Wilderness Wisdom – BWCA Canoe Trip Preparation

Wilderness Wisdom – BWCA Canoe Trip Preparation
BWCA Canoe Trip Preparation

Springtime means BWCA canoe trip preparation time.  Ice-out and the opening of the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park are coming soon.  An epic canoe trip is just around the corner

Excellent, Engaging, Fun and Safe Epic Canoe Trips

The Williams and Hall Outfitters mission statement talks about providing excellent, engaging, fun and safe wilderness canoe adventures.  Such an epic wilderness adventure requires thinking about what gear you will need for your trip.  We have given this a lot of thought over the years.  Here is part of our list that we have created and continually review for our outfitting customers.

bwca portaging packs

The BWCA Canoe Trip Preparation List
  1. Medical Kit – accidents can happen in the wilderness. You can be a long way from the doctor.  Carry a decent medical kit in your group.  Know what is in the kit before you start your trip.  If possible, have at least two people in the group who know first aid.
  2. A Good Paddle – the longer and more strenuous your trip, the more important your paddle choice becomes. Did you know you might take as many as 25 strokes a minute when paddling across open water.  Wood paddles are easier on the joints, while carbon fiber paddles are lighter.  Also, make sure the group has a spare paddle.
  3. Portaging Packs – we provide our customers with Granite Gear or Kondos portaging packs. We think the soft pack provides the best in light-weight, durable material that has maximum packing flexibility.  Adjustable padded straps are very important, too.
  4. Navigation Capability – a good boundary waters map, such as a Fisher Map, is indispensable. Elevations, portages, and campsites are clearly marked.  Even if you carry an electronic navigation device, we think you should carry maps as well.  Maps don’t use batteries that can fail.
  5. Waterproof Bags – It is good to pack your clothes in a waterproof bag that can fit in your portaging pack. Having dry clothes means comfort and safety should you get wet.  Afterall, you are traversing across water and can be rained on.  The chance of getting wet is good in the Boundary Waters.
  6. Waterproof Outerwear – Speaking of getting wet, breathable, waterproof outerwear is strongly encouraged, if not required. (Water resistant material just doesn’t cut it.) Waterproof outerwear will keep you warm and dry in the canoe and in camp.  It is also great for warmth on windy, dry days.
Other Considerations
bwca canoe trip footwear

The Great Canoe Trip Footwear Debate

Two other items to consider are canoeing footwear and communication devices.  Canoeing footwear is a long-debated topic beyond the scope of this post.  Talk to experienced outfitters or BWCA canoeists for more.  And if you feel the need to be in communication, there are a myriad of satellite communication devices on the market now.  Just remember, there is no cell coverage in the BWCA or Quetico Park.

This is a partial list.  See our full list on our website by clicking here.  You can also read more in this interesting article.

Paddle On. Be Free.


ultimatefish and canoe trips BWCA Quetico