Anyone reccomend a BWCA outfitter?

I’m trying to plan a trip to the BWCA in mid-may next year. There’ll just be two of us, and neither of us have ever been there. It’s really not feasible for us to take a canoe with us, so we’re going to have to rent one and work out shuttles and the rest. The rest of the outfitting I can handle, but I’m going to need to get a canoe there, and depending on pricing and destinations, we might look at getting flown in somewhere to mazimize the time we have. Does anyone have a reccomendation for someone they’ve worked with in the past?

Thanks for the help.


If you haven’t already,
check out this site. You’ll get a lot of useful info and enjoy yourself in the process. I stumbled onto it a few weeks ago and have been hooked ever since.

My only experience
I took my first trip to BWCA in September. I don’t have a lot of information because I didn’t use an outfitter. However, I did buy an end of season rental canoe, and a few other things from Piragis. They were friendly, helpful and had great customer service. I bought some overshoes before I entered which tore the day I exited. They gave me a refund no questions asked.

Appreciate the help. I’m going to sift through those message boards and outfitter sites and I guess then I’ll have to start calling people.


where ?
choosing an outfitter should be about step 3 in the process.

first step - decide on the area you will be using for your entry point

second step, assuming you know when you will be going, apply for an entry permit in the lottery - starts sometime in January I think - to reserve your entry date, otherwise all the permits for the time and entry you want may be taken

third step - then choose an outfitter in that area. not much point in choosing an outfitter from the East side if you are going to use a West side entry point.

second and third steps can be reversed - then the outfitter can help ou get the permits, etc and provide you with ohter info

you can find online maps, etc from the website, as well as other places. many of hte outfitters will have suggested trip itineraries on thier websites also.

BWCA rentals

– Last Updated: Nov-19-13 1:44 PM EST –

I found several outfitters with great equipment for rent and good package deals for everything. We arrived by plane and rented almost all of our outfit.

The route planning was terrible. We had a young in shape group, and asked for any easy schedule. We ended up paddling 12 hour days and paddling big waves on Basswood trying to stay on schedule. The menu planning was heavy on carbos and dessert with few vegetables.

In summary. Almost any outfitter can supply equipment. Find someone with a lot of local experience to help with the routes and the menu.

Permits are usually handled by the outfitters.

bwcaw outfitter
I have dealt with two outfitters in Ely, MN and would recommend either of them.

Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters and


West side entry
Sawbill is good, near Tofte.

bwcaw outfitter
I used Canadian Border Outfitters my first time there and had an excellent experience. That was 20 years ago and they are still around. May want to check them out.

Used Sawbill many time and was always pleased. Check their site out. Has trip suggestions.