Novice looking for advice

Hi there, I’m a 24 yr old male who love adventure. I conoe often times, I love to take over night canoeing/camping trips. The problme I have is that I rarely can find any one to go with me. I have decided to purchase my own water craft. I was thinking about buying a Kayak but have concerns about cargo space. I would want a craft large enough to house a Ice chest, food, clothes, fishing gear & a tent. I have NO experince in a kayak. I’m planing on training to float the entire leanth of the Buffaloe river in one outing. I estimate 4 or 5 nights for the 70 mile trip.

can you guys stear me in the right direction. Should I stick with canoes or go with a kayak? Appox how much gear can most kayaks hold?



A kayak can carry enough gear, but its more similar to backpacking. I don’t know of any sit inside type kayaks that will carry a regular sized ice chest. There are some sit on tops that will though. If you’re talking about camping with a regular ice chest, coleman stove, good sized tent, you’re probably better off with a canoe.

if you ever want to do sea kayaking/camping, get a real sit in kayak. There are a lot of different kayak (low volume (less storage) and high volume (more storage).

Eg, Dagger Exodus 16’ 11" kayak has a max load of 425 lbs. If you weight 180 lbs that gives you 245 lbs left to haul.

However, you have to pack like a backpacker, big bulky item like a coleman ice chest might not fit into the hatches of a kayak.

My whole pack load for 8 day camping trip to Appalachian Trail @ smokey mountain is 45 lbs incl water and food.

Let me know if you need a partner to go kayaking in the southern region of the country :slight_smile:

Canoe to Kayak
I can guaranty you 100% satisfaction by switching from canoe to kayak. Canoes are great but as you mention they pretty much take two people to use them unless your incredibly proficient. Most kayaks will hold all the gear you need in a back- packer kind of way. Obviously the longer the trip the less luxaries and less fresh food or food requiring refrigeration you can bring, unless climate permits 7 days worth of fresh meats and dairy products. Everything gets placed in ditty bags, organized, about softball or football size so they fit in hatches and away you go. If you have a must have, you can place some items on deck, keeping them low for stability reasons.

Go 16-17’ foot, 23-27’ wide and you’ll be happy as a clam.


I See. Thats about what I was thinking. I knew an ice chest would be difficult. I just would rather drink cold beverage & eat fresh meats instead of the other “lighter” things. But there are sacrafices to make with ever choice. Is Kayaking pretty easy to learn?

DX, where are you located? I would be very intrested in doing some kayaking with a more experinced rider. Once I get in a better finacial position I plan to take no less than 3 three night trips during the spring and fall time.not to mention several day trips. During the summer I’m a powerboater who will be doing lots of skiing & wakeboarding. . I’m in NE TX (texarkana).

I chose a solo canoe.
Thomas, I had to go thru the process you are going thru. My hubby and I wanted solo boats and we like to canoe camp. Everyone was steering me towards a kayak because I can’t kneel and we like class I-II rivers. We prefer rivers like the Buffalo. We ended up with a pair of Mowhawk Odyssey 14s. Mine is set up with a low seat, footpegs and backband for sitting. I use a double blade quite often to compensate for my lesser ability. It enables me to go where I want to go.

Our canoes will haul all of the stuff you mention. They’re perfect for the Buffalo trip. I can carry my own canoe, but I wouldn’t be able to carry a kayak that had comparable capacity. Safety was also a concern for me, since my legs don’t bend well and might trap me in a kayak. Plus I can get in and out of my canoe by myself and adjust my position more for comfort.

I have canoed and kayaked when I was more able and always chose the canoe for camping.(I camped in a kayak once and didn’t like the packing limitations and portage pain. Try some solo tripping canoes before you decide to go to the “dark side”. ;^)

Join a local Club
I also switched from canoeing to kayaking. The reason was I could not find anyone to canoe with. If you do want to paddle with others, the best way is to join a local paddling club. Some paddlers may be interested in kayaks, canoes, whitewater, camping, or fishing. The important thing is after joining the club to find people with similar paddling interests.

unless you’re incredibly proficient?
I disagree. After kayaking for a couple of years I read “Path of the Paddle” and was able to have fun soloing a small tandem canoe on flatwater after only a bit of practice. I prefer it to the kayak for some uses. A nice solo canoe is a great way to carry a heap of gear down a quiet river.

I’d suggest trying to borrow or rent at least one of each before you buy. If you demo, make sure you do it with a representative load – it makes a huge difference.

How can you carry 8 days of
water and still be ~45lbs? When I paddled the Green and took 8 days of supplies, the water alone was 72 lbs.

its called
a water filter :slight_smile:

Entire Buffalo River
There is a lot more to doing the entire Buffalo River than doing 70 miles. Actually, it begins as a tiny stream north of Arkansas Hwy. 16, near Fallsville, Arkansas. It meets with the White River approximately 140 miles downstream.

I suggest you check out a lot of canoes and kayaks before you buy. Sounds to me like you’re going to need a canoe, based on all the gear you want to carry with you.


P.S. It’s going to be a real surprise to about 35 of my solo canoe paddling friends that they really should have “someone else” in the canoe with them.

However, they will be pleased to hear that because they paddle a canoe solo, they are “highly skilled”. Some of them are highly skilled; other are “not”! LOL!

Whatever you decide on…
…forget about the cooler.

How do you expect to keep ice for four or five days?

"The bride " and I do many multiday kayak, (used to be canoe) camping trips, and the fun of the trip is “what is around the next bend”, not “how are we going to feed ourselves”.

Get a 17 foot yak, and there is plenty of room for everything that you need except a cooler, and you could even take that if you wanted to bungee it on the stern. It might make a good seat to watch the sunset!



