Stuff to take to Bowron Lakes?

I’m assembling the gear we’re taking to Bowron Lakes. Going in on July 9.

PNetters, you were very helpful to me regarding what to put in my first aid kit(which is done) so now a couple of remaining gear questions.

Should we take:

A Sven saw

Throw bag

Mosquito sticks (same as coils but sturdier)

They recommend an axe, I assume for splitting down wood rounds to cooking size. I take a saw with me in the Southeast, but there may be no use for it there? And it’s relatively heavy.

We are just one canoe, not a group, so maybe no throwbag?

Mosquito sticks worked great on Cumberland Island, GA. Might help us be able to sit outside at Bowron in the evening?

Please share your thoughts. Thanks!

Not sure a throw bag is needed for its
traditional role, but you never know when you’ll want a whole bunch of extra rope.

Definitely have a saw. I guess you’ll be scrounging for downed, dead wood, and a saw beats a camp axe for making wood usable. I clipped the end of my thumb off with an axe. Don’t do that.

You can try the mosquito sticks, but when we’ve camped in Canada, it’s been too windy for them to work.

Bowron L
Be ready for rain, mosquitoes, bears and some river currents. I would bring an axe, saw, tarp in addition to a tent, a pistol and a throw bag. Head nets, long pants and sleeves with velco closures and some cigars for really bad mosquitoes.

Transport Canada requires 15 of

– Last Updated: Jun-27-13 4:19 PM EST –

bouyant heaving line (the throwbag is the most practical form) and a bailer and a whistle .

I have heard of people getting dinged for not having a light handy even in the day.

If using a cart there are weight constraints

You cannot legally take a handgun to Canada. Trying to do so will ensure you never do the trip.

See the actual park regulations attached. You CAN take Bear Spray into Canada. Its perfectly legal,. You probably will be questioned upon entry re pepper spray. Be sure to be able to show the container to the agent and make sure it is marked for use on bears only.

Thanks, all. And one more question.
OK, will take saw and throw bag, and the mosquito sticks don’t weigh much, so them too.

I think we can rent bear spray there – or buy it.

No pistol, no cigar.

Definitely a headnet and long sleeves and pants.

Two tarps and a tent.

Can’t take glass into Bowron. What should I carry my brandy (or bourbon) in? I worry about plastics but maybe for such a short time it doesn’t matter?

And thanks AGAIn for so much good advice. We took a little side-slipping and ferrying the canoe lesson yesterday in preparation for the Caribou River. i am a bit intimidated by the Caribou. We have paddled class 1 and 2 and once a class 3 drop in a tandem canoe many years ago, but it wasn’t our idea of fun. And the canoe back then wasn’t loaded with camping gear. Other than the river part of Bowron, I am thrilled to be going!


You can carry your brandy in a Nalgene
bottle…no problem. Some of them are sold in plastic bottles.

Well, OK, then!
Nalgene it is, with no worries.

Cocktail hour is a great time of day!




– Last Updated: Jun-28-13 9:45 AM EST –

the canoe rules quoted, I believe, only apply to Canadian boats - i.e. not applicable if you were bringing your own canoe (unless you are canadian) - there is some fine print about that somewhere. I know for a fact that that is so in Ontario - i.e. that the throwbag rule is not required of US paddlers with their own boats.

Bear Cannisters ? or hang your food pack - I don't know the rules for Bowron - many locations nowadays require you to use bear resistan cannisters - regardless of if its required, plan on hanging your food pack or using a cannister - most important, use several layers of trash bags as liners to reduce/eliminate odors that might attract a bear - I would never cook bacon in bear county - in Grizzly country, its generally recommended to eat dinner, than paddle on a few miles to a campsite. don't know how much of an issue they may have with bears in Bowron, but the park rangers should be able to fill you in.

bring extra bug dope - I have an Ex-officio bug shirt (permethrin) that I find does work to keep mosquitos from biting thru my shirt - don't get biten in the back anymore with it.

have you checked Bowron Park rules ? they may have specific rules that they apply, regardless of Transport Canada or whatever.

never mind about the bear cannisters
Bowron Lake Provincial Park

New for 2013:

The Bowron Lake frontcountry campground (the backcountry canoe circuit is already reservable) has been added to the Discover Camping reservation service. BC Parks’ visitors will be able to view and access this new site starting on March 15, 2013. Read about making reservations

Safety Advisory:

Navigating the Cariboo River section of the circuit requires extra care and attention. Paddlers must remain alert for sweepers, deadheads and other natural hazards at all times.

