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Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/4/13 7:46 p.m.

The canoe/kayak kind, not the hot girl kind. Get your mind out of the gutter. (This means you GPS )

While doing some research into hiking trails around the state, I learned that South Carolina has over 1000 miles of canoeing and kayaking trails. Open to the public, free, and camping is allowed anywhere below spring flood stage, so a 80 mile trip can be made over several days.

My last canoe trip was 14 days and about 80 miles, but I was 14, not 46. So learn me, things have changed a good bit since then.

I think I have settled on a canoe rather than a kayak. Larger load capability and I'm not planning on white water yet. They seem better suited for expedition trips. Some of the trips I'm looking at are in the 80+ mile range and that's going to require hauling some gear. Most canoes look to be rated at 700-800 pounds. My son and I are almost 400 so that would leave us 300-400 for food, water and camping gear. I also think entry and exit will be easier for an old fat guy like me.

What's wrong with the canoes that the sporting goods stores sell. $400-$500 range, mostly plastic. Is a $1000 canoe actually better for flat water than a $500 canoe? I'll probably be buying two, for trips with the wife, daughter and younger son.

Would I be better off with two kayaks? There are probably some trips that the wife, daughter and younger son will come on. That would necessitate 4 or 5 kayaks, unless I bought two man kayaks ($$$$).

I know some of you healthy guys have to do some canoeing or kayaking, so share the knowledge. Unfortunately the local paddle club is rather specific about no newbies on their trips and no training offered. Seems kind of asinine, but whatever. That leaves me with the brain trust. Cough it up.

Thanks Allen.

To the powers that be, sorry this really is about canoes.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/4/13 7:54 p.m.

I've done both, but I much prefer kayaks to canoes. I find it to be much easier on my back, plus they are fast and maneuverable.

I bought a 12' Wilderness Systems Pungo about 14 years ago. I chose that one because it has an open cockpit. I can store a lot of stuff in it, and you get good airflow across your legs so you don't get hot. I have a fabric half skirt for it for the times that I need shade or splash protection. The hull design gives it good stability and is still maneuverable enough for minor league rough water. I added a pair of flotation bags, but I don't think they were really necessary. I can lean over until it starts filling up with water and just straighten right back up again.

Fiberglass kayaks are beautiful, but the plastic ones can take an incredible beating. I think it's made from recycled milk bottles.

The Pungo that they sell now is quite a bit different than the one that I own. It's also a lot more expensive.

Not mine, but similar. Mine is a much better color!

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/4/13 8:04 p.m.

I think that the yellow boat with the little kid in it is a Rascal.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/4/13 8:21 p.m.

Here's a crazy good bargain for anyone in Massachusetts:

http://capecod.craigslist.org/spo/4170875899.html

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
11/4/13 9:21 p.m.

I don't have anything technical or savvy to share but I have enjoyed paddling around the Delaware river with the kids in a bunch of rentals. We also rented them and paddled from the mainland out and around to Assateague Island while on vacation in in Maryland. That was cool - we were out there in 2ft of water for hours. When tired - just hop out and stretch.

I saw that kayaks are on sale right now at something like 70% off but I don't have any idea what criteria to evaluate which are good/bad.

Watching thread with interest.

JoeyM
JoeyM Mod Squad
11/4/13 9:29 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote: What's wrong with the canoes that the sporting goods stores sell.

They have rounded bottoms and soft chines to make them easier to paddle. It makes them slighly more tippy, slightly more difficult to get into and out of (because of tippiness) and much more difficult to get out of the boat, stand on a log and haul the boat across without (you guessed it) tipping.

flat bottom boats are more work to paddle, but MUCH more stable. They're a lot less popular, nowdays, but better in every way for an expedition boat. If you REALLY want a good boat, consider one that also has a square back transom so you can put t trolling motor there.

Toyman01 wrote: $400-$500 range, mostly plastic. Is a $1000 canoe actually better for flat water than a $500 canoe?

Yes, but only marginally. I'm a cheap bastard, so I'd say use what you can afford. The flat bottom square boats are better in every way, but I wouldn't pay much more for that feature.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/4/13 9:30 p.m.

I've gone tripping in both canoes and sea kayaks, solo and in small groups. Kayaks are so much faster, I could cover nearly twice as much distance as in a canoe. But they're a bastard to portage in the Ontario woods. If you have a lot of small lakes, go for the canoe. But if you're dealing with bigger bodies of water, rent a couple of Current Design boats or something similar.

