2020 has been the year of the canoe here at ARC. During the pandemic, canoeing has proven to be a great family activity with a low risk level, introducing all ages to a sport they may never have tried. The short supply of some popular kayaks has led many others to find an escape in solo canoes. With so many people rediscovering the joy of canoeing, we thought we’d add a gift guide this year for the canoeists out there.
Esquif Prospecteur: from $2005
Ideal for two to three people and with capacity for overnight trips up to one week, the prospector style canoe is a classic and versatile craft that will go from lakes to rivers with aplomb. Several leading canoe manufacturers offer modern prospectors based off of the old Chestnut prospector design. Esquif’s model is made from durable T-Formex, a triple layer material that is both lighter and stronger than plastic, but more affordable than expedition-weight composites. Offered in 15, 16 and 17 foot lengths as well as a more whitewater-oriented Sport version, the Esquif Prospecteur is the perfect boat for couples or small families looking for a canoe that can go almost anywhere.
Esquif Adirondack: $1199
The Adirondack is the reinvention of the solo pack canoe, designed for one, but with plenty of gear capacity for any pursuit. Like the Prospecteur, the Adirondack is constructed from Esquif’s T-formex material, which lends it a lighter weight and significantly longer lifespan than a plastic boat. The Adirondack is popular with those who like to paddle with a pet or young child, or who like to load down a boat with camping or fishing gear but still retain the maneuverability and control of a solo craft. The keel on the bottom helps the Adirondack track exceptionally well for such a short boat, meaning it’ll get you from point A to point B faster.
Bending Branches Arrow: $99.95
Any good canoe needs an excellent paddle. The Bending Branches Arrow is beautiful, versatile, and up for anything. At only 23 ounces, it’s a lightweight paddle made extra-durable with Rockguard protection at the edge. The ergonomic pear-shaped grip retains your hands’ natural warmth in cold weather, and won’t heat up in the sun the way metal paddles do. Basswood, red alder, and maple create an exceptionally good-looking paddle that excels in almost any water. It’s a great upgrade from an outfitter-style paddle, and it’s offered in multiple lengths to fit any paddler perfectly. Before ordering, check out Bending Branches’s sizing guide for the most accurate fit.
NRS Ion PFD: from $79.96
The Ion is low-profile enough to allow for full cross-body range of motion, making it perfect for canoeists. The super-soft foam forms to the body for hours of comfortable wear, and fleece-lined handwarmer pockets are such a relief on a chilly day. An easily accessible front tab provides storage for a river knife. Buckle entry makes for easy on and off, and graded sizing offers a fit for any paddler.
GCI Sitbacker: $39.95
Traditional bench seats are practical and durable, but they’re not always the most comfortable. Give the best of both worlds with a GCI Sitbacker. It’s a simple accessory that buckles onto a bench seat to provide back support and extra cushion. It locks closed during portages, and can be removed to the shoreline or beach for a comfortable stadium seat when you’re ready for a break.
Level Six Shoreline Boots: from $52.59
Lighter and more packable than traditional wellies, the Level Six Shoreline boots will protect your feet on muddy portages and stow easily when you’re back on the water. These waterproof natural rubber boots are available in three colors and men’s and women’s sizing.
Darby Extend-A-Truck: $129
A truck bed extender is the easiest way to transport long canoes. The Darby Extend-A-Truck mounts on any 2” receiver hitch, and telescopes to the necessary height for bed cargo or roof-mounted boats. When not in use, it comes apart to store flat behind a seat.
A good sun hat is essential for long days on the water and at camp. The Kokatat Sunwester features UPF 30 protection and an adjustable drawcord around the dome to help tailor the fit. A built in chin strap and floating brim help ensure it won’t get lost on a windy day.
Kokatat Jetty Jacket: $165
Not many flatwater canoeists want a restrictive dry top, but splash protection is essential in spring temps. The Kokatat Jetty Jacket provides excellent splash resistance with a ¼ zip closure and hood, and a neoprene waist and splash cuffs. It’ll seal out paddle drip and rain drops and still vent moisture thanks to Kokatat’s signature Hydrus fabric.
Rumpl Stash Mat: $79
Muddy riverbanks are no match for the Stash mat. With a comfy faux-suede upper and waterproof, stain resistant lower, this mat folds down super small to fit in a camp kit and matches up with a standard size Rumpl puffy blanket to provide waterproof comfort for riverside lunches and fireside dinners.
For expedition canoeists, the Mississippi is the granddaddy of all dry bags. Its enormous capacity and dependable ZipDry waterproof seal make it perfect for long backcountry expeditions. We’re not kidding—you could fit the kitchen sink in this thing. The ZipDry system eliminates the need for a traditional roll top, meaning more of the bag’s space is actually usable. If the Mississippi is a little too much storage, also consider the Watershed Chattooga bag, which provides all the benefits of the Mississippi in a smaller form.