Some are big stars, like the Baird brothers and Les Stroud. Others are diamonds in the rough, like Single Malt and Maps, Pray for Nathan, Kevin Outdoors, Canoe The North and PineMartyn. Some dwell mostly on how-to tips and tricks. Others share extensive wilderness journeys. Some do both.
Below are 11 of my favorites that tend to pop up in my recommended pile more often than not. They’re not necessarily the vloggers with the most followers, but they are enthusiastic paddlers armed with a video camera and a solid data connection, who make excellent paddling content with soul.
Jason’s films—I wouldn’t call them mere videos—are a work of art. This guy is amazing. He captures the true essence of wilderness canoe travel like no other. I literally jump with joy when I get a notification that he has another trip account up on his channel. I just wish he had more.
Daryl Phillips channel has stunning visual content, heartwarming soundtracks, and absolutely pure and honest (and sometimes spiritual) motivation to get you, and especially your family, out paddling.
Chris is an amazing filmmaker and storyteller. Her channel will captivate you. Guaranteed. The videos are a mix of Chris’ outdoor travels with her spouse, Julia, and son, Cedar. My absolute favorite are the Algonquin canoe trip series—and when her and Julia go and cut their own Christmas tree and portage it in a canoe barrel. Totally awesome!
Alex Traynor and Noah Booth are two young, enthusiastic outdoorsy guys who have taken on some major remote canoe trips. The footage is great, editing and music superb, the fish they haul into their canoe are huge, and their enthusiasm for being on trip is absolutely genuine.
Jonathan Kelly, as well as his partner, Erin Elizabeth, have gained incredible popularity with Backcountry Angling Ontario. Jonathan has an addiction to the backcountry that is irreversible, intense and insatiable. It’s obvious he loves being out there, especially on a secluded lake with a canoe rod in his hand. His work has a poetic flare to it, with a voice-over tone similar to Bill Mason’s Waterwalker.
Brad Jennings started up his channel a few years back after a television pilot, shot with his dad Wayne, got kiboshed. He then turned to YouTube – and hasn’t looked back since. The excursions now include Brad’s wife, Leah Schmidt. Together, they embark on countless adventurous and exploratory canoe trips, mostly rediscovering long forgotten ‘lost’ routes. Brad should be applauded for all his work on getting attention to places less paddled.
A woman solo canoe tripping seems to be a rarity on YouTube, but Christina Scheuermann is helping to change that. Thanks to her and the solid trips she embarks on and documents for others to enjoy, there’s sure to be a lot more solo women on the portage.
Dennis Rogers’ channel has a blend of trips and tips, but his claim to fame is his weekly Canoehound’s Outdoor Adventure Show where he livestreams interviews with a mix-bag of paddlers (with audience participation). It’s an addictive show. I’ve been on it so many times he’s started labelling me his Ed McMan, of Johnny Carson fame. Dennis offers solid content that shouldn’t be missed.
Hailey Sonntage is a recent graduate from Mohawk College’s Television Broadcasting and Communications Media and now runs Run Wild Media. However, she has her own personal channel documenting all her outdoor trips and tips. She has a few backpacking treks with her mother, but by the look of her facial expressions throughout, you can tell she prefers making canoe videos.
Justin sure makes his home province of Newfoundland proud. His charisma and spunk shine in every one of his arduous canoe tripping series where he paddles across the remote and beautiful landscapes of Newfoundland and Labrador. Each video exemplifies true wilderness canoe tripping.
Cobi Sharpe is probably more known in the canoe world for her photographs and blog. Not sure why? Her YouTube channel really does an amazing job defining what a normal canoe trip is all about – and she has some amazing tips added along the way as well.
Main Image: Courtesy Ontario Tourism