approximately two-pounds and a packed size of 10 x 9 x 3 in / 25.4 x 22.8 x 7.62 cm.

When the bugs are really at their peak, (primarily June and July), I’ll pack the bulkier, heavier 9x9 Nemo ‘Bugout Shelter’, (pictured below). Although it’s larger and heavier than the ‘Noah’s Tarp’, it’s more than worth packing IMHO when the mosquito’s and biting flies are at their worst. With its drop down mesh walls, it provides a very comfortable bug free sanctuary for dinning or relaxing. The NEMO ‘Bugout Shelter’ might be more than some solo trippers might want to lug around ‘Canoe Country’ though.

Unfortunately NEMO appears to have discontinued the all sizes of the ‘Bugout Shelter’, but there are similar shelters offered by other manufacturers, namely CCS, (Cooke Custom Sewing).

I rarely, if ever pack poles for either tarp when canoe-tripping in ‘Canoe Country’. I always seem to find enough trees to get either tarp strung up properly. I will pack telescoping poles along when canoe camping on the lower Wisconsin River though. Most of the camping is on sand bars, or small islands without adequate large trees. In which case, poles are a must for most of the primitive camping on the Wisconsin River of other similar river trips that lack tree cover.

Hans Solo


 
NEIowapaddler
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03/09/2023 09:44AM  
Thanks, HansSolo. That's some great information. I've been thinking about a camping trip this summer to the Lower Wisconsin River. It's pretty close to me, and looks like a nice area.
 
03/09/2023 12:24PM  
NEIowapaddler: "Thanks, HansSolo. That's some great information. I've been thinking about a camping trip this summer to the Lower Wisconsin River. It's pretty close to me, and looks like a nice area. "


You're welcome NEIowapaddler!

Yes, my family and friend love the lower Wisconsin River! We canoe and camp on the lower Wisconsin River numerous times throughout the year and have for many years. Great primitive camping, easy access, Bald Eagles, and great scenery, just to name a few of the qualities of the lower Wisconsin River. The closest put-in for us is Sauk City, which is an hour and 20-minutes from our home near Milwaukee. That said, if it's the weekend, we usually launch in Spring Green; which is about another 30-minutes by road from Sauk City.

Spring Green is the usual take out for paddlers and canoe-campers launching from the Sauk City area. Spring Green is approximately 22-miles by river from Sauk City. Although that stretch is beautiful, it's where most of the local canoe liveries launch their clients. On a busy summer holiday weekend, there can literally be 100+ canoes & kayaks on the aforementioned stretch. Given the size of the lower Wisconsin River, it's not as bad as that might sound, but it may be hard to find a stretch of sand or an island to make camp at the end of the day. This is especially true if the water levels are high and many of the sand bars are submerged.

One thing I forgot to mention in my original post, (although it's probably fairly obvious), a tarp also provides relief from a blazing sun. This is truly the case on the wide open and exposed sand bars and islands of the lower Wisconsin River. Aside from a good tarp, pack plenty of sunscreen, as well as a lot of ice if your packing coolers with fresh food and a some cold ones! :-)

Hans Solo

 
NEIowapaddler
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03/09/2023 01:03PM  
HansSolo: "
NEIowapaddler: "Thanks, HansSolo. That's some great information. I've been thinking about a camping trip this summer to the Lower Wisconsin River. It's pretty close to me, and looks like a nice area. "



You're welcome NEIowapaddler!

Yes, my family and friend love the lower Wisconsin River! We canoe and camp on the lower Wisconsin River numerous times throughout the year and have for many years. Great primitive camping, easy access, Bald Eagles, and great scenery, just to name a few of the qualities of the lower Wisconsin River. The closest put-in for us is Sauk City, which is an hour and 20-minutes from our home near Milwaukee. That said, if it's the weekend, we usually launch in Spring Green; which is about another 30-minutes by road from Sauk City.

Spring Green is the usual take out for paddlers and canoe-campers launching from the Sauk City area. Spring Green is approximately 22-miles by river from Sauk City. Although that stretch is beautiful, it's where most of the local canoe liveries launch their clients. On a busy summer holiday weekend, there can literally be 100+ canoes & kayaks on the aforementioned stretch. Given the size of the lower Wisconsin River, it's not as bad as that might sound, but it may be hard to find a stretch of sand or an island to make camp at the end of the day. This is especially true if the water levels are high and many of the sand bars are submerged.

