Paddling MI rivers

-- Last Updated: Jul-10-12 12:18 PM EST --

What should I get for paddling MI rivers?
Slow moving rivers.

A 14' boat for a 1 or 2 night trip a year?
A 12' for easier turning? (easier than 14')
A sit on top because I only paddle during the hot weather and I could dump the boat to cool off.

A ten foot Liquid Logic XP10 would
carry you and enough stuff to last a week. But I sense you don’t plan on spending quite that much.

SOTs are nice in the summer. Otherwise you need a dry suit. A SOT can carry overnight stuff if you pack smart.

A shorter kayak doesn’t turn any easier than a longer kayak if you know how to turn. The hull designs of most SOTs are not conducive to turning. Most SOTs are not that much fun to paddle, at least until you slip off into the cool water.

I agree that a longer boat can be turned with ease if you know how but at your skill level you could turn a shorter boat tighter and faster than a long one, and of course there is rocker to consider but I don’t wat to ge into that right now

Pyranha Fusion
I got the FusionS esp. for Michigan rivers. I love this boat for that purpose.

Nice and agile w. the skeg up. Turns like a ww boat when you are in the twisty sections. Can easily do Class II+ and is regularly paddled on Class III & Class IV - esp. with the Connect 30 option for outfitting. Altho there is very little if any of those rapids in MI.

w. the skeg down the boost in tracking ability means much quicker and easier paddling in the flat stretches of the rivers. Paddling the Fusion w. skeg down I could easily get ahead and stay ahead of rec boats (let’s say up to 12 feet) w no extra effort. Very smooth paddling and no need for continual correction as with a dedicated ww boat.

Can carry what’s needed for a day paddle in the stern hatch and it will stay bone dry unlike a ww boat.The optional 1Liter snap on pod gives you a quick access place directly in front of you on the foredeck.

Super easy to carry on shoulder for the occasional portage - under 40 lbs. The cockpit is on the large side so it’s easy to shoulder and easy to get in and out of over log jams, etc.

It seems in an earlier discussion there was some honest misunderstanding of what “crossover” boat means for this type of kayak. It’s not cross between a ww boat for rivers and a full on touring boat for open waters. You could take a Fusion for some fun rockgardening and surfing but in getting there it would never keep up w. a seakayak. It wasn’t designed for that.

“Crossover” in this context means agile like a ww boat in turning ability, rolling and dexterity on aerated river water… and then, w. skeg down, able to efficiently paddle on the intervening flats of a river, like a rec boat. Able to carry much more gear than a ww boat - as much as some rec boats that like the Fusion only have one stern bulkhead.

The XP Series of Liquid Logic was developed w. the same design philosophy. Both come in two sizes, and the Fusions offer two outfitting options as well - a more rec-like one called RiverTour, a ww oriented one called Connect30 (same Connect30 as found on many of the new and newer Pyranha ww boats).

Try them and have fun.

What most people use here
The Lansing Oar and Paddle Club has a series of river paddles each year, many involving at least one over-night. Some people do use cross-over boats and some use rec boats but canoes seem to be the boat of choice for many. They are fast in the flat water, easy to maneuver, and can carry a lot of gear. They are also capable of handling the so-called white water we have in Michigan. Google “meetup” “loapc” if you are interested in joining us on any trips.

Just got back from MI rivers
I took a 14 foot sit on top and that’s the boat I’ll bring the next summer. After all the hoopla about how cold the water is up there, I think one place had water in the 60’s. Folks were swimming in both the great lakes I visited and in most of the other lakes and rivers as well. I took some neoprene and a splash top and did not need it anywhere.

I do own a 2007 14’ carolina
I was thinking of getting a different b

oat for MI rivers due to the fact that I prefer river paddling over lake, I picked the boat thinking I would mostly paddle lakes and almost never do.

Many small rivers in MI are tight
I guess you could specify what type of river. Obviously the Grand River would be considered more like Large open body of water. Most Michigan rivers I do are the Pere Marquette, Baldwin, Little Manistee, Pine, and such rivers. These are tight and some areas of them are not cleared especially the Baldwin and Little Manistee. For these types of river I prefer a 10’ Kayak or something closer to white water Kayak. One hard stroke to the right or left will turn you 90 degrees. My next Kayak will more than likely be a Remix XP 10 or Fusion. Just did a fast moving section of the Pine Wednesday, and the little manistee and Pere Marquette the weekend before. I do these small tighter rivers often.