Keeping ice for 4-5 days…
Get an ‘Extreme’ cooler. Freeze quart bottles of water and use them instead of ice. As they melt, use the water. Pre-package food and freeze it.

We have safe meat/dairy storage for 3 days in hot weather. If you keep the cooler on the bottom of the canoe and keep it covered, you an extend the time 1-2 days. It helps to put a towel or something in the top of the cooler to take up space. Only open the cooler when you need to and get in and out quickly. Not necessary to have a cooler to eat well, but a steak on a grill at the end of the day is delightful. One caution: the local animals will be attracted to tasty cooking, so cook with one eye to the brush. Usually the coons are the bold visitors.

I’d look at a solo canoe
It looks like you live in canoe country up there, especially close to Arkansas and the Ozarks. I have both canoes and kayaks, each have their places, I did some open Gulf paddling Saturday going from Galveston to San Luis Pass, only a kayak for this sort of thing for me, but for inland waters, I like my canoes. I like to take ice chests, camp chair, fishing gear and my dog. My solo is fast enough, i have out run many a kayaker in it. Now a solo canoe may have a bit more of a learning curve, but it is fun learning. So I am not trying to say you should not go with a kayak, but do look at some solo canoes as well. Mohawk canoes has a nice bit about solo canoes on their website, have look and evaluate what sort of waters you are most likely to be paddling. Good luck on whatever you choose, either way will be good.

small cooler
you can pack a few smaller six pack coolers if beer is a must. wine works better.

We are thinking about trying dry ice, may work well.

I notice you are in Texarkana., I grew up in Hope., in ft. worth now…

Also, I found a blow up rowboat on a paddle ride recently, it is now dubbed the “pack mule”, we can drag a whole ice chest, charcoal, duralogs, with that thing. but not for 70 milers.

No need …

– Last Updated: Jul-06-04 11:55 PM EST –

No need to suffer needlessly, or to do without; unless you like to travel light, or just like to suffer.
Been there & did that when I was leading river trips. Did over 100 trips of 4 to 7 days in length & never had a cooler on any of those trips, whether it was 25 degrees or 100 degrees.
Basically it sucked!
Now I carry a cooler; my Coleman will keep ice for 4 days in summer heat. I enjoy cool water, soda, beer, or wine. Have been known to eat a steak on occasion too. Don't mind having a fresh salad or fruit either. Also don't mind fresh eggs, and bacon at breakfast if I want too. Not too long ago I had waffles with whipped cream & fresh strawberries for breakfast. Sit in a nice comfy chair, sleep in a roomy tent on a thick thermarest, and if the sun gets too hot, or the rain sets in, I'll throw up my Noah's tarp shelter. No sweat; I've got room for all that & more if I want it.
I can still see what's around the bend, enjoy the sunrise & sunset, and play with the river.
I just pick the boat I think will suit the river I'm on; it will usually be a 14 foot solo canoe by Bell, Dagger, Mohawk, or Mad River.
A 17 foot kayak would not be my boat of choice for a lengthy trip down the Buffalo River, or any river I can think of in the Missouri or Arkansas Ozarks.
To each his own; getting out on the river is the number 1 priority.


P.S. Honey, hand me another of those chilled J.W. Dundee Honey Brown Ale would you please.

Where will you paddle…
…after the Buffalo???

Either a canoe or kayak would probably do on a large river like the Buffalo, but a solo canoe will take you places (like down narrow, twisty streams, or into lakes that require a long carry) that would be difficult or impossible in a big sea kayak.

If the rest of your paddling will be in the ocean or big open water, then maybe a sea yak is what you need. Otherwise, stick with a good solo canoe.

As others have said, a 14 foot tripping canoe will have plenty of room for week-long trips.

The canoe may lack the speed and sea-worthiness of the yak, but pound for pound (and dollar for dollar) it will carry more gear, and be much more versatile.

No Brainer…solo canoe is the answer

– Last Updated: Jul-07-04 6:27 AM EST –

A 17 or 18 sea kayak still can't carry the things you mention, even your sleeping bag will need to be downsized and they are not good river exploration boats, they are a pain to pack and unpack, overloaded they handle poorly, they don't handle rapids or moving water as well as a good canoe. There are several very efficent solo canoes on the market but you need to do your homework because there are also several of what I call "River Pigs" out there (you don't want one of those) they won't go straigth and won't turn when you want it to. There is no reason to give up a small cooler on your trips unless you plan on going into the wilderness for days on end. For two or three day trips I like a cold drink and a good Ham on Cheese or Cheeseburger in Paradise too!

If you want a kayak buy it later. And when you pick out a boat come back and ask again before you buy. We'll get you good and confused. "8-P

while I usually stay out of theese
I just can’t resist this one s. After five years in touring and SOT yaks I have switched over to solo canoeing. With 3 months of fairly solid paddling (somewhere around 150 miles on my new boat) I am very comfortable running it fully loaded down class 2II when needed. I find solo canoeing more fun , comfortable and challenging than I ever dreamed I would. The trip your proposing will require skill and practice, no matter what boat you take. We are planning 46 miles on the Green soon and I am very glad I will have the room to pack gear based more on weight and need rather than will it fit in the hatch. what ever you do please get some lessons and paddle safe. kim

Canoe or Kayak
Well, I am a canoeist. My kids are yakers. My advice is to get the ctaft that you are going to use most.

Do you day trip? If 90% of the time you day trip by yourself and only canoe camp once a year for a few days, then get the boat you’re going to like for the 90%. If it is a kayak, then adjust your camping style to fit it or rent a canoe for the trip. With a kayak, as was previously stated, approach camping with it like backpacking. If you want camp a bit heavier, a canoe is the better choice.