One thing I forgot to mention in my original post, (although it's probably fairly obvious), a tarp also provides relief from a blazing sun. This is truly the case on the wide open and exposed sand bars and islands of the lower Wisconsin River. Aside from a good tarp, pack plenty of sunscreen, as well as a lot of ice if your packing coolers with fresh food and a some cold ones! :-)

Hans Solo


"


Good to know, thanks a lot! Do you know if there are any shuttle services around there that would allow one to drop their vehicle off at the takeout and then drive back to the put-in? Since I mostly camp alone, that's the biggest hurdle to river camping unless I want to enter and exit at the same place, which obviously isn't ideal.
 
03/10/2023 12:02PM  
Well NEIowapaddler, it looks like we inadvertently hi-jacked the ‘tarp topic’ post for a lower Wisconsin River tripping discussion. Nevertheless, I can name a couple of canoe rental outfitters in the area I have used for shuttles; both solo and group shuttles.

'Blackhawk River Runs' is located about three miles south of Sauk City on CR-Y. They're a small, family run business that provides shuttles and they rent standard aluminum canoes as well. They have a small cabin right on the river and they’re located right next to the Mazomanie Public Boat launch. You can safely leave your gear and equipment on their property while run the shuttle with one of their crew members.

If they are busy running their own canoes, you can sometimes leave a set of keys with them and they will spot your car at their convenience. They're reliable and reasonably priced IMHO, compared to some other rental outfits in the area, but like everything these days, rates have gone up. The only problem is, they mainly do shuttles based on you leaving from their property, but will spot your car at any point down river from their business. That includes taking out at Wyalusing State Park, which is on the confluence of the lower Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River; approximately 85-miles downstream from their business. If you don’t mind leaving from their launch, they’re a good option.

As I mentioned in my last post, the section from Prairie du Sac, Sauk City or Mazomanie, (all these towns are approximately three-miles apart), is the most popular stretch, but also one of the most scenic. If it’s during the week, it’s great and you’ll probably have the river almost entirely to yourself, except for maybe some locals fishing in their ‘Jon boats’.

Even on busy summer weekends, there’s plenty of room for everyone on the river given the size and width of the river. But, the sandbars can get really crowed with large groups camping during those nice, warm summer weekends, (Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, and Labor Day weekend in particular.) One of my favorite stretches that will avoid the bulk of the rental canoes is from Spring Green to Boscobel; which is approximately 37-miles. That stretch can be easily paddled on a two-day weekend trip if the water levels are average, or above average and there isn’t a significant west wind blowing up the river valley. My wife like to do that stretch in three days so in-order to just lounge around the sandbars and beaches. The 92-mile 'free flowing' stretch of the Wisconsin River from Prairie du Sac to the Mississippi River can easily be done in 5 to 7-days.

Additionally, most of the towns beyond Spring Green are approximately 8-miles apart. Muscoda and Blue River offer convenient stops for resupply of fresh, water, ice, and other supplies. 'Wisconsin Riverside Resort', (formerly 'Bob's Riverside Camp'), is just a few miles past the Highway 23 bridge in Spring Green and is a great spot to stop. It's a private campground, bar and restaurant. You can get just about anything you need there as well as some delicious food, craft beer, and cocktails. The view from their patio is beautiful! Definitely worth a stop if you're paddling by.

Sauk City to Boscobel is one of my favorite stretches; solo or with a group. It is approximately 59-miles and is do-able in three-days if you don’t have a strong headwind, or the water levels aren’t extremely low. It can also be easily done over a three-day holiday weekend if you don’t mind sharing the river with other paddlers. Paddling up to 25-miles or more per day is not difficult on the lower Wisconsin, provided you have decent river levels and you’re not bucking a stiff headwind. Most ‘casual’ paddlers generally will do 8 to 14-miles per day though.
I have paddled and canoe-camped on the lower Wisconsin River countless times during the past 50-years.It never gets old to me. Early September after Labor Day weekend is a great time to paddle the river. The weather is still pleasant and the rentals die down quite a bit.

Although there are no rapids on the approximately 92-mile ‘free flowing’ stretch from the Prairie du Sac dam, (the last dam on the Wisconsin River), to the confluence of the lower Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River, the current is strong and demands respect. There are several drownings on the lower Wisconsin River every year.

Another business that will shuttle you is Wisconsin River Outings based in Boscobel. They have a great website. There’s a lot of good information on their site for trip planning. I have had them shuttle me several times in the past; solo trips in particular. But in recent years, they have posted the following message.

“ALSO NOTE: WRO no longer will transport private boats and gear. We will only transport the driver(s) up/down river. If you’re uncomfortable leaving your boat and gear at the put-in, you’ll need to make other transport arrangements through another company, we’re sorry.”

