Upstream journies in swift water

I’m looking for advice on the best kayaks (hard or soft) available to journey upstream for a few kilometres into in accessible river reaches. I’d typically carrying a payload of 20 to 30 lbs. I’m in my late 50’s so don’t have the burst energy I use to…

Any and all advice and kayak model suggestions much appreciated.

Just about any kayak going will do…
what you want to do.

It is basically the engine, not the boat that gets you up there

My wife and I took our plastic Eclipse and Shadow to Alaska and did many up remote river trips. We had to pull over various beaver dams and wade through some icy rapids, but always had fun.

We do the same now with my QCC-700 and her QCC-10X.

What you are looking to do is what many on this board do. You can’t beat getting into back country wilderness.

Jack L

Thanks, but still wondering…
I do realize its my energy. However I was wondering if any of the following are factors ferrying upstream:

  • length; * style; * hard vs inflatable; any others? Particularly with some payload…

    In some cases there are long runs of swift water without slower channels, boulders, back eddys, etc.

    All info very welcomed.

What does “swift water” mean to you?
You have to be able to paddle faster than the current to make distance over the ground.

So how fast is “swift water”?

Essentially this question is the same as “what is the fastest kayak?”.

The answer is that unless you are a racer that can paddle at over 6 mph is doesn’t matter.

ALL kayaks fall within a vary narrow band of drag vs. speed below 4 mph. You really don’t start to see differences in the drag vs. speed until you get up above 5 or 6 mph…

Round Bottom hull or at a minimum, multi
chine. Leaning into moving water will allow you to zig-zag across at a diagonal. It’s great fun as long as you don’t have a flat bottom boat, especially a flat bottom with multiple channels.

I’d forget the inflatable
and get a pole.

nix the inflateable
a hard kayak will be much faster, and a decent composite better yet. QCC are tops in my book for the price, and very well built. Check them out.

What is wrong
with a flat bottom and single chine in moving water?

going to catch the current and generally get swept along with it, unless perfectly leaned.

If you can keep the flat bottom–chined straight, it is actually most effecient. but balance is the key.

read the river
I find reading the river to be the most important issue when traveling against a current. the river near the bank is usually slower than the middle, with exceptions of course. the outside of a curve has the most current so keep to the inside in those cases. Look for back eddies once again usually on the inside of curves or behind large rocks or other obstructions. I could go on but you get the picture, watch the river and choose the path with the least resistance.