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Thread: Algonquin Park for summer 2018

  1. Smile Algonquin Park for summer 2018

    Many years ago when we made our first canoe camping trip in Algonquin (about 2010), I asked for advice and you were all very helpful. Over the years we have headed off across Canoe Lake, and Smoke lake, and also from Achray (enjoying the water slide near there). We are heading off again this summer, and wonder if anyone has some suggestions for somewhere new? When not canoe camping we stay near Ottawa, and also visit near Redstone lake in Toronto's cottage country, so are looking to canoe Camp somewhere between the two.

    Our kids are now 14 and 15, and we feel squeezing us all into a 17' canoe is no longer feasible (they were quite little when we first started). The kids do not have the stamina to paddle canoes through windy weather or across a long hot lake (if we split into two smaller canoes). One is suggestion we get a kayak, which would mean three in the canoe, 1 in the kayak, and the option of the kids sharing the extra paddling. My question is, how stable are kayaks? Are the ok if the water gets a bit wavy or windy? Do people wear the skirts which keep them stuck if it tips over?

    Perhaps na´ve questions, but better to know now than later.

    Any advice gratefully received.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010


    My question is, how stable are kayaks?
    Generally less stable than touring canoes, and the ones that are stable will be slower.

    Are the ok if the water gets a bit wavy or windy?
    Better at coping with waves than canoes are, because they don't swamp. But you need some experience to keep them upright.

    Do people wear the skirts which keep them stuck if it tips over?
    The spray skirts release easily, but occasionally people panic and pull the wrong part, so it's worth a practice in shallow water with somebody ready to flip the kayak back up.

    Kayaks generally have less carrying capacity than canoes, and stowing your gear is more complex. I recommend sticking with canoes and having two (maybe both 17'); at that age the kids will develop the stamina with practice and will benefit from that. If you go a little slower, so what? There are plenty of camp sites so you can choose how far you paddle. The main benefit in having smaller canoes is that they will be lighter on the portages; on the water a longer canoe is easier.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Frances Harris View Post
    [...] My question is, how stable are kayaks? [...]
    The stability of a kayak or canoe depends on their actual hull shape and load.
    If you are going to rent the kayaks, they are probably plenty stable especially for smaller people.
    In fact many touring kayaks may be somewhat too big for kids of 14-15 years old to paddle really efficiently.
    But friends of me have paddled in a touring canoe with their daughters in that kind of kayaks for years, without ill effects

    Dirk Barends

  4. #4


    These lakes are great. Lovely sites, great fishing, never seen them crowded.......

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


    Why not the Opeongo-Lavieille circuit in AP? This is another classic. You start and finish on Opeongo, do a short portage into Proulx Lake, take the Crow R. (a creek) to Little Crow and Big Crow Lakes, more creek to L. Lavieille and Dickson Lake and then a long (very long) portage back to Opeongo. The long port is cart trail, so length, rather than terrain is the issue. You can avoid paddling the big water on Opeongo by using the water taxi service. Depending on how tight your trip timing is, this might be a good thing to do anyway since it is easy to get wind bound on Opeongo.

    I would not recommend kayaks for tripping on any trip that includes a portage. The portage trails are not suitable for canoe carts in most areas. I have seen kayakers in trouble and what would be an easy carry for a canoeist.

    Hard to believe that 14-15 year olds can't handle the bow position of a canoe. My experience is that they would have little difficulty and it would be the adults that run out of steam before they do.

    Enjoy your trip. We have a late Spring here -- first blackflies two weeks ago.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Hunter Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Journal Entries


    I second that. Kayaks are a bitch for portaging.

    There are some long touring canoes out there - though whether they would be available through an outfitter - I have no way of knowing. Wenonah has the 20 foot Minnesota III and the 23 foot Minnesota IV models.

    I would think a 14 and 15 year old would be able to paddle a canoe. If you have concerns about power - use a long double bit paddle. Not exactly "tradition" - but (I hate to say it) they work wonderfully well. More power - less effort.

    Many touring canoes now have poor initial stability - but excellent final stability (very hard to capsize). My favorite touring canoe is the Souris River - though I don't own one.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

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