BWCA The Bell Curve of canoe trip participation Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* BWCA is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Listening Point - General Discussion
      The Bell Curve of canoe trip participation     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

03/25/2023 10:31AM  
It's been talked about previously for sure. I'm in the middle of one right now. One of my trips this summer has gone from;

Day 1 of planning - 1 (me), 3 (Two more state they're in), 5 (another couple joins)

Day 2 - up to our max of 9, with two more couples joining

Fast forward to a week later - first couple drops and we're at 7.

Another month - second couple drops and we're at 5.

Added one more and we're currently at 6. We'll do 3 or 4 canoes. Less than 2 months to the trip.

My guess is the curve will go down again from our 6 to 3 or 4 and then we'll either find a few more or not. At times I wonder about just overbooking like the airlines.

 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
03/25/2023 12:03PM  
This is the same with MANY planning efforts. I've planned paddling trips for Boy Scouts and for family groups, but for the past 15+ years have ONLY planned for my wife and myself. We have the same travel goals, destination favorites, paddling speed, and menu preferences, making both trip planning trip execution a pleasure.

TZ
 
03/25/2023 12:33PM  
Your experience seems typical to me especially when people new to tripping are involved. For the past 15 years or so I mostly trip with longtime paddling friends so we usually don’t have this problem.
 
jillpine
distinguished member(911)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/25/2023 12:39PM  
Solo
:)
 
MReid
distinguished member (447)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/25/2023 01:03PM  
jillpine: "Solo
:)"

Yup. You might get to buy another boat, too (N+1).
 
03/25/2023 01:10PM  
Nobody has ever dropped out of my solo :). But it could happen . . .

Otherwise pretty typical, compounded by more people, longer time frame, less committed people. I'll be surprised if it doesn't change again.

Otherwise I usually tell friends/family: Here's what I'm doing, when I'm doing it, and how I'm doing it. If that works for you, let me know. I got tired of changing dates, days, reservations, routes, etc. trying to accommodate various people who ended up dropping out anyway.
 
Minnesotian
distinguished member(2346)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/25/2023 01:10PM  

Solo as well. I only plan trips for groups if they approach me first. Shows a commitment on their part from the get-go. And I always keep everything tentative until I hear from them that they got the time from work approved. That approval usually means the trip is a 100% go, barring any last minute health emergencies.
 
NEIowapaddler
distinguished member (247)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/25/2023 01:21PM  
jillpine: "Solo
:)"


+1. I don't like dealing with people's nonsense anytime, but especially when planning trips. Add in the fact that I prefer to experience nature by myself anyway, and going solo is a no-brainer.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(2944)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/25/2023 01:51PM  
jillpine: "Solo
:)"


Yup me too. I've been camping for decades and people are the largest stressors to my trips. Remove that portion of trip planning and the rest falls into place.

I work around people all day all week. solo camping is the greatest adventure of freedom I can experience.
Tom
 
03/25/2023 02:40PM  
My wife and I have invited a nephew and his buddy. They've been coming every summer for the past 10+ years. Occasionally we get a request for someone to join us and they always show. Maybe we are better fishermen/cooks so the food is always good and plentiful.
 
03/25/2023 07:56PM  
RMinMN: "My wife and I have invited a nephew and his buddy. They've been coming every summer for the past 10+ years. Occasionally we get a request for someone to join us and they always show. Maybe we are better fishermen/cooks so the food is always good and plentiful."


Well I think the key to your success…besides the great food and fishing :) is keeping the invited list small and selective. I’ve had great success in yiour situation as well.

The hard part is when you do Scout, Church, work groups, etc… and the invite list is potentially 30-40 people. Then pairing it down to 1-2 groups.

What works for me is setting up dates/deadlines, collecting deposits. Deposits are non refundable because we are setting up, gear, housing, travel, food…of course I almost always have the ability to give the money back (they don’t know that :) )but the process lends itself to people committing sooner than later.

T
 
03/26/2023 09:12AM  
jillpine: "Solo
:)"


The perfect trip.
 
03/26/2023 11:26AM  
Day 1: Invites go out to six guys. 4 respond yes.
Day 2: 5th guy responds yes.
Week 2: 6th guy responds no... too many commitments.
Three weeks prior to the trip, one of the five comes up with a sixth.

This is typical for our group. I don't recall someone saying yes and then becoming a no.

I think this is an exponential curve?
 
OldTripper
distinguished member (240)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/26/2023 11:49AM  
boonie: "I usually tell friends: Here's what I'm doing, when I'm doing it, and how I'm doing it. If that works for you, let me know. I got tired of changing dates, days, reservations, routes, etc. trying to accommodate various people who ended up dropping out anyway. "
This is exactly what I do as well and for the same reasons. I plan my trip and if it works for them, fine. If they back out, I'm still doing my trip as planned.
 
03/26/2023 12:26PM  
jillpine: "Solo
:)"


Same or group solo with one permit or everyone has own permit and can do as they wish when they wish to do it.

I’ve brought in newbies and life’s too short for that now. I value my time there too much to hear complaining or slacking. It’s not always that way but I don’t want to roll the dice to find out. :)
 
03/26/2023 12:27PM  
A 50% deposit at time of saying yes. Other 50% 50 days ahead of departure. Either dump or get off the pot. No problems here. I would not be offended if you just went to the 100% at time of commitment and that date is yours to choose. No refunds.
 
realandrea
distinguished member (278)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/26/2023 12:55PM  
I’ve never had anyone back out. That said, if my 2024 Border Route partner dips out, I’m gonna be really sad!
 