Obviously, this new policy makes it difficult for a solo paddler. I’m not comfortable leaving my gear unattended at a public launch site for an extended period of time. Not a big deal if you’re paddling a tandem with a partner, or a group, and can leave at least one person at the launch site. For the solo paddler, it’s a deal breaker.

There are other canoe liveries that can possibly provide shuttle service, but the two I have mentioned are the only two I have used in the past and have personal experience with. I would suggest calling ‘Blackhawk River Runs’ and ‘Wisconsin River Outings’ and maybe a few others. Policies change from year to year, as does the pricing for shuttle service.

More than any other river I have paddled that provides canoe and kayak rentals, the lower Wisconsin River liveries are the stingiest when it comes to shuttle services. That is, most of these businesses are primary concerned with renting and shuttling their own boats, than providing shuttle service to paddlers with their own boats and gear. There are actually a few that won’t shuttle private parties at all.

I hope some of the information I provided is helpful.

I posted some additional random photos from several lower Wisconsin River trips from over the years. (Note the tents on the shores of the river pictured in the photos of my son in his Wenonah Encounter. This is very typical on summer weekends.)

Hans Solo


 
03/11/2023 02:53AM  
For the most part I'm team tarp as well, solo and group.

So nice to have an extra dry space when it rains in camp. Some days its nice to have the added shade too. Whether you're simply perched up underneath it waiting out a rainstorm, or keeping your gear and/or firewood dry, its a must imo. My "3 man" tent is barely big enough for two full grown dudes to sleep in, there wasnt an inch of extra space for gear. Lucky we had a tarp to throw our gear under overnight. I'm also 6'6 so I couldnt imagine being stuck in a little tent all day and night. I had always packed a cheapie you'd buy at any sporting goods store, but this winter I picked up a ultralightweight 10x8 from VIAM. I plan to use it as a shelter when bugs wont be an issue too.

All this said, if solo its one of the last things I throw in my pack. My tent is big enough for just me and my gear. I also dont do fires when I'm solo so theres no use in keeping firewood dry. Obviously weather can change fast up there, but the weather report can help me make a decision yay or nay last minute as well.
 
NEIowapaddler
distinguished member (265)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/11/2023 07:55AM  
HansSolo: "Well NEIowapaddler, it looks like we inadvertently hi-jacked the ‘tarp topic’ post for a lower Wisconsin River tripping discussion. Nevertheless, I can name a couple of canoe rental outfitters in the area I have used for shuttles; both solo and group shuttles.

'Blackhawk River Runs' is located about three miles south of Sauk City on CR-Y. They're a small, family run business that provides shuttles and they rent standard aluminum canoes as well. They have a small cabin right on the river and they’re located right next to the Mazomanie Public Boat launch. You can safely leave your gear and equipment on their property while run the shuttle with one of their crew members.

If they are busy running their own canoes, you can sometimes leave a set of keys with them and they will spot your car at their convenience. They're reliable and reasonably priced IMHO, compared to some other rental outfits in the area, but like everything these days, rates have gone up. The only problem is, they mainly do shuttles based on you leaving from their property, but will spot your car at any point down river from their business. That includes taking out at Wyalusing State Park, which is on the confluence of the lower Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River; approximately 85-miles downstream from their business. If you don’t mind leaving from their launch, they’re a good option.

As I mentioned in my last post, the section from Prairie du Sac, Sauk City or Mazomanie, (all these towns are approximately three-miles apart), is the most popular stretch, but also one of the most scenic. If it’s during the week, it’s great and you’ll probably have the river almost entirely to yourself, except for maybe some locals fishing in their ‘Jon boats’.

Even on busy summer weekends, there’s plenty of room for everyone on the river given the size and width of the river. But, the sandbars can get really crowed with large groups camping during those nice, warm summer weekends, (Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, and Labor Day weekend in particular.) One of my favorite stretches that will avoid the bulk of the rental canoes is from Spring Green to Boscobel; which is approximately 37-miles. That stretch can be easily paddled on a two-day weekend trip if the water levels are average, or above average and there isn’t a significant west wind blowing up the river valley. My wife like to do that stretch in three days so in-order to just lounge around the sandbars and beaches. The 92-mile 'free flowing' stretch of the Wisconsin River from Prairie du Sac to the Mississippi River can easily be done in 5 to 7-days.

