Edisto River - beginning to end. 2021

I’m fairly new to kayaking and wondering if anyone else is interested in a camping adventure down the entire Edisto River. No set schedule or anything, just go with the flow and primitive camp wherever we come across along the way. I don’t mean to sound crazy but if I’m completely honest, despite it being so cold, I’m ready to start asap. Lol I just know thats not too wise to go solo, in the winter with such little experience. I’ve just fell in love with traveling via small boat and have tried a few different methods and landed on a SOT kayak. Maybe even eventually kayak to Florida and explore the various fresh water springs. Maybe I’m just crazy, but maybe someone else is the same kind of crazy and wants to come along…? Crossing fingers. Just asking in case, otherwise I’ll likely wait til warmer weather before I attempt it solo.

Hopefully you have one of the Edisto River guide books. I haven’t paddled the upper end but have read older reports of a lot of deadfall in the way. Being an unrestricted river, conditions constantly change.
As you near the coast , it becomes mostly marsh . Not a place I would care to camp.
Do some scouting and talking to the locals like Heritage Outfitters.
P.S. I have capsized in the Edisto this time of year and had to climb out on a muddy, sandy bank. Not life threatening, but very uncomfortable.
Unless you are an experienced outdoor type, I highly recommend having someone experienced with you.
We are entering the time of year when flood conditions are frequent.
I suggest some practice day trips like Colleton State Park to either Mars Oldfield landing (16 mi,) or to Givhans Ferry SP (21 mi).
For a look at the lower end , try Martin’s Landing to Willtown Bluff.

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Thanks, some very good advice! I’ve put in at a couple different places along the South Fork so far and despite the blockages, I still had a great time and learned a lot. However, I certainly enjoyed it much more further down where I could paddle around/over obstacles and not have to portage every few hundred feet. I originally picked Edisto because it’s the closest to me and seems popular, but I believe the Savanah River may be a much better choice for long distance and is probably not blocked much, if at all? I’ve watched some videos of kayak trips from Augusta, almost to the ocean and it seemed pretty wide and clear the whole way and with plenty of potential camping. I’m no stranger to primitive camping/bushcraft and was even ok with expecting that I may have to hammock camp in the swamp at times. I think maybe I just didn’t realize the better options available? LOL The times I’ve put in were the first times I’d ever been in a river, other than swimming when I was younger. I’ve since figured out that the times I’ve went, the water has been much higher and faster than normal and with lots more dead trees. (First time was with a 10ft aluminum Jon boat with just a single paddle. It was scary and difficult but still so awesome. Barely made it back upstream though. The next time was with a 10ft pelican bass raider with a trolling motor and solar setup. That worked decent once on the water but the weight and transport created too many issues to make it worth it. I got a cheap sot kayak and its actually perfect for what I want in every way now. I plan to film most of my adventures and share to inspire. If I can do this, pretty much anybody can too. LOL Here is a video from my first test. https://youtu.be/MMS6cCzHmok

Here is the video from my first time with the Pelican.

From Rumble, you can find my other videos kayaking since then.

A group of us had planned to do the Savannah from August to the coast, but the pandamnit has us putting that off. Another good long distance paddle would be the Wateree or Broad rivers below the dams to lakes Marion and Moultrie, then the Santee too the coast. The Pee Dee river is another good choice. I won’t consider doing any of these until I have been vaccinated. The Edisto would be fun. I know a couple of guys that have done the upper reaches of the Edisto, and said it was difficult and less fun than they hoped. Still it is a good river to explore.

The pandamnit, haha I like your spelling. Going with a group of people sounds like it could be really fun. I’m about to checkout the rivers you mentioned. I’m sure its my lack of ever experiencing any sort of rapids, but they scare the heck out of me. Hahah But only because it’s so cold right now and I’m always alone. Once it’s warm, I’m excited test my kayaking limits without worry of falling in for the first time unprepared and will actually enjoy learning getting off and on etc. I have a decent PFD that I always wear now and got some 3mm farmer johns yesterday, so I’m refining my kit. Anyway, I’m rambling sorry. Going to check those rivers out now. Thank you for the info guys/gals.

You might want to check out this SC paddling web page. It’s a useful resource. Perhaps later in the summer we could get together and paddle.

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Check out the Explore Waterways on Paddle SC.

Explore Waterways (gopaddlesc.com)

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sounds like a worthy project, I’ve got the edisto guides and hope to paddle in that watershed someday and camp at Colleton SP. I’ve camped there several times on my way to Okefenokee or the Florida Springs. I thought about going there over Christmas break but the campground was closed for renovations. Fallen trees are in my wheelhouse and that won’t deter me from the upper reaches/branches. I prefer smaller streams even with their blockages.

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Until last year , I scheduled an Edisto day trip every year with a few friends from Greenville. The last couple have been from Colleton SP to Mars Oldfield. As the group has gotten older, we prefer 16 miles to 20+.
After talking to Flotsam, we’re thinking April to give everyone time to get both vaccines.

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ON, another favorite section is from the US 21 bridge to Colleton SP but parking on the upper end isn’t as easy as it was. I think Heritage Outfitters owns it now.

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That’s actually the first place I put in with the jon boat, in my first video. I’ve since been back with the kayak and enjoyed it much more and was able to easily paddle upstream, unlike the jon boat with 1 tiny paddle. Hahah Lol But there are a lot of blockages downstream. It would be really cool to keep going further with at least 1 other, I’m just too inexperienced to do it solo in the cold, with a bad leg. (It’s a real leg, just lots of metal inside lol. ) Not complaining at all, just giving a little extra insight into my reasoning. Hehe

My log crawling days are over, so I’ll stick to the more open sections, lakes and salt bays. Most of my paddling last year was Hartwell.

