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PostPosted: February 20th, 2015, 12:28 pm 
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Location: Wisconsin
I am gathering some info for a possible future trip (Kazan River). I am looking for ways (most economical) to get a group of paddlers with Packboats and gear from Baker Lake to Winnipeg?

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2015, 5:14 pm 
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From Baker Lake there is commercial flight to Rankin Inlet and then to Winnipeg . scouter Joe


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2015, 5:15 pm 
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Yes, but I don't think it's "economical." Based on what I paid for my last trip to Baker Lake, I could have gone to Europe twice.


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2015, 6:14 pm 
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simonbee wrote:
I am gathering some info for a possible future trip (Kazan River). I am looking for ways (most economical) to get a group of paddlers with Packboats and gear from Baker Lake to Winnipeg?



The flights from Baker to Winnipeg are expensive but they are what they are and other than paddling, swimming or walking you really don't have any other options. The real killer can be your gear, pakboats make it easier but still that's 50lbs of excess baggage which will be very costly.

Your best bet is to try to find out who is shipping cargo into Baker and use them to fly your gear out to wherever they can. The cargo flights arrive full and leave empty you can make a very good deal leaving Baker.

I don't know for sure where these cargo flights originate from, it could be Winnipeg or it could be Churchill or maybe even Thompson.

Speaking of Churchill, it may be cheaper to fly from Baker to Churchill and take the train from there, it's slower for sure than a direct flight to WPG but on the other hand it allows for more time for your gear to catch up to you.


A related question, how are you planning to access the Kazan (I'm also planning a trip there for some time in the future)?

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2015, 7:18 pm 
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Location: Hanmer, Ontario Canada
Hi recped
We are going to drive to Wollaston Lake and paddle down the Cochrane river , over to the Thlewiaza River and up the Little Partridge River to Kasba Lake Then down the Kazan River to Baker Lake . scouter Joe


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2015, 9:07 pm 
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Location: Wisconsin
The plan would be to flight in with Kasba's Lake Lodge plane from Winnipeg ($600). They take a good number of passengers but only 50 lbs of cargo per head. The additional cargo would have to be shipped separately at $3/lbs. I estimate we would have about 700lbs of additional cargo. With a group of six that would put the flying in at around a $1000. Also, the cargo would have to be in Winnipeg two weeks head of the trip in order to be there when we arrive. That posses a challenge by itself, shipping good from the US to Canada is a nightmare. We most likely would have to drive the cargo across the boarder and then ship it or drive directly to Winnipeg (10hrs one way).
But it is the return from Baker Lake to Winnipeg that look even more pricy. A commercial flight to Winnipeg is around $1400. Shipping cargo to Winnipeg from Baker Lake is around $4.5/ lbs.
There might be some better deals out there, I have time and I am in the very early stage of gathering info. This trip would be in 2016.
Thanks for your responses

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2015, 8:51 pm 
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Hi Simonbee,

I will be monitoring this thread, because the Kazan is on my list for one day, and the Baker logistics always seem to be shrouded in mystery and change. :D

But the prices you are quoting do not seem unreasonable to me, by northern standards. In fact they seem quite reasonable. When flying people and cargo in the north, you have to switch paradigms! Prices 5 to 10 times what you are used to in the south are fairly standard for the north. For example a $300 jet air fare in the south carrying you few thousand miles, is compared to a $3,000 bush plane air fare in the north carrying you a few hundred miles.

As for the 10 hour drive from home to Winnipeg, that's amazingly "short" for a drive to get people and gear to a launch point to the sub-arctic. When I drive to Yellowknife or Fort Smith to launch into the sub-acrtic or arctic, I am driving for 4.5 days (solo) from where I live in Canada! :D I recommend a leisurely drive, and a layover of 2-3 days when you get to the launch point, to de-compress, enjoy some local touristy things, have a few restaurant meals and cold beers, before launching. It gives you time to do last minute checks of gear to make sure everything is just right.

Looking forward to what you find out on logistics, and best wishes for a great trip!

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PostPosted: February 24th, 2015, 8:22 am 
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the times i have been to baker lake, we have flown back to churchill and then taken the train from there further south. obviously this takes more time but it is a nice opportunity to visit churchill and the train runs (very slowly) through a huge swath of the boreal. you can get off a gillam (first town that is serviced by all season road), thompson (first major town), the pas (historic gateway to the north country) or winnipeg. all are then serviced by bus...or if you have a car parked you can then drive off. it used to be that if you showed up at the airport in the north and paid cash it was cheaper than booking tickets in advance...not sure now. the last time i was in baker was in 2009 and it was something like 500 each to churchill.

as for the canoes, in the case of non-pak boats, we used to use the ntcl barge to churchill (dirt cheap as you pay by the pound...i can't remember exactly but something like 20 dollars per canoe in the early 2000s) and then it would be transferred by gardewine north in churchill to the train bound for winnipeg or wherever. this cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of 150 dollars. we did this on 2 different years with not problem except you also don't have a canoe until well into the fall season. one caveat, we had a canoe go missing with ntcl on a barge going from kugluktuk to hay river (different route but same company).

having said that, last time we were in baker in 2009, i dont remember the details but as i recall there was some problem with the logistics of transporting canoes...i imagine this might be able to be sorted it out if you planned in advance. we didn't do any planning before arriving in baker. once there, we tried halfheartedly to get our canoes shipped but a couple of hours after arriving in baker we gave up and they were given eventually to the local youth group...it wasn't a big deal for us since we had paid somewhere in the neighbourhood of 200 dollars for them (old town trippers) as they were sold to us after being used as rentals...this is another option, i might add, if you want to avoid the cost and headache of shipping altogether.


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PostPosted: February 24th, 2015, 1:57 pm 
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Getting cargo out of Baker; Things are always changing but in general, for cargo, Calm Air flies to Thompson or Winnipeg, and First Air to Winnipeg. I think barge shipping is now to Montreal. A pakcanoe is easier to ship back. And old canoe could be sold. Eat or give away extra food. It's always a good idea to call the airlines for first hand info. I once got a seat sale for the Rankin to Winnipeg section.

I've heard that canoe flying south have been charged by weight because the cargo holds are mostly empty so you are not paying by volume as well.

For getting people out of Baker, flights options are Churchill, Thompson, or Winnipeg, and then train, bus, or vehicle options.

As for moving gear north, shipping ahead has worked well for me. I have shipped Calm and First Air air cargo as well as by truck to Points North and onward to Kasba Lodge by plane.

I have had issues shipping liquids across the USA Canada border. It was easier to drive them across the border, than ship.

Logistics are always a challenge but the trips are epic!

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2015, 12:23 pm 
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We flew north to YK on points and booked our return from Baker Lake - an open jaw flight. Air Canada allows you to do this for a mere 25,000 aeroplan points flying with Canadian North or First Air. It's by far the best use of your points for flights in the north. We had two pakboats and a single feathercraft. Packing it all up we had one piece of luggage over the allowable limit and packed that box to the limit of 32 kg.

Getting all the gear to YK, we put it on a truck from Vancouver. I think it weighed about 700 lbs: canoes, gear and food for five people for five weeks. Only cost us about $1 per lb.

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2015, 1:45 pm 
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that is slick. that's the kind of creativity that allows those people who have less money to still get out there. good stuff.


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PostPosted: March 9th, 2015, 12:29 pm 
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Great post Pv

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