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Globalstar partners with the Alpine Club Of Canada

man holds SPOT X 2-way satellite messenger device
Globalstar has partnered with the Alpine Club of Canada

Coinciding with Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Week, Globalstar Canada Satellite Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc. and the leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, today announced it has partnered with The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) to promote safety and security for alpine adventurers and remote workers.

The partnership was established out of the mutual objectives shared by ACC and Globalstar, including the encouragement and practice of outdoor activities and exploration and the promotion of those skills among Canadians. As part of the partnership arrangement, Globalstar Canada is providing the ACC with SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messengers as well as access to satellite services, for use by adventure guides and alpine maintenance teams.

SPOT is trusted and proven satellite technology used By outdoor enthusiasts and remote workers who need to stay connected when venturing beyond cellular

“We are excited to be partnering with Globalstar Canada this year as part of our safety mandate, adding the SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger to our safety and communications gear,” said Keith Haberl, Marketing Manager, Alpine Club of Canada. “The ACC is passionate about adventure. Every year we run more than 50 guided adventures in remote alpine locations and maintain the largest network of backcountry huts in North America. It is essential that we ensure our guides and hut maintenance teams have a reliable way to keep in touch with our office, for both safety and logistical reasons. In case an emergency arises in a remote location being able to communicate isn’t optional, it’s essential. With SPOT X we’ll be able to ensure this for our workers.”

“SPOT is trusted and proven satellite technology used around the world by tens of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and remote workers who need to stay connected when venturing beyond cellular,” said Fintan Robb, Senior Director of Marketing, Globalstar Canada Satellite Co. “Through our partnership with the ACC, adventure guides and hut maintenance teams can now easily access the 2-way connectivity and security of SOS that the SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger provides. As the official satellite communications provider for the ACC, we proudly support a 100-year old organization that is part of the fabric of Canada’s mountaineering community. Announcing this partnership during Emergency Preparedness Week underscores how passionate we are about safety in the outdoors and the importance of including SPOT as part of adventure planning and essential safety gear.”

With 2-way text messaging capabilities, SPOT X users can better communicate during their adventures to keep in touch with family and friends, or if necessary, emergency personnel

SPOT X is the latest addition to the award-winning SPOT family of products, providing affordable, off-the-grid messaging and tracking for hundreds of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts. Through a direct connection to the GEOS International Emergency Coordination Center, SPOT has triggered more than 6,200 rescues around the globe within the last ten years, approximately one-third of which have taken place in Canada. With 2-way text messaging capabilities, SPOT X users can better communicate during their adventures to keep in touch with family and friends, or if necessary, emergency personnel. Lone workers can check-in and provide detailed status of their situation when working in remote locations and receive direct replies back with updates.

Established in 1906, the ACC is Canada’s national mountaineering club with more than 17,000 members. Its vision is to bring together, and give voice to, Canada’s mountaineering community. Its mission is to promote alpine experiences, knowledge and culture, responsible access and excellence in mountain skills and leadership. The organization operates the largest network of backcountry huts in North America, from the Neil Colgan Hut in Banff’s Valley of the Ten Peaks (highest hut located at 9,700 feet) to the Keene Farm Hut (lowest hut located at 1,115 feet). The ACC runs guided adventures out of its national office in Canmore, which last year had 54 adventures and 634 participants. It also runs a General Mountaineering Camp every year in the high alpine.

About Globalstar, Inc.

Globalstar is a leading provider of customizable satellite IoT solutions for customers around the world in industries such as government, oil and gas, emergency management, transportation, maritime and outdoor recreation. As a pioneer of mobile satellite voice and data services, Globalstar allows businesses to streamline operations via the Globalstar Satellite Network by connecting people to their devices, supplying personal safety and communication and automating data to more easily monitor and manage mobile assets. The Company’s product portfolio includes the industry-acclaimed SmartOne asset tracking products, Commercial IoT satellite transmitters and Duplex satellite data modems, the innovative Sat-Fi2 satellite wireless IP hotspot and the SPOT® product line of personal safety, asset and communication devices, all offered with a variety of data service plans.

Note that all SPOT products described in this press release are the products of SPOT LLC, which is not affiliated in any manner with Spot Image of Toulouse, France or Spot Image Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia. SPOT Connect is a trademark of Spot LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Hobie’s Mirage Passport Kayak

A young couple are seen pedalling around each in a Hobie Mirage Passport kayak
Hobie Mirage Passport | Photo: Hobie

Hobie has introduced the Mirage Passport as the newest addition to its renowned lineup of pedal kayaks, powered by the brand’s signature MirageDrive – the original pedal propulsion system for kayaking. Maintaining Hobie’s acclaimed quality and durability, the Passport was built with simplicity in mind, delivering efficiency, ease of use, versatility and comfort in a highly accessible package.

