kayak vs canoe?

5:34 p.m. on March 2, 2013 (EST)
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I bought a kayak last year mainly to make it easier to load/unload, my canoe is considerably heavier. though the kayak is still new to me as of now it seems that the canoe is much easier to paddle against the current than the kayak. my kayak is pescador 12 footer and my canoe is a rouge river 15 foot 7 inches. Is it my technique still being green with the kayak or have others experianced this as well??

Thanks.

 

earl.

12:34 p.m. on March 3, 2013 (EST)
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Smith,

Part of the difference is the boat length.  A 12 foot kayak tends to be beamy for its length creating resistance and drag.  I like longer boats, say 17-18 feet for these reasons.

I have been a canoeist since 1960.  I built a sea kayak from a Pygmy kit but sold it later.  Kayaks are confining and hard to load but capable of handliing big water with the right technique.  They are a fad now, at the expense of canoes which don't get much respect in some places.  I expect this discussion to be a free for all, but there is a reason that most the really long voyages across continents have been in canoes.

1:33 p.m. on March 3, 2013 (EST)
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Earl, I am a paddling instructor and have written and lectured about paddling with a  focus on canoes. I live in the PNW, which was the birthplace of the modern sea kayak.

While ppine is correct in his analysis, it is hard to determine what the exact issue is without more information. Certainly boat length is a factor. But beyond that is paddle  length, blade size and position, as well as technique. Are you paddling in the same spot, at the same time? If you are on a stream or river, did you play the eddies more? How is the boat loaded? All these are factors. As well, your 12 footer may be actually less that that for WL. Bottom shape is a factor too.

I don't consider kayaks a fad as opposed to canoes. SUP's may fade a bit, but they are here with us as well. Kayaks, both ww and sea kayaks, have been used for many years and are very capable for what they were designed to do. And as ppine alluded, in some areas canoes have lost considerable ground. Often this is because when people mention "canoe" they think of some old clunky Grumman they paddled as a kid, and "sea kayak" brings to mind some svelt 17 foot Greenland style boat.

Canoes are, hands down, far more versatile. A 16 foot boat, depending on design, can be paddled solo or tandem, can paddle whitewater, can take two people on two week self supported excursions, and with a spray cover, can make large crossings on open water. They can also be easily carried.

Post some more info and I'll try to address your issues.

10:59 a.m. on March 6, 2013 (EST)
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Earl, I looked up the Pescador and the Rogue(I assume it was a typo) from OT. I am familiar with the latter but did not realize the kayak was a SOT. SOTs are not going to be very fast, period. They generally have a lot of wetted surface. Add to that, the seating position is not able to lock you in like a closed boat. You can improve things a bit, but it won't be a rocket ship by any means.

11:19 a.m. on March 6, 2013 (EST)
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Erich,

Is it possible that you have a tendency to over-analyze everything?  Assume a guy uses the same paddle and similar technique in a canoe and kayak, length and the shape of the boat are the obvious differences. 

7:07 p.m. on March 6, 2013 (EST)
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ppine, I am certainly guilty! On trips I guide, I am often faced with people who claim they are experienced canoeists, yet can barely get in a boat without turning it over. Paddling a kayak is much more intuitive than a canoe. People pick up the basic kayak stroke and the ability to make it go straight relatively quickly. A solo canoe stroke is far harder to teach and learn. That's why Earl's post is curious, because he is no doubt using a double bladed paddle and a lighter boat. Although length is a factor in top speed, and the Pescador will ultimately be slower, with a two bladed paddle, he should able to reach hull speed easily in that, and in the canoe he won't.  Neither boat is a speed demon, and the Pescador is clunkier, but for a short sprint, the kayak should be faster, given two blades to one.

12:43 p.m. on March 7, 2013 (EST)
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Depends on skill level with the single paddle.

12:47 p.m. on March 7, 2013 (EST)
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I loved the story by Verlen Kruger when he paddled across Canada with his son in law.  They arranged to be in Flim Flam, Manitoba for the big canoe races during their trip and were full of confidence.  They had been paddling 40- 75 or more miles a day for months on rivers to get there.  They got smoked by the local people that have grown up in canoes and paddle for a living.  The white guys did not even show up in the standings in any of the races that they entered.  That is the difference between skilled recreational paddlers and professionals.  There is a big gap with other endeavors as well.

4:29 p.m. on March 7, 2013 (EST)
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"Depends on skill level with the single paddle." It certainly does. Earl's boats are a SOT that weighs 60 pounds and is 28 inches wide, and a canoe that weighs 120 and is 37 inches wide. Certainly the top speed of the canoe will be about 3/4 of a knot faster. Getting there is the problem. My point is that paddles and paddling skill can make an enormous difference and his issue may not be all boat related.

Were Verlen and his son in law paddling a Kruger for the race? Were the locals paddling C1s? What many people don't realise, and I mentioned above, is that there are far more types of canoes than kayaks. Everything from boats designed for free style, boats for tripping on flatwater, white water trippers, expedition boats, whitewater canoes that look like kayaks, OC 1 ww boats, down river slalom canoes, down river racers, and more. Do you want an asymmetrical canoe or a symmetrical one, tractor seats, foam saddle, or bench? Do you want it stable for fishing, carry a moose, or fast. And then the materials, stripper, wood/canvas, Royalex, Royalite, kevlar and s glass, kevlar and e glass, kevlar and spectra, polyethylene, polyester, epoxy or...? I've got eight boats and 17 paddles now in my quiver and it still isn't enough to cover all the types I want.

5:43 p.m. on March 7, 2013 (EST)
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I'll agree with Erich, the mechanics of the sit on top are totally different when you are sitting higher out of the water and just the design of the boat/what it was made for. Fast wasn't even on anyone's mind when they were designing it.

