BWCA BWCA Women Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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06/10/2024 12:43PM  
I just got back from our 20th trip to the BW, which included my son’s girlfriend. She had never been In a canoe and had only been car camping before this trip so I was a bit nervous as to how things would go. Short story, she did great and loved the BW.

She did have some questions surrounding certain female issues and I was thinking there is no place on these forums where we can feel comfortable to ask these questions. I am also a scuba diver and am part of a scuba women group and we have a lot of great discussions surrounding women and our specific concerns / questions, and thought many might appreciate that here.

I was discussing this with my husband and he also noticed that when we go to the outfitter, it’s mostly men we see, and on the trails, the same, mostly men. I want to change that and bring us girls back into balance.

So what questions do you have ladies?

What to do / how to handle your menses while In The BW?

Bringing kids and how to handle it (maybe they wet the bed or other issues)?

Are you always cold? Have difficulty carrying stuff / strength?

I just thought it would be nice to have an area for us to discuss things pertinent to the female camper.
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06/10/2024 03:27PM  
There is a Women's group here you can Join
06/10/2024 09:21PM  
Menses - I try to time trips to avoid. But it has happened. Stock up on Advil. Pack out trash in its own bag.

Kids - no experience there

I can get chilly at night. I always pack Woolpower Lite capri bottoms and long sleeved shirt for sleeping. And a fleece. Even in July. In the early fall I pack mid and heavyweight merino.

Strength - I only solo so I better be strong enough! I double portage like most people. I'll take a breather at either end of portage otherwise no breaks. I have the upper body strength to paddle in strong headwinds, collect and split wood etc. I imagine most women who canoe trip have more than enough strength to do everything that needs to be done.
06/11/2024 08:43AM  
Soledad: "There is a Women's group here you can Join "

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06/12/2024 04:11PM  
Definitely join the women's forum mentioned. It has been a bit quiet this year, but if you post it will come alive.

I'm blessed with freakish warmth and my husband depends on me to keep him warm since he is the freezy bug.

Also blessed with freakish strength though I think that is partially due to growing up doing long wilderness canoe trips. I do solo trips and have had to trim my gear down as I age so that I can single portage. In my 20's I was carrying wood/canvas canoes that were 100 lbs. dry, 110 lbs wet. Now my limit is about 70 lbs. of gear.

I already hit menopause so don't need to worry about that anymore, but I know many women who have switched to a menstrual cup for ease of care in the wilderness.

There is also a subforum for traveling with kids.
06/12/2024 06:36PM  
And its my understanding that the forum for Women is vetted to ensure only females are allowed access to the channel. I wouldn't know.
06/12/2024 08:34PM  
Women canoeing and camping are expanding very fast, which is good. The YMCA camp on Hungry Jack Lake has had all-women/girls camping for years. Guides are all female and met them while camping. The guides/counselors are really skilled in canoeing and camping. Also, super friendly when meeting on the portage or in a canoe. Great camp for young women to attend.
06/12/2024 08:52PM  
"What to do / how to handle your menses while In The BW?
Bringing kids and how to handle it (maybe they wet the bed or other issues)?
Are you always cold? Have difficulty carrying stuff / strength?
I just thought it would be nice to have an area for us to discuss things pertinent to the female camper."

Bobbernumber3 - I think its vetted that way so that females feel more comfortable discussing the topics. I think it might be good for the guys to hear some of the stuff too though so they can reassure their ladies, or daughters, or sons girlfriends etc... I'm happy to answer any question in front of the guys if it will help.

*That time of the month...*
- Some women are on Mirena IUD and don't have their period, or are post menopause and don't have it, so they don't have to deal with it.
- For my daughter, we would bring a drawstring backpack... then product. We'd pack extra toilet paper, and then have her wrap her product in toilet paper, place inside a zip lock bag, then another zip lock bag, and finally another zip lock bag. We were fortunate enough to be at VNP at the time so we had a bear locker to keep product in. Probably should hang that if in the BWCA, but again, you can be more discrete with the drawstring bag, and use multiple zip locks or OP bags to conceal any odor. You can't drop product in the latrines.

*Temperature Control*
If you're always cold, honestly invest in a down sleeping bag! Its really the way to go. And if you're on a budget, there are a lot of cottage companies emerging on Amazon. I got a nice down sleeping bag at a very affordable price from Hike & Byke. I got a -15 and was very comfortable on my October BRT thru-hike.
Also if you really run cold, go get yourself a sleep liner. I picked up a 20 or maybe more degree liner from REI and it really helped, especially the day after the beaver crossing in October on the Long portage in mid-october while snowing. (DUMB).

Bring tea to drink to warm you up before bed
Bring hand warmers, and place near femoral and axillary arteries. (Be mindful not to burn skin) This saved me on a -13 degree winter trip while having a zero degree rated bag with no liner. (DUMB)

*Difficulty Carrying stuff*
I'm a little petite thing. (Like 5' nothing). Go read my 1st trip report. I had my CCS portage pack and was turtled on the ground. A nice man stopped to ask if I wanted help and I said, yes!!!! I do want help, but i need to learn to do this myself... and he nodded and was like, you got this... and my husband was like, yes, you've got this, and I got it.... just practice, and practice, and practice again!

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06/15/2024 12:28PM  
What to do / how to handle your menses while In The BW?

Diva cup or reusable swimming pads

Bringing kids and how to handle it (maybe they wet the bed or other issues)?

Kids are easy, just bring lots of extra clothes

Are you always cold?

Nalgene water bottle with hot water stuffed in wool sock can last all night at the bottom of a sleeping bag

Have difficulty carrying stuff / strength?

Nope just take breaks if needed
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