Kayak for river touring

Imagine a multi-day trip down the lower French River with whitewater canoeists. There is whitewater, flat water, and portages. I do not and cannot canoe (don’t even suggest it). Neither can my wife. We can do whitewater in whitewater boats and sea kayaking in sea kayaks. But a trip down a river with camping and portaging is not something we have ever done. But if we decided to try to do this, what are our options? Two crossover boats like the Remix and backpacking in our stern hatch? Is portaging even a reasonable option?

what kind of whitewater
and how long are the portages? I have 3 Tsunamis in the 12-14’ range that have proven themselves on multi-night river trips with short portages (e.g. dams), and Class II+ rapids are no problem. long portages could be tough, as you’d probably need to double up vs. trying a solo carry. but a trip like you’re talking about is certainly doable, and a boat like that is more versatile and more enjoyable on lakes and slackwater over a hybrid.

so it depends on how technical the whitewater you’d encounter is. something like the Remix would be great in moving water with some challenging rapids, I’ve been thinking about getting one myself.

My criteria would be:
1) No boat over (or much over) 50 lbs. empty.

2). As much length as you can get, but not over 13’.

3). At least Class III capable.

Of course, this is not taking into account how long a trip(in days, not miles)you’re planning


Maybe something like the Velocity (another crossover option and Corran Addison[Riot}design):


Two to consider
I have long thought the Prijon Yukon exp would be fun. I have heard the Pyranna Speeder was a good crossover/tripping kayak as well.

I haven’t paddled either.

Depending on the nature of the whitewater, certain sea kayaks might work (if the rapids are just big volume, like the Ottawa River featured in this is the sea ?3?)

Old school whitewater boats have a lot more volume than the new ones, and are cheap!

Prijon Calabria–14.5 by 24".

My wife and I do this in our Looksha 14’s. The most whitewater we have encountered in class II. No problems at all and enough gear storage for several days. The Looksha 12 may be a better choice but we use ours in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie as well so we opted for the length.

French River

– Last Updated: Oct-30-09 5:16 PM EST –

Are you talking French River, Ontario ? I have been several times and can give you some good tips if it is. There are many routes that do not require portage or rapids that can easily be run in a plastic sea kayak especially in the fall. One of the portages at this spot has a cart for your kayak and your gear. Great place to paddle for sure !

portaging would suck without a cart, but
a plastic Chatham 17 is wonderful in the rough stuff while being able to pack more gear.



Doc, have you seen this review and
the Fusion and Remix reviews that are linked?

Sounds like the Fusion itself is no heavier than most whitewater boats, and its rear hatch is claimed to be watertight.


I know about the Fusion
Looks like a nice boat. Didn’t know about the review, which is very informative. Unfortunately you can’t carry much gear. Not enough for a 4 day trip anyway. The same is true of the Remix and others that only have a rear hatch. If we do this we will probably go with the Yukon Expedition even though it is longer than I would like, and, lets face it, ugly as sin. One question I haven’t settled yet is how many rapids are there and what are they rated? How many portages? I have kayaked the Upper French (in Ontario, BTW) but have no experience with the lower.


– Last Updated: Oct-31-09 1:20 PM EST –

The area has a water proof map that is perfect for planning. ($20 Can).

French River Provincial Park
Box 218
Alban, Ontario
(705) 857-3228

Have been on four trips down to Georgian Bay. Leave from Hartley Bay. Parking is $20 a day and camping $10 a night. All sites are well taken care of and have thunder boxes. I have been down the Western Channel, Main Channel from the Elbow and the Old Voyageur Channel was run in the spring and it is narrow. The cool portage is completed into Bass Lake. (kayak and gear carts on a wooden board walk). We have returned this way from the bay frequently. Pretty much all rapids can be missed if you want. Most are on the Western Channel. Boats do go up them with high water levels without issue if they have enough horse power.

Favorite campsites.... Bustard Islands, Obstacle Island, and Sabine Island. The best campsite for day tripping in my opinion is at the Elbow. (good fishing as well)

This can be a long paddle with the head winds when paddling back to Hartley Bay. I personally would not even consider anything other then a Sea Kayak or Canoe with two people. This spot is Ontario's best kept secret !!!! shhhhhhh

Friendly canoeists?
If they are nice, you don’t need to carry your own camping gear:-)

Prijon Yukon Expedition…

…nuff said.

fat chance
It has not been a secret since before I started going there thirty years ago.

It is more suitable for sea kayaks. It may be that you will want to venture into Georgian Bay and a speedy craft will let you outrun trouble.

Wish I knew what French River the OP was referring to. And there are more French Rivers in Ontario too.

Dr Disco, we use our creek boats
for multi-night self support. We take the rear foam pillar out for added space. It’s not living large, with the dehydrated food and minimalist equipment, but a couple can divide the camp gear and easily get by for 3 nights, 4 days. The question is, how much flatwater and what’s the current like in the flatwater? You can probably keep up compared to a WW canoe.


Considered an inflatable?
A high quality inflatable like an AIRE Super Lynx would seemingly fit the bill very well. It’s stable with capacity for 2 people plus cargo, and it isn’t a canoe. It can handle WW (up to including Class III) without much issue. If you dry-bag your gear, portaging isn’t that difficult either. Google it and read up on them if you’re interested. I can elaborate as well, if you like.

I have a fusion and it lighter than my Pyrhanna micro 230 (ww creeker). It’s a great boat and could easily handle II+ and maybe easy IIIs.

This past weekend I carried it up a steep embankment and about 50 yards. Of course, I didn’t have any gear in it. I’m a 5’6", 150 lb female and it wasn’t that difficult for me to carry it for any great distance.

The fusion is relatively narrow and with the skeg down is pretty easy to paddle.

The draw back to the fusion is that you would have to remove the solid foot board from the boat when stowing gear in the bow. The remix has foot pegs rather then a solid foot board so it would be easier stowing gear in the bow.

I liked the remix, but it just felt a bit big for me. I have a friend that has a remix and loves it. She routinely takes it down class II rivers.

If you are dealing with class I and easy class II, then there are many longer rec boats you can use. Longer rec boats will paddle faster and can store much more gear then the hybrid boats.