Piragis Northwoods Outfitters
Boundary Waters Canoe Trips
105 North Central Avenue
Ely, Minnesota 55731
info@piragis.com
1-800-223-6565


Why we do what we do:
Art in the Boundary Waters Guided Canoe Trip with artist Brent Spink



Testimonials from Canoe Trip Clients:


Thanks for your help. Drew is a gem –enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and fun to work with. We had an amazing time. – Karen Morrill-Bryan, Minneapolis, MN

Thanks, everyone I met had good energy. – Scott Hoffman, Cincinnati, OH

My party had an excellent experience with your company.  Everyone that we worked with was happy, energetic, and helpful. Thanks again for your help and I look forward to planing a trip with Piragis again in the not too distant future. – Matt Olinger, Palmyra, PA

I want to thank you again for your help with our successful trip.  Mary Owen, Mpls, MN

We had a great trip and great experience with Piragis.  Thanks so much. Aaron Fulton, Algonquin, IL

Piragis Group-Thanks for the follow up to the trip my brothers and I made last week.  I cannot think of anything substantial as lacking in your products, services, or personnel.  In fact, I find the entire experience through Piragis as first rate.  More than that, I count some of your employees as personal friends.  Over the last several years Bert Heep has always been a shining example of class and assistance.  I am proud to say we are friends.  And Drew Brockett has gone above and beyond on more than a few occasions.  You should know your people figure very prominently in my decision to book with Piragis.  I would not consider another outfitter and always recommend you to anyone considering a trip to the North Woods.  Thanks for doing such a fine job.  Patrick Fanelli, Harrison, OH

Thanks for everything.  All went perfectly. Craig Beal, Wayzata, MN

As usual the service and equipment were wonderful.   Kimn Paulson, Inver Grove Heights, MN

Thanks for all the support in helping plan my first trip to the Boundary Waters. I felt very taken care of throughout the whole process. I will pass the word on to others what a great outfitter you are! - Jon Kohnen, Forest Lake, MN

"This was our 21st trip through Piragis Northwoods.  We really like their friendly staff and appreciate their knowledge of canoeing and camping in the Quetico and the Boundary Waters.  Their rental equipment is the best and provides the opportunity to try out the latest in a paddling and camping equipment.  This year it was the new Kevlar paddles and the light weight rain tarp.  Both were great equipment additions. We found the Wenonah paddle to be super light and durable and the rain tarp adaptable to different campsite situations. If you are planning your first canoe trip, Piragis Northwoods is the place I suggest you start." - Jack Willey, Western Springs, IL
   
Peter and I would like to thank you for your help with our trip. We had a great time and now have new memories and our canoe now has new and this time deep scratches... :) - Christopher Szemraj, Northbrook, IL

We had a wonderful time!! The staff at Piragis was absolutely top notch.  Brad, Drew, and Simon stick out as 3 that made our first boundary waters experience a great one.  -Joe & Wendy Ulferts, Willmar, MN

I really appreciate the attention and helpfulness of your outfitting staff. – John Flaten, Ely, MN

Hi, My partner and I had already commented on the professionalism, and quality products of your business.  We also enjoyed a couple meals at the chocolate moose, which were excellent.  In addition, we were very happy to see that your company is using solar electric and hot water.  We are not sure when our next trip will be to the area, but there is no question where we will go (and send our friends), for our equipment and dining when we return.
Thanks for the great service.
Tim Bardsley – Salt Lake City, UT

Bert/Drew, thanks for your follow-up note and helping us plan a perfect trip!  Everything was just right...from the route to the canoes.  Over the years you have done an excellent job on all our trips and we would not think of using anyone else.  I currently do not know of anyone planning a trip but if someone mentions it you and your team will be my only recommendation.  Thanks again for a great trip...the new folks had such a great time they are ready to sign up for a trip every year. -Chris Galvin, Lincoln, NE

Thanks so much for the great and friendly service. – Jim Gregoire, Rochester, MN

Great job- as always. We had a great time- both weeks. The wind beat us up the second week, but the loons and eagles made up for it. – Susie Masterson, Winter Park, CO

Tks for your help.  Service was great as always.   – Paul Buettner, Ely, MN

We really enjoyed our trip and found your services and advice very helpful. Sorry I have nothing negative to say so you can improve. I hope you don't change. – Walter Rush, Mpls, MN

We all returned safely to Portland after another wonderful Boundary Waters experience.  You and all your folks at Piragis were very helpful as always.  This was our fifth consecutive trip to the Boundary Waters using Piragis, and everything went smoothly once again.  We will be in touch about next year. – Dean Marriott, Portland, OR

We had a great time and a great canoe! We would definitely recommend Piragis to anyone of our friends and family.   –Annabell Oh, Mpls, MN

We had a great trip to the Quetico and I really appreciated the expert route advice I received from Bert and Drew.  Our tow from Moose Lake to Prairie Portage was well coordinated and your MN 4 canoe rental worked well for my friend’s family of five from California.  The lightweight paddles that were included with the canoe rental were top notch and I felt like you were “going the extra mile” to provide exceptional equipment.  I will definitely make use of your services again and recommend you to others. Thanks again for your part of our great trip. – John Hofstad, Eagan, MN

Service was great and the equipment worked out perfectly for us! – Darolyn Clark, Mpls, MN

Just wanted to thank all of you and the staff for our great trip.  Everyone was very professional. – Kevin Losee, Hanlontown, IA

Hello again Drew and Bert!   I want to thank you for, once again, lining up and helping us create a wonderful trip for the high school kids.  Many of them would love to come back to the BWCAW…. If their life doesn’t get in the way. Many great memories were created and everyone walked away, I believe, a little richer of a person. – Denise Clemens, Mellette, SD

Drew,
I just wanted to write-in and let you know how impressed our group was with Piragis Outfitting, top to bottom. You did a fantastic job helping setup a successful trip, and landed us a superb guide, Steve Johnson. We had a super trip, and my son Drew, and his 3 18-year old buddies are still talking about the trip.

The outfitting crew did a great job for us setting up the gear and food. Our group was treated very well during the shake-down the day before our departure, and we all felt well-fitted for the trip. Not surprisingly, the gear worked great (canoes, paddles, packs, life jackets, camp chairs, tents, bags, and sleeping pads). I think the non-campers/canoeists in our group are now really spoiled, as they don't know how bad or mediocre camping gear can be, and what paddling a Grumman with an aluminum paddle feels like!

