Boundary waters


Our Boy Scout troop would like to go to the BW next summer but were advised that each individual must be able to carry a 90 lb pack.

This has discouraged the leaders, since these kids are not all pro wrestlers.

I thought the 90 lb pack idea seemed like nonsense. Just what is true?

…been to the BWCAW about 40 times since 1984 and doubt I carried a 90lb pack? in my younger days I DID sometimes carry a pack on front and back and carry a pack and canoe at the same time. But someone’s pulling your leg or being a jackass IMHO telling you kids are required to carry 90lb packs!

Havent been to the BWCA yet, but planning a trip 2015. I’ve talked with co-workers that have been there, and depending on the route you pick, you might have to carry up to 60 lbs. If your canoes weigh 90 lbs, then I guess someone would be carrying 90 lbs. But I’m sure the leaders would be more than happy to carry them.

There are routes without portages.

I thought we were being given cracked advice. I don’t know if they are counting on carrying a cast iron wood stove or what!

absolute BS

– Last Updated: Nov-10-14 8:02 AM EST –

from someone that thinks arrogantly that carrying heavy dangerous loads builds character.

I would not take one more word of advice from that party.

The less you carry the better. Some troops have packing exercises where each boy has to fit all personal gear in the five gallon pail before going on the trip. This includes the sleeping bag. Not the tent

Yes I have been to the BWCA. My total gear load solo is about 90 lbs but its broken into two trips.. 55 lbs gear and 35 lbs boat.

If you keep things on the light side and focus on fun, the boys will come to love canoeing as a lifetime pursuit. Make it a horrid crushing experience and they are more likely to hate it.

Ditto what everyone else has said
No way do you have to carry that kind of a load. Between the boat and gear, I’ve had that much solo, but mostly double carry. Unlike going solo, a group should be able to pare down weight by distributing common gear, e.g. kitchen, food, and tents.

No need
No need to carry that kind of load.

Just leave the cots and cast iron cookware at home :slight_smile:

would anyone have to carry a 90lb pack for fun? Ever?

Anyone who thinks they need 90lb of personal gear for a week in decent weather is out of his nut.

The heaviest thing you are going to pack is food and that will get lighter as you go. 55-60 at the start is plenty, and not a hard number to stay under without even getting into ultralight gear. I am a big guy and I like my comfort, my gear and 2 days food is like 35lb but I carry a good water filter, some extra first aid and emergancy gear. If the extra was spread out, I didnt carry as much extra in case of emergancy, and the temps were up, I could drop 5 lb fast.

You will add a bit because each person is going to have to carry their PFD and paddle and 1/2 their canoe. Dry bags will add a pound or two and each person, if you are going to portage, will need decent DRY footgear for in and out of the boat.

Now it depends on the scouts you are taking also. Taking 11-12 yo small scouts with little experiance makes life interesting. If you are taking 13 and up who have done some packing in and out, then they know how to pack and can carry the weight.

Thats the good news, the bad news…

You might want to get into a little more serious back packing before you jump to a 5 day unsupported trip. We took our troop from a car camping troop to one that we can come up with a weekend trip where they are going to backpack or canoe and they are on their own for food, and it is a matter of letting them know what we are doing a week before and they show up with the right gear, but it took 3 years. The adults have to get up to speed also.

To get a decent # of boys ready for a week unsupported trip starting now, means you start yesterday. If you troop is full of well off parents you are in a bit better shape for getting better gear. There is simple math when buying backpacking stuff. More dollars = less weight. The other thing is get compatible gear. Everyone gets stoves that can share the same fuel.

If you buddy up the scouts you can split tents. One guy carrys the poles and fly, the other carries the tent. IF repeat IF you can get teams together they can save a lot of weight by splitting tents, stoves and cookware.

IMHO, a lot of troop gear is a bad idea. We take a bucket with 2 Kelty tarps. Thats it. Everyone is on their own for food and lodging. There can be no complaints about who carries what because if you bring it, you carry it.

Just beware of ICE and
The Oompah Loompahs…

is there something i should know? Oompa Loompas, bears, ICE… Gotta be scare tactics! right??

Oompa Loompahs
On the bright side, the Saskwatches won’t give you any trouble when there’s an Oompa Loompah around.

BSA requirements for BWCA
According to the Northern Tier High Adventure Base literature and website,Scouts on canoe trips departing the Charles Sommers High Adventure Base must be BSA swimmers and capable of carrying loads of 70# over rough and muddy portages. This is probably the weight of single carrying an aluminum canoe. A very detailed required gear list is given, but no mention of 90# packs. General BSA guidelines set maximum pack weight as a percentage of the Scouts weight and from memory it was 40%, though this may well be wrong.


BSA Fieldbook
Fieldbook recommends backpack weight of 25% of body weight as full load for Scouts to maintain balance and control on trails.

those are some big boy scouts!