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69RoadRunner

Which Northern Tier Base Camp and Best Time to Go

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The NT web site doesn't give a great deal of information on the 3 options, although they do make it clear that Bissett is extremely challenging.  From the description there, I suspect Bissett would not be appropriate for the crew we'd likely take.

I'd like to know more than what NT provides to help our crew make a decision on whether Ely, Atikokan or Bissett is the best choice.  We'll have a range of physical abilities.  We just did Philmont with a very young crew and although we did a lower mileage trek, they did it.

Also, when is the best time to go?  I know the black fly is the state bird in that area, but when are they less horrible and how about the weather?

I know people use private outfitters, but the troop has decided on BSA.  I asked a few NT questions in the past and have gone through those again, but any further advice is appreciated.

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We have found that early August is the best time.  After black fly season, and the mosquitoes are calming down.  Also the weather and the water is the warmest.  We prefer Ely, as the waters and woods are similar to the Canadian side, and there are no daily fees.

 

Dale

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49 minutes ago, eagle90 said:

We have found that early August is the best time.  After black fly season, and the mosquitoes are calming down.  Also the weather and the water is the warmest.  We prefer Ely, as the waters and woods are similar to the Canadian side, and there are no daily fees.

August also happens to be the easiest month to find availability.  Troops tend to snap up the June and July dates quickly, but fewer request August.  August is hard for some folks because sports practice is starting up and families are getting ready for back to school.

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June has the wettest weather and black flies. In my experience fishing is better in July than August. August is drier so less mosquitos. What does your crew like to do? Fishing, 100 mile paddle, camp at a different place every day, moose viewing? To me its the easiest of the HA venues to "roll your own" plenty of outfitters and guidance.

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35 minutes ago, TMSM said:

June has the wettest weather and black flies. In my experience fishing is better in July than August. August is drier so less mosquitos. What does your crew like to do? Fishing, 100 mile paddle, camp at a different place every day, moose viewing? To me its the easiest of the HA venues to "roll your own" plenty of outfitters and guidance.

That's what I need to find out from those interested in going.  We have some who like fishing and others don't hate it, but it's not a priority for them.  Moose viewing sounds great!

Being able to choose your adventure has a great deal of appeal, too.  We did Sea Base 2 years ago on one of the big sailboats with 20 people.  This year we did Philmont.  We're late organizing, but they want to do the Triple Crown with NT next year.

I just looked at the packing list.  How strict are they on synthetic sleeping bags instead of down?  I get that there's extra concern about the bag getting wet, but I'd rather use a treated down bag I already own rather than buy another synthetic bag.

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I have been going to Northern Ontario for the last 30 years - we use our own canoes, and equipment.  I do not go to N T, but to Lake Superior Provincial Park and/or Pukuskwa National Park. I always go in August because of the less bugs, with the younger scouts.  You do get any problems with the older scouts in sports/band in August.

19 Dan jumping in.jpg

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On 9/24/2019 at 12:07 PM, 69RoadRunner said:

I just looked at the packing list.  How strict are they on synthetic sleeping bags instead of down?  I get that there's extra concern about the bag getting wet, but I'd rather use a treated down bag I already own rather than buy another synthetic bag.

I would hope they are not even checking or trying to enforce "rules" like that. 

I think that most experienced scouters already know that cotton has some issues on backcountry canoe trips:  if it gets wet, it's just going to make you colder later --- not warmer --- and it's not likely to dry if you just hang it up on a line once you get to camp.  I suspect they're telling you to bring a synthetic sleeping bag because they've had too many folks who had to sleep in a wet bag when night time temps can easily drop into the lower 40s or below.

Nevertheless, I'm with you. Synthetic sleeping bags don't feel as warm as a good down bag, they're heavier, and they don't compact as well. Even on a canoe trip, I'd rather take responsibility for keeping my bag dry than to be told to use some POS plastic sleeping bag. Same with shirts, socks, underwear, etc. I'll pack a synthetic shirt as a spare, and I'll pack some wool socks because they DO feel good to me, but I am definitely NOT wearing plastic underwear!  Nor do I really want a plastic sleeping bag...

As always, your mileage may vary...

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On 9/27/2019 at 11:21 AM, mrkstvns said:

I would hope they are not even checking or trying to enforce "rules" like that. 

I think that most experienced scouters already know that cotton has some issues on backcountry canoe trips:  if it gets wet, it's just going to make you colder later --- not warmer --- and it's not likely to dry if you just hang it up on a line once you get to camp.  I suspect they're telling you to bring a synthetic sleeping bag because they've had too many folks who had to sleep in a wet bag when night time temps can easily drop into the lower 40s or below.

Nevertheless, I'm with you. Synthetic sleeping bags don't feel as warm as a good down bag, they're heavier, and they don't compact as well. Even on a canoe trip, I'd rather take responsibility for keeping my bag dry than to be told to use some POS plastic sleeping bag. Same with shirts, socks, underwear, etc. I'll pack a synthetic shirt as a spare, and I'll pack some wool socks because they DO feel good to me, but I am definitely NOT wearing plastic underwear!  Nor do I really want a plastic sleeping bag...

As always, your mileage may vary...

Well, to be fair, there are high quality synthetic sleeping bags today.  There are also cheap sporting goods store garbage.

I personally prefer synthetic and merino wool underwear for everyday use. I think referring to modern polyester fabrics as plastic is inaccurate, but to each his own.

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