Paddling Magazines

I have a good friend who is very active in paddling. I am not, but would like recommendations on a good paddling magazine I could get this friend a subscription for for Christmas. Something interesting, informative and a general good time.

Any recommendations would be appreciated!

Fer us canooists yer kin’ jus’

– Last Updated: Nov-14-08 5:18 PM EST –

fergit about "Canoe" (hahahahaha) and Kayak magazine and ta a lesser extent Paddler - they be geared fer dem river gnats as of late an' (say wit Frencher accent) "Ah' fart in their general direction!".

Got'ta go ta de Canadian paddlin' parchments such as Kanawa an' even better - CanoeRoots - fer honest-ta-goodness canoo stuff. Yer would never see a 'yaker's cooler bein' carried by a real canooist in dem magazines...


I guess it depends on what kind of paddling you’re doing. Aside from some of the regional journals like the Boundary Waters Journal, Pacific Paddler or Wavelength Magazine (mostly Pacific coast) or whitewater specific publications like Rapid, in my opinion the only serviceable magazine that’s worth the paper it’s printed on is Sea Kayaker.

I enjoy reading Sea Kayaker and like all magazines on the shelf, it helps get me through the long winter months. Plus I felt as though I get my monies worth reading their destination articles, boat reviews and filler articles. They cover places that I may actually get to one day. For example I stopped reading Canoe and Kayak after getting tired of them repeatly publishing articles about whitewater paddlers air lifting into the jungles of China or hucking off some 400 ft. waterfall in India. While some readers may get a kick out of these long distance out-of-country pursuits, my paddling interests are more close to home and more realistic. Not to say I won’t be jumping out of a helicopter to paddle some day, but the chances are slim.

I cancelled Canoe and Kayak years ago and I believe it’s gotten thinner since I cut it loose and the editorial content is weak. Two thirds of the content is ads. At the newstand I flipped through their last boat review article and found it to be mediocre at best, but the pictures were pretty. I still pick up Paddler magazine from time if there’s something interesting and their content is more robust than C&K. Heck you’ll find more info at than you would most magazines!

Above all, I’d rather be paddling than reading about paddling any day!

My two cents


mags II

– Last Updated: Nov-14-08 5:38 PM EST –

+1 about FatElmos' comments about paddlin' parchments..LOL..too funny.

Forget the magazine idea

– Last Updated: Nov-14-08 5:43 PM EST –

...and buy her something she can use when she paddles.

Unless she uses them to build a fire cause that's about all "most" of them are worth.


Canoe & Kayak

– Last Updated: Nov-15-08 1:14 AM EST –

Canoe? & Kayak magazine; what a joke!

Good example: Check out their 2009 "Gear Guide"
On the cover they make note, in bold print, of 2,109 boats, and 699 paddles.

Think you're going to get to read some good gear or boat reviews? NOT!

But, you will have on opportunity to read (2 full pages wasted there) a trip report on pages 38 & 39 of "mustachioed, beer-fisting dudes on a bachelor party, with 450 cans of beer, 8 green Old Town Kineo rentals, a blow up doll, floral print Speedos, and coonskin caps". One of the participants is pictured on page 12.

When they actually give us some canoe information, this is what you get.........

I know that everyone has been waiting on the customized, kevlar, Bob Special from Nova Craft (in Highland Tartan plaid!) for $2,249.00. See page 92 & 93; 2 pages wasted. Start saving up for that one!

Everything you need to know about Esquif Canoes Raven, Bell Canoe Works Rockstar, and Wenonah Canoes Fusion is "all" covered on page 84. Thoroughly reviewed; they get about a paragraph each.

Sample review: "Bell's new Rockstar solo canoe is built to late-Elvis propotions."
"Small framed Axl Roses will have plenty of space".
Yeah! That the information I've been waiting to hear. I want one right now; no test paddle required. Canoe & Kayak gave me all the information I needed to make a decision about the Bell Rockstar.

Sample review #2: The next big thing?
Old Town Discovery Sport 15
"At 113 pounds, this Discovery can still be car- topped, yet is able to haul 1,700 pounds worth of gear or family members. The square stern has a reinforced wood backing to accomodate a 5 horsepower motor when......the kids refuse to paddle".
That wasted half of page 86.

One thing they do well; they hustle ad space. Hummer took 2 full pages, Subaru took one, the beaches of Fort Meyer Sanibel took one, as did Great Champlain-Hudson Sojourn Camp for Adults.

Don't waste your money, or time with Canoe & Kayak! Better name for it: Ads, BS & Kayak.

Other opinions may vary.


I hear this is one is pretty good

Wavelength for North America ( Can be found free in kayak shops). SeaKayaker is pretty lame and Canoe and Kayak and Paddler aren’t even decent as toilet paper.

