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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Gear Forum :: Packing Process- Ready to Go?
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12/23/2020 11:16AM
That might be the hardest part is the sharing of gear between seasons and activities. Clothes for example.

Depending on the overlap, you could still have a ready to go pack for any activity, and a ready to go canoe specific items (canoe, lifejackets, etc).

12/23/2020 10:42AM
Too much of my canoeing gear gets used year round to leave packed away. Winter camping, Appalachian Trail hiking, ice fishing, Ely RV-ing, Sedona hiking, and Florida paddling use much of the same gear. But I do keep things well organized and have a great work space. And work with lists for each type of adventure.
12/23/2020 11:11AM
I also camp more than just the BWCA and accordingly have different packs. Between trips gear is stored in labeled plastic tubs (sleep-cook-misc) or hung, etc. I have some gear unique such as yeti grips for ice/snow hikes and excess gear (older things I have not culled from my too ample storage space) in other tubs. When it comes time to trip I select the pack(s) and bags, open the tubs and pull items for the planned trip. I could be packed for most trips in a couple hours plus any food prep.
Some items such as what I wear when I paddle is out and used regularly.
12/23/2020 10:14AM
How many of you have ready to go bags to take off into the BWCA on a moments notice? Basically only having to put in car, stop by a grocery store on the way, and snag a permit? Do you find it works well? Basically you are packing for the future trip about a week after your previous trip, after everything is washed and dry.

I'm assuming only people who live reasonable distances from the BW will do this (as well as dooms day preppers).

I have a dedicated area in the basement with shelves, ceiling hooks to hang bags, poles to hang sleeping bags, I typically keep tents and tarps packed away, but on the shelf. I also have a 4x8' table that I use to stage ALL of my gear, then it goes from table into packs into the car...... BUT that still takes me time, typically days, which is fine because its enjoyable. BUT I'd also like to take off within an hour, grab an available permit, and go in for a weekender. Don't we all wish we were that organized. How much stuff can you reasonably have packed away on the ready? Food, sleeping bags, battery operated stuff (only thinking headlamp)

Some challenges include-
1. Cooking items- sometimes I just take the jetboil, sometimes I take the whole kitchen sink, depending on who I'm tripping with and what type of trip it is.
2. Did I forgot something? That will nag me the whole trip- and you don't really know if you are missing something until you need it (for example, taking gear out of the designated bags for other activities)
3. Fuel? I suppose I could put this with the food.

I'm not really asking for any specific answers. There are no wrong ways to pack.
12/23/2020 11:40AM

I don't have anything packed, but I can be packed, loaded and driving within two hours. A couple things are key:

1. Lists - I have gear lists and what to pack for the following:
a. solo canoe camping
b. two people canoe camping
c. solo winter camping
d. two people winter camping
e. solo backpacking
f. two people backpacking

There is a lot of gear overlap among the trips of course, but there is specific gear for a specific trip that needs to be packed. Having a list takes out any sort of "now, did I pack this?" or "Did I have this on the last trip?" thinking and wasting of time.

2. Food - A list of easy to make meals that I can grab from the grocery store on the way up. Stuff that has minimal packaging, that I quickly throw together on the trail. Also, I have trail bars, gatoraid powder, Via coffee already in stock at home. If I am really ambitious, I have a couple of freeze dried meals still in stock or dehydrated meals I have made.

3. Fuel - I have a couple of cans ready to go, in stock in the house.

Finally, all of my gear is stored in a corner of my basement, organized into bins. So, I really wanted to get out faster, I just grab all the bins and organize at my destination.
12/23/2020 11:13AM
To have a bag "ready to go" would mean that my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain fly and clothes would all have to be compressed and stored in a pack. I do not store things that way. My tent and rain fly are stored in an open tote, sleeping bag is it's storage sack (not to be confused with the stuff sack that doesn't breath well and is a fraction of the size), the sleeping pad is unrolled with valves open, and my camping clothes are folded or hung in the closet.