10:00 a.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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you guys answered my question but speed was never the issue it was effort required. I see the two being related and the reason the kayak feels like it takes more effort to move upstream is because the ratio of hull contact with water when compared to the canoe is greater right???

I do most my trips starting out heading upstream because I usually dont have a shuttle, I just go as far upstream as possible in the time I have and then the return trip when I have less energy is an easy drift with little hard paddling. I guess the solution is to just keep on keepin on and except it for what it is.

one thing I would like to add for anyone who may be considering a yak who stummbles upon this is that if I had it to do over again I would probably go with a sit in. I opted for a sot because of the stability offered by keeping the equipment load for a multiple day trip closer to the water but the wet ride of the sot even with all the scupper plugs in is not what I was pictureing. Its not un bearable by any means and I have found ways to deal with it and in warm weather it is worth the trade off for the weight savings loading and unloading.

thanks guys.

 

earl.

10:59 a.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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You are welcome, Earl. The other factor that I mentioned above, if top speed is not the main problem, is weight. The canoe has more mass. For every stroke the canoe has more "carry". While it may not propel it any faster than the kayak, the canoe goes further with each stroke.

All, if you are considering a new boat, carefully consider what its limitations are.  There are probably no "bad" boats today, but every boat is designed around certain parameters. If you are having trouble deciding, feel free to post or pm me and I'll try to help.

12:52 p.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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Kruger was in a cedar stripper about 20 feet long that he built for the trip.  He was competing against all sorts of canoes.  Downriver races in the bush do not have categories like C1 or C2.  They race what they have.

4:37 p.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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"Kruger was in a cedar stripper about 20 feet long that he built for the trip."

That would have been in 1971, when he and Clint paddled from Montreal. His boats evolved quite a bit since then, as did his paddling skills. Sadly, he passed away in 2004, but his boats are still being built. They are not fast boats, to be sure, and weren't intended to be.

10:27 p.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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I am not familiar with either this canoe or the kayak, so i don't know if the bottoms flex or not, but if either do that will slow a boat down fast.

I know of this because my brother had a ABS old town 'Discovery' and for every paddle stoke you did that boat would back up twice as far because the bottom sucked up and then popped back down. A big bucket fixed that stuffed under the center thwart.

Still that boat was slow as compared to my WW-1 Vintage Otka if it was just me with my same paddle making either one go.

My paddle style is something i am not sure even has a name, but I guess it is a J stroke which is modified to bend a spruce paddle over the gunwhale and i call it a guide stroke. This stroke never gets the J part really. The bending of the paddle gives a bit of an extra kick and will thrust a boat a short distance more quickly.

I have a broken clavical (collar bone) on the left side so it's shorter, and so i always only paddle on the left no matter where I sit in the boat.

As a stern man i don't care what side the bow man paddles on, and the boat still goes straight.

I will switch sides when something demands I do, like a rock or docking, and i will if I end up bow man which i do over my lesser weight than larger men may call for me there to trim a boat, if there is no gear.

So it can be many things from hull type to paddle style.

I made 3 kayaks so far, 2.5 I guess is more real.

The 2 were fir stringers on ply wood frames for canvass and one was 9' 10" and the other 9' 9". Both weighed just under 10 pounds.

The 1" longer boat was faster for some reason but i am not smart enough to know why. It wasn't that inch. The shorter boat was about 3 inches over all wider. The white airplane dope paint didn't shrink as tight on the smaller boat either, which is my best guess as why.

The .5 boat was a Dartmouth hull I was given for free and I decked it over in marine grade luan mahogany plywood .

Now that was a feat getting a compound curve in the deck both ways but with the help of a fat bottomed girl it was possible :-)

In life there is nothing better than a human clamp LOL. That boat I messed up my best guess as to seating and so it sat head down in the water a bit. With out gear behind the seat it paddled a little funny. I think it was a drag problem. I kinda failed to figure leg weight correctly I'd say.

I did far better with the lighter canvass boats which were faster.

 

Of course this was before I had a son, and my son and his friends went 'whale hunting' one day with ski poles, and the 2 canvass whales died out behind the barn. :-(

12:10 a.m. on March 9, 2013 (EST)
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Lodgepole, your "guide stroke" sounds like what is commonly called a Canadian stroke. In the Canadian stroke, at the end of the stroke, the blade is feathered in the water pointing out and downward, roughly perpendicular to the keel line. As it is brought forward in that position, the leading edge is angled slightly downward. The compensation for this is to pry slightly off the gunnel and this forms the correction. The propelling part of the stroke is the same as with the J, with the grip thumb pointing downward. This is the opposite of how many people incorrectly call a J, with the grip thumb pointing upward. That later is essentially a forward stroke with a stern pry. Although a legitimate stroke for white water, it is often called a "goon stroke" The advantage of the Canadian stroke over the conventional J, is that it is a much more fluid stroke. It is, however, much more difficult to learn as the correction is difficult to master well.

Your brother's Discovery was made from polypropylene rather than ABS. While cheaper to build, and quite durable, poly boats have some disadvantages, which your brother obviously found. Over time, poly boats can oil can. And flex kills speed like mad. Though it does help going over rocks. As the material is quite heavy, builders often try to reduce weight to make the boats more sellable, so even some new poly boats oil can badly. Nevertheless, boats like the Discoverys are popular livery boats and I see them a lot in the Yukon.

12:35 p.m. on March 10, 2013 (EDT)
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I rented a Discovery 169, which is really a slightly down-sized tripper in poly.  With a load the ripples have no affect.  Although heavy to portage, they are decent boats for the money and capable on technical rivers like the Trinity in California.

