Browsing Tag

camping

Canoeing, Trip Planning

DULUTH PACK – LARGEST BWCAW COOPERATOR

March 23, 2015
logos

Yes, you’ve heard it before and you will hear it again from us. Duluth Pack is the largest cooperator of BWCAW permits in the entire world! (SERIOUSLY cool, right?!). We know, we know – we’ve got some major bragging rights and are sure as heck flattered and proud to promote it!

For 133 continuous years, we’ve been proud to say our roots as a brand and company started with being the original Boundary Waters canoe pack. Even though we have expanded our line into lifestyle, hunting, and collaborations, we still keep the outdoors near and dear, especially the Boundary Waters territory.

Whether you’re a beginner or seniority (You know who you are. You can basically walk the grounds with your eyes closed) within the Boundary Waters area, the stories and experiences are endless. I mean, you know a good story is coming when either weather, animals, or scary stories are involved! Ps: Has anyone ever heard of Piccolo Bob? Those stories kept me up for days! Anyways, before we get too off topic… the adventure starts, every traveler must be prepared with their essentials for the stay. Each one of these necessities is easily found at our retail store in Canal Park, Duluth, Minnesota or on our extremely accessible website: www.duluthpack.com.

From insect covers to food, or a bear whistle to a banana saver, we’re ready to outfit you for every journey. Our packs are durable, our supplies is top-notch, and our customer service is one-of-a-kind. Once each and every customer is outfitted for their experience ahead, we are ready to issue a BWCAW permit. Again, we can’t help ourselves from saying it, but we are THE LARGEST COOPERATOR OF BWCAW PERMITS IN THE WORLD! (Raise the roof, people!)

So, in the end, go to a retailer and brand (here’s Duluth Pack!) that has experience and knowledge of helping hundreds of individuals each season, so they have the best camping and canoeing trip they will remember for the rest of their lives. Of course, the best stories also involve you taking us along with, too! From generation to generation and from portage mile to portage mile, we cherish our little vacay up North with you all. It’s something we look forward to year after year.

Now the real question is, who is ready to get camping?! Ps: My hand is raised way, way, way up!

– From your friends at Duluth Pack

The Lowdown

Duluth Pack at the Minnesota State Fair

August 25, 2011
The Gopher welcomes everyone to the Minnesota State Fair

It’s that time of year again; the Minnesota State Fair starts today, and runs through Labor Day. Almost two million of our closest friends will visit the fair during the 12 day run. Duluth Pack will be there in the Dairy Building with the “World’s Largest Duluth Pack” to be a part of the action and take it all in.

Food is the first thing I think of when somebody mentions the Minnesota State Fair. What else is there? My favorites are mini-donuts, cheese curds, and gator on a stick, but during my four-day visit to the fair I will not limit my menu. Thinking I am going to have to swing through the North Woods area on Cooper Street and check out the Campfire Grill. The name alone is right up our alley.

One stop at the fair you might want to think about is the National Park Service in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street. We are so lucky here in our state to have all this wonderful water and woods in which to go play. In Minnesota we have one National Park, two National Forests, two National Monuments, a Scenic River Way, a National Recreation Area, and a Wilderness Area. Can you name any of them for me?

No trip to the state fair is complete without a stop in the animal buildings at the southwest corner of the fairgrounds. Every animal from horses to cows to chickens to sheep and maybe even a llama or two can be found. And of course the granddaddy of them all the “Super-Boar” in the swine building must be seen.

The DNR building just south of the grandstand on Carnes Street has always been one of my favorites. It is fun to see all the animals native to our state and learn about what is going on in regards to our natural resources. But for me the fish pond out back is the real draw, all those Minnesota fish in one place makes an angler drool. However, a conservation officer has warned me that noodling for paddlefish will not be allowed.

Come see us in the Dairy Building, at the corner of Underwood and Judson, we will be there every day from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. We love to talk canoe packs, backpacks, and the BWCAW, but no subject is out of bounds. Our experts have a broad base of knowledge and really enjoy sharing stories and adventures with everyone.

 

Gear Talk, The Lowdown

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, 2011

August 18, 2011
Salt Lake City

Twice a year, in Salt Lake City, Utah, outdoor retailers get together and share what’s new and what’s hot for the coming year. And while not lucky enough to attend this mammoth event on the Wasatch Front two weeks ago, I do have some great gear to share with you. This list is by no means all-encompassing, just a few cool items that caught my eye.

