Hi y’all I am brand new on here. I joined primarily because I am interested in doing some multi day River trips for the first time. I would like to learn as much as possible before hand so as to avoid some beginner mistakes. So here is a list of questions I have so far:
Am I crazy to be thinking of doing a River trip in a canoe called Stillwater? ( I just bought an old town Stillwater 14 today for $150)
With that being said part of the reason, I got this canoe so cheap was that both of the seats need repaired or replaced if I’m thinking of doing multi day river trips is a regular cane seat ideal or should I be thinking of something with a with a backrest?
The trip I was planning on doing first is the north Platte river in Wyoming from pickaroon to Saratoga has anyone done this trip?
Seats are a personal preference. What feels best for you for a long time?
Are you going with another person? Then it is easy to replace the two tandem seats. I like the black webbing because it is not so fragile like cane seats that need replacing often.
If you are going solo you will need a solo seat and to take out the middle thwart.
A 14 foot canoe is pretty short for overnight trips. You will need to travel light much like backpacking. A Stillwater is an OT design made for lakes. That means it will have a pretty straight keel line. That makes it harder to turn in rivers.
I used to live in Laramie and paddled the N Platte all the time. There are no hard rapids that I remember. But Pickaroon is a little farther upstream from where I often started. Check a guide. I remember a lot of Class I and II rapids. It is a fun river, but you need some moving water skills. Plan on trying it with some other people on a day trip a few times before you plan on taking overnight gear. Capsizing is pretty easy on that river. The rapids are not big but there are lots of them and plenty of exposed rocks.
You might consider starting lower on the river and going past Saratoga when you are ready.
Webbing (or cane) would be a good choice. I’d avoid using a backrest but that does require some flexibility and core strength.
I have an OT 14’7” and find it the perfect length for me once I converted it as mentioned above from a tandem to a solo. Once the center seat position is found it provides area in front and behind you for gear and that gives you the option of paddling with or without gear and in adding gear it is easy to keep the trim level. Sounds like you found one at a great price. I paid 150 bucks for the one I bought as well.
Along with adding a center seat with seatback. I added capsize floatation to the bow and stern in the form of air bags. I also drilled the bow and stern for grab loops and added painter lines at both ends. One problem with a center seat in a tandem boat is the width across the boat and paddling. I couldn’t get a good feel with a single blade deep angle stroke and a conventional low angle double blade kayak paddle is a little short. What I ended up with is a double bladed kayak paddle that was 260cm long and it worked perfect not striking the gunnels and not getting drips off the high blade in the boat.
The seatback is somewhat controversial. I’m a older guy that spends long hours on fairly flat water doing mild down river stuff and lake fishing and I wanted the comfort more than anything. I don’t find it getting in the way at all with the shallow kayak paddle. For me it is all a plus. Something you will have to decide for yourself.
As to the labor and cost doing all the above it would take a few evenings or a weekend playing around, and I only spent maybe another 150 bucks getting it outfitted.