canoe camping

Posted by: Jimshaw

canoe camping - 06/06/09 12:13 PM

Here's another way to get out there that doesn't involve hiking. Go someplace where you can rent a canoe, or borrow one. Put your gear in it, canoe till you find a nice spot, and camp there.

Canoe camping is great. You can get to that island when everyone else camps on the shore. The weight of your gear is immaterial. You can take an ice-chest with fresh food and cold drinks.

Canoeing is easy - but start slow, DO NOT GO 8 MILES IN ON YOUR FIRST TRIP. Since you are around water, bug nets and repellent are required. You can fish. You can carry firewood to an area with none and have a fire there. You can attach your GPS to a thwart for real time navigation. Oh and sunscreen for the reflected sunlight off water. Be sure to pull the canoe up onto dry land so its still around when you want to leave.

My wife hates to BP, but loves to canoe camp - think about it...
Jim crazy
Posted by: DTape

Re: canoe camping - 06/06/09 03:48 PM

Agreed! As a lad growing up we spent most of our camping days via canoe. My first trip was as a 5 month old to Forked Lake in the Adirondacks. It was a few years ago when I realized why my father always opted for the canoe instead of backpacking and it was due to the weight of the gear we had. When I told him of this "epiphany" he said we always canoe camped because it was "I" who complained of all the hiking as a kid. Of course the reason for that was likely because of the weight of the pack I had to carry.

Anyway, Jim makes some excellent points. If you haven't tried canoe camping it is great. One other point is some trailheads are only accessible by canoe or a serious bushwhack. With a canoe, you can explore other areas previously inaccessible.
Posted by: Rick

Re: canoe camping - 06/07/09 07:06 AM

Here in central and near north Ontario, I often see 'front country' camp sites left in terrible condition. Litter, scared trees, multiple fire pits, improper disposal of waste food, etc.

It's probably a good idea to take along a few garbage bags to clean up the site. I don't mean this to sound discouraging. Rather encouraging, because canoeist, like hikers, generally have a reputation for cleaning up after others - in this case likely motor boaters, who like ATV people, in general, are a blight on the landscape, with no environmental ethics.

Please practice LNT (or some form thereof) camping in these easily accessible campsites.

Oh, and don't forget your PFD. At the end of the day, when you take it off after paddling, they make a good seat cushion and an excellent pillow (if dry).
Posted by: Tango61

Re: canoe camping - 06/07/09 11:52 PM

"Be sure to pull the canoe up onto dry land so its still around when you want to leave."

Not only that, but depending on where you canoe, tie it up.

If you canoe on a river that is part of a flood control system, as almost all rivers in Texas are, the rivers may rise over night as water is released.

And just how do I know this? Hmmmmm. smile
Posted by: hoz

Re: canoe camping - 06/09/09 09:50 AM

Because of health problems I took up canoe tripping about 10 years ago. I considered it a great way to get into wilderness without the major labor backpacking entails. Of course, being me, I took it to an ultimate.

In Ontario, we have paddled the Spanish River, the Missinaibi over 300 miles from it's headwaters to James Bay (GREAT TRIP!), the Bloodvein (100+ miles, another fantastic trip) ,the Pukaskwa Coast of Lake Superior (again 100 miles, big, scary dangerous waters),Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, Eighteen Mile Island Loop on the French River and several BWCAW paddles.

A couple years ago I got to paddle with some kayakers in the Philippines. (I"M A CANOEIST) We made an ocean crossing of 10 miles to a fishermans island. WOW.

Canoe tripping in Canada is the REAL DEAL, everything else is just practice.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: canoe camping - 06/10/09 12:54 PM

Canoe camping is great.

That is so true!

Canoe camping is an age old tradition here in the Ozarks. The season starts sometime in March and runs as long as the creeks and streams have enough water to float.

Ticks and chiggers tend to stay away from the gravel and sand bars. We're lucky here because mosquitos are not much on an issue. Here, it can be a nearly bug free experience. Gnat hatches can change that, but they only last a few days, don't bite, and taste better than you might think when they get in your food.