In one of my previous posts I shared with you Bending Branches new paddle the Black Pearl, $229.00. At only 14 ounces you have got to pick this one up to believe it.

The Vasque Taku GTX, $165.00 is a hiking boot for men that thinks it is a running shoe. This all leather, over the ankle boot takes just a few minutes to break in, and will be ready to go on an all day hike. With a breathable Gore-Tex lining, stiff midsole, and sticky rubber sole these boots are ready for the mountains.

IceBreaker for ladies has their Siren line of base layer tops and underwear. As with all Icebreaker, the Siren line is made from super soft Merino wool that is non-itch and extremely breathable. All the pieces look and fit great and have been designed with active, athletic women in mind. The line includes a cami ($50.00), a tank ($50.00), and a bikini bottom ($28.00).

For mountain bikers, Camelback is introducing the Charge LR hydration system, $100.00. For some time, the R&D department at Camelback has been working with a lumbar pack designed especially for the demands of mountain trails. And to listen to the testers they have got this one right. Low sloshing and great feeling should make this one a hit when it debuts in the fall.

Biking and high heels don’t really seem to go together, but leave it to Merrell to bridge that gap. The Evera MJ, $110.00, is high heel bike shoe with a rubber sole for grip, and a contoured bottom that fits right into the pedal. Expect to see these fashion forward Merrells sometime in February of 2012.

And never forget the Scout pack, the Wanderer, and all the canoe packs from Duluth Pack. We had an impressive booth there on the convention floor to share all our American Made products with both the initiated and the neophytes. From the feedback we are getting everyone loved the show and loved our gear.

See you next time, enjoy the new stuff!

Show me the way back to DuluthPack.com.

 

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Minnesota state parks set to reopen

July 22, 2011
SplitRock

The long national nightmare is over.

Ok, not so much, but the Minnesota government is back up and running which means the state parks will be opening for visitors again this weekend. It will take some time for all the parks to come back to full strength, so we will have to be patient in the days to come.

In the meantime, ready your Wanderer and Ramble pack for the parks that are open. Here is just a sampling of state parks near Duluth, which are beginning to reopen again.

Cascade River is open

Gooseberry Falls is partially open

Grand Portage is open

Hill Annex Mine is open

Jay Cooke is partially open

Judge C.R. Magney is open

Savanna Portage is open

Split Rock is open

Temperance River is open

Tettegouche is open

Please realize you may experience partial services and other deficiencies in areas that are not fully open just yet. If you have questions about any other state parks or campgrounds please refer to the link below for information straight from the DNR.

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/reopen/index.html

Good news is: all the state trails are open or partially open for business. Get out there and enjoy those. Also remember, the Superior Hiking Trail never shut down, and you never need a permit, so keep using that trail up and down the north shore.

Additionally, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness never shut down. Permits to the BWCAW are continuing to be issued, including at the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park. I took just a quick peek at permit availability, and while some popular entries are booked up, you can still find other good entry points through August.

Get those canoe packs loaded into the boats and get on the water, plenty of summer left. You can never see too many sunsets while in the Boundary Waters or Quetico.

 

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Open for Fishing

July 8, 2011
A nice smallie resides in a fly fisherman's net

A nice smallie resides in a fly fisherman's net

In last week’s blog I gave you an update on bear reports coming from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As of this writing not much has changed, and no new problem bears have been reported. Keep your camp clean, protect your food pack, and all will be good.

Here in Duluth we have one curious bear making news and that is Dylan the Bear out on Park Point. Seems Dylan swam across from Superior, WI sometime in May and has been raiding the local bird feeders. Other than a few upset robins and finches he hasn’t been much trouble. However, there is a live trap set for him in an effort to relocate Dylan to a less residential neck of the woods.

The news I have for you today is two-fold; first, the BWCAW is open and unaffected by the state government shut down in Minnesota. Second, the fish are biting, and it is time to get out on the water. After spending some time roaming around at recreation.gov (that’s where you reserve your BWCAW permit) it is apparent there are still permits to be had for good entry points. Book a permit today, and then choose the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park as your permit issue station.