The food worked out real well, no issues with guys talking mutiny. This was no-doubt in part due to your use of tried-and-true foods, and the staff getting the proportions figured out perfectly, However, Steve Johnson didn't mess around the campfire. I think he nailed every meal for us, and by that I mean he was very diligent and professional in the preparation and serving of the food such that all the guys were well fed, even proportions, every meal of every day! The food was really good, and the guys had plenty of food every meal. Nothing was burnt, nothing tasted bad. Steve made it look almost easy.

The "guide" was truly exceptional. I think the guys and I will be telling tall-tales about his canoeing, fishing, camping, cooking, and general guiding prowess for years to come. I've been camping all my life (bikes, canoes, rafts, backpacking, ski-huts, snow-camping, etc), and have taken over a dozen trips in the BWCA and Quetico, and I learned a lot from Steve. He knows the country and takes care of his party. One of the guys said paddling in the bow with him was like being on a "paddling Discovery channel". He caught more fish, in less time, than the rest of us combined. and landed decent-sized Northerns with his bare hands from the canoe, He answered 100's of questions, cooked all our meals, prepared us for the more difficult portages, coached us through one short stretch of rapids, kept us safe and let us all roam, all with a smile. Never a negative word from him the entire trip.

One evening we caught a couple of fish from our campsite after dark, well after dinner and dessert. He had them filleted, fried, and served up for a second "dessert" in minutes. The next morning the same good luck occurred again, and Steve had the fried fish on Tyler's plate within minutes. It was the first fish Tyler had ever caught. I can still see his smile.

Thanks for helping us get some great memories! Cheers. - Mark K. Levorsen, Centennial, CO

Your service was top-notch, which is why I continue to use your services whenever I need outfitting. -Tom Kendall, Green Bay, WI

Drew .. Many thanks for your enthusiastic help and guidance. It was a great trip and my friends really enjoyed the experience. – Ian Duncan, Madison, WI

Thanks for your flexibility and great service year after year. – John Mackenroth, Bemidji, MN

We enjoyed meeting your team and plan to be back next year.  I would certainly recommend Piragis to anyone looking for an outfitter.  - Bill Thompson, Atlanta, GA

We had a great experience with Piragis, from the guy who first set us up with reservations for canoes to the guy who helped us get the canoe on the car and into the woods.  We will definitely be renting gear from you again; we also bought a used tent, which we are very happy with.  We are glad to have you there in Ely, and we look forward to returning. – Louis Bartholome, St Paul, MN

Hello Bert …. We are all back in North Carolina now with some amazing memories of Quetico.   I want to pass along the THANKS of our entire group to you for all your help in making this happen.     Also, thanks for the last minute changes we had to make due to my sudden illness there in Ely.    With your quick actions, we were able to salvage the entire trip (minus one down day for my recovery) and all worked out great.   Not sure what bug I picked up but for a while my trip to Quetico seemed to be in jeopardy.   Thanks very, very much for working with us and making all the changes necessary to delay the trip a day.   The route was awesome …… the first few days we saw very few people and while in Quetico, we had the lakes to ourselves.   The fishing there was amazing with quite a few smallmouth bass in the 3-4 pound range.    Also some largemouth bass, northern and a few walleyes.     The smallmouth were, without a doubt, the highlight of the fishing.   We had fish dinners on multiple occasions and everyone on the trip caught fish. Mary and I are already talking about a fly-in, fly-out next year and will definitely be giving you a call when we make the decision.     – Tom Young, Wake Forest, NC

Another great experience. Quick and easy pickup and drop-off with absolutely no hassles. We've used Piragis whenever we have outfitted out of Ely since 1998 and we have never been disappointed. Thanks again! - John Chenoweth, Whitewater, WI

Drew and Bert, Great trip, Great Equipment (love those paddles), Great People – so friendly and knowledgeable.  We have no complaints – really. – Chris Sperry, Plymouth, MN

Drew/Bert:  Thanks for your fine service.  We had a great trip and it was a pleasure to see a Quetico side of the Boundary Waters.  We appreciated your excellent equipment and the terrific attention of your staff.  We hope the rest of your summer is successful. – Ron Holtman, Wooster, OH

Bert and Drew,
Just wanted to tell you how impressed we were with the staff.  Everyone was very helpful and courteous. Thanks for a great experience.  We purchased a new Bell canoe and love it.  See you next year!
 Kevin and Barb Adams – Stillman Valley, IL

It was a memorable trip.  Thanks you for everything.  I appreciated the speed in which you were able to check us in, settle up and load the canoe.  Dropping it off was even easy.   I will refer people your way when it comes up.  We can’t wait for next time.  Thanks again, Ted Truitt, St. Cloud, MN

We made purchases and rented a canoe for a day last weekend. All your staff in the store and in the rental dept. was very helpful and friendly with us and we really appreciate it. You are the only outfitter and outdoor store we focus on when we come to Ely, because we perceive you to be one of the best. Our daughter works at camp Widjiwagan, so we will be up a few times each summer over the next few years for sure. - Mark Flaten, Golden Valley, MN

Drew,
We had a great Boundary Waters trip and were very impressed with Piragis' equipment, service, and staff.  You all are professionals and made the trip very enjoyable. 

 I will certainly share with others the great experience that we had using Piragis and provide a solid recommendation.  I do not think there is a better value in the Northwoods!  Mike Lemmon, La Crosse, WI

Thanks for the friendly & good service. – Neil McGrath, Omaha, NE

Hello Drew & Bert,

I know from the newsletter that you get a lot of email praise, but mine is a bit different. Last Monday, July 20, I came in to the outfitting area to pick up my permit , just as I had last year. However this year, someone else had reserved the permit. I arrived secure in the knowledge that it would take a short time and I'd be done. But unfortunately the other person who reserved the permit had not designated Piragis as the pick up spot. By then the ranger station was closed and of course, we wanted an early start the next day.
 
Adam in the outfitting was extremely helpful and even stayed a few minutes beyond closing to help me get through the process (with a phone call to Drew who knew I just had to sign into the .gov site with the other person's email and password.) After 6 calls to my friend and a few guesses on the password I was able make the needed change and add another person to the permit and we printed it. Even though it was late, Adam took the time to follow the procedure of going over the rules and regs. He was patient and helpful and I really appreciated his help. I know Piragis doesn't make any profit in the issuance of the permits (besides the shopping we always do while there) and I appreciate the help. Just a little different note for you - a big cheer of praise for Adam - who went well above and beyond expectations!

