7 Tips for a Great Canoe or Kayak Trip

7 Tips for a Great Canoe or Kayak Trip

As temperatures warm and the sun shines brighter, thoughts turn to outdoor adventure. There is no better way to enjoy the beauty of nature in its summer splendor than canoeing or kayaking on a sparkling river. If you are thinking about a canoe or kayak trip but don’t have a lot of experience in trip planning, we have 7 tips to help you plan a great river adventure!

1. Choose the right canoe or kayak

If you are new to river sports, chances are you do not yet own a canoe or kayak. Rental is a great option, and gives you the opportunity to “test run” before you make a purchase. Make sure that your canoe rental or kayak rental source provides a quality selection of newer watercraft.

2. Determine a trip plan to follow

It is very important to know where you are going and what to expect on your river trip. Whether canoeing or kayaking, your trip will be better if it is planned. Good river rental companies take care of most of this, as they transport you to the trip start, and you float back to your where your car is parked.

3. Plan a trip that will be right for your group

When planning a canoe or kayaking trip it is important to consider the group. Each member of the group will have varying interests and levels of endurance. If the goal of the trip is to bring together a particular group of people, plan a trip that will be enjoyable for all participants.  If in doubt, choose a shorter trip.

4. Equip for the trip

Make sure you have not only the essential gear, such as paddles and life jackets, but also other items to make your trip more worry-free and comfortable. Bring items such as water, snacks, and sunscreen – plastic zip lock bags are great for keeping items dry. Tie your cooler and supply bag closed and attach it to your canoe or kayak with a piece of Nylon rope, just in case you tip.

5. Plan out the logistics – driving to the launch, etc.

Have everyone in your group meet at the trip ending point or takeout, and then carpool to the trip starting point or launch location. Good canoe and kayak rental services  include transportation in the rental cost. Plan stop times for lunch, swimming, or site seeing before you get in the water so everyone is on the same schedule.

6. Check river conditions before the trip

Take a look at the weather forecast on the morning of your trip to make sure you will not have any surprises. Check on the river conditions and river levels as well. If you are renting canoes or kayaks, your rental company will have the information you need.

7. Have fun once you are on the water, but also BE SAFE

Follow the best practices for safety and river etiquette. Steer clear of swimmers, fisherman, and others who are enjoying the river. Wear your lifejacket at all times so that you are safe in any situation. Relax and enjoy your time on the river, but make sure you are always paying attention to your surroundings and watch for hazards so you can avoid them.

Memorial Day Weekend is Here – and So Is Summer!

What are your plans for Memorial Day Weekend? It’s the official start of summer and we will be running canoe, kayak and raft trips on the Little Miami River all weekend long. Join us for some fun and sun in the great outdoors.

Take a look at our weekly update video get a taste of the fun that you can have here at RiversEdge Outfitters.

What Do River Levels Mean for Canoe and Kayak Rental

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When planning your canoe or kayak rental, it is extremely important that you know what to expect on your trip. While lake conditions can be more predictable, when canoeing or kayaking on a river, it may be a little more challenging to anticipate what conditions you will encounter.

All rivers are rated on a class scale to help you assess the size and technicality of the whitewater. The ratings are based on the International Rating Scale of River Difficulty, which rates rivers by rapids intensity or class, based on a six level scale. These ratings indicate the required skill level associated with navigating the river.

As you might expect, the characteristics of a river can change significantly as the water level of a river changes, so rivers are also rated according to river flow or water level. In the spring or after periods of heavy rain, higher water levels can turn a Class II river into a Class IV, so classification for a particular river may change from season to season.

When planning your canoe or kayak rental, consider the class of the river options as well as the following letter designations, which are used to describe water level and rate of flow:

  • L (Low) – Water level is below normal levels for the river. Low level depth may interfere with paddling ability, shallow areas may turn into dry banks, and low areas become muddy sandbars.
  • M (Medium) – Water level is at the normal river flow. Medium water typically means good water for rivers with slight gradients and enough depth for passage on the steeper sections.
  • MH (Medium High) – When the water is medium high it is higher than normal, which means a faster flow on gentle gradients. It is the best flow for more difficult river sections with enough water for passage over low ledges and through rock patches.
  • H (High) – At the high stage, the water becomes more difficult to handle, and is well above normal level. Currents may be heavy, and small debris may come floating by. This level may mean the river is dangerous for inexperienced kayakers or canoeists.
  • HH (High-High) – At this level, the water is very heavy and the current may be extremely complex, making even slightest gradients treacherous. Debris occurs more frequently. This level is recommended for experts only.
  • F (Flood) – Water level is abnormally high and extremely dangerous. Flood level is characterized by overflowing banks, extremely violent current, and low-lying areas underwater. The only boaters who should be out are professionally trained and equipped rescue crews.

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Rivers Edge regularly checks river levels for the Little Miami River by using the National Water Information System tool provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). This tool can show the recent and current river levels all over the United States, but we just check the data for the Little Miami by Spring Valley, Ohio, which is just upstream from us. By clicking here you can View the National Water Information System for the Little Miami today. Since the data presented is in feet we thought it would be best to translate what that means for a canoe or kayak trip with Rivers Edge.

When the river levels on the Little Miami are… It means…
1.5’ – 3.0’ Feet This is Summer’s normal range. The river is at a great level to paddle with a gentle current that averages about 1.5 -2 miles per hour.
3.0’ – 4.5’ Feet This is a Spring time level and can be great for most paddlers. It will have a bit more current, with averages of 2-2.5 miles per hour.
4.5’ – 5.6’,Feet This is a higher level that we generally only allow kayaks and rafts on the river.,There may be additional restrictions involving age of participants and skill levels.
5.7’ and Above We usually do not run at this level and would caution any private boater that paddling skills may be necessary and that wearing of a PFD should be considered mandatory at this level.

Please keep in mind that these levels are further adjusted based on the air and water temperature. Rivers Edge generally will not open without a combined air and water temperature of at least 110 degrees. We frequently wait until we have 120 combined (ex. Water of 60 degrees and air temperature of 60). The USGS gauge near Old Town has temperature feature that we use as our basis.

We also share regular updates about river levels via our blog category, Hours & River Conditions. Don’t hesitate to contact us any time to check river levels before your next trip.

When you’re ready to plan your next canoe or kayak adventure please visit our Rates & Reservations page to review our options and book online!

River levels on the Little Miami

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