Canoe tripping is part of the fabric of the North woods. It was the canoe that carried Native Americans throughout North America. Canoes brought the first Europeans into the interior of the frontier to trade and proselyte. And it was from the inside of a canoe that Lewis and Clark explored and mapped our new nation.
So it is no wonder that the idea of paddling away from civilization and into the wilderness has always held great romantic appeal for men. What man has not sat at his desk, surrounded by the walls of his cubicle, and closed his eyes to imagine gliding through the water of a clear river, surrounded on both sides by emerald forests or vibrant fall foliage?
But it needn’t remain a mere fantasy. Canoe tripping is not only romantic, it’s also a very practical way to camp. The utility of the canoe is undisputed. In the hands of a skilled paddler, it can carry amazing amounts of gear, navigate waters from tiny streams to vast oceans, and do it with a panache that is unquestionably manly.
Last time, we talked about one of the advantages of car camping over backpacking; mainly, that with car camping you can pack more gear, allowing you to camp more comfortably and cook and eat more delicious grub. Of course the downside of car camping is that it lessens the feel of getting away from civilization and losing oneself in nature.
Well, with canoeing, you can have the best of both worlds. You can plunge yourself deep into the wilderness, a la backpacking, while at the same time carrying 100 pounds of gear in your canoe. It is camping that is both rustic and luxurious, which makes it, in my humble opinion, the best kind of
camping of all.
By now I’ve convinced you that a canoe trip is in your future. But many men seem to find the idea of planning and executing a canoe trip intimidating. Loading a tent and sleeping bag in the car they can do. But heading down a river into the wilderness seems a bit more daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Planning a canoe trip is like planning anything, you’ll simply need to:
• Decide what you want to do
• Research what you need to know
• Find the resources you need
• Execute your plan
"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing." - Henry David Thoreau