Thanks, Jean Bush-Bacelis, Ypsilanti, MI

P.S. This trip we heard at least an hour of wonderful wolf chorus in surround sound - two packs and one was moving. Awesome!  I could be ready to go back into the woods... oh, in an hour or two...

The entire experience was outstanding.  Brad did a great job getting us all set up, and all the staff at the outfitting warehouse, and at the store were top-notch.  This is our second year in a row and we will work with you for all our future trips.  The equipment was great, especially the Wenonah bent shaft paddles -- so light.  Thanks again.  Bill Knapp, Rochester, MI

Bert and Drew,
John and I have only the highest praise for Piragis! All the staff members we spoke and exchanged e-mail with were knowledgeable, responsive, pleasant, courteous, efficient and professional. The equipment and boat were excellent and the selection of food was great.  We definitely hope to return to the BWCAW and will definitely use your outfitting when we do so, and will definitely recommend Piragis to any friends who plan to visit the BWCAW. Thanks for helping to make our trip such a wonderful experience! - Jeff Gregg, Roselle Park, NJ

Bert and Drew, and the rest of the Piragis crew,
  
Thank you so much for your help with our trip.  We felt very prepared and confident in our equipment, thanks to all of you.  The Piragis team
was very good to work with, and made the preparation enjoyable.  We never once felt during our trip that you guys had forgotten something. The canoe, packs, and camp equipment were all obviously well chosen and well maintained.  And the food was great.  One of my concerns was that the food might be a bit light, but there was enough to take care of even two big guys like us.  You guys took care of all the details so we could just enjoy the BWCA. Even the coffee was great! Thanks for everything.  And you didn't even need to ask:  I have already passed the word to everyone in Madison, WI -- if you are heading to the Boundary Waters, you can rely on Piragis to take care of you.  I think I may have some takers for next year already!

One last thing -- the staff in the store was also great, and everyone at Piragis seemed to sincerely like working with the public. See you on our next trip north! John Hudson, Madison, WI

Thanks again for all of your help. We had an excellent trip! - Matt Gaines, Chicago, IL

We had a wonderful time and the equipment you furnished was great.  The service at the pickup and drop off was also excellent.  I won’t hesitate to recommend you to anyone.
Al Engel, Owatonna, MN

I just wanted to say I was very pleased with your service.  I would strongly recommend your business to anyone.  Your employees were great, helped us out quickly and efficiently!  Thanks for taking care of us!! - Margery Webb, Lakeville, MN

Just wanted to say thanks Drew; you guys are terrific!  We had a wonderful time.   – Jim Christensen, Langley, WA

Brad and Simon took great care of us when we decided to schedule an impromptu day trip to the Hegman Pictographs last Thursday.  Brad's knowledge of canoe designs, the pictographs, and his hospitality and good cheer were exceptional.  We felt very welcomed when we drifted through your back door in search of a last minute adventure.  I was hoping to try out the Bell Northshore and was pleasantly surprised you had one available in your rental fleet.  Our trip was a huge success due in equal parts to Brad and Simon's exceptional customer service, the brilliant weather and Zup's delicious salami and havarti cheese, packed for our shore lunch.  It proved to be a wonderful introduction to the BWCA for my three children, ages 10, 6 & 6 (twins) and a memory I'm sure they will long remember.  Next year I hope to outfit for a simple 3day/2night trip to Crab Lake with just my 10 year old son and I will certainly outfit this trip with you for my canoe and partial gear needs if it happens.   – Chip Williams, Libertyville, IL

Our trip was great and Adam found us your final MN2 which I had failed to reserve. The only improvement I could suggest is having Bert work every day :). We've missed his expertise/route planning the last two years. It’s nice to get campsite and other suggestions when traveling in new areas. – Tony Miller, Baraboo, WI

Just wanted to thank everyone at Piragis for helping my husband and I to have a memorable wilderness excursion. Your staff and equipment were exceptional. The portage to Angleworm taught us that we can look inward to find strength we didn't know we had. Guess that thought can apply to many aspects of life. The blistered feet and sore portaging muscles are well worth the amazing BWCA experience. We'll be back next summer. – Linda Eichstadt, Bloomington, MN

The flight in was amazing.    The landscape is amazing from the air - the islands are really peaks of moraines and hills sticking up through the water - really cool to see. We certainly imprinted some lifelong memories.   Thank you to the Piragis crew for your expert advice and superb customer service. – Jim Hawkins, Woodbury, MN

Hi Drew,
We had a great trip. Thank you for your help and especially your tip on fishing Pietro Lake. We caught four huge smallies in five minutes and tons more that we released. We had a beautiful West facing campsite on Bald Eagle See you next year. – Paul White, Madison, WI

Thanks for everything.  All your staff and contractors are very friendly and competent.  They seem to love their work. We had a perfect vacation.  It's amazing how much easier it is when the kids are teens and big enough to portage and paddle. The pick-ups and deliveries were perfectly timed, the equipment was perfect - everything was perfect.  What a beautiful trip. I loved those canoes.  And thank goodness the Granite Gear packs float.  Don't ask me how I know this.  We've come to enjoy our traditions of the Ely Steakhouse, the Adventure Inn, Piragis, the Lucky 7, Zup's, the Ely webcam, Chocolate Moose, Pizza Hut and all the familiar landmarks. We'll see you next year. – Bob & Janet Whitmore, Overland Park, KS

A thousand thanks to you guys! We sincerely appreciate your kind and knowledgeable staff.  We couldn't have had more fun.  (Well  if the weather was nicer, but you tell me when you guys can start controlling that!) The trip was exactly what we were looking for.  Lots of good fishing and short portages for the old man.  The food was great!  It was a lot easier to prepare  than I expected and tasted amazing.  We were never hungry! In fact we had to make extra meal times to even try and eat all the food.  We will definitely use Piragis again and refer all our buddies for a great time.  Thank you to Drew and the other guys!  - Mike, Jake and Steve Thelin, Raymore, MO

Thank you!!  My manager at REI is right, you guys are the best! - Heidi Bartos, Bellevue, WA

