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Peter Scott and Geoffrey Peake lining on the Winisk River in August 1999. (Photo - Michael Peake)

Equipment Lists: Canoes and Paddles


This year we will be using three Old Town Trippers. This boat is our all-time favourite tripping canoe. The Tripper has an excellent hull design that makes it stable, roomy, and responsive in both whitewater and lake paddling. These boats have enough rocker (the raising of the keel line at either end) to allow maneuverability in rapids, but not so much that they resemble specialized whitewater boats, which have sharply curved keel lines (much like a banana) and handle well in rapids but are impossible to paddle on flatwater. We install high-density foam pads for kneeling in both the bow and stern, drills and rivets snaps along the gunwale for attaching a spray cover, and places a piece of PVC tubing in a specially drilled anchor point above the waterline, where we attach lining ropes.

We generally favour one-piece hardwood paddles for flatwater. There are a variety of designs and brands on the market and over the years we have found Lolk Paddles to be the best designed and most durable for our trips. Despite the popularity of bent-shaft paddles, we do not favour them. The bent shaft design, which lends itself to the "sit'n'switch" style of paddling, is a poor choice for doing conventional paddling strokes like the Canadian and J-Stroke. In whitewater we favour large-bladed laminated paddles (usually wood, but not always) which have the large blade area needed to move lots of water in a hurry. Grey Owl makes an effective whitewater paddle with an 8-inch blade that has become a favourite of several of our members.

Each boat is generally outfitted with one spray cover, four paddles, two lining ropes (approx. 15 m. long) and one bailer, as well as one "Otter Bag", a velcro-sealed pouch that ties to the thwart directly in front of the stern paddler. This is a useful item for odds and ends -- sun lotion, bug repellant, sun glasses, maps -- that are needed frequently throughout the day. We prefer to have nothing loose in the boat when we paddle, so each boat is equipped with two or more lashing ropes about 2 m long that secure all gear to the thwarts in case of an upset.

Email the paddlers with your questions and comments