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scoutWBL

BWCA Camping Tips

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I am planning my first BWCA canoe/camp/fishing trip. Our trip will be in early Sept. We are looking for a relatively easy trip as we are all beginners. A short portage or two is what we are looking for and would love to focus on walleye and lakers. Any tips or input on lakes routes or gear would be great. Thanks!

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Thanks Dutch. We have been using that in our planning... lots of good information.

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Take a look at Pine Lake at the end of the Arrowhead trail north of Hovland. It is a larger lake and gets quite windy sometimes but has a decent population of lakers and walleyes.

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My party has deciden on Perent lake. No lakers but sound like a good base camp option to get the wives interested.... now we are working on a good packing list. I would imagine to plan for some cold weather in Sept and hope for the best. Any Perent lake tips?

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Always take the rain gear. I've gone with people who lose it to save weight. They end up cold, wet miserable. Avoid taking cotton clothing if possible. The spring and fall take cold weather gear like a fleece jacket, long sleeve sweater,long pants and hiking boots. Also pack a pair of shorts and breathable shirts. I've had spring and fall days at both ends of the weather spectrum.

I'd plan on a 15 degree sleeping bag.

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We did an entrance into Fall lake then up to Pipestone Bay of Basswood lake past the non-motorized zone. All in all it was 12-13 miles of paddling and this was our first trip up to the BWCA. There weren't a whole lot of people up there and the fishing was good. Caught enough walleyes to eat and enough smallies to keep us busy and hooked into a really nice northern.

Definitley bring rain gear and more cold weather clothes than warm weather. If you get your only sweatshirt wet, it gets pretty tough to warm up in a t-shirt.

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go to wally world or K Fart and buy yourself a cheap pair of tennis shoes. When you get out to portage you can just step up to your knees shoes and all. Then you can portage in those shoes and at the end of your trip you just throw the shoes away.

Have a bear rope and pully system to hang your food so the critters cant get it.

If you have access to a canoe, take it for practice portages around the neighborhood to get used to the weight. If you can get pads to go on the yolks of the canoe, do it, it will save your shoulders a lot of stress

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Depending on how much you want to bring in etc. Ask if you are not portaging... bring more, if you are portaging quite a bit be more "selective". I found the more I went the less I brought.

If you are bringing wives, a whole different level of acceptable clean will be in play. A couple of trips with just guys and you basically brought 2 sets of clothes and wore one until it stunk then changed into the other. if necessary you could "lake rinse" one set via a swim and dry it out while you wore the other.

Rain Gear is the #1 need and you can never have enough ways to start a fire. Lighters matches and even Bring a propane torch or something if you cannot get a fire going it can be miserable.

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Having just got out last night, I know we would have been miserable without a tarp set up for a rain/wind fly. We needed more cold weather gear than warm, and this is the beginning of August.

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Ditto that. We just got out too. Cold weather gear is a must. Fleece is good but if it gets wet takes a long time to dry in cool weather. Lightweight pants weren't enough, had to have the rain pants on to stay warm enough.

Bring an extra tarp for a place to "wait it out" if its raining or windy.

Don't plan on cooking over the fire as your only means, bring a camp stove as a backup.

Have fun!

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If your looking for a good beginers trip lake one Entry point 30 is a good choice. 2 short portages and you have access to a few different lakes I also recommed voyager north outfitter out of Ely mn for renting gear for the first time - there are a few good books to help you out as well Cliff jacobs is the authur.

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Lots of good advice here. Pack light - the lighter the better IMO. Quality rain gear. Sandals with closed toe. 12" bungees to strap rods to the gunwhales during portages. Think about weight when packing food too. Bagel sandwiches are great... meat & cheeselogs. Pasta bags are light and loaded with carbs. Pancakes/oatmeal for breakfast. Plenty of Nalgene bottles. Try to get one pack per guy whether it's a Duluth pack or food pack. The goal is to make the portage in one trip without going back for misc items. All this talk to making me want to get up there!

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The guy has already picked his route and it's Perent Lake. You don't need to go light as it's a short drop to get into Hog Creek and then into Perent. The only thing to caution is that any creek in the BWCA towards the end of the year can be difficult due to low water.

Since you really have no portages, bring a large tarp or two, all of the warm weather gear, etc. I'd also recommend bringing some kind of fire starter since it sounds like you are newer to camping. I always bring an emergency starter in case it's too wet to start it the traditional way. Make sure that you bring a good, current map and know how to read it.

Perent has walleye and northerns in it, so rig up for those species especially. Enjoy being there and respect those who are around you. Keep your voices low and recognize just how far noise travels over the water, especially on a still night.

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Parent lake gets a LOT of traffic. It is pretty easy to get to. One portage around the hog creek rapids and paddle the rest in. The fishing has gone downhill the last few years due to all the traffic on it. Our "secret spot", which we used to have to ourselves most of the time now usually has a dozen canoes on it.

If you can do Parent during midweek it would be much quieter.

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MNmikew makes a great point. It's the allure of the BWCA for me. Most of us start off on a popular and relatively easy route. That's what hooks us in. For some that is the cats meow. For others, they crave more wilderness and more solitude. That's when you start venturing in further and taking harder voyages.

Enjoy your first trip. During and afterwards, think about the aspects that you did and didn't like and then plan your next trip to improve upon the last.

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Portable depth finder. They are compact,lightweight and fairly inexpensive. Humminbird or Eagle. Wouldn't go w/o it. Look up as (name brand) portable depth finder on google.

Keep fire wood dry with addl tarp.

Bring plenty of extra fuel for the camp stove as you use more when it is cold out than when warm out, ie. boiling water that is now 12 degrees colder than summer temps. Plus some for fire starter.

Good luck,

WG

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The whole reason I go is for the quiet and remote. I dont want to see tons of people along the way. Fewer people means less fishing pressure. Also better chances of seeing wild life.

Quetico is more expensive and tougher country then the BWCAW. Also the campsites are not marked. Thus its quiet and extremely remote. My last trip up through the heart of Quetico, we went 2 full days the week before Labor without seeing anyone.

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Quote:
The whole reason I go is for the quiet and remote. I dont want to see tons of people along the way.

You can find remote in the Quetico, not so much in the BW. I do not go to the Boundary Waters and expect solitude. Especially after this past winter's trip, we had 48 people pulling their sleds past our camp in one day!! Time for a new winter spot.

I've always found that if you and your crew are comfortable, it makes for a much more enjoyable trip. Lightweight camp chairs, nice sleeping pads, and quality raingear are very key to keeping comfy in the woods.

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