When I see someone execute a smooth Canadian stroke that is usually all I need to know about how much paddling they have done.

Clint Waddell and Kruger actually raced in Flin Flon, Manitoba.  Their boat at 21 feet,  was not made for speed maybe with full ends and a wide beam but don't try to tell them that.  They had many 100 mile days downriver.  It reminds me of Lewis being chased on the Missouri by the Blackfeet.

I built a 17 and 1/2 foot Pygmy Coho once which is a multi-chine sea kayak, that is fast and seaworthy.  I never liked it much and sold it eventually.  I will be a canoeist until the day I die.

10:07 p.m. on March 10, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine, the Canadian stroke took me some time to master, and now it is my favorite stroke when on a trip. When you are averaging 8000-9000 strokes a day, an efficient stroke is very important. I choose the lightest most efficient paddles for a particular trip, though I'm not a bent shaft guy.

11:35 a.m. on March 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Lodgepole, your "guide stroke" sounds like what is commonly called a Canadian stroke. In the Canadian stroke, at the end of the stroke, the blade is feathered in the water pointing out and downward, roughly perpendicular to the keel line. As it is brought forward in that position, the leading edge is angled slightly downward. The compensation for this is to pry slightly off the gunnel and this forms the correction. The propelling part of the stroke is the same as with the J, with the grip thumb pointing downward. This is the opposite of how many people incorrectly call a J, with the grip thumb pointing upward. That later is essentially a forward stroke with a stern pry. Although a legitimate stroke for white water, it is often called a "goon stroke" The advantage of the Canadian stroke over the conventional J, is that it is a much more fluid stroke. It is, however, much more difficult to learn as the correction is difficult to master well.

Your brother's Discovery was made from polypropylene rather than ABS. While cheaper to build, and quite durable, poly boats have some disadvantages, which your brother obviously found. Over time, poly boats can oil can. And flex kills speed like mad. Though it does help going over rocks. As the material is quite heavy, builders often try to reduce weight to make the boats more sellable, so even some new poly boats oil can badly. Nevertheless, boats like the Discoverys are popular livery boats and I see them a lot in the Yukon.

 I made a error my brothers boat was the tripper. I have CRS sometimes. His boat was indeed ABS because we tried hard to get glue to stick for a mast step, and it was a 18 feet boat with some inches..

My guide stroke makes a noise like someone working a big zipper, zzzzzzt zzzzzzzzzt zzzzzzzt zzzzzzzt, and paddling seated backwards in the bow seat is as fast as I can make this boat go by man power.

In a river or smaller pond, or even a bog lake where wind isn't just rippin' this boat will track straight if i do this stroke. If i get to be sternman and have a bow man with this stroke I still go straight even if the bow man is paddling on the left side like me.

I simply don't care which side a bow man paddles on. The boat goes straight. ;-)

11:37 a.m. on March 11, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine said:

I rented a Discovery 169, which is really a slightly down-sized tripper in poly.  With a load the ripples have no affect.  Although heavy to portage, they are decent boats for the money and capable on technical rivers like the Trinity in California.

When I see someone execute a smooth Canadian stroke that is usually all I need to know about how much paddling they have done.

Clint Waddell and Kruger actually raced in Flin Flon, Manitoba.  Their boat at 21 feet,  was not made for speed maybe with full ends and a wide beam but don't try to tell them that.  They had many 100 mile days downriver.  It reminds me of Lewis being chased on the Missouri by the Blackfeet.

I built a 17 and 1/2 foot Pygmy Coho once which is a multi-chine sea kayak, that is fast and seaworthy.  I never liked it much and sold it eventually.  I will be a canoeist until the day I die.

 I have seen guys that can't paddle worth a lick about dig a hole in a lake to win a race. These are the type of guys that can lift 350 pound and throw that weight across a room. it can be a problem trying to figure just where is out of their way when they are crossing a lake in a race. :-)

11:43 a.m. on March 11, 2013 (EDT)
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I like bentshafts okay for the flats.  For rough water I always use a straight shaft.

Lodgepole's noisy guide stroke is probably not very effecient. 

Canoeing- A simple sport that takes a lifetime to perfect.

2:42 p.m. on March 11, 2013 (EDT)
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"Canoeing- A simple sport that takes a lifetime to perfect."

I'm still working on my poling skills, both poling(upstream) and snubbing(down stream). One, day, maybe I'll get the hang of it.

11:12 a.m. on March 12, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine any time you want a race we can test it... ;-)

It doesn't have to make that noise I thought because it can make that noise Erich might have heard it and be familiar.

I have a fir pole tipped in a steel band with a steel rod too.

I began getting familiar with wooden Old Town canoes just about the time i could stand up.

Dad had everything to do with that. As a wee lad I was taught by assorted other men,  and took classes in canoe and paddle. Of course back in 1955 no one knew a thing about paddle and canoe.

By 8 years i was taking written tests on strokes and parts of a canoe and the paddle. Like bow stem stern stem bang plates bow center aft thwart, inner, outer, gunwale, ribs, planks, skin, decks, keel, tumblehome (an area) etc.

That guide stroke I call out incorrectly is explained by the fact I evolved to it, and it was not a taught thing.  For me it is like adding a bow man when I am solo and I have beaten 2 men my size in off hand races many times alone.

A lot of that is because a WW-1 vintage Otka is a real canoe. A part of that is the extra kick that stroke does.

12:14 p.m. on March 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodgepole, is the zipper noise coming from the paddle in the water? If so, I am familiar with it and has to do with the paddle itself and the speed at which it is pulled through the water on recovery. My Ottertails don't do it no matter what speed the recovery is, nor do some of the others do it, but I have had to sand the edges of one of my tripping paddles so it doesn't do it. Some mass produced tripping paddles still have relatively broad edges and the in-the-water recoveries don't work as well with them.