I think that proper storage of gear is as important as using it properly. If you don't take protect your gear, your gear will not protect you. Things like extra rope, my tackle box, water filters, and cookware are often stored in a stuff sack or their own separate container which is easy to place in my main pack when it is time for a trip, but the pack itself is emptied and allowed to air out with everything else. It doesn't take too much room to store everything properly, one corner of a spare closet or a single rack in the basement should be plenty.
12/23/2020 11:27AM
THEGrandRapids: "2. Did I forgot something? That will nag me the whole trip- and you don't really know if you are missing something until you need it (for example, taking gear out of the designated bags for other activities)"

Like others who have commented, some of our gear is shared between activities. Also, the BWCA/Q is a two-day drive (one way) for us, so those trips are planned in detail well in advance. To avoid the 'what did I forget' moments, we've developed a BWCA/Q gear list/checklist that works for us.

12/23/2020 12:02PM
I make google spreadsheets for all of my gear for trips. It includes what goes in what pack and a menu. I could be out the door in 20 minutes for a trip. Of course this isn't the way that it works. For our trip leaving Memorial Day weekend in 2021, I will pack, unpack, reshuffle items and pack again probably 4 times. I even have a luggage scale to weigh the packs.

But if I had to be gone, I would like to think 20 minutes to pack
12/23/2020 12:53PM
Not in a single bag but stored in the garage on shelves. I can pack a compete outfit in 15 minutes including preserved food. The year I retired I quit reserving except for group solo trips. Took what was available at the time. Saved money till the decided to charge reservation fees even on walk in's. Now that I have to add reservation fees , went back to blocking out the EP I want when I can get it.

It's a 600 mile trip to an EP so I'll spend extra days beginning and end. Plenty of time to organize and final pack. I do lots of impromptu camping so a box of long term store food is always ready to go.
mostly grab gear off the shelf toss in truck and go.

12/23/2020 01:23PM
butthead: "...


Garage envy.
12/24/2020 06:42AM
I am only 4-6 hour drive from most EPs but with work and young kids it’s still something I can’t do on a whim.

I have a detailed checklist—refined over many trips—for solo, 2 person and 3-4 person trips. My gear is on shelves in a cool, dry basement and the smaller items are in about 10 different plastic, stackable tubs. I have three folding banquet tables I set up as needed for a work space.

My packing process is 1) review and update checklist, 2) print out checklist, 2) pull gear and put on a table—one table per pack, and 4) put gear into the packs. Typically takes me a couple hours. I enjoy it and usually not in any great rush.

The clean up and storage of the gear takes longer but even that gets quicker with practice. Although it’s my least favorite part. But I think is important to maintain and store gear well too so it lasts a long time. I also start a list of gear that needs repair and consumable that need to be bought between trips and seasons. Yes, I have a little list OCD!
12/24/2020 01:38PM
I could be on the road in about the same time it would take me to pack up camp and load the canoe on a trip. A quick stop at the grocery store might be necessary on the way. I do spur-of-the-moment short backpacks so I keep on hand 10 days worth of the freeze dried dinners I like. If I use 3 or 4 for a hiking trip I'll replace them right a way.

If I lived a few hours from the BWCA I'd be slipping off all the time, but it takes me three days to get there. Backpacks in the southern Appalachians keep me pretty happy.
01/07/2021 08:52PM
What canoe is that?
01/07/2021 08:28PM
I keep a "go bag" in my car at all times which has a lot of the stuff I take to BWCA in it. Survival gear and wilderness camping gear have a lot of cross over. My go bag has water filtration, fire starting, knives, multi tools, rope, jet oil with fuel, sleeping bag and hammock among other things. A trip to BWCA really only adds clothes, food, and canoe items as well as weather/temp specific outerwear.
12/29/2020 12:29AM
My camping gear is all stored in a couple of tubs and I have a gear list. I can be packed and ready to go in about 3 hours. Food is a little more complicated.

For day trips to the river or a local lake, that is all in a grab and go bag.
12/29/2020 07:13AM
Between scouts, family trips and solo trips I'm always somewhat ready to go. Give me an hour.
12/30/2020 01:56PM
I do have what I consider my "mobile basecamp" packed at all times with the gear I don't want compressed/packed sitting next to it. Could easily be a grab & go regarding worst case a camping "go bag".
This is also how I just store my stuff, it takes up astronomically less room and way less clutter when it's just a CCS hybrid pack all packed up sitting there. I would never bring all that gear on a BWCA trip plus I'd be convinced I didn't have everything I wanted if I didn't pack it right before I go.
My camping outside the B-dub is in a camper and that has it's own complete set of gear that never leave it. The camper is definitely ready to go. But when you have a 4000+ lb gear tolerance you can bring all the extra crap.