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PostPosted: July 19th, 2019, 12:42 pm 
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Joined: March 15th, 2016, 5:49 pm
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Location: Thunder Bay
Hello,

My partner and I are going on a 3-week canoe trip August 25-Sept 15. I have only done 10-day canoe trips. Does anyone have tips or tricks?

I am looking for any tricks, such as for space-saving or special items that come in handy, things I should not forget. Can I carry all the food, or is it better to arrange a food drop? Food drop is possible but just pricey.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2019, 1:02 pm 
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Joined: August 29th, 2006, 7:57 pm
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Location: Toronto
How much portaging is involved?

If not much, then ten extra days of food will not make that much of a difference. At 1 kg. (2 lbs.) a day per person, you are looking at an extra 20 kg. or 44 lbs. of food. That is like one extra pack. Having a longer canoe would be a plus!

If quite a bit, does the portaging mostly happen in the second half or the first half of your trip? Nothing like doing a two- km portage on Day 17 when the food is almost all gone and you are in the best shape you've been in for quite a while!

How much whitewater will you be doing? if not a lot, a lighter canoe might save you 7 kg. (15 lbs.).

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2019, 4:16 pm 
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true_north wrote:
How much portaging is involved?

If not much, then ten extra days of food will not make that much of a difference. At 1 kg. (2 lbs.) a day per person, you are looking at an extra 20 kg. or 44 lbs. of food. That is like one extra pack. Having a longer canoe would be a plus!

If quite a bit, does the portaging mostly happen in the second half or the first half of your trip? Nothing like doing a two- km portage on Day 17 when the food is almost all gone and you are in the best shape you've been in for quite a while!

How much whitewater will you be doing? if not a lot, a lighter canoe might save you 7 kg. (15 lbs.).


Thanks for the response! I recognize your name from your blog posts. I enjoy those!

We are not doing whitewater. l have a souris river kevlar 17 ft canoe. I normally carry a 115 dry pack and a 60 l barrel, and then maybe a smaller day dry pack. Good to know you estimate the added food/fuel will probably take the sapce of a second barrel, which is what I was thinking but I wasn't sure. An extra foot in the canoe would make a big difference. I'll have to practice seeing what fits in the canoe this weekend.

Good point on the portaging!

Do you usually hang your barrels or leave them on the ground?


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PostPosted: July 20th, 2019, 12:16 pm 
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Location: Denver, CO
3 weeks vs 10 days, that's twice as long. Luxury items are nice for a longer trip. Solar Shower is nice. A small ultralight chair of some kind maybe (at the least, get a gardener's kneeling pad from home depot or wal-mart. A bugscreen type of shelter to eat in if the bugs are bad. Extra fuel for sure, don't want to cut that too fine. I like to mix the food up more - instant pudding mixed with dry milk (Nido whole dry milk from WalMart) prepared in a ziplock bag and left in the water is a nice change - I'd probably do that twice in 3 weeks; carnation instant breakfast is also a nice change from oatmeal if you do get some powdered milk.


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PostPosted: July 20th, 2019, 3:06 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, ON
If you're not into it already, buy a good dehydrator and learn to dehydrate all of your own meals. Also, I can't say enough about pre-cooked bacon. On a 30-day trip I had bacon, eggs and hash browns on day 29. Eggs are Ova-Easy egg crystals. Hash browns I dehydrate myself.

Pre-grind and vacuum seal coffee in 5-day portions. Mugmates are the lightest, easiest way to brew up a good cup of coffee imo.

A light-weight sil-nylon tarp is a great investment. 10x14 is a good size. MEC Guide Tarp, or Cooke Custom Sewing are good options. The CCS has more ridge line loops - handy.

* I'd consider avoiding a second barrel if you've got a lot of portaging, and instead use a 20L Sealline dry bag or two, and plan on hanging them at night. As you progress through your trip the dry bags will empty out and you can roll them up and pack them away, avoiding that extra item on the portage trails.

Shortbread cookies. Won't melt...won't be reduced to crumbs in your pack if you store them correctly.

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PostPosted: July 21st, 2019, 1:12 pm 
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Location: Ringwood, NJ
I'd put extra effort in variety of the food items. Monotonous diet gets much deeper under my skin on longer trips.


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PostPosted: July 21st, 2019, 8:49 pm 
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Location: Thunder Bay
Thanks everyone. This is all helpful and I will use a lot of these tips!


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PostPosted: July 21st, 2019, 9:08 pm 
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I've never done a 3 week canoe trip but as far as food ideas instant oatmeal (regular or steel cut if you prefer) is easy to pack and I'm a big fan of dried fruits (I like raisins, dates and dried apricots) and nuts. All are real food (just like at home) and not fussy to keep. Raisins go well in oatmeal.