Some paddles never will work with in the water recoveries of the Canadian stroke. Most white water paddles have a ridge down the center making them a bit clunky for the Canadian stroke. Short strokes and in the water recoveries will work for things like cross forward strokes, an important stroke for solo white water.

A friend carved a very nice paddle out of cedar, in the tradition of West Coast Native paddles. Unfortunately, many of those designs have a high ridge down the center and while beautiful, are less versatile than other paddle designs. Malacite designs are among my favorites.

12:44 p.m. on March 12, 2013 (EDT)
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After reading Garret Conover's book, poling became irresistable.  It works great on rocky rivers around here like the Truckee which is not that different than some of the rivers in Maine and Labrador where the artform evolved.

1:17 p.m. on March 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Although we have gotten way off topic here, since the OP was asking about a kayak vs. canoe, I'll point out a few advantages of the open canoe or Canadian canoe as it is known in Europe. I do like kayaks, and they have a great deal of appeal, but for versatility the canoe rules.

Take something like Bill Mason's 16 foot Chestnut Prospector. It can be paddled in whitewater to Class 3, solo or tandem. It can carry a load for two people for two weeks, if you don't pack too heavy, and for one person for four weeks. Being easy to get in and out of, it is easy to track upstream. You can stand and pole upstream or snub downstream with a pole. Being able to stand, makes it easier to boat scout rapids ahead. It can easily carried. Loading gear is easy, it will accommodate large packs, barrels or a wannigan. You can easily change your paddling position to relieve fatigue. Kneel for the whitewater, sit for the flats, or stand and paddle(the original SUP).

8:57 a.m. on March 13, 2013 (EDT)
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On the subject of SUP... Ron Drummond, the guy who came up with the Catalina Flip a canoe self rescue technique and who also happens to be the person who penned the quintessential book on surfing, The Art of Wave Riding can be credited for being one of the early non-native adaptors to the sport.

 


rondrummond.jpg


RonDrummond2.jpg

No doubt the Pimugnans off the California coast encountered the surf but it wasn't unusual for the natives to take the advantage of the standing paddle in order to make use of the leverage.


Indian+Canoe+Race+-+Cary.jpg

Then again a rather talented friend of mine will occasionally stand behind his product which is quite an amazing feat.


kayakSUP.jpg

11:33 a.m. on March 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Shapeshifter,

You are the kinig of unusual stuff.  Please keep it up.

12:21 p.m. on March 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Lodgepole, is the zipper noise coming from the paddle in the water? If so, I am familiar with it and has to do with the paddle itself and the speed at which it is pulled through the water on recovery. My Ottertails don't do it no matter what speed the recovery is, nor do some of the others do it, but I have had to sand the edges of one of my tripping paddles so it doesn't do it. Some mass produced tripping paddles still have relatively broad edges and the in-the-water recoveries don't work as well with them.

Some paddles never will work with in the water recoveries of the Canadian stroke. Most white water paddles have a ridge down the center making them a bit clunky for the Canadian stroke. Short strokes and in the water recoveries will work for things like cross forward strokes, an important stroke for solo white water.

A friend carved a very nice paddle out of cedar, in the tradition of West Coast Native paddles. Unfortunately, many of those designs have a high ridge down the center and while beautiful, are less versatile than other paddle designs. Malacite designs are among my favorites.

 Yes that is how the noise is made. My paddles are light weight clear spruce made in the high fashion of about 1900, What a Sport would expect to see in his guides hands.

I have a white ash paddle if i need a more rugged paddle in the event of rocks in a rapids, and a allow and black plastic junker if i need to beat on something or hold a rock ledge.

Wooden Otka's are not white water boats, and so i don't see any difficult white water in it. The worst that boat has seen in my hands is getting hung up on a log snag back when it was still covered in bad canvass and had a keel. I was running a 1 and 1/4 HP air cooled Elgin on a clamp on transom in a river with a fair wind, and when i came around a corner the wind planted me and my dane on a snag dead center in the rive in ice in the bucket weather. No big deal i took off my boots and handed the boat over the snag and got back in.

There is a green logo on the my best paddle but off hand I don't know what is says. I an take a look later.. No paddle I own made of wood is a laminate glued type.

I have a white cedar paddle too but it is a joke and made by a buddy, because he stole a cob broom out of my truck to come out and meet me on a pond in his canoe and he left all his paddles home ;-)

This one is crudely sawed out and carved with terrible looking figures of what I am not certain. But the Vt cedar is nice. LOL

12:29 p.m. on March 13, 2013 (EDT)
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shapeshifter the pics remind me of gunneling...... To move a canoe forward steering with no paddle or anything else in the water.

In pic 1 if that boat is 18.5 feet like i think that guy standing is huge. My canoe looks like that in profile too, but isn't white, but then I don't know that boat is white in a b&w photo.

Would you have more detail on the early native painting? I have never seen that one before. Miller? Catlin? Other?

5:25 p.m. on March 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks ppine... be sure to stop in when you're in town and we'll be sure to put a couple boats into the water! You too Erich... and same goes for you Lodge Pole. 

I linked the caption below to the source which is a blog on making paddles and such. "Indian Canoe Race" was painted by William de la Montagne Cary (1840-1922)

It shouldn't be a surprise to find evidence of people standing up on near shore vessels occurring all over the world from the Chilean caballitos de totora  straw boats to the hasake in the Middle East.

10:12 p.m. on March 13, 2013 (EDT)
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shapeshifter, I've corresponded with Murat before. He makes beautiful paddles and he was curious about two modified Maliceets I have. They are thinner in the middle of the blade, so the flex is there, rather than at the throat.

