Planning for Portages

     Properly planning your portages is essential for making or breaking your trip when out in the woods. As I usually say there are two different ways to pack for your trip. You either pack light and have easy portages, or you pack the more luxury items that provide greater comfortable on your trip, but also make your portages more difficult. Where this changes significantly is when you have either a lot of portages, or long portages. I personally enjoy bringing a cooler with me on some of my trips allowing me to pack better food. That being said I would not be planning on bringing a cooler if I knew that I had long portages on the trip. Another reason I like bringing a cooler is that it makes a perfect seat for the middle person in a canoe. Adding a third person to your canoe gives you advantages on portages as it is an extra set of hands. This person does not require you to pack many additional items and will provide an extra set of hands. When you add a forth person, you typically need to bring an additional tent and canoe, which would be the same efficiency as having two people. 

     You must take the time to think through each pack you will bring on a trip to effectively plan your portages. You should know how many packs you have, and if you will need to find a solution for other items like fishing rods or paddles. Items like rods and paddles can be easily secured to the canoe and do not add much extra weight to the person who is required to carry it. The person carrying the canoe can sometimes also take an extra bag depending on their experience. In many situations I have been able to carry both the bear barrel and canoe in one trip which significantly cuts down on how many trips you need to make. 

     The more portages you have, the lighter you want to pack. If they are all short portages or lift-overs then maybe you don't mind doing a few extra trips. If you have any long portages that go over 1-km you will really want to reduce how many trips you need to make. It is a good feeling when your planning pays off and you are able to complete portages with only one trip. It speeds up your trip significantly and also helps you to maintain your energy. 

Happy Camping!

Planning Your Next Interior Camping Trip?

If you are looking to plan your next interior camping trip, here are some points to consider for your trip

1. Length of Trip

The length of your trip will help you to determine the type of food you will pack. A two day trip allows you to bring things that spoil such as meat or eggs. A seven day trip would be difficult to keep your food from spoiling so you may decide to stick to dry and canned foods

2. Amount of Paddling

Knowing the total amount of paddling for the trip helps you to break down how much paddling you will have to do on any given day. Do you want to have to paddle everyday? Do you want to move to a new campsite each day? Or would you prefer to stay at one single campsite and do day trips each day. 

3. Number and Length of Portages

Portaging can be difficult and tiring. The more portaging or the longer the portages, the more difficult the trip, and the more effectively you need to pack. You want to avoid having to do multiple trips on each portage if you have many or long portages.

4. Do you need to make Reservations? 

Provincial Parks require you to make reservations. Most of the time you cannot reserve for a specific campsite but rather book for an entire lake. If there are only 3 campsites on a lake, the park will only allow 2-3 reservations so that there are not too many people on the lake. This is done so that you do not run into a situation where the lake is full and you cannot find a spot to camp. More and more parks are becoming available for booking these lakes online, however it is still easy to call in to reserve as well. You also want to make note to book well in advance. The longer you wait the less sites will be available. Crown Land is another alternative that allows you to go camping without reservations. The benefit being cost, and the risk being site availability. 

5. Are you Renting Equipment?

If you require renting a canoe and paddles, you ideally want to choose an access point that has this at the launch or at least close to the access point. One of the best parks that I have seen for this is Algonquin Provincial Park with outfitters directly on Canoe Lake and Opeongo Lake, as well an many other outfitters you pass on your way into the park.

6. Number of People & Canoes on Trip

The number of people on your trip will help you determine how many canoes you require. If you are able to fit 3 people in your canoe, it can really help you as it is an extra set of hands on portages that doesn't require you to bring another boat. That being said, it is likely also a bit more tippy in the canoe.