A good start
– Last Updated: Jul-24-12 8:44 PM EST –
But be careful of absolutes.
For example, in #1, there is no reason that you cannot go more than a mile at a fair speed in a shorter canoe, such as a Hornbeck. Sure, it was not designed for distance travel, but such boats do offer other advantages (such as excelling at remote pond-hopping), and should not be excluded from those activities that they may not be perfect at doing. I paddled and carried a 10.5 foot Hornbeck on a 185 mile trip across the Adirondacks in a single trip. Lots of big lakes were much longer than a mile, plus 62 miles of carries. I actually averaged 26 miles per day. The boat did very well for that particular combination of water and terrain, and I would not have ever wanted to do that trip in any other single boat.
#2 is also a good idea. Just beware that some very excellent boat makers choose to not participate in "paddle days" events. Let's just say they have their very good reasons for not getting into that single-vendor operated mix. Be sure to seek them out too, or you might miss out on a boat that you would really rather have.
#3 I have no idea what Academy Sporting Goods is. It must be a regional vendor.
#4 Absolutely true. A good paddle can make a poor boat tolerable, for a while (until you discover something better). But a poor paddle can sour you on paddling completely, regardless of how good the boat may be.