Wannigans and Personal Boxes

topbagHistory: Lure of the North ran its first guided trip in 2011.  That winter, we recommended trip participants find and bring along a milk crate to use as a “day box” and a seat in the tent.  For woodworker and trip participant, Juoko, a plastic crate simply wouldn’t cut it.  He made his own wooden box for the trip, and it quickly became clear he had the superior product when he’d raise from his seat and everyone else would scramble to hop on.  Post trip, Jouko made us a pile of boxes in two different shapes and sizes, and we’ve been begging him to make more ever since!  Until time that we can start producing these boxes ourselves, the best we can offer is a few guidelines and dimensions for those interested in making their own.

Build Your own Guidelines:
We use two types of boxes, both are made from 3/8″ spruce plywood constructed with “box joints” at the corners, and finished with two coats of marine spar varnish.

  1. Personal Boxes: Everyone uses one of these at the front of their toboggan as their day box to hold small items that they will access during the day (sunscreen, toque, mitts, water, snacks, etc).  These double as a seat inside the tent.  They have a simple strap that serves double duty securing the lid and as a carrying handle.  The leather strap is secured with copper rivets.  There are also loops at each of the four corners  of the box (also secured w/ copper rivets) which are used to secure the box to the toboggan while still allowing full access to open the lid (inspired by the ‘Conover bag’ produced by Black River sleds).
    Dimensions: 13″ L x 13″ W x 11″ H
    Weight: 6.5 lbs
  1. Food Boxes: These are fairly short in height so that we can stack them double high if needed for longer trips without getting too top-heavy.  They are fitted with simple rope handles.  There is no strap used to secure the lid, and have not yet felt the need for one.  The lid for both box styles has a simple external lip to keep it in place.  One food box is outfitted with insulation to keep frozen foods cold through mild spells.
    Dimensions: 12″ W x 21″ L x 9″ H
    Weight: 8.0 lbs

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2 thoughts on “Wannigans and Personal Boxes

  1. In the West we call them grub boxes, they used to be common & had moose hide hinges & the latch was a moose hide cord attached to the lid then wrapped around a nail on the outside of the box. Wooden connercial fishing boxes usually used as grub boxes not as spiffy as yours but functional. With the advent of the plastic fish tub 30 years ago these grub boxes disappeared. In summer they were placed on top of Woods #1 pack sack & under tumpline then portaged. Good to see you promoting boreal bush travel in the traditional please keep it up.
    Cliff jessup

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