May Weather

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willieborwege
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May Weather

Post by willieborwege » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:34 am

Hi Everyone,

I've seen a few posts in here about weather in May but really only one example. Is there anyone who has been to the island in May and would like to share some details about the weather they encountered (snow, rain, wind, freezing temps, mud, etc.)? Two friends and I are going to be on the island May 18-23 this year and we are trying to figure out how warm we need to pack.

Any suggestions on types of fabric to bring? Also, would a 30 degree rated sleeping bag be okay as long as I layer up before bed?

Any advice is much appreciated!

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Ingo
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Re: May Weather

Post by Ingo » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:25 pm

I went out on Memorial Day, so a little later:
Daytime temps 50-70. Nightime temps upper 30s and 40s.
Steady rain all day the first day. Tapered off over the next 2 days, ending up mostly sunny the last couple. One good T-storm one night.
I had a 35 deg bag (EN rated), a silk bag liner, and slept in my base layer--I was OK, but not toasty warm by any means. If it was any colder it would have been an issue, so I'll take a warmer bag next time.
My clothes are all synthetic nylon/poly or wool. No cotton--once it's wet that's it and is dangerous, esp. in the temps you'll see. I'll bring a fleece for on the trail if I need it, and a down puffy jacket for in camp--but am careful to keep it dry.
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF


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Re: May Weather

Post by treeplanter » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:02 pm

I've been to the Island a few times in mid/late May. Depends if you're near Lake Superior or inland. Near lake Superior, temperature will be on the cool side, definitely jacket weather. You may even see the occasional mound of snow in the shade along the lakeshore. Away from the Lake, it can be warm. One year, when up on the Greenstone, it was shorts and T-shirt weather. As for rain, one year I saw scattered afternoon thunderstorms, other years were sunny. Nice time to visit though. Not many people, and few-to-no-bugs.

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Base654
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Re: May Weather

Post by Base654 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:39 pm

I have been to the island a few times in May. I had on 20+ night where I wore everything I had and was still cold(I sleep cold). I now take my 20 degree EN bag and silk liner and my dry suit insulation (heavy sweats basically), stocking cap and warm sleep socks. I will be there about the same time as you and will be bringing the same this time. If you are near lake Superior it will feel colder. I have a rain poncho that lays flat ($5 version) that I will throw over my sleeping bag to break the cold breeze off the lake, I have a packable down jacket which I put under my rain coat and generally stay comfortable around camp. and you will need shorts if you get to the ridge.


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Re: May Weather

Post by johnhens » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:06 am

We have done several trips in mid to late May, both backpacking and kayaking. We always count on at least one day of snow. Usually a few sunny warm days and cool rainy days. Fronts move through quickly. We take a combination of Poly and merino wool. As far as your sleeping bag, I tend to sleep warm and still take a 20 degree down bag. It can get cold and a poor night sleep will lead to a long day of hiking. If it is cool in the evening, go for a brisk hike before getting into your bag.


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Re: May Weather

Post by torpified » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:34 am

I took the first boat (open to the public from Michigan) out two years ago, early May. I wrote up both a trip report and an after action review, which I'll try to link to. Both discuss conditions; the aar also assesses attempts to contend with them. Short version: snow in the air and on the ground, bevies of moose, COLD (my drawers froze!), deadfall, superduper fun.


Trip Report:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3318&p=22382&hilit=war+horse#p22382

After Action Review:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3332&p=22516&hilit ... iew#p22516

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fonixmunkee
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Re: May Weather

Post by fonixmunkee » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:34 am

You're going during my favorite time of year! Comfortable during the day, and cool at night.

Regarding fabric, just bring clothes and gear for a regular May day in the Midwest. Always bring rain gear. I always have a fleece and a micro-fleece.

Also, a 30-degree bag would be OK with some layering, but I always bring a zero degree bag for this time of year.

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hooky
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Re: May Weather

Post by hooky » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:01 am

Late May trip with my son on his birthday. Weather was cool to cold and breezy near the lake and warm inland. It rained all day on day 1 and was clear the rest of the time. It got down to freezing one night at Moskey, as evidenced by ice in our water bottles. Very few people and got bit by one mosquito on the way up to the firetower from Daisy. Moskey shelters filled up with kayakers, 3 Mile was empty, Daisy had 2 or 3 others in shelters, RH was nearly empty.

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nicky1406
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Re: May Weather

Post by nicky1406 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:28 am

Hey there willieborwege - I'm heading out right after you return (on May 25), so I'm also curious what the weather will be like. It seems like it has been colder than normal this year based on what I'm seeing in the forecasts vs. what others have said is typical. The daytime highs don't appear to be getting above the mid forties, which is not much higher than the nighttime lows. Does anyone know if this is normal/typical? Trying to dial down my gear choices as well and it looks like it is going to be cold and rainy - which is not only a bit of a bummer, but also can be dangerous if one is not properly prepared!
Last edited by nicky1406 on Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dcclark
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Re: May Weather

Post by dcclark » Wed May 15, 2019 8:45 am

nicky1406 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:28 am
Hey there willieborwege - I'm heading out right after you return (on May 25), so I'm also curious what the weather will be like. It seems like it has been colder than normal this year based on what I'm seeing in the forecasts vs. what others have said is typical. The daytime highs don't appear to be getting above the mid forties, which is not much higher than the nighttime lows. Does anyone know if this is normal/typical? Trying to dial down my gear choices as well and it looks like it is going to be cold and rainy - which is not only a bit of a bummer, but also can be dangerous if one is not properly prepared!
I'll be arriving on the island May 27, so I've been watching the weather too. It has definitely been a cool spring in the UP this year. Accuweather's long-term forecast is claiming highs in the 50's, lows in the low 40's, and some rain. I would expect the temperatures to be about right but the rain to move around or change entirely.

As for how normal this is, spring around Lake Superior is highly variable. The average high might be 63 at that time of year, but it could easily be 20 degrees on either side. Same for the lows. I would definitely plan for cold and rain, and then be pleasantly surprised if it gets better. Don't trim your gear down too far. I'll be bringing my 10 degree bag (I'm a very cold sleeper), XTherm pad, and full rain gear.

But of course, watch the weather right up until the last minute, to see if there are any surprises!

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