How bout this instead?

– Last Updated: Nov-15-08 12:56 AM EST –

They are cute, not too pricey, and she can use them all year.

The Party Lights I meant to say.

WhatZ up with the outhouse?

Why not subscribe then to
Paddling Perks on That way, they get what comes with membership (put it in a gift bag), plus the best online kayaking “magazine” around?

Ocean Paddler, Sea Kayaker
For non whitewater Kayakers:

Ocean Paddler is very nice and very expensive (mostly because of shipping it here to the states). If you’re friend does coastal and ocean paddling it’s great, but really not for the vast majority of paddlers.

Sea Kayaker is also very good and is more appropriate for true sea kayakers and those that tour large inland lake and rivers and/or camp.

Most everything else for kayak is junk.

Elmo and others gave you good advice on canoeing.

What is even worse
is that the canoe photo next to the Rockstar “description” is obviously the wrong boat. It is not even a solo boat, but a tandem.

Nice friend!
How thoughtful for you to want to buy something relating to a sport your friend enjoys and to reach out for help from the paddling world! Personally, I wouldn’t get any magazines as mentioned above, as I agree most are full of ads and short not very thorough reviews. I buy a coffee and go to my local borders to sit and check them out and if there happens to be something worthwhile, I will buy that issue. Mostly I like the buyers guide for contact info etc.

I think the membership is a great idea and depending on what you want to spend, an upgrade to the wicking shirt is worth it, in my opinion. You just need to pick a colour!! The info and help on this website is just plain awesome.

I just ordered a book called “Paddle your own Kayak” by Gary & Joanie McGuffin reviewed in Sea Kayaker. It appears to cover quite a bit, and looks very interesting. I am looking forward to reading it and even though some info is basic, it never hurts to brush up!

Other options are videos available here on pnet or one piece of gear I enjoy is a kayak light which many paddlers in our group tend to overlook. (mine is from REI by paddlers supply co.)Anyway, these are just some suggestions! Good Luck!

a vote against “Paddler” mag
I’ve preferred Sea Kayaker and Ocean Paddler for my tastes. Adventure Kayak also “floats my boat” although the articles seem a bit short, and budget constrained.

“Paddler” on the other hand, seems to be increasingly an environmentalist soapbox. Seems the green articles outnumber the paddling stories. Has anyone else noticed this?

Not to criticize the green movement of course; and paddlers are often out there to appreciate unspoiled nature. It just struck me as over the top. I avoid it these days.


Paddler is now done by …
Canoe and Kayak! It has gone from a dull useless mag to a slick, dull, useless, and irritating mag.

With poor information alas

– Last Updated: Nov-15-08 11:16 PM EST –

The folks at Paddler have not done their homework again.

Ludicrous..the suggest Algonquin Provincial Park for paddling and "while you are in the area in the fall, try Woodland Caribou" This for fall trips.

Like now. Its already iced up with plenty of snow cover. What a really irresponsible suggestion on their part.

And its close! If you call 18 hours of driving..its over a thousand miles between Algonquin and Woodland Caribou.

how about
How about a Good paddling book/coffee table type book instead of some rag that is 35% advertisemnts???

Screw the magazine get a good book.

Gosh, those are GREAT! I think I may buy them for him…the kayaking ones of course.

I’m going to check into the paddling perks for him.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

I’m hoping to get more involved in kayaking/canoeing with him over the summer next year, but for now some lights and a membership will have to cut it. He’s a river kayaker.

Paddler is the worst
They still send it to me for some reason; I long ago gave up even opening it. It goes straight in the garbage.

I like Ocean Paddler, but it is expensive. For that reason, it may be perfect for a gift.

Canoeroots is Best
Last year I bought a subscription of Canoe and Kayak Magazine to help a student with his school fund raising, so it wasn’t a complete waste of money.

The 2009 C&K Gear Guide was a disappointment. The advertisements were almost as good as the reviews and had better pictures. I liked the Gone Native article beginning on p42 retracing an ancient Chippewa route thru the BWCA. The best full page ad was on p33 by Bell Canoe Works for providing a usable map of the Canoe Lake area of Algonquin Prov. Pk. The best small ad is on p134 highlighting a Placid Boatworks Rapidfire being paddled over a beaver dam.

I prefer Family Camping and Canoeroots Magazine out of Ontario, Canada. You can always find useful articles and info. And with contributors like Kevin Callan, Joanie and Gary McGuffin, Hap Wilson, Mark Scriver, and James Raffan it’s hard to go wrong. The only downside is that it’s only published 3 times a year in February, May, and August.

Canoe magazine
I enjoy Canoeroots, a Canadian publication.