11:10 a.m. on March 14, 2013 (EDT)
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WOW am I glad I asked..... I never have heard of that artist before, and the link was most excellent. (bookmarked)

I fear i can't meet up since I have no idea where you are....

But then I rarely venture from NH these days.

Same goes if you come here.

I am not internet shy. back in 05 into 06 for 10 months my wife and i toured the USA hitting 40 states on a motorcycle, and getting about 16 invites across America. We stayed with about 1/2 the invites as winter hit and we missed the Great Nor' West where oddly 1/2 the invites were all close.

I don't see funds for another ride like that any time soon. That dream began when I was 16, and now I am 61.

1:50 p.m. on March 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Shapeshifter,

Where is home for you?  I travel a lot.

Lodgepole,

Don't take offense cause I called your stroke ineffecient.  I am sure you are hard to keep up with.

 

7:53 a.m. on March 15, 2013 (EDT)
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I'm in Chicago... only recently have been asked to take guardianship of the Ralph Frese River Trail. What an honor, eh?

Live spittin' distance to Lake Michigan so can launch close to home. Teaching for Kayak Chicago gives me access to their river sites and a fleet of around 500 boats. Also guide for the Freinds of the Chicago River.

Contact is... SlideGear on gmail, if you get my drift.

10:43 a.m. on May 13, 2013 (EDT)
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odd i received e-mail notice to a new post on this thread.. i don't see anything close to today's date. it's a great thread though...

At the time i didn't know EMS would be selling stand up surf boards as if it was a new idea.

I used to be pretty good at gunneling too. That word is so ancient google thinks i spelled it wrong. LOL

For those who may not know, this is the act of standing on the gunwhales of a canoe like the ones shown above, and sort of jumping in a controlled fashion not leaving the canoe, but changing the weight you bear on it which makes it move ahead.

To steer the canoe you press harder on the side you want to turn too, or bear up into a breeze.

It was said you would do this if you lost all the paddles. :roll eyes:

Now to get 2 guys working this and move well was a bit of a trick and for me it was just a good way to have some fun on a day where swimming was easy.

10:39 a.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodgepole, gunnel bobbing and other gymnastic canoe exercises were an area that Omer Stringer excelled in. While Omer probably didn't invent gunnel bobbing(he might have) he demonstrated to generations how fun a canoe can be. He is also the father of free style and Canadian style paddling. As Bill Mason was the king of white water, Omer was the king of flat water.

10:48 a.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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I wouldn't know, but then i don't doubt you. I do know that salt water makes canoe wood tasty to porky pines though.

If you ever hear a power hack saw in the night and go to check, and the noise stops every time you do, then check the canoes!

8:20 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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My first trip through the Bowron Lakes circuit was in 1971. My first encounter with quill pigs. Their quills were all over the outhouse seats. They also like to gnaw on paddles and ax handles with lots of sweat on the wood.

8:41 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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I know people who weave the quills and have tried my hand at it too. The other people are very good I am not. On occasions i will collect quills to give to them. I have 2 ways. road kill where I pluck with care, and or out wait them if they are local and go get a burlap bag and beat them with it.

That beating doesn't hurt them but i gather a lot of larger quills fairly fast.

Are you familiar at all with quill workers? My guess would be yes.

10:45 a.m. on May 15, 2013 (EDT)
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I once gave as a Christmas gift, a very nice pair of moose hide moccasins with fancy bead work and quill work by a very skilled Selkirk FN woman I know. Trimmed in beaver and lined in dahl sheep skin.

4:15 p.m. on May 15, 2013 (EDT)
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Hey! I am your 'friend'! :-)

I make mocs but never had any that nice... See I knew you would know, but 98% of anyone else would not.  I wear and use this stuff. I don't have a lot of quilled work though, but some, and even a little red wool neck bag done up in dyed moose hairs, the same way quilling is done.

While the little red bag is mine,  my wife gets 100% of the very limited use of it. Some things are just too nice for me to beat up.

My wife made a Ojibway wrap and a half skirt in blue trade wool with silk applique, which we fight over. A character of mine 'She Buck Ona' Deaf Man would very muck like that skirt as a shawl. My wife would let me but for the ironoxide paint I make with bear grease.

Good stuff come bug season. :-)   (serious)

11:19 a.m. on May 16, 2013 (EDT)
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The Burke Museum here at the University of Washington, has an extensive collection of Native American, First Nations artifacts, including clothing items. Audrey Trudeau's work, I was able to tell her, was as good as any of them. And she does it all the old fashioned way, except for some modern threads. At Pelly Crossing, in the YT is a small museum gift shop. Purchases there help the Selkirk First Nation which is quite a small group with a poorly negotiated treaty.

11:23 a.m. on May 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for metioning the Burke Museum.

8:36 p.m. on May 16, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine said:

Thanks for metioning the Burke Museum.

 Where and what is the ppine? and to you as well? 

12:01 p.m. on May 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Ppine is short for ponderosa pine, the most beautiful tree in the Universe.  I studied ppines in grad school at the U of WA.  I am a third generation Washington Husky.

2:55 p.m. on May 19, 2013 (EDT)
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I had thought that it stood for Pinion Pine!

3:02 p.m. on May 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Almost....... While I haven't made a study,  the Sugar Maple is the best tree ever! Why you can make candy, syrup, and beer! ;-)

12:34 a.m. on May 25, 2013 (EDT)
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I don't consider myself an experienced paddler yet, but so far I prefer a canoe.

I have been doing 3 -4 day trips on a local lake and my canoe seems to handle loads and rough water the best. Lots of factors involved though.

The canoe I use is 14' fiberglass and the kayak is only 12'.

