How can I prep for a solo canoe trip
May 24, 2013 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I am thinking about taking a canoe trip down a local river, the Willamette, in Oregon. The river is a national water trail, and has some excellent documentation on camp sites and conditions between the starting and ending points we want to travel. How can I best prepare for this trip given I've mostly done water trips in supervised groups.

I have done a fair amount of recreational water trips, including rafting and canoeing, enough to have a healthy respect for rivers. I have even led canoe trips on the tamer parts of the Colorado some years (decades...oof!) ago.
How can I best prepare for this trip, gear up, get canoe basics refreshed in my muscle memory and brain, and be ready to be on the water for 3-4 days in a safe and fun way. The river isn't particularly challenging, unless you fall in and get into a strainer or something, so being alert and prepared is always job one.
It's only two people in the canoe, traveling solo. We have a fair amount of camping gear, tent, bags,stoves and other equipment. We need to get water ready, dry bags, food, and whatever else we might reasonably need. Any tips on this, resources, books and so forth appreciated.
posted by diode to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I just got back from a 3 day canoe trip on the Green River in Utah. So fun. Here's what I enjoyed on the trip, we had 3 canoes and 6 people. Each canoe had a cooler in it. One cooler was for food and we only opened it when cooking, so, the ice kept the whole time. Get some water tight river bags, getting your stuff wet is no fun. Get a camp chair with no legs to sit on in the canoe, it gives you something to lean back on. Get some cheap semi water proof-ish speakers. Listening to some chill tunes when floating is very nice. Strap everything into the canoe. Bring beer, margarita's and cocktail ice. Give yourself plenty of time to find a good campsite before dark. Eat good food, it's not backpacking. If you just start paddling it will come back to you quickly. Buy some cheap cup holders and duct tape them to the side of your canoe. Have fun.
posted by trbrts at 11:32 AM on May 24, 2013


Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club may be helpful.
posted by yohko at 11:41 AM on May 24, 2013


I bought a book a couple weeks ago called "Canoe Camping: Beyond the Basics" at Powell's a couple weeks ago and they had more copies, in the canoeing/kayaking/etc section, mostly because I also want to check out the Willamette Water Trail camping opportunities. Lot of good stuff in that book.
posted by jeb at 11:48 AM on May 24, 2013


Watch Bill Mason's Path of the Paddle . It has basic solo or double techniques for any fast water sections you may want to try paddling.
posted by rocket88 at 12:17 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This Mefi post about a solo trip down the Mississippi might be of interest, particularly this link which talks about the logistics of his trip but surely has some useful info for a trip down the Willamette.

I am so envious of your trip!
posted by Balonious Assault at 3:08 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all the tips. It's pretty cool. We can put in a couple of miles from our house and end up a friend's house on the river near Corvallis.
posted by diode at 2:58 PM on May 25, 2013


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