New YouTube video

New video is live! A short one on one of the trips from last year we took with the kids through Temagami. Thanks for watching.

Tips Tuesday #2

We’re back for another tips Tuesday.

Who makes a trip plan?

Who then leaves the details with someone they know? It’s a good idea to leave a detailed version of your trip plan with friends or family. Marking where you’ll be staying and when. This way if something does happen to you help can be sent out right away and search and rescue can target the areas you were supposed to be traveling through? Now some folks might say “wait I have a spot device for emergencies like that!” True it’s great to have a spot device but electronics break so it’s always good to have a backup plan.

Do you take proper precautions before you head backcountry?

What are some other good safety tips that you take before heading out?

Tips Tuesday continues! This time we’re heading back to the basics.

In this day of electronic gadgetry and SKYNET like computing its easy to forget about the basics. Electronics can and will break, run out of power or turn on you and blow you out the airlock. We’d strongly recommend working on your map and compass skills this year. Many classes are held online and locally (I took a course just last year to hone my skills) A great thing to have on your belt as a Canoe tripper. Use the blood thirsty human hating GPS unit but have the skills and tools to back you up if and when T1000 tries to ruin your trip.

Hope everyone’s enjoying their day, I don’t know why but I have a strange urge to watch Space odyssey or Terminator.

Aha! You knew this was was coming . So here we go with some PFD tips for sizing as well as care! Remember to share your photos with us here on FB as well as Instagram with the hashtag #wearapfd and #leadbyexample

Aren’t PFDs uncomfortable?

Long gone are the days of the hard foam strangling boy oh bouy PFDs . There is an insane range of different styles , colours , weights , ect in PFDs now. Not only are they a life saving device but some models are basically 90’s Dad cargo shorts for your chest! Pockets in pockets allow you to become a Swiss Army knife while paddling. Clif bar…top pocket. Knife..side pocket. Compass…oh room for that to. Map?…clip to the front. Fruity Pebbles? Eat your cereal at home you feral animal the canoe is no place for cereal.

Make sure to try them on before you purchase. Roll those arms , crouch, sit, do some burpeees. Make sure it’s comfortable and make sure it’s a proper fit. If not you’ve just purchased yourself a $200 seat pad which is basically the same as cutting your car seatbelts off and stuffing them in your back pocket…which if that’s your thing all the power to you just seems a like more work than just wearing it.

How do I care for my PFD?

Water and feed it three times a day….wait I’ve mixed up my notes here.

Store it somewhere dark and dry. UV rays will degrade fabric and the foam innards.

Try not to sit on it. Compressing the PFD is actually bad for it and will shorten its lifespan. If you’re a clean freak you can wash it with warm water and mild soap just make sure you dry it completely before putting it away, because moldy PFDs are gross. PFDs do have a lifespan so if you’re still rocking that 1970’s was once yellow but now is kinda brown and smells likes Nana’s basement PFD…get a new one.

Forgot yours? Ontario Parks actually has a PFD lending program. See here https://www.ontarioparks.com/pfdlending

It’s your choice though folks we’re not here to judge you on what you wear and don’t wear. My only suggestion is that if you’re promoting canoeing , if you’re taking out new individuals to the life, if you’re teaching a new generation about backcountry canoeing and camping #leadbyexample and #wearapfd.

PRIZES???

Thanks for participating in another great tips Tuesday. As always if you’d like to see some of your tips featured drop us a line at

Paddle.in.ontario@gmail.com

Here’s our final tip for the day and it’s an important one. Something huge is coming this summer to the Paddle In page. Wanna get in on it? Really simple just head on over to our YouTube channel and subscribe. That’s it nothing else fancy log into your account and hit the subscribe button. We’ll be rolling out more hints very soon but I can tell you this you do not want to miss this one.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/

UC0cuWVUvGCpgorWujMk0ZCg

Ode to the Black Fly

“I’ll die with the black flies picking my bones. In North Ontario”

