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3/09/2021 3:02 pm  #1


Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

There's been a lot of talk about the increased demand for backcountry camping and the influx of 'new' campers who aren't always the most educated. I've been seeing a pretty big increase in traffic to my website so I wanted to use it as an opportunity to help spread awareness and positive information.

I just wrote an article and I have it permanently linked in the top header of my site.

https://algonquinbeyond.com/blog/15-important-tips-backcountry-canoe-trip-algonquin-park/

There's a whole bunch more that I could have included, and even for the 15 topics I could have written 10x as much... but it's already 3,000 words and the goal is for people to actually want to read some, if not all of it

Feel free to let me know what you think and if you think this will be useful for new campers.


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3/09/2021 3:31 pm  #2


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

That’s good stuff. ! Great List.


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

3/09/2021 5:10 pm  #3


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

Overall it's a pretty good list. I might reorder a few things but that's not a big deal. The most important oversight is that you forgot #1 - BYOTP (bring your own TP) https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png
 (Thought you might have had it there at #15) On a more serious note, #13 is truly the most important one. 

The only claim I really disagree with is  your claim in #14 that hanging the food will protect it from rodents. No, hanging your food does NOT make it any harder for mice or chipmunks or any other rodents to get into it. As you noted with another picture, even a barrel is vulnerable to a dedicated rodent and squirrels will just as happily chew through a bag hanging in mid air as one sitting on the ground. 
 

 

3/09/2021 5:23 pm  #4


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

Thanks Shawn and Rob

And thanks for the feedback Rob. Just to clarify I never made the claim that hanging the food will protect it from rodents. I tried to choose my words carefully and that's why first sentence says that it's not a foolproof solution.

I do personally disagree with you when you say "...does NOT make it any harder". Of course a hanging barrel is still vulnerable (like you mentioned, I have my own proof of that), but I definitely believe that my odds are better with it hanging in the air vs. sitting on the ground. The picture higher up in the post was from Ragged Lake, but on a separate trip at Little Otterslide I had two chipmunks that were equally a nuisance, and they would attack my food/barrel if I left it unattended for 10 seconds, but once I hung it... no issues at all.

Also the list wasn't meant to be in any special hierarchy, but I did want to keep LNT at the top so people definitely see it


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3/10/2021 8:33 am  #5


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

I realize its got a few years on it, but please don't forget the "Backcountry of Algonquin Park LNT Outdoor Skills and Ethics" PDF booklet ...  http://www.algonquinadventures.com/BackcountryOfAlgonquinParkLNT.pdf
 

 

3/10/2021 8:44 am  #6


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

BarryB wrote:

I realize its got a few years on it, but please don't forget the "Backcountry of Algonquin Park LNT Outdoor Skills and Ethics" PDF booklet ...  http://www.algonquinadventures.com/BackcountryOfAlgonquinParkLNT.pdf
 

I'm guessing you haven't read the article yet, but I have LNT as the first tip and the LNT booklet is linked twice in the paragraph


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3/10/2021 1:22 pm  #7


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

My apologies. That's what I get for "scanning" the article, rather than actually reading it! Thanks for the links. Much appreciated!

 

3/10/2021 3:48 pm  #8


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

I will +1 Rob's comments re No.14. Having seen on multiple occasions hanging packs being ravaged by squirrels and raccoons I'd say that keeping your camp scent-proof is much more important than what method is used for storing the food overnight. Personally I'm a strong proponent of the hide-in-the-bush philosophy, but I see nothing wrong with hanging either - as long as it's done properly. On the other hand if animals smell one's food they will give them trouble one way or another, even if the food is kept in bomb-proof containers. Having a sleepless nights in a company of a raccoons trying to pry open a food barrel is no fun.


"Experience breeds competence only if you do things right." - Cliff Jacobson
 

3/10/2021 7:12 pm  #9


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

Many thanks! Not sure why people are having difficulty with what you said about hanging food - you did NOT say it offers fool-proof protection from critters...of course, the fact that some here have seen critters get into something that has been hung in no way refutes your actual point....sadly, reading comprehension and simple logic seem to be in jeopardy too in this post-fact / alternative-facts world...btw, did you happen to post a soft copy of Jeff's map on FB? If so, many thanks!

 

3/11/2021 8:55 am  #10


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

Really good article.  Thanks for this.  Honestly this could hold true for anyplace, not just Algonquin.  I've seen some first timers in the Boundary Waters that were in over their heads and would do well by reading this.