03/26/2023 11:23PM  

What works for me is setting up dates/deadlines, collecting deposits. Deposits are non refundable because we are setting up, gear, housing, travel, food…of course I almost always have the ability to give the money back (they don’t know that :) )but the process lends itself to people committing sooner than later.
"


This is good advice, deadline, non-refundable deposit (make up stuff, need deposit for an outfitter, have to buy permits), that will separate the serious from the whimsical.
 
03/27/2023 09:27AM  
bwcadan: "A 50% deposit at time of saying yes. Other 50% 50 days ahead of departure. Either dump or get off the pot. No problems here. I would not be offended if you just went to the 100% at time of commitment and that date is yours to choose. No refunds."


What is the deposit paying for? For us, we don't plan group meals, don't rent gear, don't do bunkhouse. The total cost of the trip is the permit. As I book the permits and don't really feel like collecting a 5 spot from each participant, their total cost is zero.

I guess I could see it if you're traveling from another state to get there and being outfitted.

 
03/27/2023 11:14AM  
Speckled: "
bwcadan: "A 50% deposit at time of saying yes. Other 50% 50 days ahead of departure. Either dump or get off the pot. No problems here. I would not be offended if you just went to the 100% at time of commitment and that date is yours to choose. No refunds."



What is the deposit paying for? For us, we don't plan group meals, don't rent gear, don't do bunkhouse. The total cost of the trip is the permit. As I book the permits and don't really feel like collecting a 5 spot from each participant, their total cost is zero.

I guess I could see it if you're traveling from another state to get there and being outfitted.


"

Then what were you complaining about :) just kidding. That's a pretty simple set up, with no worries...keep it that way is my advice.

I think most of us have to secure equipment, canoes, lodging, shared food. It makes a difference trying coordinate. If you packaged food for 8 and 2 drop out, you are stuck with the extra weight and cost. You need to know who is committed sooner than later.

T
 
03/27/2023 12:49PM  
Ha - Perspective. You're probably right. At the end of the day, there's no financial loss. That said there's a level of emotional effort and thought put into organizing the trip. Some trips we plan on just two of us, others we try to fill up and do a max group thing. The constantly changing landscape of participants just requires more sustained effort.
 
Dreamer
distinguished member (161)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/27/2023 01:39PM  
I lead a pastor's group from Illinois every year. It fills up and then some drop. This year I implemented a non-refundable 75 dollar deposit. It's not much, but investment up front changes the game. So far, no drops! We'll see...
 
03/27/2023 03:23PM  
Speckled: "
bwcadan: "A 50% deposit at time of saying yes. Other 50% 50 days ahead of departure. Either dump or get off the pot. No problems here. I would not be offended if you just went to the 100% at time of commitment and that date is yours to choose. No refunds."



What is the deposit paying for? For us, we don't plan group meals, don't rent gear, don't do bunkhouse. The total cost of the trip is the permit. As I book the permits and don't really feel like collecting a 5 spot from each participant, their total cost is zero.

I guess I could see it if you're traveling from another state to get there and being outfitted.


"


I envy your simple requirements to go on your BWCA trips. Almost free with easy is good. However, for me, no such luck.

Permits, travel expenses from St. Louis and back, bunkhouse before trip, hotel/motel for return reservation(s) and overnight, community foods in how much and for how many, money for community gear when several are going, and reservation for canoe(s). Try reserving a canoe last minute or bunkhouses and you can see the need for firm commitments. For me, I need to know in advance about food and number of vehicles. Gas paid upfront and I fill the tank(s) along the way works better than taking turns for paying. If I collect too much, I refund after the trip with my accounting for expenses for the trip.
 
AlexanderSupertramp
distinguished member (385)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/27/2023 03:46PM  
I pick days that I want to go first and plan the trip out solo, then I work backwards by inviting other people. No outfitters, no gear rentals, etc. Everyone is responsible for their own gear/pack. Only the food pack(s) is communal.

Seeing as I live in Duluth I am always the "basecamp" location anyway and I've more-or-less created a policy that if you are coming on the trip, you must to be at my house the day before with the rest of the group for final gear checks and tossing your food into the pack, otherwise you're not allowed to come with. Bus leaves early in the morning! I have zero patience for last minute fumbling about with packing or someone saying "oh man I forgot this or that". Also allows folks to make a run to any number of the stores around here to grab something they might need before we head North.

Bought a solo this year as well so I don't ever get burdened with having to trip alone in the tandem.

The only curveball I haven't accounted for is if someone bails who was responsible for bringing another canoe that the group needed, then I have to scramble to borrow or rent one. Luckily I have enough resources that I can get one the day prior if I needed to.

Otherwise.. bases covered! Come on the trip, don't come on the trip... don't matter to me!




 
03/27/2023 04:34PM  
Dreamer: "I lead a pastor's group from Illinois every year. It fills up and then some drop. This year I implemented a non-refundable 75 dollar deposit. It's not much, but investment up front changes the game. So far, no drops! We'll see..."


So, is it filled up this year? ;)
 
03/27/2023 04:37PM  
Speckled: "Ha - Perspective. You're probably right. At the end of the day, there's no financial loss. That said there's a level of emotional effort and thought put into organizing the trip. Some trips we plan on just two of us, others we try to fill up and do a max group thing. The constantly changing landscape of participants just requires more sustained effort."


Yes, more sustained effort, especially if first-timers or little experience. More worry and effort if they tend to be lackadaisical and/or procrastinators.
 
03/27/2023 07:33PM  
boonie: "Nobody has ever dropped out of my solo :). But it could happen . . .


Love this Boonie. It reminds of a friend who once commented he was self employed and put up a "suggestion box".
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Listening Point - General Discussion Sponsor:
Rockwood Outfitters