“The Passport has been thoughtfully designed to help break down those barriers of entry that may be keeping people off the water, and make pedal kayaking both more accessible and even more approachable,” said Jason Kardas, Director of Engineering Product Management for Hobie. “The ultimate goal of the Passport is to be able to bring the premium experience that Hobie’s MirageDrive technology has delivered for more than 20 years to a broader audience than ever before.”

Hobie Mirage Passport Overview
Hobie’s Mirage Passport Kayak | Photo: Hobie

With its excellent value, transportability, simple and sleek design and durable Thermoform construction, the Passport is a well-rounded boat that truly offers something for everyone, from novice to experienced kayakers alike. It is the ideal kayak for casual recreation and family outings but is ready for all kinds of adventures on the water. Designed to accept most of Hobie’s vast array of accessories, the Passport is also a great, low-impact cross-training and fitness tool for fitness enthusiasts, and can be easily outfitted with additional angling equipment for recreational kayak fishing.

Top view of the Hobie Mirage Passport
Top view of the Hobie Mirage Passport | Photo: Hobie

Powered by Hobie’s first-of-its-kind Classic MirageDrive pedal system, the Passport makes kayaking smooth and efficient, cruising seamlessly through the water. The shorter hull length and wider body provide superior stability, while the intuitive steering system and stowable rudder enable easy maneuvering. Standard equipment on the Passport includes a suspended mesh-back, aluminum-frame seat, two-piece aluminum paddle, two rod holders, accessory mounting tracks and the accessory mount that accepts the kayak sail and new Bimini. Kayakers will also enjoy ample storage space on the Passport, with molded-in, cross-bungee cargo areas on the bow and stern, as well as Hobie’s ‘twist-n-seal’ hatch.

Hobie's MirageDrive pedal drive system
Hobie’s MirageDrive pedal drive system | Photo: Hobie

The new Hobie Mirage Passport will begin arriving at Hobie authorized dealers on Friday, April 26, at an introductory MSRP of $1,299 (excluding taxes and shipping).

About Hobie

Since 1950, Hobie has been in the business of shaping a unique lifestyle based around fun, water and quality products. From their headquarters in Oceanside, California, Hobie Cat Company manufactures, distributes and markets an impressive collection of watercraft worldwide. These include an ever-expanding line of recreation and racing sailboats, pedal-driven and paddle sit-on-top recreation and fishing kayaks, inflatable kayaks and fishing boats, plus a complementary array of parts and accessories. To learn more, visit www.hobie.com.

How to tie a canoe to your vehicle

Tying a canoe to a car
Tying a canoe to a car | Photo: Paddling Magazine Staff

Putting a canoe on your car is an important step for successfully making it to the put-in. Whether you are renting a canoe from an outfitter or you have your own gear, this is a skill you are going to want to learn.

There are a few different ways that you can car-top your canoe, and it depends on whether or not you have roof racks. Roof racks are ideal as it provides the most secure tie down. It also reduces the risk of damaging your vehicle. If you don’t have roof racks there are still other options out there for you.

How to put a canoe on a car with roof racks

If your vehicle has roof racks, you have one of the best situations for tying down a canoe. Follow the steps below to safely transport a canoe on your car.

  1. Lift the canoe up and onto the rack on the vehicle. This can be done with one person for lower vehicles but it is always easier and safer when you have two people.
  2. If you want to protect the gunwales on the canoe, you can put either foam blocks or cloth between the gunwales and racks of your vehicle.
  3. Balance the canoe on the crossbars so it does not tip forward or back. Usually, this means the yoke is resting equally between crossbars. Position it the canoe so it is parallel. If it is slightly off-line, the wind will put uneven pressure on one side of your boat the entire drive.
  4. Standing on the passenger side of the vehicle, throw the non-buckle end of your cam strap to the other side of the vehicle. This step can be done for both the front and back strap of the canoe (one for each roof rack bar).
  5. On the driver’s side of the vehicle, wrap the strap around your roof rack bars and send the non-buckle side of the cam strap back overtop to the passenger side again. Do this for both the front and back strap.
  6. Take the non-buckle end of the cam strap and wrap it underneath the bar on the passenger side and up and through the buckle of the cam strap to begin the tightening process.
  7. Start with the buckle close to the bottom of the canoe (the highest point when the canoe is upside down) so that you have lots of room to pull the strap tight before the buckle hits the bar. Repeat for both back and front straps.
  8. Once these straps are tight, tie off the loose ends so they are not flapping in the wind.
  9. Finally, you want to secure both the front and back of the canoe with a bow and stern line. Every vehicle is going to have different spots to connect. Many vehicles have built-in attachment points under the front and back of the vehicle. If you don’t, you might want to consider purchasing hood/trunk tie-down loops which can be found at your local paddling shop or on Amazon.
  10. Do one final check to make sure the canoe is well connected to the car and you are all set to go. Try shaking the canoe with two hands—the vehicle should move with it.

How to put a canoe on a car without racks

If your vehicle does not have roof racks, there are other ways to secure the canoe to your vehicle. One of the best options is the use of foam blocks that can be purchased at your local paddling shop.