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I am one who has done long canoe trips, camping along the way. A SOT kayak would not be my first choice, but that is me. The Green River starts in Wyoming, then Utah, Colorado, Utah, and finishes joining the Colorado. Done the whole thing twice, sections 2 more times. Colorado, Missouri, Long trips.
From reading these posts and your answers. I strongly recommend you do several single over nighters with planned campsite, put in and take out, 10 to 20 mile days. Your kayak is likely to be difficult to do the 20 mile days, (short waterline) Mostly, to refine your gear choices, food, water, balance fore and aft, there are LOTS of choices you will change, wish for, find you do not need, etc. Expand those to two nights and three days, again, I suspect you will have no physical problems, just gear choice and refinements. However, with your limited ability to carry the kitchen sink with you, those gear choices and refinements will make a world of difference.

Once you have arrived at the minimum gear, weight, balance or trim, comfortable sleeping, food, water, Then tackle the multi-day, no particular plan, paperback books, wide brim slouch hat, bug spray, bottle of your favourite firewater for that just before sunset sip or two.

My strongest recommendation for two flatwater rivers out west. The Missouri , Montana, The Upper Missouri River Breaks, National Monument, launch in Fort Benton and haulout at the Fred Robinson Bridge Early or mid July best. The second, The Green River in southern Utah from Green River, Utah down to the Confluence with the Colorado MAKE SURE, you have arranged for pick up at the Confluence by jet boat out of Moab. DO NOT turn right down the Colorado, that is the opening of Cataract Canyon, 50 miles of Class IV and Class V.

On either trip, camp almost anywhere, any pace you wish, paperback books to sit and allow the silence to soak in, lots, too much sun,

The first shake down one nighters and two nighters are exactly how you make it all work.

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Thanks for the advice everyone! I’ve been out several more times testing/learning new skills and overcoming a few newbie fears. Feeling much more confident on the river, while maintaining what I feel is a healthy respect for the possible dangers. I’ve got my camping/cooking/sleeping gear pretty refined and tested at under 15 lbs total, slightly adjusted for yakpacking vs bikepacking. After lots of kayak reviews, touring videos via all sorts of rec kayak sea kayak/canoe/packraft etc, and all the great users on this forum, I can see myself keeping the SOT and upgrading to a decent touring kayak as soon as I can. But until then, I plan to enjoy this SOT for as much adventure as I can. I look forward to more learning, experience and friendships as I tackle this new found passion for kayaking.

I’m sure I’m forgetting to add some stuff that I initially started this reply for. LOL Thanks everyone!

15 pounds ??? I am in awe. I salute you. On my long treks on western rivers, all poop gets carried out, food waste, every scrap of paper,plastic, cans, I carry my water, as much as 21 gallons, full canoe repair kit, glass, epoxy, needed tools. then the normal stuff food,tent, clothing. often total 500 pounds at launch, plus me, plus canoe. The secret, 20 foot expedition canoe. Take what you need, some of what you like, and a friend or two if they want to go along.

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Thank you, thank you. I honestly started out camping like many, with an insane amount of gear weight and luxuries. First bikepacking adventure I pulled 60lbs of gear extra on a trailer. Hah! Most of which after evaluation, realizing I didn’t even touch the stuff. Adventure after adventure I removed more and more items until it sort of became a personal challenge to camp comfortably with almost nothing at all. I eliminated a large amount of weight by relying on water filtration instead of carrying large amounts of water. (Lifestraw “worked” but wasn’t efficient enough as a complete replacement, so I upgraded to a bag system) Hammock, 10x10 tarp, mummy sleeping bag, 1 Stanley cup for cooking/eating from, and a few little items like spoon/fork, backup fire starter. I didn’t include food weight because that certainly varies based on distance and how lazy/spoiled I’m going to be. LOL Most food is usually dry foods, dehydrated and instant. Sometimes a sack of potatoes haha OH, and a few items for leak repair and first aid that stay inside the kayak. (Saved weight on these compared to my cycling repair kit with tools and spare tube etc) Traveling via kayak is so much more efficient than cycling, its great! Plus, ALWAYS surrounded by water. No more having to find a stream to haul water. Phew! I can think of so many pros to this but I’ll never stop typing. Lol

Anyway, I salute YOU for that amount of weight and doing it more than once. LOL

A valuable tip on water filtration. Know your river. Not all agricultural chemicals are filtered from the water. I carry my own water because The Green, Missouri, Colorado, Rivers all support tremendous amounts of agriculture. And properly done, all irrigated fields should have a run off back to the river to prevent salt build up. Turbidity. I have used bag systems, that were rated for 1,000 gallons, or 10,000 gallons, and had them not last for more than 12 gallons, because of fine carried muddy sediment. And, some of the worst contributors of agricultural chemicals are ‘drumroll, please,’ Residential and urban lawns. The Huron River in Michigan has far too much fertilizer in it, almost all of it residential.

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The Edisto also runs through agricultural areas .There are signs at the ramps about which fish are edible or not. I’ve also passed pipes draining who knows what into it.
Although I grew up frequently fishing and playing in it, I would have world’s best filter before I’d drink from it now.

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You need a few things to make that work:
A new boat
An immersion dry suit
Self-rescue practice, paddle float, bilge pump
Moving water experience
A paddling partner

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