Boats and boat building have been around since the dawn of time. In the early days of man we used boats and canoes to fish, hunt and to travel and don’t underestimate the canoe’s contribution to building our society. Back then people not only depended on canoes they had to build them themselves. Today you don’t need a canoe to survive and building canoes is considered a pleasant pastime. If you are interested in building your own canoe then read on and let us show you how simple it can be.
The Components of a Canoe
A canoe is just another boat and there are some commonalities of boats of this size and there are parts that distinguish the boat as a canoe rather than just a regular row boat.
- Bow: All boats have a bow it is the front part of the canoe and it is what cuts through the water
- Stern: The stern is the back part of the boat and in a canoe it is pointed just like the front, in a regular boat it would likely be flat
- Hull: The hull is the main body of the boat and that is where you store you and all your gear
- Seat: If you have a two seater canoe then this is where your passenger sits
- Thwart: The thwart is a horizontal bar that is located near the top of the hull and it helps to hold everything together
For hundreds of years canoes were made of wood, it was largely the only material boat builders had to work with. They hollowed out the trunk of a large tree and they were ready to start paddling. Today that is a little impractical, while canoes can still be made of wood it is much lighter and a little easier to work with. Cedar is usually the wood of choice as it is easy to work with and holds up well. Most canoes are made from lightweight materials like aluminum or fiberglass.
Designing Your Canoe
The design of a typical canoe features a pointed front and back and that is what distinguishes a canoe from other smaller boats. The initial design came from how the trees used to be hollowed out to make a canoe. As we got more experienced in boat building then designs started to change. If you are more comfortable building boats from plans rather than hollowing out a tree the old fashioned way then you can find tons of canoe plans online. They will offer step by step instruction and include the list of materials that you need. It is a great experience building your own boat and you can take pride in it when you hit the water.
Canoeing is one of the most popular outdoor sports, it can be as simple as paddling across a placid lake or brave white water rapids. It is a sport that you can do with friends or you can pack up your canoe and go it alone. If you’re ready to start canoeing alone then there is some gear you’re going to need and tips you should follow to make sure you stay safe and your trip is a pleasant one.
Finding a Canoe
If you are a canoeing enthusiast then chances are good that you already own a canoe, but is the right one for the solo trips that you want to take. Canoes come in all shapes and sizes from single person paddlers to canoes built to hold 4 or more people. If you don’t yet have a canoe of your own then you need to find one for the type of water you frequent the most. Flat bottom canoes work well in quiet water, if you just want to get out for a paddle and maybe do some fishing. Round bottom canoes are better suited for the adrenaline junkie who wants to head out on faster waters. Make sure that your skill level matches the type of canoeing you want to do or you can find yourself in trouble.
Solo canoes are much smaller than other canoes you may be used to. They are built for the solo canoer to be able to carry them to the water and there isn’t a lot of room, if you plan on a trip with a lot of portaging then you are going to find it difficult. Much of your gear won’t fit inside so you’re going to need to travel light.
When you are canoeing solo you have no one to rely on but yourself if something goes wrong so make sure that you have the right safety gear with you always. Inexperienced canoers should always go with someone else regardless of how good a swimmer that you are. Once you have enough experience under your belt then you can head out solo. You should always be wearing a personal flotation device, if you hit your head when the canoe capsizes the PFD can save your life. Ideally you should have some communication device with you to call for help.
Solo canoeing is a great way to get out into nature and just enjoy the water, but prepare for any possible danger even if you are just paddling around a quiet lake.
There are some great places to go canoeing in and around the UK but most people don’t canoe all year long. You have to store your canoe away in the winter months but just throwing it into the garage or a spare bedroom will shorten the life of your canoe. Canoes need proper storage and safe keeping so when the time comes to hit the water you are ready to go. Here is how to properly store your canoe.
How To Store Your Canoe
There are plenty of places to store your canoe that will work just fine. You can keep it inside the house during the winter months to keep it away from the cold weather. Storing it outside can leave it vulnerable to critters who will make it their winter home. If you have a wood canoe you need to be particularly careful. The thing about canoes is that they can take up a lot of space and space can be at a premium. If you have a garage then you have the perfect place to store your canoe without it getting damaged or trying to store it in your living room.
If you do decide to store your canoe in the garage the best way to do that is to hang it up. This leaves you with more floor space to park your car and you don’t run the risk of running over your canoe by accident when trying to park your car. If you have a small lightweight canoe then you can lift and hang it fairly easily but if you have a bigger canoe then you will need a system of pulleys to lift the canoe for you. You can hoist the canoe with the pulley system and you can then anchor the ropes to the wall with a cleat. Here is how to hang your canoe in your garage.
Overhead doors are common on most garages but even if you have overhead doors you can still store your canoe in the garage while keeping it off the floor. You can either move it to the back of the garage beyond the garage doors. If that isn’t possible then you can hang your canoe from the wall.
However you decide to store your canoe is completely up to you but you want to make sure that you keep it safe from the elements. Storing your canoe outside or even on the ground of an unheated garage can damage it, especially a wooden canoe. If you take care of your canoe you can enjoy it for years to come.
Getting out on the water in your canoe is not only great exercise it is incredibly peaceful when it is just you cruising through calm water. If you love canoeing then you know that renting a canoe every time you want to hit the water just isn’t feasible. Buying your first canoe isn’t that difficult but you still need to get the right style for you or you will end up wet and really unhappy. Let’s have a look at what you should consider when shopping for a new canoe.
Inflatables are popular because of how easy they are to transport. If you travel often then you can pack them and take them with you pretty easily. You can shove an inflatable canoe into a back pack and take it with you hiking. They can be popped into your trunk, you don’t have to buy a special roof rack to strap them onto your car. The material is incredibly durable so they aren’t going to rip or tear easily.
These are exactly what you expect a canoe to look like and these are the most common type of canoes on the market. It is a long and skinny canoe with a flat hull and you can fit two people and there’s a bit of storage space. You use these types of canoes on short trips and they are very stable. If you are new to canoeing then this is probably your best choice.
For the more experienced paddler who likes a bit of adrenalin then you probably want to hit some whitewater. While you can try whitewater canoeing in a normal canoe you are better off with a special canoe. You need something that is easier to maneuver so you can avoid rocks and not damage your canoe. These canoes may also come with spray hoods to keep water out.
Before you plop down some cash on a new canoe you need to figure out how you’re going to use it, are you an adrenaline junkie that wants to do some whitewater rafting or do you prefer to get some solitary peaceful time out on the lake. The more experience you have the more options there are for you. Bear in mind that you can own more than one, you can get a solid canoe for most of the time and a whitewater canoe when you crave that adrenaline rush.