  1. While the canoe is on the ground, secure the foam blocks to each end of the canoe halfway between the yoke and the thwarts. Ideally they will be sitting close to the balance points of the canoe.
  2. Next, either by yourself or with the help of a friend, lift the canoe up and place it on top of your vehicle. You may need to play around with the location of the foam blocks and the position of the canoe on the top of the vehicle. You do not want it too far forward or backward and ideally, it is perfectly balanced on the center of your roof. This also means looking from the back of the vehicle to ensure the canoe is straight down the middle of your vehicle. If it is slightly off-line, the wind will be putting uneven pressure on one side of your boat the entire drive.
  3. Many people will use either cam straps or ratchet straps to secure the canoe to the roof by opening all car doors and actually doing a full wrap inside the vehicle and overtop of the canoe. This can cause damage to the padding around the outside of your door frame. Another option is to use rope and tie a truckers hitch knot in order to get the extra leverage to pull the canoe tight to the top of your vehicle.
  4. Finally, you want to secure both the front and back of the canoe. Every vehicle is going to have different spots to connect. Many vehicles have built-in attachment points under the front and back of the vehicle. If you don’t, you might want to consider purchasing hood/trunk tie-down loops which can be found at your local paddling shop or on Amazon.
  5. Do one final check to make sure the canoe is well connected to the car and you are all set to go. Try shaking the canoe with two hands—the vehicle should move with it.

Wenonah Canoe Review: Wee Lassie Solo Canoe

Wenonah's Wee Lassie solo canoe reviewed by Kaydi Pyette
Go light, go solo, go right now. The 16-pound Wee Lassie is ready for your next pint-sized adventure. Photo: Joel Clifton

According to Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This quote rang true when I first set eyes on the sleek, new and tiny 10.5-foot Wenonah Canoe Wee Lassie in Paddling Magazine’s New Product Showcase at last year’s Paddlesports Retailer event in Oklahoma City.

Wenonah Canoe’s Wee Lassie Specs
Length: 10 ft 6 in
Width: 27 in
Weight: 16 lbs
Material: Ultra-light Kevlar
MSRP: $1,649 USD

By the end of the show, the Wee Lassie had been crowned Best New Canoe in the Paddling Magazine Industry Awards, as voted by on-site media, retailers and paddling enthusiasts casting votes from home. All this hype and nobody had even paddled it. This only amped up my desire to try it out.

For much of the winter, however, the diminutive Wee Lassie haunted my daydreams from where it rested on my canoe tree, still wrapped in its shipping plastics after a late December delivery.

When a warm, sunny morning was forecast a couple days before spring officially arrived, I gleefully freed it from its wintery cocoon.

Wenonah’s Wee Lassie is a lightweight canoe for epic adventures

Weighing just 16 pounds, I marched the Wee Lassie a kilometer through my sleepy suburban neighborhood to the lonely waterfront launch. I tiptoed around some shore ice and settled for my first paddle of the season. Bliss.

woman tossing a canoe over her head
At just 16 pounds, the Wee Lassie is so light we could play catch. | Photo: Joel Clifton

Dawn patrols, sunset sessions, and sneaking out for lunchtime paddles are precisely the sorts of adventures the Wee Lassie is designed for. Wenonah markets it as a roomier, more portage-friendly alternative to a solo recreational kayak.

“The Wee Lassie is aimed at the segment of the market looking for a smaller, ridiculously lightweight boat. The pick-it-up-I-just-want-to-go-float type,” says Mike Looman, Wenonah’s head of North American sales.

A century-old Wenonah solo canoe design

Wenonah is aiming this packboat-style canoe at middle-aged weekend warriors and folks interested in its unique blend of weight and comfort.

The Wee Lassie design—which has a century-old history and has been made by a dozen other manufacturers—plays on the popularity of packboats in upstate New York and the Adirondacks, adds Looman.

“It’s performance-inspired to a point, but the Wee Lassie is solidly in the sport and leisure category.”

At just 16 pounds, this is Wenonah’s lightest canoe—it’s a grab-and-go boat on a diet. Other things also weighing 16 pounds include: a 12-pin bowling ball, a 12-week old Labrador puppy, and a family-sized Easter ham.

My lazy housecat actually outweighs the Wee Lassie by four-and-a-half pounds. Sure, Sampson is a little overweight, but you get the point. The Wee Lassie is so light, you and I could play a high-stakes game of catch.

To create this 10.5-foot version, Wenonah took their larger Wee Lassie, which is 12.5 feet long, 24 pounds and debuted in 2012, and “proportionally shrank it down, keeping the lines consistent and symmetrical,” says Looman.

The larger model is popular with larger paddlers of course, as well as anglers and anyone else looking to bring a bit of gear.

Wenonah’s first 10-foot canoe

The 10.5-foot Wee Lassie is all about minimalism.

