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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      First Solo Questions.     



member (42)member
05/28/2016 05:38PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
I've got exactly 2 weeks until I'm in the BWCA, and am getting my things assembled and packed, and have a couple of logistical questions for all of you.

First: Where do you position your pack in the canoe? my current plan is to put it behind me with the seat as far forward as it goes. That way I think I'll have the most even keel, but if not, the back would be lower slowing me down less, I think.

Second: Do you bring a spare paddle or not? I'm using a kayak paddle that comes apart in the center, and want know if I should bring my bent shaft wood paddle as a back up.

and Third: Should I bring a tarp for my solo? Or save the weight and space and simply rely on my tent and rain gear for protection from the elements.

Thanks for all the help, I'm started to get that nervous excitement before a trip, I'm looking forward to it.
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05/28/2016 06:52PM  
I also leave in 2 weeks on a solo; enjoy your time and be safe!

Regarding packs, I always take 2 of them. The heavier one goes behind me, the lighter on up front. With 2 packs, I always find it easier to adjust the trim.

Also, I always bring a 2nd paddle. Had a blade split on a trip about 10 years ago, and ever since then I take two paddles. Also, depending on where you are going, you may well find the bent shaft a lot easier to navigate with (e.g. areas like Little Indian Sioux, Moose River, etc.)

Finally, I always bring my tarp. It is light and does not take up much space, and if it is pouring out when I reach a site, it is the first thing I set up.

You can also use the search feature on this site to get more input regarding trimming your solo.

05/28/2016 07:07PM  
+1 on all of Frenchy's points. The other reason I bring a spare is in case it falls in while fighting a fish, etc.
05/28/2016 07:12PM  
I agree with everything Frenchy said.

I also believe in Murphy's Law. If you don't bring the second paddle, it is guaranteed that you're going to need it. You may also find that it is nice to switch every now and then.

As far as tarps go.....I have learned that a good tarp is probably my most valuable piece of equipment. A rainy day spent under a tarp beats the heck out of a rainy day spent in your tent. Allows you to cook, keeps your wood dry, keeps you and your gear dry, keeps you out of the wind.....makes uncomfortable conditions quite bearable. I don't trip without my tarp.
05/28/2016 08:16PM  
What everyone else said.

I take a single blade spare along with the double blade. They can get away in a hurry if dropped in wind and waves - it doesn't have to get very far to be out of reach. They can also get away quick in a capsize so keep the spare attached to the thwarts with BDB's or twist ties.

Also don't forget to take painters - bow and stern lines - to tie it up so it doesn't float away or blow away. It doesn't take long for that to happen either and can be a real problem when you are solo. Canoes - especially kevlar ones - make good kites.

I carry a small pack with the canoe. It goes in front of me and can be pushed farther forward to trim in a strong headwind. The heavier pack goes right behind the seat.

I also bring a tarp. A small light one doesn't add that much weight or bulk compared to the comfort it adds, especially if you are taking a small tent that is confining for any extended time beyond sleeping. I'd much rather sit under my tarp than be confined to the coffin for hours. There are a lot of things that I'd leave (and do) before I'd skip the tarp - like an axe, saw, chair, extensive kitchen, or lantern.

Enjoy your trip! You're way ahead of where I was for my first one :).

Oh, and don't forget the TP!

Better yet, having a packing checklist so you don't forget anything. make one up now if you haven't already and add anything you think of between now and then. I check each thing off as I put it in the pack and check off each pack, etc. that I have to put in the car when I put it in the car. Also a good idea to test everything before the trip - stove, fuel canister, water filter, tent, sleeping pad, headlamp, batteries, first aid kit, lighters.

Have fun! I'll look forward to seeing some pictures and hearing all about your adventure.

05/28/2016 08:28PM  
Pack behind me, blue barrel in front (push it forward or pull it back to adjust trim)
Always have a spare paddle
Always take the tarp but I don't always set it up
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05/28/2016 09:24PM  
On my solo I only brought one pack and I placed it directly behind me with a tailwind and directly in front of me with a headwind. I'd put it behind me in calm winds.

I don't bring a spare paddle when tandem but I absolutely bring a spare paddle when solo. My last solo I used a double blade as my main paddle and a single blade bungee dealee bobbed (verb) to the thwarts as my spare.

I'm a gram weenie and so I would not bring a tarp unless I'm sleeping under it while hanging in my hammock.

I will never forget my first solo trip. Take it as it comes and have fun!
05/29/2016 06:46AM  
Frenchy nailed it.

About tarps - On my first solo way back in 1984 I thought I could save weight so didn't bring one. Well it was a week where it rained most everyday. I have this memory of stringing my tent fly up between trees near a portage to wait out a downpour on a travel day.

I was wet and miserable in camp with nowhere but the tent to wait out the rains. My raingear wasn't the best and it was warm so wearing it caused me to sweat profusely. I definitely learned my lesson the hard way.

05/29/2016 08:13AM  
Pack. I only use 1 pack, but I have a dog along that rides up in the bow.

I use a double blade and have a single strapped inside the canoe.

I always bring a tarp but only set it up if the forecast calls for it. (I bring a weather radio)

Have a great 1st solo!!!! Be careful.... it can be a addicting :)
05/29/2016 08:09PM  

quote cowdoc: "Pack behind me, blue barrel in front (push it forward or pull it back to adjust trim)
Always have a spare paddle
Always take the tarp but I don't always set it up"
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06/01/2016 02:16PM  
Sounds like you are well organized for a first trip. Have a great time!
06/07/2016 09:02PM  

quote cowdoc: "Pack behind me, blue barrel in front (push it forward or pull it back to adjust trim)
Always have a spare paddle. Always take the tarp but I don't always set it up"

I guess great minds think alike cowdoc! :-)

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06/07/2016 10:19PM  
A couple of pictures of the solo canoe in action. Kayak paddle with spare straight shaft. I seem to get good trim with the food pack in front, gear pack behind and day pack right in front of me. I lash the yoke behind the gear pack.

06/08/2016 06:08AM  
gkimball's post reminds of something I learned from Mike @ Rockwood:

Take a short piece of paracord and tie one end to the yoke and the other to the thwart behind the seat. The cord should be just long enough to attach the yoke without untying it. He must have got tired of losing them in capsizes ;).
06/08/2016 07:20PM  

Looks like I have my pelican case right in front of me (camera) and blue barrel in front of that.
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06/08/2016 09:53PM  
I always bring a book to read. I consider it an essential piece of equipment when on a solo.
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