Northwoods Memories Multimedia Productions


Using an Outfitter

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
submitted by: Bob Evans

For interested folks who have never made a wilderness canoe trip, the planning and preparation is intimidating.  It would be nice if you had a very experienced friend who would let you go on a trip with him or her.  It would also be nice if they took you by the hand and led you through all the preparations.  Most of us do not have such a friend.

But all of us have access to an outfitter.  Experienced outfitters are available at every area around canoe country where you might want to enter.

Outfitters are expert at handling all the details of securing permits to enter the wilderness.  They will advise you on any documents needed to cross international boundaries if that is a part of your plan.  They have excellent equipment for rent that is exactly the equipment you need for this type of outdoor adventure.  If you have some of your equipment, they can fill out your gear to what is needed.  They can pack an entire kitchen and food store for you, usually based on menus you select.  They have a variety of canoes for rent along with paddles and life jackets.  And they can provide the canoe, equipment, and food preparation training for you if you are a beginner, or an outdoors person who just needs to make the transition into canoeing.  Before you leave on your trip they will provide you with good maps and lots of detailed information on your traveling route.

How do you find an outfitter?  If you have friends who have canoed here, ask who outfitted them and how it worked.  Youth groups in your area may have taken trips and can steer you to an outfitter.  And everyone has access to the Internet.

If your location makes entry from the south best, look for outfitters in the Ely or Crane Lake, Minnesota, area.   If you are headed toward the Duluth area, look for outfitters in the Grand Marais, Minnesota area.  If you are entering from the north through Ontario, look for outfitters in Atikokan, Ontario.

On our links page we have listed some bulletin boards that have active discussions about all aspects of wilderness canoeing.  Looking through them may give suggestions on outfitters who meet your needs.   Posting a note on one of the boards about what you want to do will surely bring many replies and suggestions.

Browsing the website of an outfitter will give you a good idea of the area they serve, their facilities, and their prices.  It has been our experience that all the outfitters are eager to talk with you about your needs and do so at your level of experience.  They will ask you about the dates of your trip, who will make up your party, and the level of experience of the travelers.  They will ask you about what you want to do on your trip.  Some like to get heavy into the fishing while others may want to seek out wildlife.  Others may travel with children and want campsites with good swimming.

After years of trips into canoe country, we still work through an outfitter.  They always have the most up-to-date information on weather conditions, safety issues on trails between lakes, the best fishing lures to use, and campsite conditions.  Each outfitter has a wealth of information they are eager to share with you.

Select an outfitter that seems to be close to what you want and give them a call.  At this time of the year, they are available to talk with you. If you start now, you have time to visit with two or three outfitters to help you make a choice.  Take advantage of that now so you have plenty of lead-time in planning your trip.

Next up?  Set your dates early!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply