Oar-Powered Craft Bozeman MT

Kayaks and canoes are the best way to travel the national parks' streams and rivers. Oar-powered craft is an environmentally-friendly way to see nature up close. Please read on for more detailed information in the following article.

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Oar-Powered Craft

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Oar-Powered Craft

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.

Canoeing Cautions

While canoes are the quintessential user-friendly watercraft, they do have their limitations:

  • For fair-weather outings only - because of their open design, canoes can quickly fill with rain during a downpour
  • Hard to maneuver in windy conditions
  • Difficult to load on top of a car
  • Challenging to portage (carry over your head) if the canoe is large

Caring for Your Canoe

Most canoes get damaged during launch and retrieval, not while you're paddling. To keep your canoe scrape-free:

  • Carry it into the water (one person on each side at the center works best)
  • Wait until the canoe is fully supported by water (parallel to shore) before boarding
  • Never push it across rough shores

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:

  • Recreational kayaks: These are ideal for short trips on calm water. Easy to maneuver and fairly stable, they make a great beginner's boat. They're also good for taking fishing or paddling about with young children (in life jackets , of course).
  • Touring kayaks: These long, lean kayaks slice through the water with little effort, but since they're suited for large bodies of water, they are hard to turn.
  • Whitewater kayaks: Built for fast-flowing water and rapids, these kayaks turn quickly, allowing the operator to slalom around rocks in rushing rivers and streams.

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...

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