General Canoe/Kayak Trip Planning

SirDonB

So what's next?
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May 21, 2014
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Does anyone here have any advice, tips, tricks, etc for doing a multi day canoe/kayak trip. I would be looking at doing a couple of day trips first just to get myself and my kid aclimated to to paddling together as well as see how we will pack the boat and operate as a team.

I have some fond memories of my father and I doing some canoeing trips... they were all day trips, but it was a good time with my dad and I want to share that with my kids as they grow.

Now for some of the technicals...

I consider myself to be a novice, it has been 15-20 years since I last stepped foot in a canoe
My kid is 13, never been canoeing as far as I know.
I NEED to get a canoe before I can even put the trip into motion
With a few expecptions, I think I have everything I need for camping over night from my last camping trip.
A dehydrator is on the list of things to buy for this and future trips.
Besides my son and I, there may be an aditional 2 people on the trip, both at the same skill level as my son and I
The trip will be a simple river run down the Hudson River... I would like to get as far north as I can.
 

gnwatts

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My $.02:
First, you don't need a dehydrator with a canoe. You will have lot's of room, the last thing you want to do (unless that is what you want to do) is eat dehydrated food on a canoe trip. Steaks! Pasta! Eggs and bacon. And beer or whatever (if it's your thing). Margaritas, with all of that ice you will have. I still use my camping stove (or 2 if their are 4 people). I freeze 1 gallon jugs of water for the cooler, it usually holds four, and will still be partially frozen after 5 days. We also have a bag or 2 of ice cubes. I use a white Coleman marine cooler that fits my canoe perfectly, a layer of thinsulite over the top, and the lid is duck taped. We have a smaller cooler for beer and lunch, which sits in back in front of the rear paddler. The large cooler sits in the center, sideways. We always try to put a small bag over the top of the cooler to keep the sun off. Assorted dry bags, all attached to the lengthwise straps around the coolers. We made our own groover out of 4" pvc, which fits nicely along the side. I put my backpack behind me for a backrest:



I really know nothing about canoe boat design, other than our Wenonah Adirondack, which is a lake canoe, but is a great flat water river canoe. It can hold a ton, and track straight and true, even in moderate wind. Ours is made of Royalex, about 65lbs (Kevlar is 37lbs). We have rented an alluminum Grumman and an Old Town Discovery, The Discovery is a good boat but I like the Wenonah better. It has great secondary stability, I have yet to get it close to capsizing.
 

Nick

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I NEED to get a canoe before I can even put the trip into motion=

I started off by renting kayaks when I wanted one. Probably super easy to rent a canoe up in the northeast. Might be worth it to make sure you like it and to learn what you want.

Aside from that, I think it's basically like really heavy backpacking. Obviously with a canoe, you can be a bit more luxurious as Greg suggested, but even in a kayak, you can still live pretty well. Just start with backpacking in the back of your mind and then figure out what you else your boat will hold. I remember on my first 'yakpacking' trip how stoked I was just to have a bunch of warm beer and wine but still feel like I was pretty much backpacking. Then when we yakked with Greg and Charlie in the canoe, it was glorious to have a cold Corona and a juicy brat for dinner.

Moral of the story, boat camping isn't that much different than backpacking. Get the boat and it'll all work itself out.
 

SirDonB

So what's next?
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May 21, 2014
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Thanks for the advice so far...

as to packing and what not, it will be basicly the same as packing for any other overnight camping trip except there are boat related extras to added to the list like PFD, the boat, etc. I was wondering about taking a cooler and how that would work with keeping ice from melting too fast and ending with spoiled food.

@gnwatts I like your idea and suggestion about freezing gallon jugs, will defenitly have to do that when the time comes. Any suggestions on specific coolers to get or use?
 

Tater Head

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Jan 29, 2014
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I have a Old Town Discovery sport 15. I can't say enough good things about it. Tons of room, super stable and it has a square stern for the 2 1/2 hp motor for when I'm feeling lazy. In my opinion you can't go wrong with this canoe...
 

gnwatts

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@gnwatts I like your idea and suggestion about freezing gallon jugs, will defenitly have to do that when the time comes. Any suggestions on specific coolers to get or use?

Any Marine cooler (usually white) will work fine. I bought a Coleman because of price.
 

Nick

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The Coleman Xtreme coolers are awesome for the price. I was thinking about going up to something supposedly better like a Yeti, Engel, etc., but then @sixstringsteve tipped me off to the video below and I decided I'd stick with the Coleman Xtreme. I just picked up two massive 120 qt ones this spring for just $52 a piece. I have five Xtremes in my garage now.


Some additional tips for Effective Cooler Management (ECM). Cover the cooler with a wet towel. Rewet as necessary and the sun won't be able to cook your cooler as much.

Freeze everything you can. Meals, drinks, anything that will thaw and still be good. Beer freezes just fine! I froze bags of wine on one trip which worked okay but it left wine sediment in each glass that was not very good. If you have the space, freeze some or all of your water too. That good block ice works wonders.

Speaking of ice, make your own. It's nice if you have extra freezer space like a chest freezer. The ice you make yourself is so much better than the ice you buy at the store. In addition to freezing water jugs, I sometimes make smaller ice blocks by just filling a gallon bag, double bagging it and then laying it flat on a shelf in the freezer until it is frozen. I end up with a really great free ice block that is about 3" thick and maybe 10 x 10". Great for sliding between things in the cooler.
 

steve

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I'm also a huge fan of a chunk of dry ice on the bottom of the cooler. Then you pour your crushed ice on top of that, and the dry ice keeps the regular ice cold. Plus it makes your fruit carbonated which is always awesome. Carbonated grapes... mmmmm....

In fact, today we were trying to melt all the ice from our trip this weekend. We forgot there was dry ice on the bottom. We left the cooler lid wide open all day in the house so it could melt, but 6 hours later, none of the ice had melted. Then we remembered there was dry ice underneath it. The dry ice had melted, but all the ice was still there.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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SirDonB, I'm from your general area and kayak camp a few times a year. Might I suggest the Delaware River along the PA/NJ border. It's a great area for kayak/canoe camping.

There is a 30 mile stretch of the river from Matamoras to the Delaware Water Gap with free river bank and island campsites that are river access only. There is also a FREE shuttle service that transports you along with your kayak/canoe between river access points to simplify your logistics so your car is waiting at your take out point. The service is called the Pocono Pony.

If you want to add in some hiking while in the area. You would end your river trip at the Delaware Water Gap between Mt. Tammany (on the NJ side) and Mt. Minsi (on the PA). Both are great hikes that give great views of the river below. If your ambitious you can do both in one day although I did that once and it was a killer.

Here's a map of the public camp sites. I would start at either Matamoras or Dingmans Bridge which are a little north of the section this map shows.



Mt. Minsi on the right and Mt Tammany on the left.



Looking at Mt Minsi from the top of Mt Tammany



And the other guys are right. After hiking where you count every ounce in your pack, kayak/canoe camping is pure luxury. You can carry heavy stuff you'd never hike with like cans of chili and bottles of beer. Hell, bring a watermelon if you want.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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I should have mentioned that the two put in spots I recommended, Matamoras or Dingmans Bridge, are a few miles north of the campsite map and the take out spot called Kittatinny Point in the Delaware Water Gap is a few miles south of the campsite map.

Also Rt 80 only goes along the river in the Del Water Gap. For the other 40 miles of river between Matamoras and Del Water Gap there are no visible roads along the river bank.
 
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