Bert, Thank you for the outfitting services. I mentioned this to Drew on the phone last night; you run a top notch outfit! The drivers Max and Tom were excellent and the snickers/sodas were a nice touch. Thanks again for a fun weekend! - Peter Miller, Maple Grove, MN

We had a blast on our trip!!!!  THANK YOU for all your help along the way!!  - Cheri Henderson, Two Harbors, MN

We had a great trip.  Your outfitters were wonderful to work with, and all of the gear we used was in top notch shape, as usual.  I plan to continue to do business with you in our future BWCA adventures. – Devaughn Rackham, Rochester, MN

First class service is what we experienced using your outfitting services.  We enjoying the two Seliga canoes and Kevlar paddles we rented.  The wood trim on the canoe will never allow me to return to the aluminum trim days.  The quietness of the canoe during fishing was outstanding.  Also the paddles were a real treat.  We have used a number of other outfitters in the Ely area, but will definitely return to you for our future trips out of the Ely area.  The use of brand new canoes is always a treat.  Although putting the first couple of surface scratches on the craft makes me cringe…  We also really appreciated the 10-minutes of time that Bert spent giving us advise about portages and campsites that were on our route.  They came in very helpful.  Between the four people in our group, we were able to recall virtually every tip Bert told us about the route. Can’t wait until our next trip, and we look forward to seeing the service we had on this past trip.  – Jason Femrite, Mankato, MN

Thanks for your work on this Drew...it really makes it fun to work with people who give the kind of service you do.  – Susan Baldus-Strauss, Wheaton, IL

I have been wanting to write to you to thank you for the wonderful trip in July 09. I called you in February, and you gave me tons of advice on planning the trip, checked to see which routes had permits available, made specific suggestions about where to go and how long it would take on the route we chose, and then helped us choose an appropriate canoe, and gave us excellent advice about what to bring. Our trip was wonderful, thanks to your help and advice, and we can't thank you enough! - Sue Turner, Charleston, SC

We had a wonderful canoe trip this summer, thanks to you guys. It was a great adventure with my Grandchildren! You helped us gather the equipment and canoes we needed for a safe trip. Trip of a lifetime! Thanks for all of your help and support. - Ann Campbell, Madison, WI

Our trip to the Boundary Waters was the highlight of the year for many of our scouts and we are already discussing a return trip. The 2009 trip was my fifth trip to Ely and the fifth time using Piragis Northwoods. This is not a coincidence, but a tribute to you and your staff for the excellent service and gear you provide time and time again. It is with much gratitude that I tip my hat to everyone at Piragis. – Dave Herbster, Sabetha, KS

I picked up my canoe and camping gear Sat morning.  I really appreciate the great service Wade provided, making sure the Prism was tied down well in that heavy wind.  He was very busy with many customers but took the time to make sure I was satisfied with everything before I drove back to Plymouth.  It was bitter cold in the parking lot that day but he just kept doing what he had to do.
I’ll definitely recommend Piragis to anyone going into the BWCA.  - Brian Keogh, Plymouth, MN

Once again our trip was very memorable. If I do meet anyone who is considering a trip to the Boundary Waters you can be sure that I won't hesitate to recommend you. You never fail to offer great service and a welcoming smile and we certainly view Piragis and your team as part of the overall experience.  – Oliver Nottley, Lake Elmo, MN

I cannot say enough good things about our experience with both of you and your fine company. Piragis left us with many great memories.  Employees are what make a company, and Piragis obviously knows that.  – Scott & Kathy Hewett, Aptos, CA

As usual your service was outstanding. Special thanks to the young guy in the outfitting area who went the extra mile to find a couple of boxes for me to ship all my gear home from Ely. I have been a loyal customer for at least 25 years now and always look forward to arriving at your doorstep prior to a trip. – Scott Bogen, Carmel, CA

The trip was great.  We rented a canoe and used your shuttle service.  Both were great and we will definitely be back.  When you first game us our paddles, I questioned why you would spend that type of money on rental paddles.  Very nice for us but I questioned why you would spend the money.  I now know.  I saw some of the paddles out there and we’ll definitely be back.  Secondly, we are quite sure you will have at least 3-4 new customers next year.  They saw the paddles and were amazed.  They asked where we rented and obviously we told them and explained where you were.  Everyone that we talked to said they were coming to you next year when they saw how we were outfitted. – Ted & Julie Sausen, Hawthorne Woods, IL

Thanks for another great outfitting job.  I have all the gear I need for BWCA trips except the kevlar canoe.  Your equipment is always top notch.  I liked the new carbon paddles and the new life vests.  We got excellent tips from your fishing guide Aaron Chick.  Some of the holes he recommended yielded good fishing, and those that did not were probably due to our technique and time of day we were there.  We also enjoyed listening to the wolf pack from our campsite on Clear Lake. Your staff seems to be uniformly excellent and super friendly and helpful.  I can't suggest improvement:  just keep it up. – Rick Thom, Jefferson City, MO

We all had a great time. Thanks for all your help and guidance. We couldn't have asked for better weather and even more amazing was the fact we were pretty much bug free the entire time. (How often does that happen?) Our only compliant is the trip ended too soon. All in all we were very pleased with the service received from Piragis and would recommend you to any of our friends in the event they decide to take a trip to the boundary waters. Thanks again. – Mike & Mary Williams, Vandalia, OH

Carey, Kellen and I had a great trip.  Your recommendation for the EP14 to EP16 loop was perfect for us.  The 3 person canoe worked great.  This was Kellen’s first trip to the Boundary Waters and he had a blast.    We missed a few years after Kellen was born, but now that he is old enough we plan on making the Boundary Waters an annual trip again. – Scott Kroger, Mitchell, SD

Everyone from my first call for reserving a canoe to dropping the canoe back off were very friendly. You have earned a repeat customer! I work in retail and understand the importance and can recognize good customer service. I have to say your people attend to the customer’s needs in a very professional & friendly manner. I understand why the only rented canoes I saw in 4 days on the water were rented from Piragis. Keep up with the excellent customer service standards and I will see you next year for all my outfitting needs. - Todd Needles, Eau Claire, WI

We had a great trip!  It was my friend's first trip to the BWCA and I think she is hooked... she asked if I would bring her, her kids and her husband next year - and of course I will. I also want to introduce our son and his girlfriend to the BWCA next summer. So we will be renting again from Piragis - thanks for great service!!! - Sue Knutson, Apple Valley, MN