Additionally, most of the towns beyond Spring Green are approximately 8-miles apart. Muscoda and Blue River offer convenient stops for resupply of fresh, water, ice, and other supplies. 'Wisconsin Riverside Resort', (formerly 'Bob's Riverside Camp'), is just a few miles past the Highway 23 bridge in Spring Green and is a great spot to stop. It's a private campground, bar and restaurant. You can get just about anything you need there as well as some delicious food, craft beer, and cocktails. The view from their patio is beautiful! Definitely worth a stop if you're paddling by.

Sauk City to Boscobel is one of my favorite stretches; solo or with a group. It is approximately 59-miles and is do-able in three-days if you don’t have a strong headwind, or the water levels aren’t extremely low. It can also be easily done over a three-day holiday weekend if you don’t mind sharing the river with other paddlers. Paddling up to 25-miles or more per day is not difficult on the lower Wisconsin, provided you have decent river levels and you’re not bucking a stiff headwind. Most ‘casual’ paddlers generally will do 8 to 14-miles per day though.
I have paddled and canoe-camped on the lower Wisconsin River countless times during the past 50-years.It never gets old to me. Early September after Labor Day weekend is a great time to paddle the river. The weather is still pleasant and the rentals die down quite a bit.

Although there are no rapids on the approximately 92-mile ‘free flowing’ stretch from the Prairie du Sac dam, (the last dam on the Wisconsin River), to the confluence of the lower Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River, the current is strong and demands respect. There are several drownings on the lower Wisconsin River every year.

Another business that will shuttle you is Wisconsin River Outings based in Boscobel. They have a great website. There’s a lot of good information on their site for trip planning. I have had them shuttle me several times in the past; solo trips in particular. But in recent years, they have posted the following message.

“ALSO NOTE: WRO no longer will transport private boats and gear. We will only transport the driver(s) up/down river. If you’re uncomfortable leaving your boat and gear at the put-in, you’ll need to make other transport arrangements through another company, we’re sorry.”

Obviously, this new policy makes it difficult for a solo paddler. I’m not comfortable leaving my gear unattended at a public launch site for an extended period of time. Not a big deal if you’re paddling a tandem with a partner, or a group, and can leave at least one person at the launch site. For the solo paddler, it’s a deal breaker.

There are other canoe liveries that can possibly provide shuttle service, but the two I have mentioned are the only two I have used in the past and have personal experience with. I would suggest calling ‘Blackhawk River Runs’ and ‘Wisconsin River Outings’ and maybe a few others. Policies change from year to year, as does the pricing for shuttle service.

More than any other river I have paddled that provides canoe and kayak rentals, the lower Wisconsin River liveries are the stingiest when it comes to shuttle services. That is, most of these businesses are primary concerned with renting and shuttling their own boats, than providing shuttle service to paddlers with their own boats and gear. There are actually a few that won’t shuttle private parties at all.

I hope some of the information I provided is helpful.

I posted some additional random photos from several lower Wisconsin River trips from over the years. (Note the tents on the shores of the river pictured in the photos of my son in his Wenonah Encounter. This is very typical on summer weekends.)

Hans Solo



"


Thank you so much! That's super helpful. I really appreciate it. If I have any more questions I'll email you if that's alright, rather than continue to hijack my tarp thread lol.
 
Loony_canoe
distinguished member (420)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/11/2023 12:58PM  
I bring a separate tarp for the fire grate area. I like having a space to sit in. My hammock is usually tucked in the woods, so it is nice to have a separate protected space. From a practical point of view, it is nice to cover the fire pit during rain. It helps break the wind and sun. From an ascetic point of view, I always feel a camp needs a tarp to feel like a lived in camp. For me a 8x10 tarp is worth the weight and bulk.
 
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(1362)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/13/2023 03:56PM  
I always take a tarp, and it is always the first thing up. That way, if it's raining, everything will stay dry and I could sleep under it if the rain did not let up. I spent a lot of time under the tarp when the weather is not ideal. That area serves as my "house, so to speak. It's where I cook and nap and read and keep myself occupied if the wind and water are too big, or its raining out.

I have a CCS lightweight tarp. I can't remember the model.

Mike
 
Thabstarbod
  
05/13/2024 12:22AM  
NEIowapaddler: "Do you take a tarp on your solo trips, or not?

I never have (other than the tarp for my Amok Draumr hammock), and I've never really needed one on my adventures up to this point. But I've wondered if there might be situations where it would be nice to have one. I can definitely see their benefits when camping with a group, but not necessarily by oneself. "


Not always but most of the time, I bring a poly tarp in case I need to set up a quick shelter. Other than that, nope.
 
05/13/2024 07:42AM  
I always bring a tarp. It's just like rain gear; you hope you don't need it, but damn it's nice to have when it's raining. I've had several solo trips where I used my tarp every day for two weeks. I don't know how I would have cooked without it.
 
