My passion is boat tripping. There is nothing like the feeling of paddling a remote body of water with a boat full of gear. Waking up each morning and having a warm cup of coffee by the fire to fuel your day.
Part of any good trip is knowing how to pick your location. Planning an overnight trip takes a lot of planning; since this is a passion of mine, I wanted to write a group of blogs for each of the trips we have done. My hope is that by using the blogs, you will feel confident to create your adventure! I will be posting our experiences one by one for you to look through.
To begin, you will need to know how to plan accordingly basing your trips on your skill level, what gear is needed and how much time is needed.
Knowing your limits is very important. If you are brand new, I would suggest taking a class at your local associations. For instance, in Tennessee, we have the TSRA; this is a group that puts on safety classes, general paddling classes, etc. Safety classes are important for any overnight trip. When you read through the trips, I put the skill level that is listed on the river in classes. I will try to note if there are adequate portages; however, please do your due diligence based on your skill level. When you pick a location, contact the outfitters – they can give you more information and potentially can give you a guided option. They can also help with put in and take outs and logistics with transport. Outfitters are an invaluable resource.
The right gear is imperative to a good trip! In order to do any boat tripping – meaning you are not staying in a traditional campground, but rather on public land without infrastructure, you will need gear. On a lot of trips, you can rent gear such as boats and paddles from outfitters, mentioned above. Gear consists of a lot more than just a boat and paddles. I have made a bit of a cheat sheet of the standard gear I pack for an overnight trip check it out in our next blog. The amount I pack generally depends on the length of the trip and the boat I am paddling. The type of trip also makes a big difference – packing for a fishing trip is much different than a whitewater adventure trip.
How much time is needed for a trip depends on different variables – how fast the water is moving, what time of year and your skill level. The trips I will be outlining all have the time of year we visited; however, as a disclaimer, it is completely variable. We try to do the best we can to ensure there is plenty of water. Please keep in mind there are gauges. They need to be checked for water level. If the water is at a dangerous level it is unsafe, do not run if it says it is high. The gauges normally have a low level, runnable level, and a high level. The low levels can mean anywhere from scrapping to completely empty. To keep from walking the river, it is important to keep an eye on these. Sometimes the amount the water is moving is dependent on the time of year for mountain run off or the rain fall for rivers that are fed by tributaries. We always have a back up river or lake to ensure we have an option if our first option is not available. If the river you are looking at is dam fed, there is still a gauge; keep an eye for releases. For lake tripping, all these variables are much easier.
Check our upcoming blogs for more information on pack lists and paddling trips!