The kayak simply doesn't have the load capacity I prefer.

Mike G.

   

12:37 p.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Trouthunter,

Try longer boats when you get a chance.  You will never go back.

2:59 p.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine said:

Trouthunter,

Try longer boats when you get a chance.  You will never go back.

 Yep I bet you are right, I want to get a 16' old town canoe that Sports Authority sells. I don't have the money right now for Kevlar and since weight is a big factor for me (being a solo canoist) I have been kinda holding off on buying until I learn more.

The polyethylene canoes are in my price range but the longer ones are heavy.

Mike G. 

8:20 p.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Mike, Poly canoes are not only heavy, but tend to oil can a lot. There are other materials, such as Twin Tex that are light, durable and relatively inexpensive. PPine is correct. 14 feet is not too short for a solo canoe. However, much depends on the shape, including the beam. I would definitely check out the used markets for a good value on canoes...craiglist, paddling forums. I regularly see good royalex canoes for sale in the $500-600 range. Bear in mind that new prices on royalex are going up as much as 30-40 percent in the next year as the cost of the raw material has increased.

9:57 a.m. on May 29, 2013 (EDT)
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To clarify above, a longer canoe will have more capacity. 14 feet is long for solo ww canoes and a bit short for skinny solo fw canoes. But shape has more to do with it than overall length. There are many variations, including the Trapper 12 I reviewed recently which would work great for a small solo for trips up to several days. Pack canoes, such as the canoes that Henry Rushton built for George Washington Sears were diminutive boats of 10 feet or so. And the Rob Roys were small enough to fit in a european railway baggage car. On the other end are solo fw canoes such as Hemlock's SRT at nearly 16 feet.

12:04 p.m. on May 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich, I wouldn't know anyone that could come by a better answer, so i will ask you.

What modern plastic canoe would be lighter weight, apx 18 feet long, and as fast as what i have. That old Otka seems fairly fast paddled solo or by 2. and has good cargo ability as well for week long trips.

My problem is a bad back, and i can't 'just' throw that boat around alone anymore, and it's a bit much for my wife with me too. On that I mean shoving that boat up on high roof racks. Once the boat is near or on the ground we can do it fine for a short distance.

Think my days of 1/2 mile carries are a done deal solo.

10:28 a.m. on May 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodgepole, the Old Town OTCA 18(Old Town Canoe Model A, by some sources) is, as I recall a fairly shallow boat with minimal rocker. Weight is probably in the 90 pound range, depending on weight of canvas...not a light weight boat. A w/c Chestnut 17 foot Prospector would have the weight capacity, but be lighter, both because of the length, but also because the Chestnut Bros. used eastern white cedar rather than Western Red Cedar for planking. But to answer your question, Kevlar would be the choice for a light plastic boat. There are many designs. If you really think you need an 18 foot boat, I would look at the Hellman Slocan, a large volume boat with a lot of rocker. Very durable and you won't need the expedition weight unless you are using it a lot on rocky rivers. I'm guessing you are doing a lot of lake and easy river paddling. If you have to have OT, the only boats I would consider are the Trippers, but they are beasts. Both are based on the Chestnut Prospector. Clipper Prospector 17 would also be a good choice. Souris River also makes a Prospector. For a large volume lake boat, look at a Wenonah Itasca or Minn 2.

Kevlar is a great material, but not all kevlar boats are built the same. Royalex is good and there are light weight versions(Royalex Lite or Royalite).

I would also add that for portages with a heavy canoe, a tumpline in combination with a padded yoke, is the best way to go. I use this system even on my lighter boats and find that I do a 3 mile carry with about a half dozen rests is quite easy.

9:03 a.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for the help,

I currently don't have to do portages since I am island camping on a big lake, but I plan on exploring a nearby National Forest with some large swamps that are accessible by feeder creeks. Water levels will dictate portages and that will probably be an unknown until I am in the area.

There are water level monitoring stations in the forest with the data available online, or by phone recording, but my experiences tell me you don't really know what you will encounter until you are there in it. The info is a good guide for general planning.

I have not weighed the 14' fiberglass canoe I am using, but it is about all I can handle during loading / unloading (solo) from a vehicle down to the waters edge. Then I have an additional 50 lbs. or so of gear. Although I am utilizing a good bit of lightweight backpacking gear I also have the added weight of camera equipment, and field guides.

Erich....I went back and re-read your article on canoes and I understand a few things better now that I have been canoeing a bit, thanks.

I will look around for a used canoe in Royalex or Twin Tex.

I have read on several forums that some people experienced delamination with Twin Tex, and that worries me with regards to buying used.

Any additional info would be helpful, Is Twin Tex problematic, or has the delamination problem been resolved? Or was it a real problem?

I don't mind spending money on quality, but I can't afford to make any mistakes right now either.

Thanks, Mike G.

 

 

 

9:30 a.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Oh yes, I forgot to mention I am also in need of help with proper paddling technique, and paddle type, length, etc. I am currently using what I own - haha. My paddle is a cheap, wooden run of the mill type, is about chin high, and used.

I have looked around on the web, but since this is new to me I don't know good advise from bad right now.

I can provide more specific info about my canoe shape if needed.

Mike G.

10:34 a.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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trouthunter I think Erich was probably answering me on portage, and a few other things as well. I have been away. Not right now, but at a later time I might be interested in a lighter weight touring canoe for pretty much flat water suited to a lot of gear for 2 and that boat should handle well and be inherently faster. The thing is I am pretty well convinced that the 18 ft 6 inch lone 1914-1917 rice gathering canoe in the version made by Old Town called Otka  is faster.