Dear Bert,
Thanks for the help and the great equipment during our two BWCA trips this year.  Maggie and I really enjoy the service, and everyone stands ready to help us right away in the morning of our departure.  We can always count on you - and will be figuring out a way to fit in three trips next year. – Todd & Maggie Loudenslager, Eden Prairie, MN

Had another great trip with the knowledge and help from the Piragis staff. The route you suggested was perfect for the skill set and ability levels of our diverse group. The canoe pickup and paddle/jacket fitting was about as quick as anyone could ever ask for. Even the canoe usage tutorial was quick but packed with all the information we needed. The weather couldn't have been much better and the fishing was fantastic. Once we get our pictures uploaded we will send them your way. Thanks again to you and your staff for another great adventure! - LeRoy DePas, Kaukauna, WI

I only rented a canoe (Bell NW) from you but was extremely pleased with the prompt check-out, fast check-in, and assistance in loading the canoe. You guys have it down to a smooth system. Also, the portage pads on the Bell were the most comfortable that I have ever used. – Don Fritschel, Boulder, CO

Hey you guys and girls.  Myself and two others were there for a 10-day trip in the back-country.  Went in on August 19th at Little Indian Sioux and came out on 28th at Nina Moose exit.  The Piragis people, the equipment, the advice and the Canoe On In motel were the very best.  All were so good to us.  From the Piragis owner who helped me last fall or winter refine our planned route when I called during Piragis' inventory, to the young fellow who pulled our gear from the equipment barn and took the time to answer all our questions before we left (both were outstanding!!), to the tall young fellow who helped me find a last minute stove in the dark, to the young considerate lady in your store manning the front counter who took all that time to write down my credit card info because the power was out and then was so understanding when I realized I had a enough cash to pay for the purchase, the young hard working and I mean very hard working lady who was manning the gear barn by herself when we returned our gear on the afternoon of the 28th, along with the other 3-4 groups that afternoon and the Canoe On In owners who understand what their guests need.  Just the best, all of you.
  
I had been thinking about this trip since I was 16-years old.  My co-trippers and I have come away from the trip with new understandings of ourselves and our abilities.  From Debbie, Lee and myself, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.    God Bless.

P.S. Please let all your people know what a great impact their efforts, skills and courtesy had on myself and my friends.  The three of us will never forget this trip.     – Bruce Hagans, Salt Lake City, UT

Thanks again for all the support - we had a blast once again. We saw beavers, deer, hawks, eagles etc. etc. No bear evidence or moose sightings. And it was QUIET some nights. Like eerie - no crickets or anything. At the Thursday Bay site we had a friendly Hoot Owl nearby - that was fun. Once a year just doesn't seem like enough. We both woke up at Moosecamp and were like - should we just go into Ely and restock supplies? We were just getting back in the swing! When we started up the path to the parking lot I was like "Civilization, bah humbug!" But I realized that civilization has provided me many of the amenities for camping - water filter, tent, vacuum sealed chicken :) hahaha.
Have a good rest of your summer and a great fall. THANKS DREW!! - Rachel Eliason, St Paul, MN

Hi Bert,  My wife and I had a great time on our canoe trip. We used a Minnesota II and were very pleased with it.  The kick bar was great.  We have a lot of  wilderness canoe water in our adirondacks, so this wasn`t new to us, but the Boundary Waters were on the bucket list, so we went. No complaints about anything.  Everyone was friendly and a lot of help.  Although I don`t have photos,  I caught a northern pike in lake three that was about 42"!  I saw him rise as I was trolling a large daredevil and steered his way.  He was really too big for my net, and too big for us to eat, so now he and I both have a tale to tell. Really enjoyed Ely. Thanks for a great time.   - Larry and Bess Turner, Hagaman, NY

Hey Drew, The trip was great. Caught plenty of fish and had mostly good weather. The guys at Piragis were great as well. Thanks for your help in getting us set up. – Scott Michalek, Sisters, OR

Thanks for the good service.   We were completely satisfied….  no problems. – Dan Eder, Milwaukee, WI

Dear Drew -
Thanks for outfitting my Dad Chuck and me for our trip the last few days. We had a great time and all of the Piragis equipment worked well.
Thanks too for the advice and consultation when we came through last Wednesday morning. We left Island River and paddled to Quadga. Then on to Turtle Lake for day two. Our third day we left the bulk of our gear and did a great loop (in the rain) through Clearwater, Camdre, etc and back to Turtle Lake via Bald Eagle. It was fun to not have so much gear for that series of portages and paddles. Again, we appreciate the planning assistance and organized nature of your firm in helping us throughout the pre-trip phase.
– Alex Frankel, Sausalito, CA

Thanks for helping to make our trip a great one.  Year four for us with Piragis, and you make it worth coming back again and again.   – Dean Marriott, Portland, OR

You folks were great! We had a fine trip and thank you very much!! - Kathryn Bogenschneider, Mercer, WI

Hello, Bert and Drew.  Thanks for your help on our recent trip.  Both of you have been very helpful in the past, so to get that same treatment from you both again, though not taken for granted, was no surprise.  Your friendly and professional work is why we called again.  The surprise was how many other helpful, knowledgeable, and upbeat people you have helping out.  I wish I knew all their names, but four others were exceptionally friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic.  The man who sent us on our way Monday morning, 8/17 (Wade?); the gentleman who helped on our return, when we checked our rental canoes back in on Friday, 8/21; and, two young women who helped us on 8/20 plan our 8/21 day-trip to the Hegman Lake pictographs.  So, yes, of course, we’ll call again.  And, yes, we’ll refer folks directly to you without hesitation if we ever have that opportunity.  – John Wachala, Highland, IN

We had a great trip! The use of the ultralight canoes made the trip much easier for my group. I was very pleased with the quality of the equipment. – Mitch Thomsen, St Paul, MN

I just wanted you to know that we had a great time on our last trip and to thank you for your help. I hadn't paddled a tandem in about 30 years and the Minnesota II made it easier. Everyone we dealt with there at Piragis was great and we'd especially like to thank the woman who shuttled us to Hog Creek. It was great to talk with her about the area and she got us to look for blueberries and we ended up finding plenty. – Hank Markison, Milford, MI

Bert-Drew & the Outfitting crew, Our experience was excellent.  Drew gave us great service when we checked in on last Tuesday. I have no recommendations from our outfitting experience with your company both on the front and back of our trip, everyone was excellent!  I will use you again and I will recommend you to others.  – Scott McKernan, Mount Horeb, WI

Hey Drew,
Just a note of thanks for your help: you are a great asset for Piragis.  We had another great trip; very few people back in the innards of Quetico.  I think I told you that Wes and I are probably going to Alaska for our vacation next year; maybe not though.  Ely seems like a second home to us after spending our last 8 summer vacations there.  - Jim and Wes Christensen; Whidbey Island Wa.