Maybe ultralight, thru-hiking legend Ray Jardine could squeeze in an overnight pack, but this is a true grab-and-float boat—“you’re not going to go paddle five or six miles in it,” says Looman. Wenonah makes lots of other boats for that.

“The challenge for us was the Wee Lassie doesn’t necessarily fit our pedigree of making performance, touring and race designs,” says Looman.

“It’s performance-inspired to a point, but the Wee Lassie is solidly in the sport and leisure category.”

Just because it’s featherweight, don’t make the mistake of assuming the Wee Lassie is fragile.

The Wee Lassie immediately charmed me. With a center depth of just 10 inches, it’s most comfortable exploring the nooks and crannies of sparkling ponds, serene lakes and calm shorelines.

There’s really no rocker to speak of, which maximizes the waterline and helps give this little boat good glide for its length. With either a single blade or a double, the Wee Lassie is nimble and responsive—an enjoyably easy paddle.

A Wenonah kevlar canoe for superb strength to weight

Just because it’s featherweight, don’t make the mistake of assuming the Wee Lassie is fragile. I think most paddlers would be inclined to baby it—I know I was—but I also contend it’s stronger than its delicate looks suggest.

The Wee Lassie only comes in Wenonah’s Ultra-light Kevlar layup. This hull is used for many of Wenonah’s boats designed for speed, distance and much tougher conditions than the Wee Lassie is likely to experience.

The hand layup construction uses Wenonah’s proven core-mat material, which “allows for superb strength to weight,” according to Looman.

Small aluminum plates are laminated into the hull and the seat is riveted into these plates. This eliminates rivet heads on the exterior for a glossy and unmarred finish.

The Wee Lassie’s black aluminum trim comes standard, as do the tiny vinyl deck plates and a floor-mounted fiberglass seat with the Cushgear Backsaver back rest, which features an inflatable backpad for added comfort.

The thwart was at a perfect distance for resting my feet. In terms of bells and whistles—that’s about all 16 pounds worth.

There’s an attractive minimalism about the Wenonah Wee Lassie. Many canoes and kayaks in the recreation category come with a plethora of features—cup holders, dashboards, even ports for charging smartphones—but the Wee Lassie eschews all that.

It’s just me and the water open to the air—truly, there’s not much room for much else. The no-frills simplicity is refreshing. Simple sophistication indeed.

Go light, go solo, go right now. The 16-pound Wee Lassie is ready for your next pint-sized adventure. Feature Photo: Joel Clifton

Terrifying Footage Of Kayaker Caught In Sieve

This video highlights one of the greatest fears kayakers have on the river. It is the reason that river safety is so important and is why all guides and professionals are trained in swiftwater rescue.

This video was published back in 2015 but is still a great example to talk about today. A team of professional kayakers including Rafa Ortiz and Rush Sturges head to Nevis Bluff rapids on the Kawarau River in New Zealand.

The Kawarau River is big. In the video they mention this trip was planned after a few weeks of running smaller rivers and switching to larger water was going to be a challenge.

“You look at it from shore. You look at it from every single different angle you can, but it just comes down to being in your boat and what ever you see when paddling through it. The water is changing every single second” said Ortiz.

Leading the group was local kayaker Jordy Searle, who has paddled the river a number of times and knows it well. As the group was making their way quickly downriver, Searle turned to give the group a thumbs-up signal. Just as he was doing this, his boat was sucked into a sieve.

Among the most terrifying hazards a paddler can face, a sieve is a narrowing that forces rushing water beneath the rocks where it can trap a kayaker and hold them under.

The group quickly raced to shore tossing throw bags allowing Searle a few extra breaths before going completely under water. “It’s hard to put into words what it is like when you see somebody die” said Sturges.

At this point there was not much the team was able to do without putting themselves at risk. They were just waiting hoping that he was going to pop out on the other side.

The following seconds likely feeling like hours, Sturges talks about the relief of finally seeing Searle come to the surface of the water.

Jordy Searle trapped in sieve in Nevis Bluff Rapids
Jordy Searle trapped in sieve in Nevis Bluff Rapids in New Zealand | Photo: Courtesy of Outside TV

It really makes you question how worth it, it really is. I mean, how many more drops, how many more rivers, how many more crazy rapids can you run before you lose a friend – Sturges

Rivers can be a humbling place for even the most experienced paddlers as this video shows. It stresses the importance of being properly trained in river rescue, also ensuring you are always wearing the proper safety equipment.

It is amazing that they managed to capture this entire situation so well. This being filmed at a time when drones where not a thing and instead paddlers had to arrange for a helicopter to follow them down river.

Times are changing. Now that drones are becoming much more common in a filmmaker’s tool kit, these scary situations are more likely to be captured and can be shared with other paddlers to learn from.

Folding Canoe Review: MyCanoe’s Recreational Plus

Kaydi Pyette and Geoff Whitlock paddling MyCanoe's folding Plus Model Canoe
Some assembly required. | Photo: Joel Clifton

MyCanoe’s folding recreational Plus model has the distinction of being the only boat reviewed by Paddling Magazine shipped with its own rubber mallet for assembly.