I also used to paddle whitewater kayaks quite a bit as I lived on the Ottawa River. But not for years now.

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
11/4/13 9:38 p.m.

There is a difference between the cheap plastic canoes, and the fiber ones. Weight is a big deal, but build quality is important if you want to keep it a while. In most cases you do get what you pay for. I would much rather buy a good used one for $400 than a new one for $400. Most of the canoe manufacturers should have a good description on their sites about each model, and it's benefits. Be honest with yourself. We're very experienced, but still have what I would call a beginner canoe, and we're very happy with it. You'll be a lot happier in a stable, easy to handle canoe, than a cheap plastic one, IMO.

This is what we have. My kids grew up with it, and will stand up and cast, in the middle of a lake. It's that stable.

http://www.scottcanoe.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6:the-explorer&catid=42:classic&Itemid=78

We paid $400 for it lightly used about 20 years ago. It's seen a lot of use, including some rugged trips in the far north, and I've never done anything other than load, unload, and paddle it.

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/4/13 9:58 p.m.

I did some digging for used canoes. Not much around here. More kayaks, but most of them are ocean versions.

These are the canoe trails within 20 miles of the house.

http://www.berkeleyblueways.com/maps/paddling_trails_clip_web.pdf

That's 23 trails and 175 miles in my county alone.

Here are a couple of others I would like to try.

Waccamaw River Blue Trail. 89 miles of black water river and swamp.

Congaree River Blue Trail 51 Miles of river through the middle of the state.

Wateree River Blue Trail 80 miles of the Congaree's twin. A little rougher and smaller.

The Congaree and the Wateree feed into the Santee, which after stopping in the two largest lakes in the state, go all the way to the coast.

South Caroling considers any navigable water way to be "public use." All rivers, streams and creeks. If a canoe will float in it, it's usable. A lot of the rivers flow through national and state forests and parks so there aren't just miles and miles of docks and houses.

I'm looking forward to it.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/4/13 10:07 p.m.

I am planning on building an expedition style boat soon.. once I finalize what boat, I will post pics.. but I want to do the everglades challenge for Watertribe

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
11/4/13 10:12 p.m.

I personally prefer kayaks. To me, the biggest advantage is stability, due to a MUCH lower CG. I paddle a newer Pungo 140. It is about at the top end of "beginner friendly". 5 summers in and I have yet to want more boat.

It is nice to also have some cheap 9' play boats. This means you can bring along more people for little day trips, and on long trips, load it with gear and pull it behind your main kayak.

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/4/13 10:15 p.m.

A few pictures.

JoeyM
JoeyM Mod Squad
11/4/13 10:39 p.m.

a coworker on the Hillsborough River in my Hydra Dragonfly (a copy of an old perception dancer) I'm paddling one of my other boats to take the photos

Me in a rented sit-on-top at Captain Cook Monument (Kealakekua Bay)

peace river
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLb2t4HzIYM
http://youtu.be/0-0fDEUcXXo?t=21s

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
11/4/13 10:57 p.m.

This is in northern Ontario. NW of Cochrane, for those who care.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/4/13 10:59 p.m.

My old stomping grounds. Sorry, all my photos are on film so these are just representative.

The Ottawa is one big river.

This play spot was actually just downstream from my house. I used to be able to walk to the end of the street, throw my boat in the water, paddle into the waves, then paddle back home when I was done. Why did I move again?

Opalescent Lake in Algonquin Park, I always seemed to pass through here on trips.

Cork Lake. I may have once proposed to someone here. Gorgeous place regardless.

JoeyM
JoeyM Mod Squad
11/4/13 11:13 p.m.
Zomby Woof wrote: This is what we have. My kids grew up with it, and will stand up and cast, in the middle of a lake. It's that stable. http://www.scottcanoe.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6:the-explorer&catid=42:classic&Itemid=78

That makes sense; flat hull, minimal rocker.

Keith, those rapid would make me whimper like a little girl shortly before sending me swimming.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper PowerDork
11/5/13 8:10 a.m.

Lots of variables, which need to be governed by your intended use.

For example, a wide flat bottom boat is very stable in calm flat water, but pitches side to side horribly when the waves kick up. A long narrow boat tracks like a train on rails, which means it cannot do white water worth a darn, if at all.