Thank you, for all that you did, to create a phenomenal experience for all of our TPL Travelers to the Minnesota Northwoods last week. – Hilary Mulligan, Placerville, CA

Drew, we had a great trip and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  All of the Piragis staff we spent time with were very helpful and I can’t say enough good things about the Piragis team.  We will be thinking and dreaming about next year’s trip. – Larry Graubner, Nolensville, WI

We always enjoy great service from Piragis. Thanks! - Angie Wyatt and Kurt Kimber, Minneapolis, MN

Thank you.  We had a great trip.  Everyone at Piragis was very friendly and helpful. I would be happy to recommend Piragis to anyone that I know that is taking a trip up there. – Nick Stoffer, Peoria, IL

Drew and Bert, We wanted to say thanks for the great trip that we took to Little Gabbro. You are all so very organized and things always go much smoother when we rent from you. – Lynn Moen, Walker, MN

Thanks again for recommending the trip and for setting it up. It was a pleasure working with you and the rest of the Piragis team. – Todd Burras, Ames, IA

Thank you for the great service. – Rob Weykamp, Grand Haven, MI

You guys were great - before I picked up the canoe (asking questions about the route, getting my permit 'delivered' to you so it was one stop, etc) and during the check in process.  You were knowledgeable about the area to which I was taking my family and were efficient with getting the equipment checked out and checked back in.  The Prism was in great shape and worked well.  We had a great trip.  Thanks for your good service. – Jim Carlen, St Paul, MN

We had a great time on our trip out of Ely last week.  The staff of Piragis was very personable and helpful and the equipment was first rate. We are already planning another trip for next year! Thanks for your help. - Jim Baker, Manhattan, KS

hi drew and bert, because of your help and planning, we had a great trip. many thanks! - james borneman, riverside, ca

Thanks so much for your assistance in planning this trip.  As we discussed early on, although we had been in Quetico many times, this was our 1st time coming in from the south side.  Typically we enter from the north and have a great deal of experience doing so. This time it was important for us to have the portages a little shorter and easier to travel than our previous excursions due to having my 11 year old son with us. The route that was chosen was great (although we didn't get quite as far in as we had planned due to the weather). When we plan our trip for next year we will be sure to contact you. Thanks again, - Scott Bratcher, Van Buren, IN

Bert, Thanks! We had a fabulous trip thanks to you and your staff. We definitely will be back and recommend you to our friends. – Greg Mellon, Bayside, CA

It really was an awesome trip, Drew. It's wonderful to have a few places still that are so untouched. – Tammy Lambas, Minneapolis, MN

We had a wonderful trip. I have been working and running therapeutic wilderness and camp programs for 17 years and have worked with many outfitters in that time.  You guys have a really nice and well done set up and staff.  You provided all the logistics, essential information, maps etc and had the gear we couldn't fly in with us on hand.  Of course, great location.  Adam our shuttle driver was fantastic too. I am currently starting a program to provide access and developmental wilderness experiences for children on the Autism spectrum and with learning disabilities.  If we come up (likely two summers from now) I will definitely use you and recommend you in the mean time. - Matthew Weneta, Richmond, VA

Bert, We had a great time and can’t thank you enough for all your help and advice. Great food, nice gear, beautiful lakes and lots of wildlife. We saw eagles, loons, hawks, deer,  beavers (many a tail slap) bear "souvenirs" and even made friends with some folks while suffering the mile + portage between Burntside and Crab. Thanks again for all your help, Bert. – Jeff Ansel, Edina, MN

Hi Steve, What a fantastic trip! Just a quick note to say thank you very much indeed to you and all your staff at Piragis who helped make my trip last week a roaring success. Lisa and I had a most wonderful four-day trip out in the BWAC and it was due to the professionalism and kindness of Piragis. This is a note principally to say thanks and to let you know what a positive experience I had with Piragis and how superb my experience was of being out in the lakes canoeing and portaging. One of the best experiences of my life, I just know that next time I need to spend longer. I really appreciated the expertise of the company and the fact that you don't stint on equipment - it was very noticeable that the canoeing and camping gear was top-of-the-range and it certainly enhances the holiday. All in all a terrific experience and I love Ely, too. – Joanna Walters, New York, NY

I continue to be extremely pleased with Piragis and will not hesitate to contact you again when we next plan to go to the BWCA. – Walter Rush, Minneapolis, MN

Thanks a bunch...you guys do a great job!  - Cher Burks, Crowder, OK

Your outfitting service was fine, we had no problems picking up the boat or dropping it off. We liked the ultra light paddles, I will provide your name to anyone who asks me about which outfitter to use no question. Thanks again! - Greg and Ellen Scott, Centerburg, OH

Drew, Just wanted to say thank you for our recent outfitting trip.  We greatly appreciate everything you guys did for us. WE had a great trip! Ed & Karen Speer, Marion, NC

I thought the Piragis team did an awesome job.  The equipment was first class. We would highly recommend you guys. – Andy Fisher, Portola Valley, CA

Drew, Our recent trip was Fantastic! Both of the other campers on the trip have already decided that they want to continue to go to the Boundary waters and have decided to use Piragis as their outfitters. Your professionalism and friendliness have already won you two more loyal clients. – Patrice Greger, Minneapolis, MN

Bert, Our experience was extraordinary and the support from your crew was very good. We have already shared our experience and our friends are all exited and willing to go now. – Angel Kowalski, Dublin, OH

We had a wonderful trip. Some of us were first-time campers, so it was great that everything we ordered was there, and things went smoothly. I also want to compliment the quality of the equipment – the canoes were wonderfully stable, and the tents great – and thanks for special ordering us the double sleeping bags. Overall a great experience. – Byron Swift, Washington DC

