Countdown to the BWCA ~ Part 1

Join me in this six part series! The Countdown to the BWCA posted on the 1st of each month!

As you may know, since mid-August we’ve been looking forward to obsessed over our upcoming trip into the BWCAW.  Its something I personally am feeling really called to do and have been doing research near daily since. After about 8 weeks of pouring over maps and trip reports we’ve decided to enter in at Mudro and head north instead of east towards Basswood falls where most go.

We recently took a trip down to the mothership REI in Bloomington, Minnesota where we stocked up on a lot of our gear!


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It was so hard not to become distracted in the store, you know with the canoes hanging from the ceiling and myriad backpacks screaming for you to buy them and pretty much everything that was on an end cap looked super inviting to buy too!

After speaking with a super knowledgeable employee in the tent department we finally decided upon the Kelty four person backpacking lightweight tent. Perfect for the three of us. Light enough for Jason to carry but roomy enough for the dogs to come in if we ever decided to bring them along in the future.

I had my mind made up that I wanted Granite Gear Quetico Portaging pack but they didn’t have any portaging packs except Chicago IL or Duluth MN. Kiri chanted, “Mama just get one of these packs!” as she was pointing to the hiking style backpacks while being fitted for her own.

I was now at a crossroads. In doing a lot of research at, the way to go is either a Granite Gear portaging pack, a Duluth Pack or a CCS pack. But my family was trying on their packs and my husband brought up a good point… If we ever wanted to do either the POW WOW trail, the Superior Hiking Trail, myriad back pack camping sites at the state parks, or take a trip out west the backpacking pack would be my best bet.

I begrudgingly tried one on, but was instantly impressed with comfort and potential performance. With the thought in the back of my mind if I ever took a trip over to CCS, I could easily return the hiking one, but it is 65L so I think chances are I will keep it.

Here’s a list of items we’ve purchased so far:

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookset
Kelty Discovery 4 Tent
Platypus Gravityworks Water Filter System – 4 Liter
Osprey Exos 58 Pack (for Jason)
REI Crestrail 65 Pack – Women’s (for Lindsey)
REI Flash 22 Pack (for miss K)

Amongst the basics we already own, over the next month we will buy the food we plan to take to ensure that it fits nicely in our pack and secure about 2 miles of paracord, and plenty of stuff sacks including a few hydro bags! We also have to make the choice to use our friends fiberglass canoe [read 80lbs], rent a kevlar from an outfitter near Ely, or borrow our friends Kevlar. Eventually we would like to own our own Kevlar and ditch our motorboat. (We’re fully committing here). I’ve been scouting out the Boundary Waters, the Minnesota 2 and the Quetico 17 so far.

For those of you who have been to the BWCA- what is your “Do Not Leave Home Without” item(s) and tips?