BWCA River canoe & misc gear recommendations redux Boundary Waters Gear Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      River canoe & misc gear recommendations redux     

Author

Text

Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/10/2022 07:52AM  
I'm looking to take my trips "to the next level" and considering remote lake and/or river travel in Canada. Not places like Temagami, Algonquin, Quetico, etc., but true wilderness experiences. Below is a basic framework for the trip, certainly open to revision and suggestions. This would be for a trip in 2024 sometime between May and September.

Trip duration: minimum 10 days, maximum 21 days, not including travel time
Travel time: ideally no more than 4 days roundtrip from Chicago, IL, USA. Flying, driving, and train are all fine
People: my wife and myself

Any recommendations on the following types of gear for this kind of trip are greatly appreciated.

1. Canoe: probably a rental from an outfitter near the entry, but possibly a purchase we transport on a very long drive. $2k-5k budget for a purchase. Needs reasonable leg space for bow paddler. We own a kevlar Wenonah Champlain and it's not suited to the expected river travel.

I found this thread about river canoe suggestions but would appreciate any other insights.

2. Double-bladed paddle.

3. Emergency communication device: we already own a GPS unit, so would prefer not to buy an "all in one" but instead get a standalone emergency device.

4. Gun: currently own a 20 gauge shotgun. If you want to make an argument against taking a gun please keep it short.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Jackfish
Moderator
 
04/10/2022 08:52AM  
Just a quick question... you reference wanting a canoe with reasonable space for the bow paddler, but then you mention a double-bladed paddle. That would make me think you might be paddling solo. Can you elaborate?
 
04/10/2022 10:35AM  
Do you plan on running whitewater and if so do you have experience? The Canadian bush is not the place to be practicing these skills. A kayak paddle would be totally inappropriate for whitewater in a tandem canoe.
 
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/10/2022 10:53AM  
Jackfish: "Just a quick question... you reference wanting a canoe with reasonable space for the bow paddler, but then you mention a double-bladed paddle. That would make me think you might be paddling solo. Can you elaborate?"

Considering a double-bladed paddle for faster travel on flatwater sections in a tandem canoe as the stern paddler.
 
MReid
distinguished member (386)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/10/2022 12:42PM  
1. Your canoe choice will be dependent on what your trips might be. A rigid canoe (e.g. Royalex, IXP, etc.) is versatile if you have ways to transport it, both to the putin and from the takeout. If you're thinking of fly-ins, and without outfitters, then the packable boats (e.g. Ally, PakCanoe) will save you lots of money, as you need smaller aircraft, and you can also fly commercial. Flying in with hardshells gets really expensive, requiring additional flights or bigger planes (e.g. Beavers or Otters vs Cessna 185 or 206).

The last couple of trips I made we started at one place, and ended at another, with no way to shuttle (no roads, etc.). PakCanoes were pretty much the only option.

2. Skip the double-bladed paddle, and refine your single blade strokes. If you've been paddling a Wenonah, you should already know "sit and switch". That is entirely adequate if you're in a hurry.

3. I've used the inReach, with a separate GPS just because I own one. With the inReach, you only pay an additional $50 for GPS capabilities (the Explorer + vs Explorer (may be out of date now). That way you don't run down emergency batteries. With "I'm here" texts every other day, and just a few additional texts, I was still at 75% battery after 6 weeks.

4. 20 ga. with Brenneke slugs should be adequate for pretty much anything. (Edit: good luck finding Brenneke slugs. Standard 20 ga. Foster slugs would probably be inadequate.)

Being new to really remote areas, you should really think about tripping with a single boat. River travel adds another layer of risk, and there's no one else to help out if you make a mistake. Also, having an additional (experienced) perspective is always useful.

 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/10/2022 12:49PM  
Kendis: "Jackfish: "Just a quick question... you reference wanting a canoe with reasonable space for the bow paddler, but then you mention a double-bladed paddle. That would make me think you might be paddling solo. Can you elaborate?"


Considering a double-bladed paddle for faster travel on flatwater sections in a tandem canoe as the stern paddler."


In general a well handled single blade is more efficient than a double. A double will be quicker if you are unable to maintain a similar cadence with a single (i.e. you are a better double blade paddler than single blade) or if you rely heavily on corrective strokes (rudder/j-stroke). Due to the physics of paddling a double blade directs a greater portion of the energy into sideways motion than a single- a product of the blade being further from the centerline of the canoe.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1514)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/10/2022 03:01PM  
Without a LOT of deep wilderness river experience, I would never travel with just a single boat. I have done multiple trips in far northern Canada with groups and too many unexpected things can happen. Much better to have 2 or more boats.
 
dschult2
distinguished member (226)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/11/2022 07:20PM  
1. Can't go wrong with a Nova Craft prospector 16 in the Tuffstuff layup

2. With two paddlers you don't need the double bladed. Too hard to keep a rhythm with the bow paddler.

3. You're going to be spending 2 - 3 hundred on a PLB anyway so just spend a bit more to upgrade to the Inreach Explorer for the reasons mentioned above.

