Is Canoeing the Next Big Trend in Outdoor Adventure?

Tanner Thompson

If you want to really get into the outdoors with nobody around, look to exploring on the water.

Recently I went on a canoe trip and it was an absolute blast. Here are some reasons why I think more and more people will be renting or buying canoes and taking them on their outdoor adventures.

1. It's a new way to see the same views

Have you caught a sunset or sunrise from the top of the mountain? It's great, right? But on those days, perhaps during the week, when there is no time for the 3:30 AM wake-up or late night hike after work, try throwing a canoe in the lake. It's a serene way to watch those same sunsets or sunrises on a calm lake with no one else around. Bring some blankets, lay back, relax in the cool breeze...Ah, I'm already there...

Photo: Rory Court

2. It's more planning but less work

Besides lifting it atop your vehicle and carrying it into the lake or river, there's really no massive amount of physical ability needed. If you have knee problems or just aren't in the condition to hike to the tops of mountains or even short inclined walks, canoeing can be a great alternative to exploring the outdoors in a low impact way. If you are doing a canoe trip down a river, however, you are faced with more planning than a typical backpacking trip. You need to take into consideration the water levels, how fast the river is running, and must really know the route you are taking. Not to mention coordinating drop off and pick up zones and driving there and back once you start or finish, depending on which way you are heading. If you can plan a bit more, you can save your knees and just paddle at a leisurely pace. 

3. The lakes and rivers are less crowded

I'll make this point simple. If you want to really get into the outdoors with nobody around, look to exploring on the water. You will realize what all the hype is about.

Photo: Mason Boring

4. Those cool photos

We've all seen those awesome shots from the back of the canoe. They look awesome. Let's be honest, if you're a photographer this might be one of the main reasons for this investment - of course, you could just rent. Renting is also a viable option if you only see yourself heading out a few times a year. I know Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Canada rents canoes for a VERY reasonable price. Either way, you're bound to get those great shots out on the water with zero chance of getting tourists in the frame.

5. It is the ultimate form of being one with nature

Traveling by canoe is the original form of transportation, at least here in Canada. It originated with the Aboriginal People who, depending on their geographical location, used hollowed out trees from the Pacific Coast, or birch trees from the non-coastal regions. There is a quote that explains perfectly the use of canoes as they come from nature. 

"In the history of watercraft, the canoe of the Aboriginal Peoples is perhaps the ultimate expression of elegance and function. All its parts come from nature, and when it is retired, it returns to nature."

Once European settlers arrived, they quickly used these as their main form of transportation in the fur trade to carry supplies downstream and connect to major trading routes. It's was integral to their survival and entire colonies were built near major rivers where big cities now stand. It really takes you back to think about the entire history and how far we've come since then.

So there you have it, I'm predicting canoeing will start to take off in the coming years with more and more people lugging, carrying, and of course portaging their way with them into the wilderness. 

Cover photo: Kevin Kaminski

Published: July 7, 2017

Tanner Thompson

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