You guys did a super job of getting us ready for our first trip to the Boundary Waters.  My son and I had such a great time on our trip and hope to be back as often as we can get there.  I am definitely hooked!  …and I will recommend Piragis to anyone headed your way! - Scott Watson, Murray, KY

All of the people at the store, and outfitting department were top notch. The equipment (packs, tents, canoes, etc.) were the best and I purchased some of the equipment at the store before my trip home. Thank you, and all of Piragis for a "trip of a lifetime." - Ted Haines, East Bridgewater, MA

Dear Bert and Drew - We had a great trip last week.  The weather wasn't ideal, but everything else was great.  Thanks for your advice on the entry points and for handling the details of permits and lodging.  – George Shuffleton, Northfield, MN

You laid out a fabulous trip for us - We can't thank you enough for your kindness in showing us not only the route, but the good campsites, the great fishing spots, and great options to our route!  "Thank you!" so much from all of us.   We saw a lot of great things and had a wonderful time in BWCA!
- Gary Jeter, Eden Prairie, MN

Bert - We have nothing but praise for Piragis concerning our recent canoe trip in the Quetico.  We really appreciated the very helpful and friendly service we received from start to finish.  We will be back.  Thank you.
– Mark & Betty Sugden, Jerome, ID

Sandra and I had a fantastic time on our Autumn Colors trip!  No complaints.  The colors were beautiful and overall the weather was cooperative.  I wish I was still on the trip right now.

The equipment and food provided were top-notch.  Good value for the money.  Most of all, I’d like to commend you for having Steve Johnson as a guide.  He was great!  Knowledgeable, upbeat and a good cook.  He did an excellent job of assessing our groups’ ability and stamina and setting the pace accordingly.  I’d love to go on another trip with Steve as guide in the future.  I would certainly recommend him to anyone who was interested in a BWCA trip.
– Dan & Sandra Szymanski, Bakersfield, CA

Aaron Chick made our trip a great success.  – Scott & Kathy Hewett, Aptos, CA

Steve Johnson was an outstanding guide and we enjoyed the time so much we may want to reserve his services again next year.  Steve was an awesome guide.  I think our week went really well and we enjoyed the time with him.  We read several chapters from a book each night around the fire, enjoyed fishing and cooking together and his knowledge of the wilderness plant and animal life was incredible. – Larry Graubner, Nolensville, TN

Aaron Chick is such a great guide. He is a real treasure and not only made our experience out in the BW fun and safe but we learnt a tremendous amount from him about canoeing, portaging, camping and getting to know the lakes and understand the weather, which was an amazing condensed lesson from him of decades of experience. We were very lucky to get such a great guide at the last minute. Aaron is a real gem! - Joanna Walters, New York, NY

Dear Bert,
Your company did another outstanding job in getting our canoe/fishing trip planned and executed.  Feel like you and your guides would bend over backwards or do anything to make our fishing trip a success.  Caught lots of fish (three species each day) with Brad on  Wednesday and Aaron on Thursday.  Sorry the weather didn't cooperate for a third day on Friday.  We really loved that big three-man canoe.  Brother Steve caught his first northern pike and had a great time.  Will be back again next year for sure.  I will give you a call as soon as we know what block of time will work for us.

Thanks for treating us so well and giving us such fine service.  I won't hesitate to refer anyone wanting to go on a fishing trip to you at Piragis.
Larry Nutt, Wichita, KS

We got excellent tips from your fishing guide Aaron Chick.  – Rick Thom, Jefferson City, MO

Darren Young was a great guide, a cheerful companion willing to both give direction and accommodate our preferences while sharing his knowledge. – Byron Swift, Washington DC

Steve Johnson didn't mess around the campfire. I think he nailed every meal for us, and by that I mean he was very diligent and professional in the preparation and serving of the food such that all the guys were well fed, even proportions, every meal of every day! The food was really good, and the guys had plenty of food every meal. Nothing was burnt, nothing tasted bad. Steve made it look almost easy.

The "guide" was truly exceptional. I think the guys and I will be telling tall-tales about his canoeing, fishing, camping, cooking, and general guiding prowness for years to come. I've been camping all my life (bikes, canoes, rafts, backpacking, ski-huts, snow-camping, etc), and have taken over a dozen trips in the BWCA and Quetico, and I learned a lot from Steve. He knows the country and takes care of his party. One of the guys said paddling in the bow with him was like being on a "paddling Discovery channel". He caught more fish, in less time, than the rest of us combined. and landed decent-sized Northerns with his bare hands from the canoe, He answered 100's of questions, cooked all our meals, prepared us for the more difficult portages, coached us through one short stretch of rapids, kept us safe and let us all roam, all with a smile. Never a negative word from him the entire trip. – Mark Levorsen, Centennial, CO

Everything was fine!  I thought Ann was an excellent host and guide.  Thanks all for making my trip such a success. – Faith Drummond, Lancaster, PA

I have been on two trips with Aaron Chick as leader and am considering coming back again. He made the trip. Aaron is a hard working and knowledgeable guide and fisherman. Everything was outstanding from the equipment to the food to the fishing. - Erik Staub, Greeley, CO

I thought you should know that all your equipment was of the finest quality and performed flawlessly. I also wanted to compliment our guide, Steve Johnson. He proved to be not only a tireless and enthusiastic guide, but knowledgeable about every aspect of the flora and fauna we encountered. This added an unexpected and enriching dimension to our trip. Steve is really a consummate professional and a major asset to your outfitting business. Thank you again for a job well done. - Craig Crockard, Sylacauga, AL

People in general love Steve Johnson as a guide, here's some quotes from year's past:

The guide, Steve Johnson, was excellent.

Steve Johnson was an absolute superstar.

Our guide, Steve Johnson, was the best we could have hoped for.  He was so knowledgeable of woods, water, and wildlife, and a great cook too!

Steve Johnson was great.  His cheery disposition and paddling/camp/culinary skills made the trip a memorable experience.

I credit the quality of the trip to Steve's willingness to learn what each of us was looking for - lay over day, length of trip, wildlife sightings etc.  He did a great job of setting up an itinerary that was suitable and enjoyable for all 5 of us - he was flexible, thoughtful and informative and always willing to help me improve my canoe skills.  Just as important to me was Steve's extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna - this is key for me and really added to my enjoyment of the trip.  I also appreciate that he clearly loves the area and was happy to be sharing that . 

Steve Johnson was just as you advertised—extremely competent and knowledgeable on every aspect of the trip. 

