All beginners can raft any river. But canoe trips require specific skill pre-requisistes.
Plan for a safe and enjoyable river holiday. Reviewing our canoeing skill pre-requisites will help you choose the best river for your skillset.
Our raft expeditions are designed for people of any skill level, including novices. Some raft trips offer canoeing as an option. In this case, the canoeing prerequisites apply and must be met.
Tandem Canoe Trips
Tandem canoe trips are much more skill-specific. Careful thought must be applied to assessing your canoe skill level (see below). On some rivers we have an alternative approach that can modify these requirements with the use of our “canyon rig” strategy. Above the rapids, we can catamaran the canoes together in pairs, which means you can enjoy greater stability while going for the biggest waves. In the flatter sections we disassemble the rigs.
Considerations for each canoe trip:
YUKON & HORTON CANOE
You have canoed previously and know the rudimentary strokes: bow, reverse, “j”, draw, pry and sweep. You are comfortable paddling in the bow and working with another partner or you have river reading skills and can control the canoe from the stern while working with another partner.
STIKINE & WIND CANOE
You have mastered the skills above. You have taken an introductory river canoeing course and have experience paddling on Grade II rivers. In addition you have river reading skills and can work effectively with a partner to side slip and back ferry to move the canoe laterally in Grade II water with precision. You can comfortably apply these skills to navigating tight bends and avoiding log jams.
NAHANNI 2-WEEK, NAHANNI 3-WEEK HIKING, NAHANNI 8- OR 12-DAY & COPPERMINE CANOE
You possess the skills above and have completed a whitewater canoe course. You are able to read Grade III water and quickly formulate strategies while working with a partner to navigate. Unless you opt for the canyon rig strategy for the main rapids you match the following description: At least once a year for the two previous seasons or more, you paddle Grade II/III whitewater with friends or a canoe club. You are committed to at least one “warm up” trip or course prior to the planned trip this season. We can modify these requirements by the use of “canyon rigs” for the rapids but this must be discussed with us before booking.
MOOSE PONDS, MOUNTAIN RIVER, SNAKE RIVER & BURNSIDE CANOE
You possess the abilities and judgment level above and have a more extensive “whitewater play” background. For the last three years or more you have paddled Grade III whitewater at least three times per year and enjoy practicing technical moves. You are committed to at least one “warm up” trip or course prior to the planned trip this season.
CANYON RIG DESCRIPTION
On some rivers we have an alternative approach that can modify these requirements with the use of our “canyon rig” strategy. Above the rapids, we can catamaran the canoes together in pairs, which means you can enjoy greater stability while going for the biggest waves. In the flatter sections we disassemble the rigs and canoe conventionally.
I AM A WHITEWATER KAYAKER & HAVE NOT CANOED PREVIOUSLY
If this is the case, please contact us directly and we can discuss your background in relation to the trip you are considering.
CANOES & ‘SWIMMING’
Only on a rare occasion will a participant fall out of a raft. On the other hand, tipping a canoe and ‘going for a swim’ is considered an integral part of canoe sport. One or more canoes flipped at any time is a normal event and is not considered an emergency or incident. The group simply recovers the swimmers and boats. When all is secure, the group continues down the river. It’s part of the fun.
WET SUIT REQUIREMENTS
In class II and greater rapids, a neoprene wet suit or fabric dry suit is mandatory. On other rivers many will opt for the neoprene wet suit although some paddlers (with strong internal ‘furnaces’) will opt for rain gear worn over polypropylene and fleece on whitewater days. Feel free to consult with us for more information specific to the river you have selected. Helmets are mandatory on all whitewater canoe trips which we can provide.