New canoe owner .

Hi everyone . I’m new to the canoeing sport although I have canoed as a younger boy . I’m hoping to get advice on technique , locations and needed accessories . I’m the father of a 6 yr old little girl that I hope to pass on my love of the outdoors to her to enjoy for a lifetime .

Thanks in advance,


keep the open side up

fat end of the paddle goes in the water

wear your pfd

don’t trust whitey

LOL !!!

OK , that’ll help for starters !

I’ll bite , who’s Whitey ?

You can find lots of advice here, not infrequently contradictory.

I’m glad to see a parent introducing their kid to paddle sports which seems a much rarer thing today than it was when I was growing up. Your daughter is at a good age too. By the time they are 12 or so they become interested in other stuff.

It would help if you told us what type of canoe you have and what type of canoeing you plan to do, whether you plan to just go out with your daughter or paddle solo or with another adult.

Also where you intend to paddle
We are not much help if we brag about an area that you can’t realistically get to.

all you need to know

New paddler in Old Town Saranac 146XT

– Last Updated: Apr-09-12 3:46 PM EST –

Pblank , thanks for the reply . I purchaced the Saranac 146XT . I'm planning on calm streams & lakes for fishing and a nice float in the north woods of Pennsylvania . My daughter loves animals & critters ( bugs , fish , crayfish , salamanders and the like ). When she's a little older , I'll try an overnight float trip .

My reason for asking advice ? I'm now in my late 40's . Last time I was canoeing I was about 25 yrs. old . With technology advancing , I just want to purchace good quality equipment and accessories to keep us as comfortable as possible so she does'nt lose interest . I realize most equipment is common sense , but that the members here would know what works best 15 yrs later .

I'm located in western Pa. About 30 miles north of Pittsburg . Some of my plans will include Clarion , Allegheny and Tionesta waterways . Thanks again for any & all advice .

Equipment I alread have :
2 vest type PFD's sized to fit.
Harmony Drifter kayak paddle .
GMC with 6 1/2 ft. bed.
6x10 utility trailer.
7x16 cargo trailer.

You’re not far from me
It’s kind of hard to paddle streams without someone else to shuttle with. One thing you might want to consider is making one of these poles

It’s a nice way to spend time on a small creek with your daughter without the hassle of shuttling. You can pole up and then paddle/float back down. It’s surprisingly stable standing in a canoe with a 12’ pole. And you don’t need a lot of water to do it. The upper Slippery Rock Creek is nice for this, or the Conequenessing.

Feel free to shoot me an email.

I think you’re off to the start of many fine adventures.

Let’s see, you’ve got PFDs. That’s good. Do make sure they fit properly. Its helpful to have whistles attached to the PFDs - the kind that can be heard underwater. They’re pretty cheap and you can get them at West Marine or any boating store. For safety, you might also want to get a small first aid kit to bring with you on canoe trips, even day trips.

Your kayak paddle might work for you, but you might also find that the canoe is too wide to use the kayak paddle effectively. Its probably better to use single blade paddles. Best values out there, IMO, are Bending Branch for wood and Mohawk for plastic. Both brands are inexpensive, but not “cheap”, if you know what I mean. There are lots of different kinds of paddles, but to start with I’d recommend sticking with a normal straight shaft and a square (also called “Sugar Island”) blade. That’s the “normal” canoe paddle you probably used as a kid.

You remember how to J-stroke, right? Or you can hit-n-switch, if you prefer. There’s tons of info on the web about the various strokes and such. Your local library probably has books too. If you can find Bill Mason’s Song of the Paddle - get it! Great book. Also, you can see all of Bill Mason’s instructional films for free on Here’s the link to the solo paddling film -

For your daughter, I recommend getting her own paddle. Kids’ paddles are pretty cheap. If she’s like my kids, she’ll enjoy “helping”, but then she’ll poop out and want to trail her fingers or just enjoy the ride. The biggest thing with kids is to keep your trips short, at least at first. Kids get tired pretty quickly. And the quiet serenity of hours on the water that adults cherish can get tedious for kids. Try not to push her too far, too fast. Your mileage my vary on that one, of course.

Have fun!

Excellent !
jdb , thank you for the paddle advice . I was’nt sure how the Harmony would work , but thought it would keep me from getting my girl wet from switching sides with a single paddle . I’ll go with a light plastic for her and a nice wood for me . The J stroke will handle the problem of switching sides . I enjoy reading so I’ll pick up Mason’s book ASAP . Yes , I will keep the pace & distance slow and short . She loves to HELP ( read : LOL ) but will want to get into the water at any opportunity just to explore & play . I also offroad , so I have a couple First-Aid kits . I’ll toss one in the canoe . Are there any specific recomendations for Dri-Bags ? I figured a couple medium size ones can hold extra clothes & snacks .