MyCanoe’s Plus Folding Canoe Specs
Length: 14 ft 8 in
Width: 35 in
Weight: 52 lbs
Capacity: 440 lbs
MSRP: $1,390 USD

I got my first, in-person look at the MyCanoe at last year’s Paddlesports Retailer in Oklahoma City. On the tradeshow floor, marketing manager Jay Lee offered a demonstration, making construction look fluid and easy.

He’d had some practice. Months later, in my backyard with an unfolded hull draped across my back deck, I picked up my mallet trying to remember back to his simple step-by-step instructions.

A durable and lightweight canoe that can travel anywhere

The hull of the MyCanoe is constructed of a five-millimeter, double-layer polypropylene. Lightweight and durable, it looks and feels a bit like plastic, corrugated cardboard.

The material is manufactured custom for MyCanoe at a factory in Korea. The material is then shipped to the company’s headquarters near Nashville, Tennessee.

I didn’t drag it to the shore or smash it into rocks, but I certainly didn’t need to baby it.

Once there the sheets get cut to size, folded and customized in-house. More than 60 pieces make up the MyCanoe Plus and its accessories. There are three models MyCanoe offers, Basic, 3.0 and Plus, which differ mostly based on the accessories offered.

Our Plus model loaner comes standard with an attachable rowing kit. The process to go from raw material to folding canoe takes between four to six hours, says Lee. Last year OriCanoe produced 1,000 canoes.

MyCanoe’s Plus is comparable to other top folding canoe models

Many similarities have been drawn between MyCanoe’s models and Oru Kayak, and for good reason.

Not only are both brands inspired by origami and boast a similar-looking hull material, but the two brands have been helping each other along the way, says Lee.

“Oru Kayak started at the same time as we developed, but they issued the patent first. We were thinking very similar things at the same time and exchanged a lot of ideas,” Lee adds. “We’re still helping each other—and also competing, of course.”

From concept to launch took Lee’s team two-and-a-half years. “Lots of trial and error,” is how he describes the effort. “But it’s fun for our team. We’re all 40 to 50 years old, we enjoy this, and a lot of us are doing it in our free time.”

Kaydi Pyette carrying MyCanoe's Plus Model folding canoe and a wooden paddle in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
When MyCanoe is folded up, the hull of the 14.5-foot canoe is the size of a large suitcase at 37 x 8 x 25 inches.
| Photo: Joel Clifton

Building MyCanoe’s folding canoe is easier the second time around

But back to the construction mallet. The MyCanoe Plus hull unfolds as one piece, so there’s really no chance of putting it together wrong.

Still, my first attempt took about 30 minutes, mostly because it seemed counter-intuitive and I was shy to use so much force to bend the stiff polypropylene into shape.

Red-faced and cursing, I looked back to consult the instructions multiple times. I must be doing something wrong. Nope—the first few times the MyCanoe is set up, you just need to use some muscle.

It’s especially suited to urbanites, and others who might not have a place to store a hardshell canoe or a way to transport it.

Some tasks, like sliding on the gunwales, which come in 12 pieces, are much easier with a friend—one set of hands can straighten angles, while the other can slip the gunwales on, piece by piece.

Once familiar with the process, construction should only take 10 minutes, according to Lee.

That’s an impressive time frame as some other folding canoes and folding kayaks we’ve reviewed here at Paddling Magazine take 30-plus minutes to set-up. Of course, like with any folding design, expect set-up time to double if you’re at a public beach—crowds of curious onlookers will pepper you with questions and slow you down.

Dismantling the MyCanoe and folding it back into its suitcase is simple after you’ve done it once. This is where the mallet comes in—a hearty tap with the mallet helps the canoe fold back along its crease lines.

The plastic hull retains some memory once you’ve set-up and dismantled it a few times, and the whole process speeds up as the folds break in and become more flexible.

MyCanoe’s Plus makes canoe storage simple

Refreshingly, the MyCanoe Plus isn’t trying to be a do-it-all design. With a 440-pound recommended maximum carrying capacity and no optional yoke on offer, few paddlers would make this their dedicated tripper.

However, for anyone who wants a unique boat to explore local waters—and as a shoreside conversation starter—it’s perfect. It’s especially suited to urbanites, and others who might not have a place to store a hardshell canoe or a way to transport it, confirms Lee.

A 14-foot two-person canoe

In terms of performance, this MyCanoe paddles like you’d expect from a recreational canoe of its 14.7-foot length and beamy 35-inch width.

It’s not the speediest boat, but it maneuvers well and is far more confidence-inspiring on the water than you’d imagine when you see its suitcase riding on public transit.

The shallow-V hull rolls a bit in chop, but the MyCanoe’s sharp chines provide excellent stability if you’re ever to edge it over that far.

Carry less, explore more.