Last edited by dschult2 (3/11/2021 9:00 am)


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3/11/2021 1:21 pm  #11


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

EddyTurn wrote:

I will +1 Rob's comments re No.14. ..... I'd say that keeping your camp scent-proof is much more important than what method is used for storing the food overnight.

I agree that the most important thing is keeping a clean, scent-free campsite. Unfortunately that's not completely in your own control; for all you know there's a bowl of spaghetti thrown behind a random tree 20ft away from the fire pit. I obviously do my best to scout the campsite for garbage etc. before setting up camp, but there's only so much you can check when you're literally in a forest. I know that hanging my food doesn't guarantee it's safety, but it's at least one more thing that I can do to help prevent animals/rodents from accessing it. I've done the hide-in-the-bush many times as well, but it's just not my preferred method.




goneagainjon wrote:

Many thanks! Not sure why people are having difficulty with what you said about hanging food - you did NOT say it offers fool-proof protection from critters...of course, the fact that some here have seen critters get into something that has been hung in no way refutes your actual point....sadly, reading comprehension and simple logic seem to be in jeopardy too in this post-fact / alternative-facts world...btw, did you happen to post a soft copy of Jeff's map on FB? If so, many thanks!

To hang vs. not to hang, that is the question. It's a never-ending debate that started long before I made this article lol. I find people are quite 50/50 on the subject. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I do believe that hanging your food is the better choice and that's what I'll advocate, especially for new campers.

I have a copy of the map on my website that has been shared on Facebook groups a few times; it's an interactive copy though not a downloadable jpeg/pdf (pretty sure you can still get that from the original algonquinmap.com)




dschult2 wrote:

Really good article.  Thanks for this.  Honestly this could hold true for anyplace, not just Algonquin.  I've seen some first timers in the Boundary Waters that were in over their heads and would do well by reading this.

Thanks. I'm sure most of it is applicable in other places like you mentioned. But there's the whole 'staying relevant to my website' thing, there's SEO factors to consider by targeting Algonquin Park specifically, etc.
 


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3/11/2021 3:57 pm  #12


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

trippythings wrote:

I agree that the most important thing is keeping a clean, scent-free campsite. Unfortunately that's not completely in your own control; for all you know there's a bowl of spaghetti thrown behind a random tree 20ft away from the fire pit.

That's true, but it brings us to a different reference fame on the issue of backcountry safety and etiquette (which are impossible to separate). Some, if not most, of the fascination of a wilderness trip lies in our lack of control over our environment and necessity of learning to go with the flow of territory and events. This also means that every human act in the wilderness is much more consequential and less reversible than it will be in civilized environment. This is a fundamental principal and unless it's accepted the wilderness will remain a zoo.


"Experience breeds competence only if you do things right." - Cliff Jacobson
 

3/11/2021 4:02 pm  #13


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

I get it that the goal isn't to create a packing list with this, but I think it would be worth mentioning to pack a first-aid kit and keep it at the top of your pack.  Seems like it might be easily-overlooked by a novice.  (If I missed that when I read your list, sorry about that....eyes are super-dry today, I'm having trouble reading much of anything).

 

3/11/2021 4:30 pm  #14


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

MooseWhizzer Dave wrote:

I get it that the goal isn't to create a packing list with this, but I think it would be worth mentioning to pack a first-aid kit and keep it at the top of your pack.  Seems like it might be easily-overlooked by a novice.  (If I missed that when I read your list, sorry about that....eyes are super-dry today, I'm having trouble reading much of anything).

There's a section for "Pack Smart" which includes things like that (waterproof your gear, bring an emergency rescue device, etc.) but thanks for the recommendation, I will definitely add mention of a first aid kit in that paragraph!


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www.algonquinbeyond.com
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3/11/2021 8:05 pm  #15


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

Trippythings, yes thank you for the interactive version of Jeff's map...I support that what you said (i.e. better protection from small critters by hanging but not complete protection) I'm actually not convinced that hanging is better...I do usually hang personally (I hang my kevlar ursack but I strap my bear vault or barrel to a tree ) but I have read both sides of the debate...I don't think it's possible to completely mask the scent from a bear...I've always wondered if hanging actually broadcasts the scent further

 

3/11/2021 8:17 pm  #16


Re: Important things to know when planning a trip (mostly for new campers)

Assuming of course losing your food wouldn't be catastrophic in AP

 

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