4. Assuming you want it for protection, unless you plan on being in polar or grizzly bear territory you don't need the gun. Bear spray and bangers are good enough. Save the weight. But if you insist on bringing one, a 20ga will do you no good in a time you might actually need it. Upgrade to a 12ga pump with rifled slugs.
 
Z4K
distinguished member (232)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/11/2022 07:33PM  
20 ga with a slug is ok bear medicine and would be my choice as well because of the weight savings over a comparable 12 ga. Not getting charged by a bear is always the best situation, regardless of what you're packing. The 12 gauge packs quite a bit more punch with shot but the energy difference is minimal with single projectiles. Make sure to pack solid hard-cast slugs, not the softer Foster-style slugs. I would only consider a pump action for this.

Can't go wrong with a Mad River Explorer. In royalex, of course.
 
04/11/2022 07:36PM  
What is your level of wilderness canoe experience? That might help with recommendations.
 
Argo
distinguished member (458)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/12/2022 07:08AM  
Unless it's polar bear country...

There are bears all over the province including southern Ontario where most of the bear attacks have taken place in the the last fifty years (most in Algonquin Park). I would simply ask yourself, "Would I take a shotgun to Algonquin or Quetico?" If not, why would you take one to where it is that you are planning to travel? There is no statistal difference in encountering a predetory black bear. You'll just be humping useless weight. Bring more Fireball instead :)


There's a lot of videos on YouTube of people paddling Ontario's remote Northern rivers. Many are well produced and highly entertaining. Lots to learn from them. The advice provided earlier about whitewater paddling is particularly sage.
 
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/14/2022 08:58AM  
Thank you to everyone who provided gear advice and cautions about whitewater paddling.

We have limited whitewater experience. As I mentioned, this is a tentative trip for 2024 and I am building a training regimen for gradually increasing difficulty on trips between now and then. The trip in 2024, wherever it would be, would be chosen in a way to align our skill with the risk.

We are also planning a canoeing trip in the lochs and rivers of Scotland for 2026 and using 2024 and 2025 to build our skills for that.
 
04/16/2022 09:56AM  
You will want a royalex or similar canoe, one based on the prospector hull is my first choice. As for a good beginner river I’d recommend the bloodvein in Manitoba. It’s a protected river so you won’t encounter surprises like geologists in helicopters or unexpected clear cuts. The bloodvein has countless rapids but most of them are easily portaged. Join a canoe club and practice whitewater with experienced paddlers, there are excellent rivers In Wisconsin with nice rapids. The wolf and peshtigo will hone your skills. One drawback of learning whitewater is the bwca will not be as exciting as it was
 
nooneuno
distinguished member(590)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/17/2022 07:33PM  
My take on the best gun for wilderness trips is more than just the biggest, the best gun is the one you have immediate access to. Are you going to have that shotgun in hand across every portage? While gathering firewood? Sightseeing etc? Remote fly fishing trips in Alaska has shown that for me the best choice is a 15 shot 10mm loaded with hard cast buffalo bore carried in an ultimate chest holster. When standing waist deep in a river with a fly rod in one hand that twelve gauge or carbine on shore may as well be a red ryder same would be true when that canoe is on your shoulder.
 
Blackdogyak
distinguished member (133)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/19/2022 09:43AM  
nooneuno: "My take on the best gun for wilderness trips is more than just the biggest, the best gun is the one you have immediate access to. Are you going to have that shotgun in hand across every portage? While gathering firewood? Sightseeing etc? Remote fly fishing trips in Alaska has shown that for me the best choice is a 15 shot 10mm loaded with hard cast buffalo bore carried in an ultimate chest holster. When standing waist deep in a river with a fly rod in one hand that twelve gauge or carbine on shore may as well be a red ryder same would be true when that canoe is on your shoulder."

I'm going to give you a very wide berth when I see you on the stream.
 
Blackdogyak
distinguished member (133)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/19/2022 09:44AM  
Kendis: "I'm looking to take my trips "to the next level" and considering remote lake and/or river travel in Canada. Not places like Temagami, Algonquin, Quetico, etc., but true wilderness experiences. Below is a basic framework for the trip, certainly open to revision and suggestions. This would be for a trip in 2024 sometime between May and September.

Trip duration: minimum 10 days, maximum 21 days, not including travel time
Travel time: ideally no more than 4 days roundtrip from Chicago, IL, USA. Flying, driving, and train are all fine
People: my wife and myself

Any recommendations on the following types of gear for this kind of trip are greatly appreciated.

1. Canoe: probably a rental from an outfitter near the entry, but possibly a purchase we transport on a very long drive. $2k-5k budget for a purchase. Needs reasonable leg space for bow paddler. We own a kevlar Wenonah Champlain and it's not suited to the expected river travel.

I found this thread about river canoe suggestions but would appreciate any other insights.

2. Double-bladed paddle.

3. Emergency communication device: we already own a GPS unit, so would prefer not to buy an "all in one" but instead get a standalone emergency device.