Thanks again for your help & advice . Greatly appreciated .

getting a rack
for your truck will make bringing your canoe to tight spots much easier. I have the US Rack advertised here I think. It’s not the greatest, I’m on my second one, but it does the job of carrying the canoe properly.

Sounds like you have the right outlook; keep it low key, fun, explore, be a kid yourself. I was in your shoes when I was 40, with a 5 year old son. We started off tinkering, ended up getting real serious whitewater paddling and poling (peaked at 200 outings a year), and we still enjoy each others company on occasion, as my “Easter paddle flatwater pix oh my” post will show. Got a lot of albums in there, my truck set-up, various boats and rivers, loads of friends.

Kids pick things up quick. If your daughter shows interest in time, you’ll probably have a heck of a good paddler to show you down the frothy stuff. Great activity to grow in, just stay warm and don’t overdo it…too much.

daggermatt is whitey
I am whitey.

President Obama is only half.

Bill Masons “Path of the Paddle” DVD and or book is still one of the best ways to learn technique short of lessons.

Bill Mason was whitey too.

Path of the Paddle / Song of the Paddle
"Song of the Paddle" has more how-to info regarding camping, along with some trip descriptions. “Path of the Paddle” is the better book for getting started with paddling technique.

Yup, 12 years is about when you lose the
My daughter loved going out with me until she reached those early teen years and other interests took over. Still it was great fun for both of us while we shared those years.

When they are very young their attention span is limited so I always made sure our canoe trips were to paddle for short while, then find a sandy beach shoreline and swim/play for a while and repeat.

I bought her one of those Zebco play casting fishing poles - plastic weighted ends. Got her to practice casting with that and then once she got proficient got her a real pole/rod combo and taught her to fish. As she got older we would overnite out of the canoe with her fishing for dinner from the bow and we would pan fry the small mouth and blue gill for dinner on a river island we camped on. Sweet memories.

Bed Extender ?
Thanks guideboatguy , I’ll pick them both up .

Daggermatt , I was thinking of the Bed Extender for my hitch because I have an Extang hard Tri-Fold bed cover . Do you think I’m asking for trouble having a boat sticking out over the tailgate ? 6 1/2 ft bed + 18 inch tailgate . 14 1/2 ft. boat . I think there is a rack that works with my Tri-Fold , but not sure which one .

Also , is there anything I should treat the hull with or do I just wipe it down with a towel after use ?

as long as it’s elevated

– Last Updated: Apr-10-12 3:55 AM EST –

I don't see a problem with it hanging over the back. I like keeping the front of the boats behind the windshield to keep them out of the wind, and the extender will allow that I'd think.
As far as treatments go, that'll be a bone for the p-net faithful to fight over , as they have in the past. I used to use 303 on my ABS hulls on occasion when they were worth shining up; lately I use g-flex, fiberglass and duct tape ;-).

Thanks guideboatguy
I was getting my Bill Mason books mixed up. Yes, Path of the Paddle. The version I checked out from my library was the newest one with the updates from Paul Mason -

4x4dad - you’re on it man. I don’t have any specific recommendo for a dry bag. For what you’re planning to do, just about anything will work. Even a decently thick trashbag. I usually just take a backpack and use ziplocks for anything I’m worried about getting wet. The hardcore trippers tend to prefer Duluth-style packs over the rolltop dufflebag style dry bags you see at REI for canoe camping. Read the “In the Same Boat” articles or anything by Cliff Jacobsen for a fuller discussion.

Kids canoe paddle

– Last Updated: Apr-10-12 4:43 PM EST –

Here is what I used to make my kids paddles.

I cut the palm grip off the end, then cut another length off the shaft to make a T grip. Maybe 3 1/2" or something. I rounded the ends, then drilled the shaft and the new T grip piece, then glued and screwed it to the shaft. I also made a couple for my buddy's kids.

I used a sander to make the blade a little thinner, sharper and nicer. These paddles worked great for cheap. Now they're wall hangers.

Thank you everyone !!!
Went to Wind & Water today . Picked up a Hamony Breeze paddle for my girl and a 58 in. We-no-nah for myself . Put my launch stickers on , so we should be good to go as soon as it STOPS SNOWING … LOL