The seats affix to the ribs of the canoe allowing for eight different tandem positions. However, the seats hover just a couple inches above the bottom of the hull, which means kneeling and tucking my feet under the seat aren’t an option.

As for durability, the special material is rated to withstand 20,000 folds. To put this in perspective I did some math.

I could hypothetically set it up and dismantle it once a day, every day, for more than 25 years. And by my mid-50s I may want a new canoe anyway. As for general paddling, basically, I’d treat it as I would a fiberglass canoe.

I didn’t drag it to the shore or smash it into rocks, but I certainly didn’t need to baby it.

Unfold this portable canoe for your next paddling adventure

The portability of the MyCanoe could lend itself to international travel—the slogan on the website is, “Carry less, explore more.”

Iced in all of February, I wanted to bring this boat on a family trip to Mexico to get some shots to accompany this review.

However, when the time came, I couldn’t wrap my head around traveling around with two additional pieces of luggage for a single, sun-kissed Instagram photo.

The MyCanoe’s hull folds up into a tidy 36-pound package, but the extra 16-pound duffel, containing seats, gunwales, ribs and more, cinched the decision to leave it behind.

To be fair, I didn’t take my 16-foot Prospector by Nova Craft Canoe to Cancun either.

Lee’s team plans to launch a third-generation version of the MyCanoe later this year, which I think may address portability.

Lee couldn’t say much yet, but he hinted the next generation is taking its inspiration from pop-up tent ingenuity. Lee’s goal is to create a canoe able to go from folded hull to full canoe in less than five minutes.

We can’t wait to test that one. In the meantime, the MyCanoe Plus is a fun, novel and innovative vessel for exploration for urban adventurers and it’s waiting in my front hall closet for my next waterfront day trip.

Some assembly required. Feature Photo: Joel Clifton

Algonquin Park’s Meanest Link

Meanest Link in Algonquin Park
Northern Scavenger tackles the Meanest Link in Algonquin Park

Rapid Media’s Digital Content and Social Media Manager, Alex Traynor, set out with tripping partner Noah Booth to complete Algonquin Park’s Meanest Link trip in a mere 10 days. The Meanest Link route was created in memory of Bill Swift Sr., one of the founders of Algonquin Outfitters, and connects the four Algonquin Outfitters locations through a very specific set of rivers and lakes. The Meanest Link consists of 424 kilometers and over 100 portages including an additional 65 kilometers of up-river travel on the Big East River. Not only do they hold the second fastest time to complete the Meanest Link, they also managed to film the entire route making an entertaining documentary of their trip. Since Alex conveniently works in the Rapid Media office, and it was the editor who suggested this route to him, it was pretty easy to force him and Noah to answer a few questions.

Why Did You Decide To Do This Trip?

Noah: Each year we look to do a trip that challenges us in a new way. When we first considered the Meanest Link first, my initial reaction was “that’s impossible”, but once the idea was seeded, we both became more curious in our ability to complete such an iconic route in an unprecedented amount of time. This curiosity quickly grew to the idea of how we can use this as a means to create adventure in other people’s lives. This is when we first thought to use this trip as a fundraising opportunity for Project Canoe.

What Were Your Biggest Challenges On The Trip?

Noah: We have a tendency to get lost in the moment and forget to eat and drink. On a trip like this, we couldn’t afford to become dehydrated or malnourished because that’s when bad decisions are made and people make silly mistakes. 

Alex: For me it was just the sheer distance we had to cover with the high number of portages on a daily basis. Previously I would have said that a 30km day with 10 portages was a big day. Now we were hitting almost 60km a day with up to 23 portages.

Did You Ever Think You Weren’t Going To Finish?

Noah: I knew the only way we weren’t going to finish is if one of us got hurt. The thought of one of us twisting an ankle or falling bad on a portage was always on the back of my mind. 

 Alex: Travelling up the Big East river at the beginning of this trip was really slow going. We were concerned that we were behind schedule but we were ready to pull some late nights paddling and portaging into the dark in order to make up the distance we needed to.

Did You Have Any Low Points On The Trip?

Noah: The couple hours of paddling down Dickson Lake on route to the infamous Dickson-Bonfield portage. We had already done 20 portages and 44 kms. The last thing I wanted to do was take on the largest portage in Algonquin (5.5 km) at the end of a very long day. It was difficult to mentally prepare for that one. 

Alex: When we got lost in the alders on the Nipissing River. It was such a claustrophobic feeling not being able to tell where we were on the river. We were soaking wet from travelling through all the thick wet bush on the river, the temperature was dropping, daylight disappearing, and we had no idea where we were going to camp.

What Was The Biggest Cause For Celebration?

Both: When we rounded the final corner of the Big East River and saw the first yellow portage sign going into Algonquin Park. We knew the portages were just starting, but we were so relived to be done with wading against the strong current of the Big East and the unmarked bushwaking portages.

Would You Do This Trip Again?

