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I have used both the Northern Tier base and a private outfitter for boundary waters and Quetico. Prices are similar when you dig into it, however the private outfitter may have more options on payments, reducing your troop's financial risk. 


BSA has set fee schedules largely based on a "crew", so if you have a small crew you in effect pay more. In addition you must up front a lot of money. Having been around to see scouts back out and stick the troop for money this "risk" should be part of the consideration. 


With the private outfitter we had more options on payments, and most of it was delayed until close to the trip date. A northern tier type trip is also attractive as you do not need much gear. Outfitters can supply most of this. Big backpack trips typically mean expensive gear. I love them, but they are not for everyone.


Northern tier will provide you with a guide. If your group leaders are not comfortable in the wilderness this is a strong plus. However, in my experience the northern tier guides tend to get into a competition with the other guides. Bragging rights as to who can paddle hundreds of miles. This is often not in the scouts best interest. 


If you have adults and youth that are comfortable and can navigate private outfitters our an option. You can rent sat phones for cheap as a backup. 


Bottom line from Ohio transportation costs will be roughly half your trip costs. Last time I used "North Country outfitters". Owner is a former scout leader. I would use them again. They will send you a packet with all the planning info if contact them. Very helpful. Hard to compare costs, there are so many options on the length of trip and gear upgrades. Also the Canadian's charge a lot now to enter Quetico.


Out west trips....again most your cost is in transportation..however packs, boots and a good bag set you back a lot.


FYI, I just received a memo from the forest service out west as I was applying for a back country permit in Wyoming. Looks like another group of scouts/adult leaders broke some serious wilderness rules again in 2016, letter cited possible criminal violations. More people that should be purged from the organization.

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