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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2019, 5:36 am 
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To me, commercially packaged instant oatmeal is sicky sweet and would get old very soon. I just can't stomach it. Real 5 minute oatmeal is not difficult to prepare and well worth it. Pack some brown sugar with it if you must have the sweetness. Find Nido whole milk (not fat free) powder for this and other items in the Hispanic food section of larger markets.

Home dehydrating meals is easy too. Think casserole type meals, or anything with small bits that can dry and rehydrate quickly. There are lots of resources on how to do this with fantastic recipes. I home dehydrated a race rules required 20kg of food per person for the first Yukon 1000 mile race in a voyageur canoe with 7 paddlers (thankfully that ridiculous requirement was dropped after the first year). I had lots of variety with very few repeated meals.


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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2019, 6:53 am 
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A couple of points about comments so far:
- the 2 lbs per day requirement is based on dehydrated weight
- you shouldn't need a bug shelter for a late summer trip


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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2019, 7:43 am 
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My favorite instant oatmeal is Better Oats Organic and the flavor we get is Bare. It's more than oats, it's an instant multigrain hot cereal with oats, barley, wheat, quinoa and rye. You won't have any worries about excessive sweetness and it's easy enough to try a box and see if you like it. If you add a spoonful of raisins you may find that you can skip the brown sugar or honey.


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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2019, 10:32 pm 
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Eddy Turn wrote:
I'd put extra effort in variety of the food items. Monotonous diet gets much deeper under my skin on longer trips.


I'm the opposite. I carry one meal each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can mix and match the components if I desire and might bring one or two special meals for milestones like the halfway point or to use as a pick-me-up. Makes meal planning and packing much easier and to me it all tastes just as good on day 30 as it does on day 1.

I agree with dehydrating your own food. Cheap and easy. Buy bags of frozen veggies, dump them in the drier, and you're ready to go overnight.

I also say take fewer creature comforts. The more time I spend out on a trip the more I get into the rhythm and the less I miss luxury items.

A 3 week trip really shouldn't be much different than a 10 day trip. Just more food.

Alan


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PostPosted: July 23rd, 2019, 5:34 am 
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my wife and I managed 50 to 70 day trips without resupply. Took almost anything. Lots of cheese, clarified butter, nuts, dehydrated fruit such as bananas, cranberry source, apple sauce etc. pre prepared most meals such as Pork-chops California which has an orange sauce from concentrated orange juice and raisins, chicken and cashews in soy sauce. anything that would dry. Lots of omelets with cheese and took smoked bacon. Pancakes with mapleine & butter. One of the easiest was spaghetti with hamburger and re-hydrated tomato leather , dry the hamburger in soy sauce add spices cook and eat. Our favorite dessert was chocolate fudge. On cold days we would eat it hot right out of the frying pan while yammering away about this and that. Percolated coffee at every meal and when we got wind bound. made our own bread in form of pancakes and had it with jams and or peanut butter. various packaged soups plus some of our own such as pea soup and stews.

We ate well. You just have to be willing to carry it and protect it from bears. Over the years had several instances of marauding bears. 12 gauge was noisy and if necessary lethal. Some fishing when time permitted or weathered in. Some booze for aches and pain.

keep it dry in smallish packages and not in one pack. Most of our pack weight was food.


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PostPosted: July 24th, 2019, 12:02 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
I agree about eliminating the monotony of menu items, or at least bringing a couple meals for reserved for “special” occasions, or simply for trying days when I need a justified reward. A little bottle of hot sauce helps break up the monotony with commercially made freeze dried meals, and goes a looong way.

Breakfast monotony bothers me less than dinner monotony, but I add dried fruit to lots of breakfast things, oatmeal, plain grits (not to cheesy grits, those get hot sauce), etc. Also added to peanut butter, chocolate, sometimes just a handful popped in my mouth for quick energy.

I don’t dry my own fruit (or anything else, I know, I probably should), but improve on the largely-raisin & apricot store bought dried fruit mix with more of the stuff I like; dried apple, pineapple, berries, dates. And store the nuts separately so they don’t dampen in the still-kinda-moist fruit; I can mix in the nuts or not as I like.

I love cashews, those themselves are a treat to hold in special reserve. A friend brings habitually brings slabs of high quality dark chocolate. And little containers of pickles. Fortunately he is a sharer; the chocolate is wonderful, but dayum, there is something about a backcountry pickle. . . . .

I’ve never used a second full size food barrel. Like Canoeguitar the no-odor sealed stuff starts off in a small dry bag. Any remainder refills the barrel as time goes on and, once empty, I can use the dry bag for something else.

Almost always a collapsible bucket. In lieu of solar shower I just pour it incrementally over my head to wash and rinse. Also useful for settling water or toting it up to camp to filter, or even sudsy washing clothes if stuff gets beyond wearable grimystanky.

I guess I am naturally greasy headed, and cut my hair very short before long trips, but even so a little bottle of Dr. Bronners or ect can go a long way in feeling renewed. And a little shammie or packtowel.

