Pole, Paddle & Portage by Bill Riviere.

Is this still a good book for relative beginner paddlers? If it is, is it still in print, where might I find it and how much should I expect to pay for it? If not, what would be better book or video options? I paddle solo most of the time.

I recently acquired a copy of Bill Mason’s book “Path of the Paddle” and find it quite interesting and informative and that sparked an interest in other similar type books.


not really
I just pulled my copy off of the bookshelf and looked at it. It’s fun to have around, and there is some good information in it, but there are plenty that are better. The book you have, “Path of the Paddle,” has always been one of my favorites. “Paddle Your Own Canoe” by the McGuffins is another good book - it goes over the strokes in quite a bit of detail and has quite a bit of other good information. Having said that, a lot of what constitutes a “good” book depends on the type of information you are looking for.

There are 109 used copies available on
abebooks.com at prices from $1.00 to $31.00. Try this link: http://dogbert.abebooks.com/ and enter the exact title. Entertaining reading but much of the information on equipment is somewhat dated, of course, since it came out in 1969. The instructions on technique are not nearly as detailed as in Path of the Paddle but there are some good tips throughout. Of course, I’m a sucker for old canoeing books written by the previous generation of canoeists.

Thanks for the feedback and links.
A hardback copy in good condition just sold for $20 and I was wondering what made it’s value so high.

Collector factor. I have a copy.
Much of what Riviere says is “correct,” but outmoded by evolving knowledge. For example, he was an expert poler, but when Beletz et al brought aluminum poles and poling slalom to the sport, it made older approaches utilitarian at best.