At least in a casual race with whom ever in what ever else, with maybe 2 guys paddling that Otka will either hold it's own or beat the other guys even  if i am solo.

My brother when he was alive had a OT tripper around 18 ft. To just make that thing go was a problem because the center bottom of the hull would pop up and sick back down on every stroke. We stuffed a joint compound bucket between the center thwart and the hull floor which improved things vastly, but that boat was never as easy to handle or near as fast .

I don't recall the name of a another OT boat around 16 feet olive drab and with a asymmetrical design. That was a fast little critter long and narrow in the bow and it became to it's widest point aft of center and was sharp from there to the stern. But there was no room for gear. Great day boat, but not a touring craft unless you are a real serious minimalist. I am most definitely not a that.

10:58 a.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi Mike, I don't have personal experience with Twin Tex, but have heard that the early issues with delam have been resolved. All materials with multiple layers can have delam problems, including Royalex. Good quality manufacturing and a well maintained boat will usually insure there is none of this. Which boat do you have? I know FG and 14 feet. Make and model?

I believe that one of my articles on this site addressed paddles. However, to reiterate, there are many ways you'll hear about to size a paddle. Most of them wrong. This is because most do not address the blade length separately from shaft length. It is shaft length that is most important. Stand up and put one hand on the grip and one on the throat and hold the paddle above your head with your upper arms horizontal. Your forearms will be vertical. If the angle between both forearms and upper arms is at right angles, your paddle length is ROUGHLY correct. That gives you a starting point for a STRAIGHT shaft paddle. The actual length that works for you might vary by an inch either way.

As far as technique, I did address this is my articles. Suffice it to say that proper canoeing technique is not intuitive. It is much easier to paddle a kayak with a double blade in a straight course, than it is to paddle anything straight with a single blade on one side only. Remember, proper canoeing technique, solo or tandem, does not involve changing sides to go straight. Only in the Minnesota Switch is this OK. The ACA or a local club course will help. Look at my article and if you have specific questions, let me know. Also remember that a proper stroke uses the torso as much as the arms.

As far as the weight of your canoe and portaging it, I can't imagine even a FG canoe that long would be too difficult to handle. I'm nearly sixty, in decent shape, and though I can't handle a 90 pound Prospector like I used to, I can still heft a boat that weighs 70-75 pounds without much trouble. As with paddling a canoe, portaging is more about technique, than strength. A proper yoke, well placed, helps. The lift to your shoulders is somewhat similar to  weight lifter's move and you walk under the canoe as you lift, rather than pull it over your head.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions, especially about used boats and models. There are so many, it would take days to cover them all. As well, tell me more about your specific future paddling goals.

11:05 a.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodgepole, even canoes of the same length will have different characteristics because of shape. The Tripper is a reasonably fast boat, for an expedition boat. It was based on the Chestnut Prospector and so is much deeper than the OTCA. That being said, it should not oil can and must have been a very old one, with a soft bottom with some possible separation of the layers. Any type of that flex will slow the boat down. For tripping on rivers, that would not be a problem, but for shear speed it would. Note that I spelled the name of your canoe"OTCA". I have heard two versions of the spelling. One that it stands for Old Town Canoe Model A the other that it was Old Town's telegraph code. Here is something about Old Town's models.

You are here: Home / Wood Canoe Identification Guide / Old Town Canoe CompanyOld Town Canoe Company

The Old Town Canoe Company of Old Town, Maine was formed in 1901 as the Indian Old Town Canoe Company. After a short stint as the Robertson Old Town Canoe Company, with J.R. Robertson as partner, it became the Old Town Canoe Company. Still in business today, Old Town has built well over 200,000 wood canoes over the last hundred plus years.

Identifying Features:

Distinctive deck style

Diamond head bolts (after circa 1920)

Serial number: stamped on both stems, 4 to 6 digits followed by the length

Models Offered:

Charles River (1902-1929): Originally called the Robertson Model, it may have been designed or brought to Old Town Canoe Company by J.R. Robertson during his short tenure as a partner in the business.

50 Pound Model (1910 – circa 2010): Lightweight model with thinner ribs and planking than typical. Variations of this model were called the Trapper, Lightweight and Featherweight.

Guide’s Special Model (1901-present):

H.W. Model (1901-1953): No one knows for sure what the “H.W.” stands for, but most likely it stands for “Heavy Water,” a descriptor used in Old Town’s catalogs to promote the models seaworthiness.

Ideal Model (1906-1929): Same as the Charles River model, but with the newly introduced open gunwales and half ribs.

Livery Model (1913-1919): Old Town’s most stable offering, it was renamed the Yankee for 1920.

Molitor (1965-present): The Molitor model was built using the Otca form, but with extended “torpedo” stems and heavier gunwales that produced a canoe that does not require thwarts. The Molitor deck is a distinctive 4-lobed design. There was an earlier uncatalogued model with the same name based on specifications by Belle Isle livery owner C.J. Molitor.

Otca Model (1908-present): The name “Otca” comes from Old Town Canoe Company’s telegraph code. The Otca has a distinctive 20″ long deck with a coaming. In 1957, the 16′ Yankee model was substituted for the 16′ Otca, and the standard deck became the norm.

Yankee Model (1920-1956): Originally called the Livery Model, the Yankee name was adopted in 1920. In 1957 the Yankee became the 16′ Otca and the original 16′ Otca forms retired.

2:47 p.m. on June 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich, it's easier to tell you what it isn't than what it is. That is a wicked good site Thanks! Not a Morris A wrong stern stem. 

It was interesting to know where otka and otca come from.

Both stems are stamped with serial numbers. I can't read either of them, but I can tell there were the same numbers on each stem. The decks shown in semi circular come close but there is no dead ringer.

