Boats for long distance paddling

GregBW's picture

A question for multi-day paddlers: What model of boat do you use? What do you see as its advantages and disadvantages? Just for reference, how many miles per day do you paddle and do you pack light or heavy?

GregBW's picture

As for me, I have used my Perception Carolina 13.5 in the past and I try to pack as light as possible (no perishable food), though it's never as light as I want. When kayak camping, I usually average 15-20 miles per day. The Carolina is straight tracking and slow turning. It does bog down a bit when loaded with gear, but other than that it works well. I recently bought a LiquidLogic Remix XP9, so that's a more maneuverable option I can try. I have test loaded it with camping gear, but I haven't tried paddling it with a full load of gear yet.

jgprete's picture

Hey Greg! I am kind of bummed the forum here is not busier. I only recently learned about the CT River on YouTube lol. I have done some Saco trips, Squam Lake a few times, and several local rivers here in RI. My first and only boat I have owned is an Old Town Discovery 119. I have had it for just over a year now. I find it extremely versatile. I have not done a trip yet though that required more than 16 miles in a day. How I pack depends on the trip obviously. Sometimes I will pack heavy with creature comforts...cooking grate, steaks, beer, etc. Sometimes I pack my boat like I am ultralight hiking with the only difference being the boat. In my opinion the downside is the weight. While it is not heavier than a normal canoe is certainly is not as light as some of the packboats I would love to own. (like a swift). It weighs 56 pounds I believe. Other than that...it is a great river / lake camping boat

jgprete .. be prepared for a number of portages, some long, some easy, some difficult! Above Brattleboro, VT, you'll find some lovely primitive campsites, especially further north, maintained by land trusts. Pay attention to water levels, probably fine now, but very low earlier this year. Also determine dam release schedules as there are a number of hydro-electric plants on the river. Purchase the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail app. It's very helpful! Paddle on!

Currently paddling a 15' Swift Saranac kayak on my CT River journey. Had trouble in May/June up north due very low quick water over rock gardens and riffles. Heading back to Brattleboro next week to hopefully finish my trip to LI Sound.

GregBW's picture

Saranac looks like a really nice boat. I paddle smaller rivers a lot and hit plenty of rocks, so I'd be nervous about using something other than a plastic boat. I suppose if I were to get another boat, I'd have multiple choices anyway, so I could always bring one of my plastic boats if I'm going to a rougher river.

We did a few trips down the river, all with at least one overnight. Depending on the trip we either had two or three kayaks, children and dogs. We have VIBE brand kayaks and generally bring the Yellowfin 130 (which can be set up as a tandem or solo kayak) and then a seaghost 130, and a Maverick (a hybrid stand up paddleboard/fishing platform of amazingness)
The kayaks are heavy and support a lot of weight. I think the Yellowfin is in the upwards of close to 500 pounds, or near that, I dont have the info handy but I know it was a lot. The last trip we did we had two overnights, 2 dogs, a 5 year old, two adults and a teen......along with everything we would need for camping. two tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, pillows, clothes, food-2 coolers, one hard, one soft, dog food, bowls, cooking utensils, snacks, towels, maps, emergency bag, and who knows what else, it was a lot of stuff and we loaded the two trucks with gear and then the kayaks. We took 3 kayaks that time. Loaded two of them with gear and either a dog or a child and the third kayak had the teen and the other dog, he was not comfortable paddling with the dog since he had never done it before and was nervous to bring gear or food that ultimately we didn't want to get wet. Our longest paddle was 14.7 miles between sections. We have done mostly the northern section of the river with all of the miles we have done on the river (i think near 63) North of North Haverhill NH. We passed a number of primitive siights, some were very nice looking, and I have no complaints about the sites we stayed at. One was tucked up under some hanging trees and if the water had been higher we would have missed it altogether, but it was probably my favorite. A picnic table, camp sire ring, nice beach for swimming, and a Toilet :) plenty of room for tents too, so I could spread out all the gear we had and the dogs were not getting underfoot. I haven tbeen able to get out this year but I am anxious!

We did a few trips down the river, all with at least one overnight. Depending on the trip we either had two or three kayaks, children and dogs. We have VIBE brand kayaks and generally bring the Yellowfin 130 (which can be set up as a tandem or solo kayak) and then a seaghost 130, and a Maverick (a hybrid stand up paddleboard/fishing platform of amazingness)
The kayaks are heavy and support a lot of weight. I think the Yellowfin is in the upwards of close to 500 pounds, or near that, I dont have the info handy but I know it was a lot. The last trip we did we had two overnights, 2 dogs, a 5 year old, two adults and a teen......along with everything we would need for camping. two tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, pillows, clothes, food-2 coolers, one hard, one soft, dog food, bowls, cooking utensils, snacks, towels, maps, emergency bag, and who knows what else, it was a lot of stuff and we loaded the two trucks with gear and then the kayaks. We took 3 kayaks that time. Loaded two of them with gear and either a dog or a child and the third kayak had the teen and the other dog, he was not comfortable paddling with the dog since he had never done it before and was nervous to bring gear or food that ultimately we didn't want to get wet. Our longest paddle was 14.7 miles between sections. We have done mostly the northern section of the river with all of the miles we have done on the river (i think near 63) North of North Haverhill NH. We passed a number of primitive siights, some were very nice looking, and I have no complaints about the sites we stayed at. One was tucked up under some hanging trees and if the water had been higher we would have missed it altogether, but it was probably my favorite. A picnic table, camp sire ring, nice beach for swimming, and a Toilet :) plenty of room for tents too, so I could spread out all the gear we had and the dogs were not getting underfoot. I haven tbeen able to get out this year but I am anxious!

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 165. A bit long, but I like to take it our for a week at a time and do the entire Ct River in two weeks, total. (Break up the trip at Wilder Dam.) Carries all my gear and water nicely and can do all the portages with it by myself. I eat one meal a day out of restaurants during the trip, except on the Moore/Comerford reservoirs stretch, so I have not had to carry much food.

GregBW's picture

I had thought that one of the tsunami or tempest line looked like a decent possibility. The Tempest boats have more rocker and therefore more maneuverability without a rudder. Do you find the rudder hits bottom a lot when river paddling?