8 Tips for a Happy Canoe Trip

8 Tips Happy Canoe TripDo you pic­ture your­self as a sing-songy pad­dler, mak­ing your way down a pris­tine riv­er with cute for­est crit­ters cheer­ing your progress? Sor­ry to burst the bub­ble, but canoe­ing is not all but­ter­flies and bab­bling brooks. But with a lit­tle prepa­ra­tion and some know-how you will have a safe and enjoy­able trip every time.

Here are eight tips for a hap­py canoe trip.

Know Your Loca­tion
When pick­ing a riv­er, make sure to research length, ter­rain and weath­er. Some runs are nar­row and shal­low and some are engulfed in trees, canopies, fall­en logs and bush­es that you need to care­ful­ly nav­i­gate around. If it rains? Expect ris­ing waters with fast cur­rents that can be dan­ger­ous if you aren’t ready for it. Talk to oth­er pad­dlers, state park offi­cials for info.

Dis­tin­guish  Dis­tance
Take dis­tance and time into account, because every run is dif­fer­ent and it’s a good idea to pace your­self phys­i­cal­ly. Pop­u­lar runs are pep­pered with out­fit­ters that pro­vide maps and infor­ma­tion on approx­i­mate­ly how long each run lasts. Some will have a shut­tle ser­vice that scoops up pad­dlers at a point along the riv­er while some rivers loop around.

It depends on the envi­ron­ment and what’s com­fort­able for you. In Flori­da, it’s hot, sticky and you can bet on some rain, so I always opt for a good ol’ bathing suit, espe­cial­ly since I plan on going for a lit­tle swim at some point. Light­weight cloth­ing is quite nice, and things can get chilly with rain, so rain jack­ets are nifty, along with flip-flops or water­proof shoes. And don’t you dare for­get that sun pro­tec­tion — stash a hat, sun­glass­es and plen­ty of sunscreen.

CanoeBan­ish the Bugs
Damn those bugs. Get tan­gled in an over­hang­ing bush and BAM, spi­ders galore. Mos­qui­tos, no-see-ems, horseflies…oh those horse flies…don’t even get me start­ed. Bring some kind of bug repel­lent to keep bites at bay and for those spiders…all I can say is avoid bush­es at all costs.

Keep it Dry
I’ve lost a cam­era, IPod and two IPhones from canoe trips. Learn from my fool­ish mis­takes and invest in some water­proof com­part­ments, bags or phone cases. 

Hydrate Yo Body
Stock that aqua, open your mouth and chug. You’re going to be burn­ing ener­gy and if you’re plan­ning on doing some drink­ing, the warm sun and the con­strict­ed ves­sels will lead to dehy­dra­tion fast so fill a Camel­bak and don’t drink the riv­er water.

There are some peo­ple in the world who are able to time their bow­el move­ments down to the minute. Great. Do that before you head out — not an hour after you’re on the water. If you’re stuck on the water, park up on a shore and dig a cathole 200 feet away. I mean — you’re going to want to stay out of sight, right?

Grab Those Life Jack­ets
Don’t over­look this one. Make sure there is a jack­et for each per­son in the canoe. They also make pret­ty com­fy seat cushions.

Rest Up and Have a Blast!
It’s gonna be a long day on the riv­er so get your beau­ty sleep and scarf down a hearty meal. And smile- you’re about to enjoy a kick­ass day of pad­dling on a gor­geous river…“just around the riv­er bend!”