By mid-April the water is chilly, but still warm enough to swim in.

We do have a lot of Cottonmouth Water Moccasins here so you have to be careful when walking the shorelines, especially at night when they are actively feeding.

The Buffalo River is the Crown Jewel of our float streams in the area. It's one of the very few "Wild Rivers" remaining in the continental U.S. There are a few paved low water crossings, but not a single dam from source to mouth, which is just a bit over 100 miles.

You can camp anywhere along the shoreline when canoeing (locally its called "Floating") and anywhere in the National Park that surrounds it when backpacking. Normal rules apply for toilet duties. Camp and cooking fires are allowed. Dogs on leashes (except maybe hunting dogs in certain seasons). Horses and pack animals are allowed in the Park as well.

My wife and I have snorkeled dozens of miles of the River by letting the current push us along with the canoe floating just ahead of us. The water can be nearly crystal clear at times and visibility can be as much as 25 ft. There are Gar that are over 4-5 ft. long, smallmouth bass, and big turtles, among lots of other critters in the river. There are Otters there too, I've had the opportunity to sit on a high bank in the Spring and watch a family of them play for about 20 minutes once, but they are extremely shy and rare to see.

Personally, I'd favor a week in May floating the Buffalo over a week in August hiking Yosemite. Not by much, but if it were a one or the other choice, I'd be in the Ozarks on the River every time.

I will add that applying the same "Lightweight" tools and techniques to the gear and food I bring has made my floats more enjoyable. Less weight is better when canoeing too. But you certainly can bring more stuff, like steaks and beer, than when backpacking smile

Posted by: hoz

Re: canoe camping - 06/10/09 03:46 PM

I haven't made it down to the Buffalo yet. But I have done the Current in Missouri. Nice scenery, but rather crowded...
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: canoe camping - 06/14/09 01:52 PM

On Spring and early Summer weekends the River is too crowded for me. I'm lucky enough to be able to watch the weather and hit the River when the forecast is good during the middle of the week. If you can do that, you'll have River mostly to yourself.

Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: canoe camping - 06/14/09 05:20 PM


Here in Bend we are on a bend of the Deshutes. There is a bit of current - no one swims in it, but rafts, kayaks and canoes, not to mention inflateable ducks and all kinds of plastic floaty thingys on the weekend down in town where the high school kids float. You go down there to see girls. Otherwise you go up to one of the take out ramps above rapids and paddle upstream - there ain't nobody there. We get Osprey and a lot of birds along the river.
Posted by: Outcasthiker

Re: canoe camping - 09/15/11 07:56 PM

Just enjoyed a weekend canoe camping trip in Tennessee. Had a great time. We just packed as we do for a backpack, wrapped our packs in garbage bags and headed out. Story is on our blog
Posted by: Ewker

Re: canoe camping - 09/16/11 09:46 AM

Nice trip report/pics for your trip to Dale Hollow lake. A bunch of us went up there kayaking for a weekend trip a few yrs ago. We need to get back up there again
Posted by: ppine

Re: canoe camping - 10/11/11 01:15 PM

Having paddled rivers for 50 years, I have some advice for canoe campers. Make sure you match your abilities with the conditions ie. flow, remoteness, size of party for rescue, etc. If you paddle you will get wet. It is a matter of time.
Posted by: ppine

Re: canoe camping - 11/01/11 12:18 PM

There is something irresistable about canoe camping especially in wild country. The canoe is the original American form of transport, and cannot really be improved upon. I encourage anyone who is comfortable on the water, with a spirit of adventure to give it a try. Col. Townsend Whelen called the canoe "gateway to peace and utter freedom."
Posted by: ppine

Re: canoe camping - 11/12/11 12:44 PM

What kind of a shelter do you like for canoe camping? Weight is less of an issue and allows for many possibilites.
Posted by: Samoset

Re: canoe camping - 11/19/11 12:29 AM

Originally Posted By billstephenson
But you certainly can bring more stuff, like steaks and beer, than when backpacking smile

You meen we are not supposed to pack that stuff.
I'm sure glad my hiking partner doesn't read these forums wink

Originally Posted By ppine
What kind of a shelter do you like for canoe camping? Weight is less of an issue and allows for many possibilites.