-The black fly song –

So if you’re like me your FB feed is full of people who have already got out for their first paddle as they live further south or are lamenting about the remaining ice and dreaming about paddling a northern lake. I’m just here to remind you what follows iceout just a few short weeks later. Those are not birds in the photo , nor is it a fleet of airplanes soaring in the skies of Temagami. They separate the dedicated from the fair weather, the complaints change from to cold to to buggy, they crawl in your eyes, nose and ears. But truth be told I miss them a little. That constant buzz, the tap tapping on the tent fly, the black halo around your bug net on the portage. The super resilient ones who manage to somehow crawl inside the bug jacket, and you’re not sure if they’re inside or out till you feel that familiar pinch. They’re waiting right now, just for you, they’ve missed you and if you think about it and are honest with yourself you missed them a little as well.

The Black Fly.

Food Barrel Friday #3

What’s the one piece of kitchen/cookware you can’t leave at home on a backcountry trip? Let us know in the comments below or better yet show us a photo.

Food Barrel Friday continues….

As some of you may or may not know it’s Canada Water Week . Now I think we can all agree that without water we wouldn’t get very far as Canoeists. We travel on it, we fish from it, most importantly we drink it.

So here’s a question for all of you. With choice of beverages in short supply on a canoe trip. What do you do to your water for a change of pace? Add crystals? Lemon? Wintergreen? Whisky?

Let us know in the comments below.

What’s your go to snack on the portage?

Candy?

Jerky?

Are you a die hard blue berry addict?

Let us know in he comments below.

Here’s one of our favorites around the Paddle In homestead

Maple Trail Mix

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup oats

1 cup mixed nuts

2 cups whole natural almonds

1/2 cup golden raisins, a couple of handfuls

1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 sunflower seeds

1 cup M & M’s or Reese’s pieces

Pre heat oven to 375

Warm and combine Maple syrup and vanilla extract

Mix wet and dry ingredients (except the m&m’s they’ll melt!!) . Spread on a baking tray and bake 15 minutes. Remove cool and try not to eat it all right away.

Hot Tenting- A review of the SnowTrekker EXP Crew 10×13 canvas tent

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Hot tenting! Glorious hot tenting. It’ll be pretty hard to convince this guy to ever again go winter camping without a hot tent again.

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On January 31 2014 Team Paddle In set out for five wonderful days in Algonquin’s interior. But first we made a stop at Algonquin Basecamp. Chris and Robin were absolutely great to deal with. We strongly recommend them they have a wonderful outfitting store located near Access point 4 at the Amalguin Highlands information center. Lots of cool gear to rent or buy we’ll definitely be back. Chris ran us through the basic safety and setup of the SnowTrekker, we paid for our rental  and we were off into the park.

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“These guys were great! Go check em out!”

Okay before we get into set up let me give you some stats on the SnowTrekker.

10×13 EXP Crew

Ridge Height:78.5″
Ridge Length:102″
Tent Weight:16.2 lbs
Frame Weight:  6.84 lbs
Total Weight:23.04 lbs

And the Stove

SnowTrekker Large Stove

Length: 24″
Width: 12″
Height: 12″
Setup Height*: 19″
Stove Pipe: 5″
Package Weight: 24.5 lbs

Description from the SnowTrekker Website

“The lineage of our time-tested Snowtrekker™ Expedition tent remains the unbroken. The Snowtrekker™ EXP Crew canvas tent starts with our classic Expedition design, the modified wedge, and adds 17 years of tent design modifications based on our personal observations and invaluable customer feedback to give you our best canvas tent to date. In this canvas tent you will find our newly designed asymmetrical oval door and our structurally integrated horizontal guy-out system. We build this tent with our 7 oz custom canvas, and keep standard all of the things that count: reinforced stress points, 12” wide synthetic sod cloth, shock-corded Easton aluminum frame and stove-jack. Just as our Expedition tents in years prior, we are confident that the EXP Crew will be the first choice for guides and winter wilderness seekers in need of a light, nomadic and durable tent with amazing set-up simplicity. The Snowtrekker™ EXP Crew is destined to be the undisputed champion of traditional winter camping tents. What’s left to say? You best start planning your expedition today!”

Sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it? It is! It really is. This tent went up so fast. Simple A-frame design made set up a cinch. Both the stove and tent fit onto one pulk which made carrying it in a snap.

Have you set up an A-frame before? It’s very easy. Having some extra hands while setting this up makes it go much faster.

Wait stop! Did you pack down the area you wanted to set your tent up in? Get those snowshoes working. Stomp ,stomp, stomp. make a larger area than the tent so you have room to walk and work. Make a path of into the bushes as well for when nature calls. Trust me you don’t want to be walking around in the middle of the night, up to your waist in snow and only wearing your long johns. Okay, have a nice area packed down? Take a break have a snack, gather some firewood. When you come back it should of already started to freeze.

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Lay your poles out. Find your center pole and the four legs.

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This is where we found having someone there to help you was great. Have one person begin to insert legs. While the other person holds up the center pole. As Chris from Algonquin Basecamp stated the tent acts a bit like a baby deer, all wobbly on its legs until you get the canvas on. Once all your legs are on go grab the canvas.

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Insert legs on either side into the pockets at the corner of the canvas. Pull the canvas over the frame and insert the legs on the other side into the pockets in the canvas. Voila! That’s pretty much it. Side poles can be installed and the tent can be pulled out using grommets and string at all four sides.

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You’ll notice a black snow liner around the bottom. Its up to you if you want that inside or outside the tent. I have seen people do it both ways. We kept ours on the outside. The 15cm of snow we received the next few nights covered it and created a nice “seal” to the ground. No drafts coming in at all. Open the vents at the top of the tent and you’re set.

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Okay stove time.Pull open the legs, now stop. A major concern is that you keep your stove level and stable. This is accomplished very easily by creating a float with logs underneath it (pictured below) These can be wired to the legs and to each other with small gauge wire.

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Okay depending on which tent you have and what level the stove it at the next steps include putting the elbow stove pipe in and then placing the nesting stove pipe into the elbow. Don’t ram it in. It fits very nicely and the pipe is thin metal and can be damaged by to much force. Ok you’ll need a bi-pod or tri-pod. Go grab some nice sticks and slightly heavier gauge wire (Thanks again Chris). Make yourself a sling to hold the pipe up. Like so.

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See those little shovels up there? Its a good idea to keep one of them inside the tent. This way if there is a fire or something is heating up to much. Snow can be scooped and dumped very quickly.

A word of warning. The pipe gets HOT! (really a stove pipe Matt?) Yes it does. So make sure you are wary when lumbering around your campsite like a bear.

Now it should look something like this.

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Now go get more firewood lot of it if you want to stay warm. The 10×13 EXP Crew was more than enough space for the Three of us and two dogs. We had a nice kitchen area near the stove. Gear stowed to the side and all our sleeping bags laid out with our feet pointing toward the stove.

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With the stove stoked and filled we could damp it down and enjoy the warmth while we ate dinners and talked about mysyery adventure survival novels about guys named Devon (don’t ask). When night came we let the fire die out and then tucked in to bed. The stove was never run unattended. If someone was cold, they got up stoked the fire had a drink and sat around. You don’t want a tent full of smoke or a fire on your hands. So if no one is awake/around to watch it don’t run it. Believe me the tent will heat up. I was amazed at the temp difference that was created by that stove. Its great to be able to dry wet gear and just warm yourself up.

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“So warm its like I’m at the beach”

In closing we want one of these tents. They would be great for any type of base camp camping. Late fall trips, early spring trips and dead of winter trips would all benefit from having one of these amazing tents along for the ride. if you haven’t tried hot tenting get out there. the groundhog said six more weeks of winter. Enjoy and have fun. Be safe and gather lots of wood.

For rentals contact: Algonquin Basecamp 

To purchase a tent contact: Snowtrekker Tents

Cheers

-Matt