Solo Canoeing: Is that for me?

Solo Canoeing: Is that for me?

Sometimes, if we are honest, and perhaps more often than not, who knows, we want to experience things on our own. For some of us, we actually want to answer the call to get away all by ourselves and have some time to think. It’s not that we don’t like the company of other folks, it is just that we enjoy both the challenge and the solitude of going it alone.

I enjoy journaling, taking notes and sometimes sketching and water coloring while I’m on a solo canoe trip. I enjoy taking my time with the fire and the food. I find comfort and company in the little things such as how great the coffee (Sun Up Espresso) tastes first thing in the morning. It is a special thing to find yourself in the wilderness with no one else to rely on or turn to for advice.

Since I’m a writer and have been writing on a daily basis for most of the last thirty-plus years I don’t get bored if I’ve got pen or pencil and paper at hand. The views from the campsites in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are amazing. The wildlife (loons, timberwolves, black bears, chipmunks, pine martens, fishers, garter snakes, mice, not to mention songbirds and raptors and a plethora of other various birds, moose, deer, snowshoe hares and lynx) are never too far away because they live here too. It all makes for some easy subject matter from prose to poetry and somethings in between.

Just like any kind of canoe you may choose to paddle tandem, solo canoes come in a variety of hull shapes and sizes to match your needs. Some people like to use a longer straight shaft paddle when soloing, while others opt for a kayak paddle designed for solo canoeing. Many folks just use their favorite bent shaft canoe paddle and extend their reach. It all works best if you are willing to make sure you have the gear that makes you the most comfortable from the get go.

I enjoy the break from paddling that portages provide and I like to make that walk a few times. That way I can carry my main pack with my canoe and then go back and pick up my food pack, fishing rods and paddles (always carry a spare). Remember on a solo trip, you can pare down everything from how you’d back for a tandem trip or group trip. Cook kit, fuel, stove, food, extra tools, etc. can all be modified for one person. For example, I just take one bowl and one cup and a couple of sporks for my dining needs. Less to carry, less to clean. Sometimes when I’m soloing, I don’t take a tent, I take a hammock with a mesh bug covering. I still take my inflatable sleeping pad for comfort and insulation from the cooler evening temperatures. Both my food pack and my portage pack are smaller when I solo trip and I put one in front of me and one behind. I still take a back up fishing pole and a back up paddle as I mentioned before, but I downsize my tackle to one flat plastic Plano box.

I think it’s important to give yourself more space for reading material, art supplies comfort food, and a sweet camping chair. Or, you can fill in the blanks with some personal items of your own.

What’s your favorite solo canoe? What’s your best solo canoe camping tip or tips? Or do you have more questions about solo canoeing or even solo canoes if you’re looking to purchase one?

Feel free to comment or send us emails with questions. We rent solo canoes and gear and we sell solo canoes and camping equipment.

Note: The images in this blog entry are from Jacob White who is currently our Assistant Retail Manager here in Ely, Minnesota.

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