Canoe and Kayak Tips - Things we wish we had known!

Plan a Shorter Trip - Unless you canoe or kayak all the time, then you really do not appreciate how long nine miles in a kayak can be. 

Manage Your Time - Since you are choosing the shorter trip, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the journey down the river. You can extend the trip by making extra stops or speed the trip up by staying in the canoe and making progress downstream.

Choose the Right Transportation - For our family of three, with one 9-year-old at the time, we should have gotten one canoe and one single kayak. The canoe allows you to carry items more efficiently, this is important when you're the one doing the paddling.

Do not get a cooler carrier - Putting things inside the canoe will be much easier than dragging a heavy tube behind a kayak.

Bring a Medium Size Cooler - We packed a full sized lunchable and a couple of granola bars for each of us. For the 9-hour trip we should have packed a few more snacks.  

Bring a couple of Bungee Cords - If you chose to disregard my advice, and you rented the kayak over the canoe, then be warned that the tandem or kayak is extremely limited on space. Please do not make the mistake of renting the cooler carrier. If you do decide to get a tandem or kayak, you need to bring a couple of small bungee cords to help hold things in the small storage compartment.

Always Wear Your Life Jacket - Things can get dangerous quickly and with little or no warning. On our trip, my son and I got hung on a down tree and got dumped out of the kayak. Thankfully, he had a life jacket on. I did not have a life jacket on, but I will not make that mistake again.
Wear Water Shoes - Any of the stops along the river will be covered with rocks. Some are smooth from tumbling in the river, but most are very sharp. You will be thankful to have a pair of water shoes with a hard sole. On our trip I was lucky enough to find a real arrowhead!

Safety First - In addition to wearing your life jacket, kids under twelve with little or no kayaking experience should not kayak alone. If a child were to get dumped out of the kayak, they could panic and not know what to do. We made this mistake as well, thank God that he was with me when we did get dumped.

Bring Toilet Paper - I am only going to say that there are no rest stops or portable potties along the river. In addition to "TP", you may consider bringing a small pack of wipes to wash your hand. 

Don't Forget your Fishing Poles or Magnets - We like to fish and magnet fish from time to time. This would be a wonderful opportunity for both. We decided not to take the extra gear since we did not know beforehand how much room we would have in the kayaks. Get at least one canoe for a family trip and you should have plenty of room for a few extras.

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