If you haven't taken a trip to the BWCA, you owe yourself and your loved ones to do so.
Allow me to preface by saying, if you haven’t taken a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), free from cellular service and email bombardments, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to do so.
We make it a point at Vermilion Outdoor Supply to vet, test out and use the products we sell, allowing us to add significantly more value for our customers.
This year, my high school buddy Brian (long-term Customer of Vermilion Outdoor Supply) and I, took our annual five day BWCA wilderness trip in early June. We decided to increase our mobility this year, by packing in our Nomad iSUPs (inflatable stand-up paddle board). This would allow us to portage in, setup base camp and then take shorter excursion portages and explore the lakes and rivers surrounding the main lake much easier than with a canoe. We make it a point at Vermilion Outdoor Supply to vet, test out and use the products we sell, allowing us to add significantly more value for our customers.
Once camp is set up, we inflate our Nomads.
The trip is a chance for us to get out of town, un-plug from the world, slow life down a bit and reconnect with nature. We always come back from this incredible trip refreshed and truly inspired!
Our main gear list consisted of our Wenonah Minnesota II Performance Canoe, RAVE Sports Nomad iSUPs, RAVE Sports Carbon Fiber paddles, Nemo and Kuiu Tents, MSR DragonFly Stove, Cookware and Guardian Water Purifier, Beavertail Cooler, Filson Drybags and of course our JetBoil French Press Coffee Maker and Eno Hammocks!
The adventure begins in Ely, MN.
The adventure begins in Ely, MN, where we fuel up and gather the last of our supplies and bait for the trip. We drive north up the Echo Trail to Moose River South, where we enter and take the small winding river south, along with two manageable portages towards Big Moose Lake where we setup base camp. Once Camp is set up, we inflate our Nomads and gather our day trip supplies to start exploring the next morning.
There is something seriously cool about standing up on the water and exploring the BWCA.
There is something seriously cool about standing up on the water and exploring the BWCA, rather than sitting low in a canoe. Your vantage point is significantly better, and the improved mobility and maneuverability you have on a SUP is amazing; you feel free on the water rather than confined in a canoe.
You feel free on the water rather than confined in a canoe.
The lakes and the rivers of the BWCA are truly some of the most beautiful yet rugged and unforgiving environments around. The Rave Sports Nomad iSUPs performed flawlessly. We took the boards on several portages, dragging them over jagged rocks, crossing large lakes with 4’ white caps (not recommended for the beginner paddler), and visited two breathtaking beaches where we prepared shore lunch for multiple meals. We really put these iSUPs to the test and the Nomads passed with flying colors.
The Rave Sports Nomad iSUPs performed flawlessly.
The Nomads can carry a tremendous amount of gear. At 6’2” and around 200 lbs., I was able to bring an additional 30 – 40 lbs. of gear along on the Nomad, without feeling like I was pushing the board's weight capacity or performance.
Do a little meditation/stack gratitude, and cruise effortlessly on top of the glass water; you won’t regret it.
The Nomad will allow you to bring enough gear with you on any excursion for a one-two night portage, with ease. During our day long excursions we would bring our stove, food, water, extra clothes etc. If you were an ultra-light camper, you could very easily portage into the BWCA with only your gear and your Nomad, which is what we plan to do next year.
Tips and Tricks Learned:
1) Take advantage of the bungees; you would be surprised how much gear you can actual bring along on the Nomad securely under the bungees and still keep everything out of the water.
2) Put as much gear as you can fit in a few dry bags during your excursions so that everything stays dry during any weather conditions.
3) Do yourself a favor and get up early while the lake is still glass, throw on a hoodie and go for a quick paddle. It’s a great chance to watch the lake wake up, do a little meditation/stack gratitude, and cruise effortlessly on top of the glass water; you won’t regret it.
4) To make things easier during the portage, we would place our large Granite Gear Portage packs on our backs and carry the Nomad Pack on our fronts, this allowed for the weight to be evenly distributed and also made for fewer back and forth trips during the portages.
Posted By: Pete, Vermilion Outdoor Supply
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