The bait shops in Grand Marais are reporting that fishing is good in general in the east end of the BWCAW. Walleyes are starting to slow down, but if you know where to find them a shore lunch is in your future. Smallmouth bass are being caught while still in shallow water in the lakes. Fishermen are finding surface lures and very shallow runners are catching these smallies.

The report out of Ely is a little bit different; walleyes are being caught at a pretty good pace in 12 to 18 feet of water. In the evenings they are coming shallower onto structure in the eight-foot range. At the present time anglers seem to be having the best luck with leeches. Smallmouth bass in the Ely area are running a bit deeper than their eastern brothers. Fisherman are catching smallies in five to eight feet of water on Rapalas and other shallow to medium running lures.

If you are a fly fisherman, and would love to see some flies tied this Saturday, July 9, head on over to the Duluth Pack store at 365 Canal Park Drive. EJ from the Great Lake Fly shop will be there from noon to 3:00 p.m. demonstrating his tying abilities with flies and streamers made to entice the big ones. As always there is no charge for the fish stories or other lies told.

Get out there and enjoy the adventure!

I am completely hooked! Take me back to DuluthPack.com

Gear Talk

Sleeping Bags – Down vs. Synthetic

November 16, 2010

eurekaAt Duluth Pack, we get asked this question a lot!  Should I buy a down sleeping bag or a synthetic one?

Both have advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully the pros and cons listed below will help you make that decision a little easier.

DOWN BAGS

Pros: Down sleeping bags are warmer ounce per ounce.  Down is lighter weight and easily compressed. However, when storing your down bag, store it open as possible. Down filled bags are great at wicking away moisture. With the proper care down bags can last for many years, even a lifetime, so the heftier price tag is often worth it for the longevity. Down bags are ideal for all aspects of camping except wet/damp areas like for example the Olympic National Forest in Washington.

Cons: It does have a few cons. It does not function well at all when wet, and takes a long time to dry. They are also more expensive and need more care.

SYNTHETIC BAGS

Pros: Synthetic bags then make sense when used in wet/damp camping situations.  It works well for folks new to camping, kids, and the fiscally conservative. It dries quickly and is very easy to care for.  After your trip you can toss your synthetic bag right into the washing machine.

Cons: Synthetics are heavier than down and they are also not as comfortable. They do not pack down as small as down bags can. Synthetics bags are also not as warm as natural down.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Which fill do you prefer?

Techniques & Advice, The Lowdown

Kekekabic Trail – A test of endurance

July 23, 2010

TrailheadRecently our Duluth Pack canvas cutter, Jeff, embarked on a journey with a friend to hike the length of the Kekekabic Trail. The Kekekabic Trail is a challenging one, to say the least. It is a 40 miles trail the travels up and down through the Boundry Waters Canoe Area (BWCA).

The maps for the trail are found here (Kekekabic Trail Club wesbite).  On the first section from the Fernberg Road to Snowbank Lake, half way you encounter a large clear cut area.  Snowbank Lake to Parent Lake, this section was extrememly brushy.  Parent Lake to Disappointment Lake had well marked spurs along the trail. Their first night camping after 11.5 miles lead them to Moiyaka Lake and a very nice camp spot.

lakeThe second day they headed past Hachet and Thomas Lakes for a nice break, then through some very wet marsh’s to Strup Lake for another nice break spot.  The next section had a lot of ups and downs, yikes! This section is also home to the highest point on the trail. The campsite at Loki and Harness Lake was not desireable and the rest of the day was spend going up and down and then up and down some more! Day Two did bring the best campsite at Agamok Lake after 15.5 miles.

The third day they headed through 8 miles of the Ham Lake Fire burn down area, this section had a lot of overgrown parts as well.  They found a campsite near Bingshick Lake, woke up the next morning and hiked the last 3.5 miles out to civilization!

ticksOverall they thought the trail was overgrown, rocky, and often hard to find. They also encountered more water hazards then expected and scores of mosquitos and wood ticks! They were glad to be finished!

Thanks for sharing your story and photos with us! Now back to work!

I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking!turtle

 

high spot  lake view

lake2

The Lowdown

Winter Camping Village and The Beargrease

February 3, 2010

Winter camping villageAmazing. That’s one word, to sum up my night winter camping under a full moon and 30 dog sled teams. I should (and will) let the photos do most of the “talking”.

