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   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      First solo trip. Any advise?     

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Whatsit
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10/17/2016 11:00PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Hi
I had planned on going in June with my wife to the bwca but turns out she doesn't want to go, so figure I'll just go on my first solo trip. Any good solo trips and any advise you'd like to share?
Thanks
Mike
 
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10/18/2016 06:04AM  
You'll get a lot of information just by scrolling through and reading old posts here. You'll discover that solo trips are pretty individualistic trips, where people indulge themselves and "do it their way". Consequently, you'll get a lot of contradictory advice that you'll need to think about and sort through for yourself.

I've done 12 trips and 8 have been solos. I've made a lot of changes since the first one.

Some general observations:

You'll be carrying everything and doing everything, so lighter and simpler is easier, especially if you plan to travel most days vs. travel the first and last day and basecamp in between.

You'll want to leave some "weather days" in the travel plan and it's a good idea to not be too ambitious on the first one until your know your capabilities. Don't plan to travel too far - remember you do all the camp chores.

You need to be careful not to injure yourself since there's no one to help. You may want to consider a SPOT, PLB, etc.

If you haven't camped solo overnight, you may want to give yourself a trial run before the trip if you get the opportunity.

As for good trips, it depends on your priorities and preferences, how long you have, what you want to do, your skills, abilities, experience.

Ask lots of questions, you'll get lots of different answers to ponder.
 
mastertangler
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10/18/2016 07:08AM  
My advice is to stay busy.........when I first started soloing I was sort of aimless and puttered about. Eventually becoming a bit lonely (aw, poor baby) and bailed early.

Subsequent trips found me planning ambitious loops which required maximum effort. I was to tired to get lonely ;-)

Now I usually do solos which are at least 2 weeks and often longer. Its great! Just stay busy.

 
SevenofNine
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10/18/2016 07:45AM  
Take less food, less gear and less junk. You don't have to pack for every possible contingency. Your back will thank you for it.

If you haven't spent any time alone camping I highly recommend doing so as some people are simply not comfortable with being by themselves for days on end.

Having a tarp to take shelter under/pack and unpack is nice whether you are travelling every day or not.

Smaller waters like Crossbay or Round lake on into Snipe is a nice area to explore.

Finally having a system where you know where everything is packed and can access things like a rain jacket while paddling can be very helpful. I have a seat pack that I use to hold gear I like easy access to like gloves and a spare coat.
 
movington
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10/18/2016 07:57AM  
I just completed my first solo last month. My advise is to pick a route that gives you plenty of options. I thought I knew how far I could travel per day, but ended up doing less so I changed my route in order to have less area to cover per day. I started at Sawbill and headed up to Cherokee. Take your time. Enjoy the solitude. Be flexible. Try and limit your gear in order to double portage. I had to triple portage and will try to not ever have to do that again. Have fun.
 
Minnesotian
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10/18/2016 08:55AM  

Go slow. It's not a race.

Be sure of every portage step.

Bring something to occupy your free time, like fishing, reading, crosswords, because you will have free time.

Go slow. It is not a race.
 
10/18/2016 10:27AM  
Good advice above.

I'll echo the go lighter with less stuff theme and the importance of being a little more careful than normal.

I always take something to read (kindle in my case) for those times before bed or if I can't travel due to weather.
 
Alan Gage
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10/18/2016 10:30AM  
Every reply will be biased towards how each person likes to travel themselves, including mine. Don't worry about it. Just go out there and do it. Travel the way you like to travel. There's no one else to keep happy so you can make adjustments along the way. You'll figure it out quickly and learn a lot for the next one.

Alan
 
mastertangler
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10/18/2016 10:34AM  
Less stuff? Bah humbug! Bring it all and don't be afraid to quadruple portage like I did on my last 24 day trip. Whats another 15 or 20 minutes walking through the lovely woods? I have all the comforts of home.

Oh, did I mention bringing a Nook? Very nice! Load "Wild" on it and you can spend your first three days much as I did several years ago......reading in camp! LOL.
 
Whatsit
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10/18/2016 01:43PM  
Wow! All great replies. I am very grateful. My dad just died last week and I thought it would also be a good trip to take time to reflect on my lost etc.
I much prefer my wife's company, but at this point looks like I'm going alone. Thanks again
Mike
 
10/18/2016 06:24PM  
I'm sorry to hear of your father's death. It's tough losing a parent. I hope you are able to find some peace with it on your trip. I often need uninterrupted time to contemplate things going on in my life and a solo trip is good for that. I like to take a notebook and pen.
 
10/18/2016 07:40PM  
Go, DO! Honor the memory. Be careful, take as much time as needed. Make it your trip!

butthead
 
jcavenagh
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10/19/2016 05:06PM  
quote SevenofNine: "Take less food, less gear and less junk. You don't have to pack for every possible contingency. Your back will thank you for it.


If you haven't spent any time alone camping I highly recommend doing so as some people are simply not comfortable with being by themselves for days on end."


+1 on less gear, food and clothing.
I confirmed on my last 2 solos that I cannot tolerate being alone. I go crazy without another person to talk with.

