Paddling Books

I’d like to get a list of everyone’s favorite all-time best canoeing/paddling books. I’ll start with

All Things Are Possible, A biography of Verlen Kruger, by Carl Peterson. What are your favorites.


Bill Endicott’s books on kayak and
canoe slalom, with some focus on Jon Lugbill and Davey Hearn, who in the 80s dominated the world in c-1. “To Win the Worlds” and “The Ultimate Run.” Don’t know if they are still in print.

Even for non-racers, much valuable info on paddle skills and training.


– Last Updated: Nov-24-10 9:02 AM EST –

Path of the Paddle
Song of the Paddle
Thrill of the Paddle

New Way of the Wilderness by Calvin Rutstrum

Canoeing Safety and Rescue by Doug McKown

Canoeists Little Book of Wisdom by Jacobson (who I often disagree with, but he has some good thinking points)

Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee


Most anything by Sigurd Olsen.

Survival of the Birch Canoe

Voyage of a Summer Sun (solo trip down the Columbia)

to timbuktu
To timbuktu by Mark Jenkins

On island time by williams

Favorite Paddling book
A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to the Streams of Florida: Vol I, North Central Peninsula and Panhandle, the “old orange one”.

Waters less traveled, Doug Alderson

On Celtic tides, Chris Duff (I think)

Read a couple of the others already posted, and would agree.


Paddle and Portage
"from Moosehead Lake to the Aroostook River, Maine"

Thomas S. Steele, 1882

Read it online, besides being a great trip report it’s also hilarious:

His precursor story, “Canoe and Camera”, is also online:

My list…

– Last Updated: Nov-25-10 5:07 PM EST –

If you like bios like "All things are Possible":
"Fire in the Bones" by James Raffan (Bill Mason bio)
"The Life of Sigurd F. Olson" by David Backes
"Keeper of the Wild" by Joe Paddock (Ernest Oberholtzer - paddler and early advocate for the protection of what became the BWCA)

More instructional, like the Mason "path/thrill/joy of" series:
"North American Canoe Country" by Calvin Rutstrum
The American Red Cross manual "Canoeing" by Joseph L. Hasenfus

Trip accounts:
"Canoeing with the Cree" by Eric Sevareid
"River" by Colin Fletcher (Colorado R. solo source to sea by a hiker in a raft)
"On Celtic Tides" by Chris Duff (previously mentioned - circumnavigation of Ireland)
"Courting the Diamond Sow" by Wickliffe Walker (Tsangpo River - attempted first decent)
"Hell or High Water" Peter Heller (Tsangpo again)
"Down the River" by Ed Abbey (A collection of shorts)
"Portage into the Past" by J. Arnold Boltz (a trip through the BWCA area with readings from the journals of early travelers of the same route)
"The Lonely Land" by Sigurd Olson (Saskatchewan Ile A La Crosse to Cumberland House
"Far Appalachia" by Noah Adams

Of general interest to paddlers:
"Tales of an Empty Cabin" by Grey Owl
"River Life" by John Bates
"Quiet Magic" by Sam Cooke
Most Sig Olson material

“eastern arctic kayaks” j.heath a wealth of practical tips etc…

I really enjoy reading Hutchinson.

John lull:“seakayak rescue eyc”

“The bomb proof roll and beyond”

" a seakayak manual" ? Dowd is good.

I should get more books, and will.

Death on the Barrens

Lure of the Labrador Wild

Deep Waters

My list…
Gordon Brown: Sea Kayak - A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Sea Kayakers. Great one!

Jonathan Hanson: Complete Sea Kayak Touring.

Doug Alderson: Sea Kayaker Magazine’s Handbook of Safety and Rescue. Another favorite.

Alex Matthews: Sea Kayaking - Rough Waters. Nice photos!

John Lull: Sea Kayaking Safety and Rescue: From Mild to Wild, the Essential Guide for Beginners Through Experts.

Victoria Jason: Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak - One Woman’s Journey Through the North West Passage. A must have, although the end is very sad.

George Gronseth: Sea Kayaker’s Deep Trouble - True Stories and Their Lessons from Sea Kayaker Magazine. Get this.

Chris Duff: On Celtic Tides - One Man’s Journey Around Ireland by Sea Kayak. A bit lame, but interesting.

Ken Whiting: Rolling a Kayak. Made my roll without any instructor. Great book.

Cliff Jacobson has several and all are good reading

Essential Outdoor Gear Manual Annie & Dave Getchell Jr.

Camping and wood craft Horace Kephart (old but great reading)

Paddling Alabama Joe Cuhaj. (day trips mostly)

already mentioned is Paddling Fla.

tip: got to and buy books (used) really cheap, I have always gotten alomst or new books some for as little as 1 penny

'‘Two Coots in a Canoe’'
A good read on a cold winter night. Available at the library.

By David E. Morine

Goodbye to a River
“Goodbye to a River” by John Graves, a Texas classic.

Chronicles a 3 week trip down the Upper middle Brazos in 1957. You’ll read it over and over.

"Water and Sky" Alan Kessleheim- 400+ day couples arctic paddle trip and winter-over. Amazing book.

"Going Inside’ A Kesselheim. Another epic arctic trip…

“Threading the Currents” A Kesselheim–Short Paddling Stories.

“Ultimate Canoe Challenge” Brand Frentz about Krugers and Landick 28,000 mile 3 1/2 year paddle trip thruout N America

“All Things are Possible” Phil Peterson --Verlen Kruger Biography

“New York To Nome” 1920’s cross canada paddle epic

“Lewis and Clark journals” our country’s 3 1/2 year hike and paddle epic.(read the UN abridged version—million 1/2 words!

"Out There’ Ted Keresote–Arctic Paddle

“Fire in the Bones” james RAffin- Bill Mason bio

“Bark, Skin, and Cedar” J raffin The history of the canoe in canada

“Where Rivers Run” McGuffin- Across canada honeymoon paddle trip.

“Kabloona in a Yellow Kayak” Jason: Women paddles NW passage

“Paddle To the Amazon” Starkell- WInepeg to Brazil by canoe

I like different books for different
reasons, ei, reference, instructional, inspirational.