Primitive Mang. Area BWCA

Anyone ever do a solo trip like this? I am thinking of doing a primitive trip (solitude) and am wondering what I need to know before I start planning over the winter.


Maybe you should check out and post in the wilderness tripping forum of this site.

I have not done solo trips in the BWCA/Quetico Provincial Park, but have done trips of up to two weeks with one other person. I’m sure you realize that some risk is involved. There is a very real possibility of something like breaking an ankle carrying over a rocky portage trail and having considerable difficulty getting out.

You might want to check with one of the better outfitters in the area for their advice, even if you have your own gear. A good one is Piragis Northwoods Company which rents excellent, lightweight canoes and kayaks.

There are many bulletin boards for this area which you can turn up with a simple search. An example is

Much the same
as regular with a couple exceptions.

  1. You need an additional permit to enter the PMA (on top of your regular BWCA entry permit). I believe group size restrictions are the same.
  2. You will be the only permit allowed in the area during the dates on your permit. Hence you will be alone.
  3. Portages are not maintained and no campsites exist. Though old campsites will be fair game, no latrines or fire rings exist.

    Good luck


In Georgia we manage primitives by
putting as many as possible in the state legislature.

My wife and I did 12 nights in Quetico by ourselves in '73. I wasn’t too concerned (even when I chopped off the tip of my thumb) because in July, there are a lot of other paddlers to call on for help. If we had not gone by ourselves, we could not have done the trip.

In 2005, I soloed two nights and 37 miles in the Slickrock Canyon of the Dolores River in west Colorado. I didn’t see many other boaters, and I wasn’t too concerned about that.

We hear a lot about going in a group for safety. Of course there are some great rescues in group trips. Funny, though… Most of the deaths seem to occur in group trips.