Gunflint’s Guide to the BWCAW
Is a BWCAW canoe trip right for you? Well this guide will cover all the important points in making the that decision. Whether you’re a total novice or a seasoned pro, we can find the right kind of trip for you.
- Who’s Coming?
Consider the people you are going with; do you have a large group? Is there just 2 of you? The first thing you must know before planning out your epic camping trip is that BWCAW permits only allow up to 9 people, per campsite. If you have a group larger than 9, you must travel and camp separately for the entirety of the trip. This is why we suggest smaller groups; it is easier to get around and to find the perfect campsite.
- What kind of experienced do I want to have?
Whether this is your first wilderness camping trip or you are a seasoned pro, we can find the right route for you. Trips anywhere from 2 nights to 20, we’ve got you covered. We see things a bit differently around here and believe that to make your trip the absolute best, a visit on the phone to discuss your needs and ambitions. Our expert staff will then find 2 or 3 route choices that fit your vision and talk through them until you find the perfect fit.
- What do I want to see and do?
While time seems to move slowly when you are out in the BWCAW, making sure you get to do all the things you want to do can be hard. If your focus is on fishing, make sure you take that into account when you are selecting your routes. Planning your activities sounds silly, but you don’t want to leave and not have done half of the things that you were thinking of doing.
- How long do I want to stay?
Trips should be based on what you’re comfortable with and how much experience you have. We can outfit you for just 2 days or up to 20 days. Longer trips will allow you to cover more water, and reach a more secluded base camp. Make sure you plan enough time to include your camp set up and take down. The length of your trip is ultimately up to you and what you want to do while out exploring.
- When can I come?
The BWCAW is open year round! From May 1 – September 30 permits are required for overnight trips. We are open for summer outfitting from early May to September 30 and can get you ready for your trip, weather permitting.
May and June is our transition season. Plan on a layered approach to clothing, letting you mix and match from cool mornings and warm afternoons. If you plan on fishing all day (after the ice is out in May), rain gear is a good precaution and waterproof boots make you more comfortable. This is the time when we like Bean boots with their rubber bottoms or a waterproof pair of hiking boots. A pair of gloves will warm your hands while holding onto a fishing rod. Long underwear bottoms keeps you warm when you are sitting in a boat on a cool day. When out in the woods fleece vests or jackets are great layers but don’t forget a waterproof shell or rain jacket to protect you from the spring showers.
Day time temperatures normally run from the high 60s into the 80’s, and the nights cool down. You will want shorts, light pants, short sleeve shirts, and swimming suits. A sweat shirt or light jacket is good when it cools down at night. A good rain suit helps if you plan on being on the water every day, regardless of the weather. Tennis shoes and sandals work well. Light boots are good if you plan on canoeing (and portaging) or doing a lot of hiking. Hats help a lot if you are on the water. Be sure to bring some suntan lotion and perhaps some bug repellant for early summer. Because we don’t have a lot of brush around the lodge and the prevailing wind blows through camp, we don’t have a lot of mosquitoes but they do like to come out on still nights at dusk or in the early morning.
In September and October is one of our favorite seasons. This is our Indian Summer and most of the days are beautiful-clear and sunny with cool evenings, but like all areas, we have weather fronts that pass through from time to time. We recommend that you bring clothes that can be layered. Long pants, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, sweat shirts, vests, and jackets that can be piled one on top of another and pealed off the same way as the day warms up. If it is late fall or you plan on being on the water a lot, bring a pair of long underwear bottoms. Even on warm days, it can be cold in a boat. A good wind-breaker or rain jacket is necessary. Later in the fall you might want a lined jacket. Shoes or light hiking boots work for foot gear. Daytime temperatures run from the 50s into the 70s.