I bring a bit more repair/replace stuff on a long trip. A ThermaRest repair kit, and an extra filter for the gravity filter bags if in an area hard on filtration. I don’t use a lot of electronics, but know folks who bring a small lightweight solar panel for USB recharging.

A short piece of Ridgerest foam to sit on in cold or wet conditions, even with a chair, and (especially) to put under the Therma-Rest in thorny areas. I’ve endured - thankfully just for the last few days - one trip sleeping on a un-findable slow-leak, un-repairable pad. That sucked, or kinda slowly blew as the case may be. That little piece of Ridgerest saved my ass, or at least my shoulders.

The piece of comfort gear I miss the most when I cannot use it in treeless areas is a small day hammock, a little nylon thing the size of a softball. Like one of these

https://www.rei.com/product/754769/eno- ... st-hammock

Set up for reading, napping, quiet, motionless-hanging nature study letting things come to me while listening/watching, or strung under the tarp in the rain. Gawd I miss having a little day hammock when there are no suitable trees.

My biggest challenge on a lengthy trip is reading material. Try as I might I just can’t do a Kindle, so it’s a real book with delightfully tactile pages to turn, and it better be something thick and worth immediately re-reading. Occasionally, if I am in an area of interesting and unfamiliar flora or fauna, I’ll bring a field guide of some sort; I can always read that for stuff I’m seeing, or even not seeing.

At the end of a long trip I appreciate having purposefully left some comforts and rewards set aside in the take out car. A full set of clean clothes and shoes, some “treat” eats and drinks, the maps of where I’m headed next to peruse before I hit the road or other stuff to help ease my re-entry into Syphilization.

I have never done this myself but have seen folks ask an outfitter shuttle pick up to bring a pre-packed personal “treasure” dry bag along with them. Best of those was a guy during a Jetboat retrieval on the Colorado, who paid the outfitter fill a prepared cooler with ice and bring it along in the Jetboat.

The cooler was pre-filled with a selection of beers. Before the jetboat headed upstream, laden with the day’s pick up of weather-beaten (thirsty) passengers, he hauled the cooler up to the bow, opened it to display the contents and announced “Ice cold beer! $10 a bottle! Don’t pay me, add the cost to what you intend to tip the shuttle guys”.

Note the “intend to tip” reminder; tips are a big part of outfitter shuttle bunnies livelihood, at least in the US, and not every culture recognizes tipping as a custom. I had carried some cash in bills for that purpose, but had to dig out the $20 that lives in my PFD pocket to be IPA square.

It was worth every penny. I had two icy cold beverages on the ride up; eh, the first one didn’t last long. And, seated up front, made sure to be the first one getting off the jetboat, demonstrably tipping the shuttle guys appropriately heavy.

I thought that “”Ice down this cooler and bring it” trick was clever as hell, and want to replicate it myself someday. I know that was a REALLY good trip for the jetboat driver and his hardworking boat monkey assistants.


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2019, 12:25 am 
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Location: Brampton
With so much talk about menu planning (all good suggestions imho), allow me to turn the topic to something else... on a ten day trip, the end is in sight from the day you start. On a three week trip... not so much - especially the first. You need to be prepared for shit weather, because with a three week trip, you're not looking at possibly cancelling based on weather reports, and judging by your time and depending on how far north you're going, possibly quite cold weather. Bad weather can really slow you down, too, and that factor really snowballs after days on end, so please factor that in.

I'm only speaking of my personal experience from a couple of trips that met with bad weather at that time of year. One trip, we were not prepared for the rain. We were prepared for rain, but not for a solid week of it. It rained, non stop, for a week, and I mean it was raining sideways in galeforce winds for two days at one point. Granted, that's an edge case, but it happens. You need to have a way to keep morale up if that kind of shit falls on you and you have two weeks still to go with no end in sight.

Make sure you are able to repair any gear you're carrying, assuming it's not completely destroyed. Those Souris River canoes are light, but somewhat fragile. One errant tree branch or weak seam poking one small hole in your tent/fly during a low pressure system can be absolute hell when you have to deal with it for days or weeks on end. Couple that with what can be frosty mornings sometimes (at least where I travel in Ontario) in early September and you have a recipe for disaster.

With three weeks, you're pretty much guaranteed some good weather, and some bad weather, and you'll likely have more of one than the other. Take the good weather days to forge on ahead of schedule, but also save a couple of good, sunny days for layovers to repair, dry and clean your gear, wash your clothes, and to bathe properly.

One thing I do on expedition trips is save one thing for the last night. For me, it's a mickey of Bailey's Irish Creme. An aunt of mine saved Lindt chocolate bars, and an uncle saved tobacco and marijuana. Don't tell your partner(s) but leave it as a surprise. Stories will be told for a generation of that thing you squirreled away and secretly carried until the very end.

If I may ask, where are you going (I don't think it was mentioned yet)?

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