Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Although this is not a building question, I'm wondering if anyone has taken a kayak for an overnight trip to the Boundary Waters.  I've never been there but I understand that taking a canoe would probably make things easier, mostly because you can carry more gear more comfortably in a canoe.  However, I think the beautiful, serene 4 day excursion would be that much better with a kayak that I made, even if I have to carry less and rough it more.

For those of you that have been there, am I out of line here or can I make this dream a reality?


Trevor Hogan

7 replies:

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RE: Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Been there, but always in a canoe. If it's a trip on one of the big lakes a kayak would be fine, and probably my choice. If portages are involved your better off with a canoe because loading and unloading is easier and the packs you can carry in a canoe are larger and easier to portage. If you're going REAL light a kayak's fine but if your carrying a lot of gear build a canoe. Whatever you paddle GO. SEEYA Jack

RE: Boundary Waters Canoe Area



Been there with two roto-molds.  What I noticed most was the very rocky shorelines.  Sharp rocks.  The shores dropped off quick enought that you had to get close to get out, unless you're wearing waders.  We went in the end of September.  They had had a blizzard a week earlier.  I won't take my builds there and coffee tables they are not.  Kevlar canoes rule there.  I'd go back just so I could find a used one to buy.  A Souris River canoe.



RE: Boundary Waters Canoe Area

It'll add some weight, but 3 layers of 6 oz glass covered with graphite/epoxy will stand up to anything that a rotomolder will. If you're expecting hard bumps as well as sharp rocks, make the bottom layer of glass biax, not woven, and put a layer of 6 oz biax inside, too.

Each square yard of 6 oz glass will add less than 9 ounces to the weight of the boat, so the total weight of the armor should be just over 2 lbs per square yard (+ the graphite/epoxy). Since you'd only need it on the bottom and kayaks are pretty narrow, I'd be surprised if that it add more than 3 lbs total. And, since glass/epoxy has a density very similar to that of water, that weight being in the outside will not really affect your buoyancy.

Finally, an ultra-clean build with thin fillets, endpours replaced by lightweight wood, etc. will compenstae fo the extra weight.

Have fun,



RE: Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Trevor, if you're looking for a breathtakingly scenic kayak trip in the upper midwest, also take a look at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in Lake Superior, off northern Wisconsin. It's a haven for kayakers, and loads of information is available.

The Boundary Waters is also spectacular, and would be possible too. But if I were to plan a trip there in a kayak I would look for a route with large interconnected lakes, and a minimum amount of portaging. Canoes are much easier to get in and out of, to load and unload, and to carry for long distances (portage wheels are prohibited in the BWCA). The downside of that is you will have quite a lot of company (as you often also will in the Apostles).

For me, one of the greatest things about the BWCA are the opportunities to find solitude. But you have to do a lot of portaging to get away from the crowds. If that's an important consideration for you, going by canoe would be much more sensible.

Look, you're eventually going to have to visit them both. So it's really just a matter of what you want to do first. :-)

Cheers, Grant





RE: Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Thanks for the feedback!  I was orignally planning a September trip so I have a lot of time to plan my strategy  or build a canoe.  Maybe in the mean time I'll head to Apostle Islands.  I got some family up there too.  Thanks!

RE: Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Paddle Voyageurs National park, west of the Boundry Waters. You can paddle for days without portages, a beautiful place. Eagles are everywhere and camp sites are awesome. You won't be able to take enough pictures!!!

RE: Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Yes, Voyageurs National Park is another possibility. Almost no portaging, which is good if you don't mind having company. Motors are allowed in Voyageurs, and I've heard that renting houseboats is popular. But not having been there myself, I can't comment on the atmosphere.

Except for some of the big lakes near the access points, motors are prohibited in most of the Boundary Waters. To me that's highly desirable. They are allowed in the Apostles, but the waters there are so vast that they're not a significant distraction.


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