The highlight of the trip was Steve Johnson as our canoe guide.  He was great!  We had utmost confidence in his leadership and he never steered us wrong. 

Steve Johnson was a great guide, never intrusive or commanding, but always ready to help and participate in many, many ways - including bringing most of his vegetable garden with him! He was a master in turning a dried bag of stuff into a real meal - although, having freshly caught fish certainly added tremendously to our dinners.

Johnson was great; knowledgeable, but not all knowing and superior. Helpful to a fault.

Steve is a superb guide.  He is gracious, knowledgeable, low-key, and a good communicator.  Steve’s knowledge of everything is encyclopedic.  His competence gave us confidence in doing things we had never done before.

Superb -- Steve is like no one I've ever met.  I think he could build a camp and feed us all out of a tree branch, a rock and a rubberband.   Steve could make a gourmet meal out of a rock. 

My nephew Eric...first time to the BWCA, and loved the experience. Age 25--been working out, and lifting weights...Steve nicknamed him the "mule." Steve said everyone should have at least one trip in their lifetime with a "mule." This was mine. Never before seen anyone carry two packs, one front, one back...Oh, to be twenty five again!

We had unbelievable wolf howling on Lac La Croix on Wens. morning...they were right across the bay from our camp. Across the bay. Think of that! I could see the big Alpha Male in my mind as I listned to those howls....I won't ever forget that morning.

And the night before, Steve had us lay on the rocks along the waters edge as he put out the camp fire...we watched satellites race across the sky....satellites crossing above us in the clearest sky I have ever seen.....don't see that where I live, to many city lights!

Cameron caught a fish...Steve cleaned the fish for dinner....few minutes later, a Bald Eagle swooped down in front of us with his talons extended and picked it up, off the rock.....we all stood there with our mouths open! Could not believe what we had just seen, and the camera was sitting on a rock twenty feet away. In hindsight, its more important that we each have it in our memories, rather then on a film card.

Cameron, age 12....was so excited for the entire trip we could hardly hold him back...including when he ran into the mud on a portage. If Cameron thought he could walk on mud, he learned NOT! Steve then taught us how to make a "bridge" with the canoes to get our packs, and each of us, out into open water. Without Steve, we would have surely turned around, looking for another route.

Equipment provide by Piragis was excellent, as usual....everything was new, and worked flawlessly...the staff that assisted us were equally superior....We were in and out in no time at all.

Can't thank you enough for a quality trip. I have done a fair amount of traveling, and thus have some experince in grading performance...Piragis Outfitting is the best. Please advise your entire staff that all of their hard work does not go unnoticed....or unappreciated. Piragis put together a top shelf experience.

See you next year! Mark D. O'Leary


I have used Piragis on both of my BWCAW trips in the past and was absolutely treated marvelously by Bert Heep and all of your crew there, in Ely. Piragis has always treated me better than any other outfitter that I have ever used, in the United States.  I just wish you had a store down here.  If Bert Heep still works there, please tell him that Jody Miller said hello.  He may not remember me but he has always been very helpful.
 
Thanks, Jody Miller

Your assistance with the permit and outfitting was exactly what I had hoped for – Phil Bradbury
 
We want to thank you for the fabulous service we received.  Your staff was knowledgeable, courteous, and extremely helpful.  We will definitely recommend Piragis to our friends. – Grant Martell
 
The Autumn Colors trip was great! – Casey Scullin
 
We had a great time and enjoyed the route and experience a ton. – Matt Ewig
 
You have a great organization, anytime I’m in your area, you will be the go-to-guys. – Haynes Johnson
 
I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude to you and the rest of the Piragis family for having a large part in this very refreshing time in the wilderness. – Jim Stotser
 
Thanks for a wonderful trip! – Sandy Darlington
 
We are really pleased with how everyone enjoys helping us at Piragis. – Dave Roberts
 
Piragis did a great job outfitting us for our canoe trip.  I wouldn’t change anything. Thanks for a great job.  We like everyone and everything about Piragis. – Janet and Bob Whitmore
 
The guidance through the booking process you provided and the complete outfitting were absolutely the tops. – Betsy Harris
 
The equipment was in excellent condition.  The food was great.  The route you sent us on and the campsites you suggested were excellent.  As important as all other factors, the friendly, willing and can do attitude of you and your staff always pleases me to no end.  This factor puts all the other necessities together and over the top.  It is this positive attitude, I believe, that results in a very thorough attention to the small details which results in the camper having a nice time. – Jack Greene
 
We rented one of your Bell Rob Roy’s.  What a wonderful boat!  The service we received on the phone and in person was pleasant and welcoming. – Mike Elling
 
Everything went super well.  The food was great, the guide the best, and the equipment was much better than I had expected. – Jean Folsom
 
I would like to thank everyone at Piragis and let you know that your service was OUTSTANDING!  Your attention to detail, your customer service, and your overall helpfulness made the trip a complete success. – Greg Phillips
 
We had a terrific time and the equipment from Piragis was in great shape. – Adair Weeks
 
The equipment was awesome!  We appreciated all your advice and guidance about routes.  Everyone really had a great time. – Jennifer Stewart
 
The Beaver float plane into Beaverhouse Lake was really an unforgettable ride!  Thank you for your help. – Debbie Mullins
 
Thanks for helping us experience a wonderful adventure in the Northwoods.  You and your company were exceptional for advice, organization, and moral support.  The quality of your equipment was priceless making the trip easier. – Eric Nelson
 
You were both informative and courteous at every turn.  Your assistance ensured that my trip was a joy with no unpleasant surprises.  Piragis has met or exceeded all my expectations. – Rusty White
 
I just wanted to say thank you for help and guidance in planning our first visit to the Boundary Waters.  I find it very pleasing to talk to someone that “really” knows what they’re talking about and shared their knowledge with a stranger without hesitating. – Don Garrett.


Anyway, the new boat is everything that we had expected. Lots of room,
extremely stable, tracks very well and really quite maneuverable to be
such a large craft. Pat and I were treated like royalty by all of you
there at Piragis. Your kindness, assistance, and courtesy will not be
forgotten. I appreciated the time that you spent talking with us.
Thanks again. I recommend Piragis and you fellows in particular to all
that ask me where to go to start a perfect trip.

God Bless you........see you next season.

Paul and Pat


Call
Drew Brockett or Adam Macht