Click here for Current Park Conditions. [PDF 161KB] Know Before You Go

Please read the Pre-trip Information Booklet [PDF 601KB] before reserving or visiting the park.

Special Regulations

Bowron Lake Park’s rules and regulations have been put in place to ensure the comfort and safety of park visitors and to reduce impacts on the park’s facilities and natural values from visitor use. The regulations are not optional and will be enforced.

The number of people permitted to camp together in group sites is a maximum of 14 people. Anyone in excess of this allowable limit will be required to camp in available individual campsites separate from the group sites.

Both black and grizzly bears are found in Bowron Lake Provincial Park. Bear-proof caches are provided at designated campsites and must be used at all times. Read the Bear Safety Information.

Firearms, crossbows and bear bangers are prohibited in Bowron Lake Provincial Park. Pepper spray is permitted only if it is clearly labelled by the manufacturer “for bear use only”.

Portable stereos with external speakers are prohibited on the Bowron Lake canoe circuit.

Any person acting as a guide or offering guiding services in Bowron Lake Park must hold a valid Park Use Permit (Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation, Section

Mattt you are mistaken

– Last Updated: Jun-28-13 10:16 AM EST –

I paddle in Canada about a month out of every year.

ALL craft must have a throw rope, signalling device, PFD bailer.

The rules are written by Transport Canada which is federal, not provincial. They DO apply to US watercraft and paddlers, so I don't know where you found your information. Perhaps if is from overgeneralizing the PFD information. As a Foreigner paddling my own craft from a foreigh country I may use my non Canada Transport of CCG certifiec PFD. Look at this link under Labels

If you are on an outfitted trip from a Canadian outfitter you must , however use a CCG approved PFD.

Canisters are a good idea. While you must camp at designated campsites with food lockers, there are portages and bears have opportunity with unattended food there.

It was beautiful and pretty bug free last August but bug jackets are always a good idea.

Again I will cite the Bowron Lakes brochure that has all the rules for canoe camping. Some are not noticing it.

Unfortunately the link needs to be copied and pasted

Metal flask
I would use a metal flask or water bottle. Alcohol can be a good solvent, not sure how much plastic you’d end up drinking with your beverage if you kept it in nalgene.

Or a flexible carafe - MEC has them for wine.

bring a pistol he says…
aye carumba.

Nalgene works for Scotch
trust me - lots of experience with this.

A pistol is useful

– Last Updated: Jun-30-13 8:24 AM EST –

when you want to to get a bear all riled up. :-)

Bear lockers at Bowron
They say they have them at most portages. We plan to use them at campsites and at portages if we have to make two trips.

Thanks for all suggestions. Really appreciate the experience and wisdom of PNetters.

We leave July 5 for Seattle. Yippee!

I hope you get to see lots of bear
just being bear. When they are not bothering humans nor being stressed around humans, they are incredibly fun to watch.

Time. Take as much as you can.
You can take up to 14 days to do the circuit – I would suggest taking as many days as you can – it’s a beautiful place and you’ll likely like to stay at a few locations for a couple of nights.

I took my son and daughter to the Bowron’s a few years ago and had a fabulous trip. Here’s a link to our trip journal:

and when you should ever decide to never visit Canada again…and spend a few hours chatting with the nice man at the border aboot it.

I think that they actually require one large axe, or two smaller hatchet/hand axes. I don’t believe they “recommend” it. Might want to check on that.

Foreign visitors - exceptions
I didn’t spend a lot of time looking, but see below - from the Transport Canada/Marine website

that seems clear enough if a canoe is registered in MN say, and going up to Quetico. I think I’ve seen something more canoe specific elsewhere, but don’t recall where. Possibly this rule gets interpolated for canoes? or not? - it also seems strange to me that the Bowron webpage is mut on throwropes - seems like they could provide more info if it was required.

“Safety Equipment Requirements

Foreign pleasure craft (pleasure craft that are licensed or registered in a country other than Canada) need to comply with equipment requirements of the country in which the vessel is usually kept.

If you are not a resident of Canada and are using a pleasure craft licensed or registered in Canada, all of the required safety equipment must meet Canadian safety requirements. However, you may opt to bring your own PFD for your own personal use.

For more information, consult the Small Vessel Regulations.”