Lawnchair107
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05/13/2024 10:12AM  
Always, always, always bring a tarp. From rain protection to shade from the sun- a tarp is something I don't ever consider not bringing anymore.
 
kjw
distinguished member (116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/13/2024 03:53PM  
Always bring tarp and chair to sit under it no matter what the forecast is. If it is going to be windy or a lot of rain in forecast I will bring two tarps.
 
GeneH
distinguished member (132)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/15/2024 04:06PM  
Yes, if there's any chance of rain on short trips, and always on longer trips. A 10x10 is a pound or less, and invaluable in camp on rainy days.

Often in non-buggy season I take the tarp only
 
YardstickAngler
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
  
05/16/2024 02:50AM  
No tarp last year on first solo and definitely didn’t need it…except it would have been pretty nice during one rainy cold camp day.

Looking at the forecast this year, I’m bringing it. Just too much potential for cold and rain on multiple days. Won’t be surprised if I totally regret it or totally love it.
 
05/16/2024 06:24AM  
I always bring a tarp with on solo trips. I haven’t set it up very often , but I’ve been glad I’ve had it the couple of times I’ve needed it.

When it’s not set up I throw it in the daypack on day trips for emergencies.
 
JohnGalt
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05/20/2024 04:23PM  
I bring an 8x10 CCS tarp that is dedicated to go above the front half of my Lean+ & extend over like a vestibule. I carry a larger CCS tarp which I can place somewhere else on the site, such as near the fire grate. The latter doesn’t always get set up though it is nice to have if it is going to rain for several days or if the site doesn’t have a convenient spot with shade.
 
RoundRiver
distinguished member (423)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/23/2024 08:07AM  
Solo at least once per year. Always bring a 10x12 CCS green tarp. I set it up if conditions warrant. In rain I set it up on a ridge line over my tent so I can set up or tear down in the rain without the tent getting all wet, allow me to get in and out of the tent dry during rain, keep packs out of the rain, and have a protected place to sit or cook during the rain. Came in handy on my short trip earlier this week. This works best with a tent that has a door on the end, as mine does. There is just enough space for my set-up under the 10x12, but for a little extra space I did get a 10x14 CCS in yellow that I have not gotten ready yet. I highly recommend the CCS ridgeline stuff sack. It is very lightweight and helps keep your tarp from getting dirty and full of leaves, tiny twigs, etc when the tarp or ground is wet (and in so doing help protect your tarp/investment from getting rips, punctures, or abraded while stuffing it).

I use the same set-up with a 10x16 CCS when with 2 people as both have plenty of room to sit under it in the rain.

Tarps always sit near the top of my pack, just in case. Such as crossing Brennan Lake on an Allanwater River to Kopka River trip in Wabakimi. We saw the rain squall coming, got to shore, and set up the tarp just as it hit to sit under and keep from being soaked.

Finally, while I will guess most people on here know this, for those that don’t, CCS tarps are very well designed, very well made/sewn, and very versatile. While I use it on a ridgeline, it can be used in many configurations, and/or adapted to the options you have at a given site. A very useful and high quality piece of gear. And beyond all that I have found Dan Cooke (CCS) to be a quality human being, and consider him one of my paddling community friends.

 
05/23/2024 06:16PM  
I take a 10x12 CCS tarp on solos, but I also use a true 1-person solo tent. I don't set it up every time, but it's nice when I need it. Late Sept./early Oct. when I go can have some very nasty weather. Besides protection from rain and sun, it can also help with a cold wind.
 
Crappiekillah
member (21)member
  
05/23/2024 08:15PM  
Always bring a tarp on my solo trips.I set it up lean-to style usually on a small grade so back of lean-to is on high side.Then I just chill to the fill on my stretched out crazy creek canoe chair(I don’t bring a seperate camp chair the ground is my friend)
 
YardstickAngler
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
  
05/26/2024 08:18PM  
Was glad I brought my CCS tarp for last week’s solo which had some lousy weather.

I’m pretty bad at setting it up but it was still worth it. Mine is more suited for a larger group at 10x14.
 
HowardSprague
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05/30/2024 12:47PM  
Yes, I bring one and it's usually - not always -the first thing I set up - especially if it looks like rain. I can always work on setting up the tent under the tarp and then move it, as well as taking out and sorting gear.
Ready for rain or intense sun that way.
Mine's a bit overkill for a solo at 10x14, I will prob add a CCS 8x10 to my gear.
I also recently got a Eureka NoBugZone, which I haven't used yet.
 
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