Being the minamalist I am I prefer gc bug net and canoe after all it is water proof I usually use it like a lean to.
Posted by: DTape

Re: canoe camping - 11/19/11 06:01 AM

I generally employ the same lightweight backpacking techniques when I canoe as well. Up here, the best canoeing IMHO is not the larger lakes, but all the smaller ones which are interconnected by portages, some marked, others are bushwhacks.. Pond hopping is an Adirondack tradition and single carrying ones boat and gear is preferred by me. In a thick/unknown bushwhack portage, I will scout the route with my pack and then leave it and go back for the canoe (Bell Bucktail). Beer and Steaks are a common first night meal for me no matter if it is a canoe or backpacking trip.
Posted by: OldJohnDewey

Re: canoe camping - 03/20/12 06:36 PM

I have done a lot of canoe camping over the years. There is a circuit of lakes in BC called the Bowron Lake chain which I have done 3 times. It took us about 6 days to do the 70+ miles at a reasonably leisurely pace each time. There are numerous portages on this trip, and you definitely need to pay attention to weight. I agree with Dtape that the same lightweight backpacking techniques work well. When you portage all your gear, you will be glad of every ounce you saved.
I still remember seeing a scout troop struggling along with large sacks of canned food. Poor kids! Also, when doing the fast water stretches, if you pack light, you will have a little more free-board for peace of mind and better maneuverbility. We also usually take a heavy first night meal breaks the monotony farther on. Put the beer and steaks in the other guys pack!
Posted by: susannewilli

Re: canoe camping - 08/11/14 04:55 AM

Absolutely love canoe camping (or SUP camping for that matter)

The calm gliding, the extra cargo, the wonderful feeling of just being on the water.

Yes yes yes....!!!
Posted by: Goofytune

Re: canoe camping - 08/12/14 01:04 AM

I actually got the chance to spend almost a year living on the water when I was a kid. I was 15 and found myself with a canoe, camping gear, and no place to really call home. I got to spend that time, starting near the headwaters of the Mo, going from one camp to the next. Being big for my age, I was usually able to get a few days work when low on supplies. Greatest time of my life.

Wonder if that's why I joined the Navy a couple year later.
Posted by: dylansdad77

Re: canoe camping - 09/19/14 12:47 PM

I did a lot of canoeing as a kid through boy scouts and I really enjoyed it. However, in college I paddled my first kayak and have not looked back since. Yes, canoes are great because you can load them up with hundreds of pounds of gear and still make it to your destination...but an appropriately sized touring kayak can hold upwards of 100 pounds of gear too. Plus, the smaller storage size (and true dry storage) forces you to make concessions on the more "frilly" creature comforts and lets you commune more with nature (i.e. leaving the solar powered tv at home).

When I go on multi-day paddling trips, I usually only bring the gear I would take on backpacking trips (plus a fishing pole). Of course, a flask and a cigar are considered "necessary survival gear"...the drawback of the touring kayak is that it is primarily a 1-seater so everyone in your group needs their own boat. However, kayaks are more conducive for solo trips, IMHO.

Happy paddling!
Posted by: RedSoxFan

Allagash - 12/07/14 11:17 AM

did the waterway 7 times. great times!!
Posted by: Cass and Me

Re: canoe camping - 04/27/15 01:04 PM

If canoe camping is up your alley, then you should make it a priority once in your life to canoe the Boundary Waters, huge area of lakes and rivers between MN and Canada. Some of the best fishing in the state, peacefulness, wilderness, and if your willing to put some work in solitude. I've been up there about a half dozen times, and every year it is more special. Look into it.