Both: We live in “Canoe Country”; there are just too many routes to explore to do the same trip twice. As far as challenging trips go, who know where our curiosity will take us next.

One Recommendation For Other Paddlers Looking To Tackle The Meanest Link?

Noah: Have a good sense of humour. If you can’t laugh at the amount of distance and portages you have to do, you’re in for trouble.

Alex: Don’t do this trip in 10 days. While we definitely enjoyed pushing our bodies to the limits, if you have the luxury of more time available you might as well take as long as possible to enjoy this route.

Algonquin Park’s Meanest Link Part 1: The Big East

Starting at Algonquin Outfitters – Oxtongue Lake, Alex and Noah spent the first 2.5 days outside of the park which included a quick stop in Huntsville, as well as a 66 km “paddle” up the Big East River. The Big East River is a large variable in the route and has proved to be a critical factor in determining if the pair would be able to finish the link on schedule. Attempting this section in the driest time of the year was also a concern. Would there be enough water?

The Route: Oxtongue Lake, Oxtongue River, Lake of Bays, South Portage Road, Peninsula Lake, Fairy Lake, Muskoka River, Hunter’s Bay, Lake Vernon, Big East River Delta, Big East River, McCraney Creek.

Algonquin Park’s Meanest Link Part 2: Walking The West

Alex and Noah made it to portage country, and Algonquin’s Western boundary is no exception. The first day in the park included 23 portages in 42 C weather followed by a meander down the “lost” river. A river so thick in alders, you get lost.

The Route: McCraney Lake, Little McCraney Lake, Rain Lake, Casey Lake, Daisy Lake, Ralph Bice Lake, David Lake, Mubwayaka Lake, Pugawagun Lake, Pezheki Lake, Iago Lake, Papukiwis Lake, Manu Lake, Shawshaw Lake, Tim Lake, Chibiabos Lake, Indian Pipe Lake, West Koko Pond, Big Bob Lake, Nipissing River.

Algonquin Park’s Meanest Link Part 3: Northern Gems

Alex and Noah enjoy the hospitality of Algonquin Outfitters – Brent store, the most northern section of the route. From here they head into the heart of Algonquin and visit some of the park’s most renowned lakes which includes a stop at the Mean Dude’s favourite campsite for a couple tasty beverages.

The Route: Cedar Lake, Petawawa River, Radiant Lake, Petawawa River, Francis Lake, Crow River, Lake Lavieille, Hardy Bay, Dickson Lake.

Algonquin Park’s Meanest Link Part 4: Southern Stretch

In the final days, Alex and Noah dig deep to complete the link. Along the way they paddle some of Algonquin’s most accessed lakes, visit Camp Pathfinder and wind through the Oxtongue Provincial Park.

The Route: Bonfield Lake, Wright Lake, Opeongo Lake, Sproule Lake, Sunday Lake, Little Rock Lake, Kearney Lake, Whitefish Lake, Pog Lake, Lake of Two Rivers, Madawaska River, Cache Lake, Tanamakoon Lake, Little Madawaska River, Source Lake, Ouse Lake, Smoke Lake, Tea Lake, Oxtongue River, Ragged Falls, Oxtongue Lake.

Top 18 Things Paddlers Should Keep In Their Car

In this video Paul Mason gives an overview of the paddling gear he likes to leave in his vehicle.

Most paddlers are familiar with the feeling of reaching into your bag looking for some piece of gear that you swear you packed that morning. Unfortunately more times than not this bag was packed while you were throwing back your breakfast, feeding the dog and running out the door.

The reality is that this has happened to all of us, and it is going to happen again whether it is you or one of your friends. Since many of us have extra gear kicking around the house, maybe this is the time to pack it up and put it in a bin that now lives in your car instead. You might just save the day at the put-in.

Some of these items are worse to forget than others. Forgetting to bring gorilla tape might not be the end of the world but forgetting a life jacket could kibosh the expedition. Also, a friend who forgets their dry top might still be able to paddle and it will only be cold for them. If your friend forgets a throw bag, it will be you paying for it.

[View the latest boats and gear in the Paddling Buyer’s Guide]

Paul Mason’s Top 18 Pieces Of Gear To Keep In The Car

1) Life Jacket
2) Garbage Bagpotential rain jacket, garbage collection or inflation device.
3) Air Bags 
4) Helmet
5) Baseball Capto hide that gnarly post paddle hair.
6) Electrical Tape
7) Duct Tape (or Gorilla Tape)quick and dirty repairs.
8) Paddling Dry Jacket
9) Throw Bagif your friends forget this, it is you that pays for it.
10) Extra Piece Of Foam
11) Contact Cementgreat for patch work.
12) Webbing
13) Wirefor the muffler that fell off on the way to the put-in.
14) Vice Grips
15) Lightersecure the ends of cut rope or for the spontaneous post-paddle campfire.
16) Pencil with Duct Tape
17) Sandpaper – remove rough patches before patching.
18) Zip Ties – endless uses.