So, you first need to be real and serious about what you intend to paddle in. What are you envisioning really doing?

slantvaliant
slantvaliant SuperDork
11/5/13 8:27 a.m.

Be GRM (Grassroots Marinesports) and build one.

"Six-Hour" style ...

 photo ScottCanoe-1.jpg

or, if you want to be fancy, cedar strip

'

JoeyM
JoeyM Mod Squad
11/5/13 8:38 a.m.
foxtrapper wrote: Lots of variables, which need to be governed by your intended use. For example, a wide flat bottom boat is very stable in calm flat water, but pitches side to side horribly when the waves kick up. A long narrow boat tracks like a train on rails, which means it cannot do white water worth a darn, if at all. So, you first need to be real and serious about what you intend to paddle in. What are you envisioning really doing?

Foxtrapper is right.....where and how you use the boat has everything to do with what you want. Flat bottom boats like I described are ideal for slow, flat rivers that have the occasional log you want to get over. (i.e. what I deal with here. We don't have waves or rapids to deal with)

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/5/13 8:47 a.m.

It's going to be 95% flat water rivers and swamps. No rapids, but some waves in the larger stretches of the rivers. I know the lower Waccamaw River can get 1'-2' swells on a windy day, but hanging to the leeward edge should keep me out of the worst of them.

Probably 75% of the trips are going to be camping trips, some of them multi-day, with the occasional day trip thrown in.

turtl631
turtl631 New Reader
11/5/13 8:56 a.m.

I did a one month trip down the Mississippi with a buddy and lots of gear in a cheap plastic canoe that was like $300 in like new condition. Did fine with waves, never tipped it. For mostly flat water like this, a boat that tracks better would have been nice.

I have a basic open recreational kayak now, use it mostly for fishing in flat water. But it's more fun to be able to have other people along in a canoe imo.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/5/13 8:58 a.m.

I understand that there are some great canoe trips on the Lumber River and around Brown's Ferry park in S.C.

I have a solo canoe and a kayak. They are made for different things. I use my canoe on smaller rivers and lakes. It is super easy to pick it up on a shoulder and carry it a ways, but I don't trust it in any kind of rough water. I paddle it using a double bladed kayak paddle, so I can really get it moving, too.

My kayak is a sit on top model that I can do a surf launch on, stand in and throw a cast net from. It easily weighs double what my canoe does and can't carry as much gear.

Most of the difference between a good canoe vs. a really expensive canoe is going to come down to weight. Given the same design, Royalex is going to be about 20% lighter than 3 layer polyethylene. How much is that worth to you?

If weight isn't that much of an issue (and once you are on the water it matters a bit less) Polyethylene is TOUGH. What you might shudder to do in a Royalex or fiberglass boat you'd just giggle about and do in a polyethelene boat. I've bounced off or rocks, accidentally skimmed over a barely sunken log and been a bit rough at a concrete bridge support without worrying too much about anything beyond getting a scratch.

There are a ton of resources out there to help decide what kind of boat somebody might need- Mad River has something. http://www.madrivercanoe.com/pages/index/learn/?category[3]=beginner&x=72&y=13&search=true&

What I'd do is see if a local paddle shop does demo days and go out and actually try a few boats. If you're going to drop $1000 on a boat, it makes sense to try it first.

Check Craigslist. I saw this:

http://charleston.craigslist.org/boa/4165392604.html

and Mohawk makes a good boat.

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/5/13 9:14 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy:

I saw that Mohawk last night. I'll probably call him today.

Weight is kind of important. Apparently some of the upper reaches of the Wateree River do get blocked by log jams. That means portage. Downed trees in the swamps are fairly common as well.

Thanks for the other link as well. Some good information in there.

JoeyM
JoeyM Mod Squad
11/5/13 9:20 a.m.

my canoe (formerly my grandparent's canoe) is an old fiberglass mohawk from the 1960s.....it still works fine

dculberson
dculberson UltraDork
11/5/13 9:42 a.m.

My wife and I have kayaks and enjoy the heck out of them. But we haven't done anything close to what you're planning, our trips are day trips. We either go to a canoe livery that will shuttle us around so we can do long one-way trips or we put in at a boat launch and paddle up stream for as long as we can handle it then float/paddle back down stream. It's amazing how much wildlife you can see just a couple miles from your own house that way.

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