BUT I love that I can get up before the sun and start paddling on the smoothest water ever! When with a partner or group I can never get in the boat early enough.
 
10/20/2016 10:47AM  
Early on the water really is an amazing thing about not having to wait for others. I can't count the number of times I had our packs waiting before my friends get out of their tents. I think the fact of being 100% in control of your choices you'll have to get used to. Not asking...should we ____? or can we____? My only problem is I get more turned around and haven't resorted to bringing a GPS...so I factor in getting lost for an hour or two a day. :) Also...being a guy...I'm never lost, just taking the scenic route, which, isn't that what solo trips are all about?
 
pswith5
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10/21/2016 08:49AM  
If you are still thinking this fall factor in shortness of daylight. I,personally, can't stay in tent for too long of a time due to back stiffness. If you haven't really paddled solo before consider group solo, with option of splitting up later. That way you can ease into it. Then if it just isn't for you, you aren't too far in with no options.
 
mastertangler
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10/22/2016 07:43AM  
quote pswith5: " If you haven't really paddled solo before consider group solo, with option of splitting up later. That way you can ease into it.

Some say Group solo really isn't solo.........I say so what? Going solo isn't a merit badge you pin on a sash ( yes I was a boy scout briefly > access to a private lake but I digress). Group solo is my favorite way to travel. Alone, more or less during the day but with some company in camp. Perfecto!

 
Northwoodsman
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10/22/2016 09:02AM  
I too am looking at doing my first base camping solo next fall. I don't anticipate a problem with not having anyone to talk to. I am a little apprehensive about twisting an ankle or something knee related however. I intend to stay on a well travelled route and not going that far from civilization. I will be perfectly happy with putting in at Sawbill, Kawishiwi or Brule. If I put in at Sawbill I would head over to Smoke or Burnt to the east, or Beth to the West. If I put in at Kawishiwi I might stay on Kawishiwi. The same for Brule. I love paddling and camping but am not concerned about having to see new things all day every day. I would be perfectly content with paddling around the lake fishing, gathering firewood, hiking portages, etc. My dislike is tearing down and setting up camp every day so I would consider myself a base camper.
 
10/22/2016 04:55PM  
quote mastertangler: "quote pswith5: " If you haven't really paddled solo before consider group solo, with option of splitting up later. That way you can ease into it.
Some say Group solo really isn't solo.........I say so what? Going solo isn't a merit badge you pin on a sash ( yes I was a boy scout briefly > access to a private lake but I digress). Group solo is my favorite way to travel. Alone, more or less during the day but with some company in camp. Perfecto!
"


I like what I did this year which is a semi solo. Either go in with a solo group and then split up to do a proper solo or what I did was pick a date and lake for a rendevous. I spent 3 nights on an island on a remote lake in the middle of Quetico with a guy I never met in person before. Talk about a blind date! :)

It was really fun and I hope to do this on all my future trips.

 
Whatsit
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11/25/2016 09:54AM  
Just reading thru all this again. I'm thinking about doing a well traveled route like the number lakes. My only worry is it will be hard to find a campsite as there are so many people on the lake.
 
11/25/2016 11:21AM  
That's possible, but I find that being solo makes a lot more sites acceptable since I really only need one small, decent tent pad.
 
11/25/2016 01:36PM  
I second what boonie said. I've made due on some of the worst sites and had many a five star sites and many more in between. I'm in between the ultra light and the bring everything crowd. I double portage and since my last trip with magicpaddler a couple years ago I plan to make those two times across even easier. I used to be able to portage anything and everything. Now if I can even get my body back to tripping form I'm going to do a better job of cutting back. I'll be totally ready for tripping next year whether I can or can't physically. I think the best part is flexibility. And like the other active thread going here, meeting up with fellow paddlers in the middle of your journey is a great thing. You can learn a lot from each other. If you go in the numbered lakes, plan on going into the lakes around Alice. You'd never regret it. If in fact you can't that's ok too. Usually plenty of people around as there is good walleye fishing that way. Then a trip over to fishdance for the picto's. The key is to get in the best shape you can be in before hand. Also spend time this winter perfecting your menu.
 
Whatsit
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11/25/2016 05:33PM  
That's great advice nctry! Great advice everyone. Thanks!
 
Whatsit
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11/25/2016 07:54PM  
Do any of you think I'll have trouble Finding a campsite on the number lakes Memorial Day week? I don't want to go all the way to insula soloing the first time. I'd take day trips there.
 
mjmkjun
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11/29/2016 07:49PM  
quote Whatsit: "Do any of you think I'll have trouble Finding a campsite on the number lakes Memorial Day week? I don't want to go all the way to insula soloing the first time. I'd take day trips there. "
got some spare time on your hands? scrolling through the trip reports section likely will bring up a good bit of info that correlates with area/timeframe of your trip. even comments in group trip reports can offer info to better plan for your route as soloist.
note the paddling/portaging time it took for individual/groups to reach destination lake. particularly, any comments about campsite availability & time of afternoon. etc, etc.
 
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