Cold water, cold air canoeing

It’s been awhile for a post here.

Ok, the cold water clothing and cold water kayaking got me thinking of an upcoming trip.

No yakker here, just an open boater, but what the hey, the water don’t care what you drive!

Heading out tomorrow for a five day, 105 K trip on one of the local rivers. It is train access and will be quite isolated at this time of year. Going solo. As my old paddling partner said, “be careful, there aint gonna be anyone behind ya”.

Air temps will be 2 to -5, water about 3 to 4. River is running very high, a combination of the power company getting ready for freeze up and the tremendous amount of rain in the past couple of weeks will make for a very fast ride.

I’ll be dressed for the water. Full dry suit, long poly underwear, fleece pants and pullover, wool socks in the built in booties, neoprene hood, paddling gloves etc.

Shore clothes and shelter will be for rain and snow.

I’ve added some new gear and modified some old stuff for this trip. I’ll let ya’ll know how it works.


Eeh Gads - - That’s cold!

– Last Updated: Oct-24-06 12:58 AM EST –

I may be a cold weather person around here, but there is no way I'm gonna go solo in conditions that long. I've been bitten too many times to even think about it these days.

I may get out at 30 to 40 degrees, but not below zero.

Take some pictures as you go if possible, I'll enjoy them while I sit in front of my Pellet Stove.

Edit - - Farenhiet or Celsius - - Makes a difference doesn't it

must be celcius
water at 3 to 4…unless it was REALLLLY moving haha…

Just think…
you could take a little drive down to Florida 's 10,000 Islands area, add a couple of days to your trip and do the ninty nine mile wilderness waterway trip in your bathing suit, and get a tan at the same time.

I guess if nothing else you will at least be warm in that full coverage dry suit.



sounds like
a great trip. I enjoy going solo as well but have never done a trip that long, even in the warm weather. Someday.

(And giving he is from Northern Ontario, that would be temp. in Celsius. Translation would be about 28 - 42 F.)

Have a blast and let us know how you make out.

Anyone you want us to call if we don’t hear from you by Christmas?

or really really salty
or the plant is adding an antifreeze component…

merino wool?

Paul, it sounds like another trip down the Spanish. As far as clothing goes for cold weather I have been trying merino wool long underwear. Unfortunately, I had only one opportunity to use it thus far and it was not very cold. Have you experimented with merino wool directly on your skin? My biggest struggle in cold weather paddling is what to wear on my feet. I do not like to get my feet wet at al. On some of my early spring trips I have worn rubber boots, but one has to be very careful not to get them wet. They are certainly not an ideal solution. At the temperature you are talking about 30 to 35 Deg F I might even consider a dry suit/wet suit.

You have great trip, I wish you great weather.


Whew! That’s the toughest conditions
I’ve ever heard anyone paddling in. I admire your confidence.

I’m Back
Yes, Leo it was another trip down the Spanish. It was supposed to be a four night/five day outing but I shortened it by one night, sort of as a compromise for my SO. She did not want me to go and was quite worried. Watching her on the platform out the back window of the train as it pulled away from the station was enough to make me change my mind.

So it turned into three nights/four days/85K. I also reassured her that I would not really be alone; Prudence would be with me at all times. I may like to push the envelope a bit but I do not have a death wish.

The tarp set up was modified with the addition of walls on both ends, Velcro attached, sort of like a campfire tent. A small fire in front will reflect back and add about 5-10 degrees of warmth.

First use of the new MSR Fury tent. Bombproof but a couple things I’m not used to yet.

New sleeping bag, a -20C down mummy bag by MEC. Some kind of weather resistant coating on the shell so I slept under the tarp one night. Toasty warm.

Kokatat dry suit with built in booties. Full polypro underwear next to the skin, then fleece pants and pullover. Wool socks under the booties, final layer of Akuna diving boots over top for protection. Good paddling gloves, a neoprene hood and a brain bucket to keep my head off the rocks finished off the daytime outfit. I was never cold.

Water was at spring flood levels which made for some interesting rides but I managed without any mishaps. Three portages, one lining and ran all the rest. Agnes Rapid was prime but Prudence said don’t even scout it!

Saw a couple of hunters on day one, otherwise had the river to myself.

Weather was ok with a bit of snow on day one, dull and cold day two, clear and cold day three, clear and warmer day four. Winds were mostly light from the north so on my back. Will have to rethink drinking water for late trips like this, the water bottle was mostly slush. Crossing Agnew Lake was different; it was a sheet of glass.

No wildlife sightings to speak of, a few hawks and the usual ducks. Wolves were howling one night and a great horned owl woke me up with its hooting another night.

All in all a good trip.

Some pictures here:

Maybe it was good thing the trip was shortened by a day, the last picture is a view out the back door this morning.


Now that’s cool. Thanks!
Loved the trip report and pics. We’ve actually talked about paddling the tamer parts of the Spanish in warmer weather.