Other Items You Might Consider Adding:

1) Paddle
2) Cam Strapsyou can never have too many.
3) Carabiner
4) Granola Bars
5) Water Bottle

Four Places More Valuable Than A House

4 Places More Valuable Than A House
4 Places More Valuable Than A House

Four walls and a roof often don’t accommodate the semi-nomadic lifestyle that kayakers, canoeists, rafters and pedal boaters alike find themselves falling into.

Indeed, there are many places more valuable to those chasing falling water:

 1) A Car

If it rolls and carries boats on the roof, it fits the bill. It’s a bed, a gear closet, and a way to get from A to B. As an accomplice in escapes from the city, packing a paddler’s car is usually something between a game of tetris and a game of Jenga, with game pieces made of wooden shelves, plastic bins and stinky gear. It doesn’t hold grudges for the routine abandonment that occurs at the put-in to a river, at the airport or at the trailhead.

If it makes it from A to B in one piece, it’s a good day. If not, call it an adventure, group bonding, or #epic. There’s probably a paddler who can pick you up on their way to the river.

2) The Greasy Spoon, Wherever The Water Is

From local diners to the closest Tim Hortons, wherever the rain is falling and the rivers are running, there will be a gaggle of paddlers hunkered down in the corner, hogging the wifi, curating the next sick edit, or sending long-awaited updates to the loved ones whose perfume of choice isn’t wet neoprene.

Clad in down jackets and toques, cut-offs and tank tops, devouring breakfast combos and fueling up on dirt-tasting coffee (made tolerable only by Canadian pride) before heading into the frigid air for a rainy day adventure, or into the sunshine in search of running water.

The wifi’s better than any house we’ve lived in, the fridge is definitely better stocked, and there’s a high probability that the bathrooms are cleaner.

[Also Read: The ABC’s Of Dirtbags]

3) The Bar 

Savouring the first gulp after a multi-day, or stunting the next hangover before this one begins, kindred spirits can inevitably be recognized by sunburns and helmet hair. In dive bars and trendy microbreweries, paddlers will be nursing sore blisters and egos, reliving the sharpest lines and the best beatering of a glorious day spent on the river.

4) The Tent

A safe haven. Safe from weather and from bugs. Safe from tripmates, when day 5 becomes just a little too much. Safe from the hustle and bustle. Where a house would keep one home with the temptation of crossing something off the fix-it list, a tent solely asks for duct tape and an adventure. Plopped amongst trees, rapids, or inebriated festival-goers, it’s a (relatively) dry place to rest a head, a shelter for introverted minds.

Here’s to the places that fill our lives, fuel adventure, and don’t keep us in one place.

Kayaking Hawaii | A SEND Vacation

In the land of surfing and sunshine, a different type of adventure exists for those who seek its secret.  The Wailuku River forms in the saddle between the two biggest volcanic peaks on the planet before rapidly dropping to the Pacific Ocean below.

Villa in Hawaii
The SEND crew enjoying their Hawaii Vacation | Photo: Courtesy SEND

The Wailuku can often lie dormant and tranquil as the river trickles over countless ledges into their pools below; however, when it awakes, this river displays its true nature in a torrential flash of power.  Translating to the “River of Death” in the native Hawaiian language, the Wailuku has a dark past, filled with legends of the Hawaiian Gods.  As it rushes to life down the side of the mountains, the Wailuku River flows through Hilo, Hawaii, one of the rainiest cities in the United States

[See Also: Dane Jackson’s 2018 Highlight Reel]

Kayaking Ocean Waves
SEND kayaking the ocean waves of Hawaii | Photo: Courtesy SEND

If one exerts the patience necessary, this river will host some of your best days on the river. Period.  A complete descent of the Wailuku from Waiale Falls to the Ocean is only a few miles long, but enclosed within its canyons is something for every waterfall seeking kayaker.  Easy portages exist around: 70ft tall PePe Falls, 55ft Raptor Falls, 110ft Rainbows and 35 ft Pterodactyl Falls.  Outside of these four larger waterfalls, the chasms of the Wailuku surround you will a feeling that is none other than that of Jurassic Park.  Dropping you one perfect waterfall at a time deeper into columnar basalt walls overgrown with tropical foliage dangled above.

[See Also: Kalob Grady’s 2017/2018 Highlight Reel]

Kayaking waterfalls in Hawaii
Dane Jackson, Kalob Grady and Paul Palmer hitting the beautiful waterfalls of Hawaii | Photo: Courtesy SEND

More than 25 clean waterfalls ranging from five to 25ft tall are dispersed throughout the section down to Rainbow falls, and then again from Rainbow Falls to the Ocean.  The only obstacle in your way from true endless joy are the water levels and the health of your own spine.

Pack your gear, be prepared to lifestyle, and when it rains, get ready for a kayaking experience so incredible, you’ll swear you are in the midst of an old Hawaiian legend.

See all the latest kayaks and gear in the Paddling Buyer’s Guide