Boat Gear

  • PFD: Well-fitting with ample floatation.
  • Signaling whistle (Fox40 is LOUD).
  • Plastic bailer (e.g. cutoff bleach bottle) and sponge).
  • MacTac and/or a map case. Some maps are waterproofed for you but usually cost more. Waterproofing is vital to your safety.
  • WHITEWATER CANOE DESIGN and other obsessions. Rounded not squared. Square sharp entries, square profiles and keels are perfect for tracking across lakes but FORGET IT for whitewater. Sideways maneuverability is the mandate. Lean is the lesson. More on this later.
  • MATERIALS: ABS/Royalex/Crosslink for whitewater (it's heavier); Fibreglass/kevlar for flatwater (it's lighter) Go for the strongest and lightest.
    The painful truth of portaging: Don't portage the rapid unless you have to!
  • ROCKER: profile of degree of roundedness of canoe's horizontal and vertical lines: curve upward from a square bow and stern measured in inches from 1 - 6 enhances sideways movement but reduces forward stability (tracking). Promotes spinning in circles. Whitewater playboats have lots of it and flatwater boats have none of it.
  • CHINE and STABILITY: rounded sides of hull as seen in a cross -sectional view, improves leanability and stability. Two types of stability are:
    Primary stability (first 45 degrees of lean) - less desirable compared to Secondary stability (second 45 degrees of lean). You want to lean way over and not flip over. Chine reduces primary to improve lean while tumblehome improves secondary to reduce flipping past the 45 degree point. The reverse is true with flatwater designs where primary stability is the most important. Promotes spinning in circles and perhaps flipping if you're not paying attention.
  • TUMBLEHOME: convex curve of canoe sides, improves stability when leaned as well as dryness. Promotes staying upright.
  • DRAFT: depth between bottom of canoe and gunwales reduces water washing into the canoe (swamping) and adds cargo volume. Promotes floating.
  • ABS material is stronger and more puncture-resistant than flatwater canoe materials Recommended tandem types: Mad River Freedom, Swift Dumoine, Dagger Legend, Old Town Tripper, Mad River Prospector. Solo types: see Mad River, Dagger, Mohawk and many others.
  • AIR BAGS- bow and stern to float your canoe and reduce wrapping on rocks if it dumps. Promotes floating.
  • Plastic paddles with wider blade (as opposed to narrower blade, i.e. ottertail) and "T" grip as opposed to "spoon" grip.
  • Wood paddles are great for flatwater and they look pretty, but rocks promote their breakage.
  • Quick approximate length of your paddle: floor to nose.