1st one 2nd row down looks like it, but in the picture appears flat.

3rd row down 3rd pic has the curve but not the open gunwhale. Maybe the 1st pic in the 2nd row is most like it but a poor picture. Both of my decks still have the assumed ash strip bent to be the 'combing'.

There were no plates or decals left and i am not sure my memory of thinking there are 2 nail holes is correct for them. There are no diamond headed bolts, and never were assuming they would leave a mark. There are wooden bungs over common steel bolt heads where any bolts head are on the inwhales.

These decks are the 20 inch...

If i could deal with it and could afford it i would like a 26 foot Otka. A boat like that could be a house :-)

I just love the shape of these boats. The high bow and stern ends just float my stick. These high end are terrible in any wind, but just the same i love them. I removed the keel year ago but retained the brass bang plates which are nothing more than 1/2 round brass rod.

I removed the canvass years ago too, and replaced that with bad out of the can glass. Didn't like that a bit since it was lumpy, but with the bark like paint on it now complete with black paint 'tar' lumpy isn't of much meaning and lends it self pretty well.

People say this boat looks more like a bark boat than a real bark boat does.

I have one regrett in life so far and that is from hitting a pine knot on a big dead almost water logged tree in 'Lac du St Sacrement'

Don't worry if you never heard of that lake, you know it as Lake George Ny, where I poked a hole in the planking just below water line running from the Englaise the size of a piece of eight

12:55 p.m. on June 2, 2013 (EDT)
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I had forgotten that you put FG on it. It must be a beast. The rest doesn't sound like it is in bad shape. Often, FG causes the planking to rot. The real reason that FG a hull like that, is that you lose many of the advantages of a w/c boat. Because the canvas is not attached to the planking, they can both flex independently but in controlled ways. Notice how the ribs are not at all right angles to the run of the canoe. This is because the builders used the rib angles to control flex. If there is no rot, You might consider a recanvas. It is not difficult and the boat will be lighter and livelier on the water. I'm restoring a Howe trapping canoe for someone and it will be quite light when finished. I'm using No 12 canvas and I would expect that the 15 foot boat will be about 50 pounds when done. That is in the realm of modern lightweight plastic boats.

BTW if any readers know anything about the  Howe Fur Company of Maine, or Ed Howe Maine Made Best Canoes, I would appreciate hearing from you.

It is good not to have a keel. They have a number of disadvantages and certainly a canoe doesn't need a keel in order to go straight. It does require a competent paddler. Keels are nasty in rivers where it is possible to trip on them. As well, any extra holes in the canvas are a place for leakage. The brass stem bands are typical of most w/c canoes. They are 3/8 brass half round and attached with #6 oval headed brass screws.

3:32 p.m. on June 2, 2013 (EDT)
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I should add the if your boat is pre 1920, it would not have the diamond bolts. I have also seen OTs pre 1920 with closed gunnels. Many boats in that period had closed gunnels. Also some early Chestnuts had gunnel caps. My Huron had gunnel caps. One distinguishing feature of OT boats is the use of Western Red Cedar for the planking. Most common was Eastern or Northern White Cedar for both ribs and planking. It is less resistant to splitting and lighter.

5:25 p.m. on June 15, 2013 (EDT)
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I was faced with the same decision about a dozen years ago, and ultimately the technical aspects/differences had absolutely no influence.

I chose a canoe over a kayak for one simple reason:  a kayak would doom me to always going paddling alone unless I found a new group of kayaking friends or talked all my current friends into buying canoes/kayaks of their won.   With a canoe I can always ask someone to come along for the trip if I want company, or go solo if I do not.   With a kayak I wouldn't even be able to bring the dog along.  

Ended up getting an Old Town Penobscot 16, Royalex.  Weighs 57lbs - I can carry it or load it on the roof top by  myself if need be - it's awkward, but not too terribly difficult.   It's the perfect size for two people, enough gear to camp comfortably, a big cooler, and a dog.   haha

I am still learning to be a good paddler - so far I've been limited to some canoe camping trips to the Adirondacks, some day trips on tame streams here in KY, and one hilariously disastrous trip Out West on the Dolores river in SW Colorado.   On my "bucket list", though, is a trip to Boundary Waters sometime before I turn 50 in a few years.

KD

12:10 p.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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KD, you have found what some others have...the canoe is not better than a kayak, but it is more versatile. In some of my presentations on my trips in Canada's north, I get the question, "Why not do it in a kayak?" I live in the NW and it has been the epicenter for sea kayaking since the 1960's. My response is that a sea kayak, or a white water kayak is not easily capable of a self supported three or four week trip that involves both Class 3 and big lakes. Possible, perhaps, but not very practical.

1:08 p.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich - the versatility is also why I chose that specific model of canoe.

Regarding kayaks - I tried one of the longer expedition-style sea kayaks at one of the beginners' clinics the main LL Bean store conducts in Freeport, Maine.  It was a blast - loved it.  If I lived in somewhere like Maine, or the NW where you're at, I probably would've made a different choice - but not here in KY.

1:46 a.m. on July 1, 2013 (EDT)
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I have a 10 foot old town Kayak and am thinking its time to look into a new Kayak. I like it, but now that I have three years in on it and know I like Kayaking, I might refine my choices a bit.

7:44 p.m. on July 9, 2013 (EDT)
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Gift, I don't know what model kayak you have, but a longer boat will be better for speed and handling. Look at cockpit size and weight capacity for the gear you are carrying. Waterproof hatches are a must. Rotomolded boats are cheaper, but because they are rotomolded, the shapes are less complex, less durable and tend to oil can. A NW style boat will be wider than a Greenland style. Fiberglass or other composite will get you a boat with a good feel. Always try before you buy.

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