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Going upstream with a paddle
From the original birch-bark vessels handcrafted by Native Americans to the fiberglass models available at your local department store, canoes have long been part of our outdoor experiences.
Canoe design varies widely. Some are large enough to take four people on a day-long open-water tour. Others are designed to glide a solo canoeist through choppy whitewaters. Easy to board, navigate and disembark, canoes can be the perfect family boat. Prices range from economy versions that cost a few hundred dollars to luxury hand-crafted versions that go for several thousand.
While canoes are the quintessential user-friendly watercraft, they do have their limitations:
Caring for Your Canoe
Most canoes get damaged during launch and retrieval, not while you're paddling. To keep your canoe scrape-free:
Whether you're out for a lazy paddle on your favorite pond or ready for the churning waters of a rushing river, the canoe makes an affordable low-tech boating option.
Although similar in shape and handling to canoes, kayaks are closed and require a paddle with a blade on each end. This makes them faster and easier to handle for a solo paddler. While there are many classes of kayaks for competitive sport (think of the Olympics) recreational kayakers will be interested in single or double versions of:
In general, long kayaks travel faster and straighter than short kayaks, but short kayaks are easier to maneuver. Wide kayaks are more stable but require more effort to propel. Kayaks come in several different shapes and sizes, but, like finding the perfect pair of jeans, you need to try many on before finding the perfect fit.
Regardless of what style you choose, kayaks come with a price tag to suit almost any budget. Plastic kayaks range in price from $700 to $1,500. Fiberglass models are more expensive, startin...