4. Gun: currently own a 20 gauge shotgun. If you want to make an argument against taking a gun please keep it short. "


I own a MRE Royalex 16. It's a great all-around boat and is very forgiving on rivers but it's heavy. If you end up doing more flat than rivers....and ClassII or less in the river, you should look at the new ultralight boats. The smaller pack boats are very popuy now....with kayak seats and paddled with a double blade. A 13 footer at 18 pounds can be had for under $2K. Kevlar carbon fiber hybrid. . If you want a traditional hull like a prospector 16 tandem, $2200 can get you a 16' at 30 pounds. If you are doing ANY portaging, that 30 pound boat is going to be a whole lot better than the 73 pound MRE.

The rest of the miscellaneous gear...there are a bunch of threads on this.
Find a thread with a "master list".....and then delve into whichever objects you care to in detail. For example, there are a bunch of different options for stives, tents, hammocks, water filtration and so forth. If you don't have that gear yet, buy it piece by piece after looking at the options and seeing what seems best for your intended use and budget. Good gear will last you for the rest of your life and will be a pleasure to use.
 
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/19/2022 09:53AM  
Blackdogyak: "


I own a MRE Royalex 16. It's a great all-around boat and is very forgiving on rivers but it's heavy. If you end up doing more flat than rivers....and ClassII or less in the river, you should look at the new ultralight boats. The smaller pack boats are very popuy now....with kayak seats and paddled with a double blade. A 13 footer at 18 pounds can be had for under $2K. Kevlar carbon fiber hybrid. . If you want a traditional hull like a prospector 16 tandem, $2200 can get you a 16' at 30 pounds. If you are doing ANY portaging, that 30 pound boat is going to be a whole lot better than the 73 pound MRE.


The rest of the miscellaneous gear...there are a bunch of threads on this.
Find a thread with a "master list".....and then delve into whichever objects you care to in detail. For example, there are a bunch of different options for stives, tents, hammocks, water filtration and so forth. If you don't have that gear yet, buy it piece by piece after looking at the options and seeing what seems best for your intended use and budget. Good gear will last you for the rest of your life and will be a pleasure to use."


Am in discussions with Nova Craft retailers for a Prospector 16 in TuffStuff layup.

We already own all of the miscellaneous gear for our BWCA and local trips.
 
Blackdogyak
distinguished member (133)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/19/2022 11:09AM  
Kendis: "Blackdogyak: "



I own a MRE Royalex 16. It's a great all-around boat and is very forgiving on rivers but it's heavy. If you end up doing more flat than rivers....and ClassII or less in the river, you should look at the new ultralight boats. The smaller pack boats are very popuy now....with kayak seats and paddled with a double blade. A 13 footer at 18 pounds can be had for under $2K. Kevlar carbon fiber hybrid. . If you want a traditional hull like a prospector 16 tandem, $2200 can get you a 16' at 30 pounds. If you are doing ANY portaging, that 30 pound boat is going to be a whole lot better than the 73 pound MRE.



The rest of the miscellaneous gear...there are a bunch of threads on this.
Find a thread with a "master list".....and then delve into whichever objects you care to in detail. For example, there are a bunch of different options for stives, tents, hammocks, water filtration and so forth. If you don't have that gear yet, buy it piece by piece after looking at the options and seeing what seems best for your intended use and budget. Good gear will last you for the rest of your life and will be a pleasure to use."



Am in discussions with Nova Craft retailers for a Prospector 16 in TuffStuff layup.


We already own all of the miscellaneous gear for our BWCA and local trips."


Oooo....the top shelf stuff. Nice.
 
Argo
distinguished member (458)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/19/2022 03:48PM  
Kendis: "We are also planning a canoeing trip in the lochs and rivers of Scotland for 2026 and using 2024 and 2025 to build our skills for that.
"


Speaking of Scotland, I just came across This.

Interesting gear and scenery. A different sort of canoe trip altogether but intriguing nonetheless.
 
nooneuno
distinguished member(590)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/20/2022 12:19PM  
Strange off topic reply, it was attributed to me but I didn’t write it, I was able to delete it though.
 
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/26/2022 10:49AM  
Canoe was delivered this week. Took her out for the maiden voyage today. Nova Craft Prospector 16 in TuffStuff layup with clear gel coat which shows the Innegra fibers underneath.

 
dschult2
distinguished member (226)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/26/2022 04:06PM  
Kendis: "Canoe was delivered this week. Took her out for the maiden voyage today. Nova Craft Prospector 16 in TuffStuff layup with clear gel coat which shows the Innegra fibers underneath.


"


That is one beautiful boat! Where did you get it from? Nova Craft themselves in London Ontario or a dealer?
 
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/26/2022 04:45PM  
dschult2: "
That is one beautiful boat! Where did you get it from? Nova Craft themselves in London Ontario or a dealer?
"


I purchased it through Offshore Marine, a Nova Craft dealer in Lake Bluff, IL. Friendly and quality customer service.

Edit: deleted some irrelevant text
 
tomo
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/27/2022 09:19AM  
In our 20's, my wife and I paddled many Canadian rivers--just the two of us. Changes the risk calculus, for sure, having only one boat, but it's a great way to travel! Simple decision making, less complicated logistics, etc.

Canoe looks like a beauty!
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next

Community Links


 Poll: Should we keep trip reports in the listening point forum?
(114 responses)