New to the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon this year, was a Winter Camping Village. Fans could bring their own winter tent (or rent one) and experience traditional winter camping at the Sawbill checkpoint.

We heard the first dog sled team swoosh by our tent at 6:25 AM MondaySawbill checkpoint morning.  Other teams soon followed suit, with distant barking alerting us that the next team was soon to arrive. (click here for video)Our spot on the Sawbill Trail, was a mandatory 4 hour layover in the race, in which mushers were required to handle Time to resttheir teams without any assistance, (as a pre-qualifier for the Iditarod).  Each musher had a spot with hay for the dogs to warm up and sleep in.  Once nestled in, dog booties were removed, food was served, and sleep was top priority.

 

In the checkpoint mix, was our winter camping village, and it brought manySawbill checkpoint curious onlookers. How are the tents made and how are they set up? How do the stoves work? What should you pack for winter camping? And are you warm?! (I have addressed most of these questions in my previous winter camping blog). Yes, we were warm! Warm from shoveling snow for our tent site and warm again once the stove was lit.

back on the trailIn between answering camping questions, and taking in the sights and sounds of the Beargrease, we were enlisted to help out on a few occasions, leading dog teams back onto the trail after their break. The dogs were definitely ready to get back on the trail! (watch the video, click here)

It was an exciting day, but unfortunately we had to pack it all up and head back to Duluth. The teams have to pass through the SawbillTime to rest checkpoint again, and how fun it would have been to be able to watch them come back through the next day!

A big thank you to the Beargrease staff and volunteers. As I stated above, it was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again next year! I hope some folks out there will join us!

Techniques & Advice

Winter Camping How To’s: Pictorial Pointers and Helpful Hints

January 26, 2010

DSC00726When I mention winter campingto folks I get a myriad of responses from “that’s crazy” to “sounds like an adventure!’ I will try to cover the basics so you, too, can have a winter wonderland adventure!

First thing you need to do is find a buddy or two to go with you! (Preferably one with gear!) Then map and plan a route and buy the appropriate maps. Also, call up to folks in the area to check out ice conditions.

Video

Here is a basic list of items to pack.  DSC00742CLOTHING - A complete change of clothes including extra wool pants and ice breaker long underwear. Extra smartwool socks. Waterproof shell. Balaclava (to keep condensation off your face while sleeping).

GEAR – Sled, which is easier than a backpack, (and a dog to pull it!) X-C skis or snowshoes. Ground cloth (to create waterproof barrier to sleep on). Wool Blanket. Closed cell sleeping padice chisel for water(self inflating ones tend to lose air). Mittens are warmer then gloves. A cooler (to keep items from freezing, sits well in a sled). Bees wax candles  for light.  Thermos. Head lamp. Ice chisel or auger for water (see photo). Cold weather camping stove.

FOOD – Pack a lot of  high calorie food for all the energy you will be exerting. Pre-made or just add water meals. Almond butter (doesn’t freeze like peanut butter). No alcohol or caffeine, they will only dehydrate you.

SAFETY – Ice picks. Throw rope. Sunglass or goggles. Emergency Blanket. Lotion and Suntan Lotion. Matches, firestarter (lighters don’t like the cold weather).

When you are ready to set up camp, find a level spot and stomp down the area where your tent Set upwill go with your skis or snowshoes. Allow time (average 1-3 hrs) for the snow to settle and pack down before putting up your tent. While the area is settling you can gather downed firewood and chip an ice hole for water.  Set up tent (usually a twoStove area person job).  Nearest to the door, dig out a section for the stove and cooking area. This will create a nice higher platform to sleep on and a cold air sink near the door.  Next assemble the stove while the Sleeping platform and kitchen areaother folks gather more firewood. Next set-up your sleeping platform. Lay down your ground cloth first, then a wool blanket, your closed cell foam sleeping pad, and sleeping bag. (We offen lay another wool blanket on top of our sleeping bags for the dogs to lay on and wrap them up in). Another night time tip is to fill your water bottle with hot water before you go to sleep to have unfrozen water in the morning. If you turn your water bottle upside down the water will make the cap easier to unscrew.

So now that you know some of the winter camping basics, get out there and enjoy winter! Winter camp