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Camping Tips & Tricks

Here are some good tips for your canoe camping trip:

Planning Your Trip

  • Make sure everybody in your camping party is happy with the planned trip.  Some like to canoe a lot and only stay at a site a night and then move on, some like to set up a 4 day camp and stay and fish and make small trips from the base camp.
     
  • Research the waters and your route ahead of time.  Avoid travel through very large lakes that can be too windy to safely paddle through. Research the fishing - a very good guide for Boundary Waters Canoe Area is the Boundary Waters Fishing Guide.  For free lake map and river map resources on the web, click here.
     
  • Try to plan your trip in an "off-season" time if possible. The end of May (before schools let out) or in September or October are good times. If you make a trip in a popular area (like the BWCA) in a peak time, you may find yourself competing with other campers for the few limited spots on a lake. Find some out-of-the-way spots that still offer wilderness type camping if you are going out in mid-summer.

Camp Set Up

  • As soon as you find a spot, make wood gathering your number one priority. You never know when it may rain on you.  Wet wood makes for difficult cooking
     
  • If you have wet wood to work with when you begin, gather a good supply of wood, start a fire (paper towel soaked in cooking oil is a good fire starter!), and then pile all the wet wood on or around the fire.  When the wood finally dries off enough to start burning, take it off the fire and set it aside - you can dry out wood that is virtually water-logged this way.
     
  • If mosquitoes and bugs are very bad, you can drive them away from your campsite with a good smoky fire.  Place old rotted wood or green grass and old leaves on the fire - the smoke will clear out many of the bugs.
     
  • Cover your firewood with a tarp at night - this will keep the dew and possible rain off.
     
  • Keep your campsite area clean of food as evening approaches.  Keep all food packed in plastic bags inside a food pack hung high in a tree over a limb.

You and The Elements

  • Avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring plenty of sunscreen.
     
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. It is usually recommended to boil the water you gather from the lake or river or bring your own water if the lake or river has motor boat traffic. You may also treat lake water with bleach drops.  There is a camper's water filter that works well if you wish to spend the money.
     
  • Wear gloves if you have problem skin.  Cracked hands can get very painful.
     
  • Bring plenty of strong bug repellent.
     
  • Bring a first aid kit.