I did a four day trip last summer in the BWCA and all was good, except I used the multiple dry bags I use on the Ozark streams here in Missouri. I tried strapping them to an aluminum pack frame. It didn’t go well on the portages as Cliff Jacobson and many others have advised. I bought a #3 Duluth pack recently and will try it out on the Eleven Point River next weekend on a two nite trip. Most everything fits in the pack with room left over, except for the food and cooking kit which I pack in a 5 gallon bucket with a screw on lid. It’s not bear proof but it is waterproof and resistant to raccoons and armidillos. I carry small misc items like rain gear and first aid kit in a daypack that I wear while portaging the canoe. RockC the dog has a pack and will carry her own food and other dog stuff. On these river trips I also take along a small camp table and a chair which won’t go to the Boundry Waters. If all goes well, no more drybag issues for me.
The nice thing about them is you can almost always stuff just one more thing in them.
I prefer the #4 because I prefer the larger box-style and the way it sits in a canoe. Also with the #4 you can fit one of those big Rubbermade containers for a BWCAW food pack when you have a group trip.
Also, the #4 holds two of those 5 gallon Barrels very nicely with room to stuff most 2-4 man tents and a tarp. Throw one of those cheap $1.99 Wallmart closed cell foam sitting cushions in there next to the back to pad it from the buckets and use it to sit on around camp or at your lunch spot.
The smaller Cruiser pack holds one barrel or an ash packbasket nicely. I’ve got an old one that I used to use all the time for day trips on the river.
Here’s a pic from the Rendevous with our old #4 with two buckets in it (one for Margaret, one for me) with dry gear. WW
I think you’re going to like the pack system Doug, to simplify things and result in less futzing around on portages. The separate pail thing isn’t a bad idea either for a solo canoe. I’m betting it will prove useful to put some weight in the bow to trim out your boat with the heavier pack sitting right behind you.
Be sure to pick up some liner bags too
As you probably already know, you can get special heavy-duty plastic bags which fit inside these packs. These bags are extra long, so there’s a lot of rolling-up of the top that’s needed to get them closed, so the seal is actually pretty good (I often put my sleeping bag in a regular drybag though, just in case, but I’m sure putting the sleeping bag inside the pack with a separate plastic bag around it for insurance would be just as good, and would save weight).
Good advice guys, thanks.
Making things simple is what it’s all about. I’m tired of fooling around with three or four dry bags every morning. But, all those bags made it easy to balance out the boat. Now I have a 40# dog that gets most of the bow. The stuff I overnite with in the Ozarks is around 40# and fits easily in the Duluth Pack, not including drinking water and a small cooler which won’t go up north. All my food and cooking stuff is packed in a 5 gallon bucket with a gamma seal lid and a home made srap that makes it easy to portage.
Ostrum pack liner
While it is pricey, the Ostrum roll-down liner has worked well for me. It is not designed for submersion, but that is not a likely scenario in the BWCA. It is also handy in that you can pull it out of the (wet, bilge-water soaked) pack and drag it into the tent for convenience.
Sounds like a plan
Sounds like a good plan to me. Be sure to hang RockC's food as well or put it in the bucket with yours, otherwise the mice and other critters will get it.
Consider a doggy pfd for RockC.
Get the pack liner as suggested or you can use use a contractor grade trash bag as a liner.
not meaning to get off the subject
But you said you use a bucket w/ a screw top lid… Im looking for some of those . do you know where i might find them? …thanks jack
Gamma Seal Lid
Jack, you should be able to find these screw top lids for a 5 gallon pail in a local paddle shop or possibly a sporting goods store. Here is the first listing that Google came up with if you wanted to mail order. They come with a disclaimer that states the lid does not work on all 5 gallon pails and I guess if you try to fit the lid housing (what the lid screws into) on the wrong pail, the housing is toast and you buy another. I had no problem with the pail I converted.
Gamma Seal Lids
I purchased five or six of the lids from Sportsmans Guide. They are very handy for uses other than camping as well. I’ve used them on empty drywall compound buckets. I also bought a couple 5 gallon buckets at wally world because they came in nice colors. Only one bucket did not work and I don’t remember where it came from.
And… I did not use my new Duluth pak afterall. I bought a new sleeping bag that while warm, is huge. It takes up the whole pack! So I will try it out later with the normal, warmer weather gear.
im taking mom to arkansas right after xmas to visit family and theres a sportsmans guide store close to bentonville… ill check it out and see if they have em…
I’ve gotten Gamma Seals at Sportsmansgude.com as well. Sometimes they have good prices … when they have them. If they don’t have them another source is US Plastics http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=USPlastic&category%5Fname=24&product%5Fid=20669
I couldn’t remember the name of that company when someone e-mailed me the other day about those lids. I remembered Sportsman’s Guide, but they didn’t have any last time so I bought them from US Plastic. Have had these for 2 years now, no leaks, no problems and they fit on a pair of Wallyworld buckets.
BTW, Jack, I didn’t realize Sportsman’s Guide had a store, I thought they were just mail order? If they have a place in Arkansas, I may have to make a visit! WW
yes a store
its between bentonville and fayetteville ar. on the 170 i think the community is springdale// by the way there is a nice knife shop warehouse there that has alot of different /cool /and rather expensive knives and a outdoor sports store with some paddling equiptment called lewis and clark… there all right close whithin a few miles of each other…it would be a long day trip for you but a fun one as well … right down the road a lil further in fayetteville the misses will be glad to hear that there is a nice mall with most the bells and wistles …but you dont have to tell her that if you dont want to…
Mindless little gnawers, those mice and chipmunks. A slight food odor is enough to set them a-chewing. Apparently their pea-sized brains don’t have the capacity for directed action (I don’t think, therefore I gnaw) so they work at any surface that their incisors will fit around. Food stored in a sphere, oh, maybe three inches or more would reduce the little critters to licking the exterior.
Now ther is a thought. How about a spherical cannister, two feet in diameter with a flush screw opening accessed via hidden latch? Bears wouldnt be able to gnaw it or hold it. They would bat it about and loose interest.
And Mark Cassidy told me that joke in 1962.