Our Readers’ Favorite Paddling Content of 2023

6-minute read

Thousands of you read our blog! We thought it’d be fun to highlight your favorite canoeing and kayak fishing content of 2023.

"2023 Readers Favorites" with images of two people canoeing on a mountain lake

Here are the 10 articles that got the most online traffic in the past year. So get comfortable and enjoy browsing:

1. Why Your Fishing Kayak has Scupper Holes

Most kayak anglers favor sit-on-top fishing kayaks vs. sit-inside models. And a unique feature of these sit-on kayaks are scupper holes. People ask, “Won’t your kayak sink with those holes in the bottom?”

No, these holes won’t sink your boat! They offer a couple of important functions. Along with ProStaff team member Gene Jensen, we talk about what those functions are and when you might plug these holes for better performance.

Find out why your fishing kayak has scupper holes.

2. What’s the Best Fishing Kayak for the Money?

There are a vast array of fishing kayak models, sizes, price ranges and features out there. Which of these models should you choose for your fishing excursions?

This blog post covers several factors that went into this listing of 10 top values in fishing kayaks. It then lists all ten recommended kayaks along with their best features, the specs you need to consider, retail prices and manufacturer links for more details.

See the best values in fishing kayaks.

3. How to Transport a Canoe on Your Vehicle

Unless you have a family cabin where you keep your canoe, you’ll have to transport it to and from the water when you want to use it. And you want to be able to transport it without damage to either your canoe or your vehicle.

Here are a bunch of tips for lifting your canoe and the best ways to tie it down—both with what you already have or with straps designed specifically for canoe transporting. We also cover tying down a canoe on a vehicle with and without a roof rack. Do you have more than one canoe? We talk about that, too.

Read more on transporting a canoe.

man loads his canoe on top of his small SUV, another man beside him

(Photo courtesy of @five2nine)

4. 14 Amazing Canoe Trips in Canada

Canadian Mikaela Ferguson has canoed all over her home country. Not only does she list fourteen of her favorite canoe trip destinations in this article, but she also shares her favorite canoeing spots in those destinations—and how to get there.

These trips include amazing paddling spots in Ontario, Quebec, Western Canada, the Northern Territories and the Maritime provinces. Some are more well known like Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario and the Bowron Lakes Circuit in British Columbia. Others are more obscure like Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia and the Seal River in Manitoba.

Are you ready for a Canadian canoe trip?

5. Paddles for the Solo Canoeist

Many canoeists love the benefits and challenges of going solo rather than in a tandem canoe with a partner. While some prefer to use a traditional single-blade canoe paddle for solo trips, others opt for a double-bladed paddle.

We cover the pros and cons of each when canoeing alone, and also who may want to have one of each in the canoe with them. Then we go over our best single-blade canoe paddles and our double-bladed (kayak) paddles that work for solo canoeing.

Learn all about paddles for the solo canoeist.

6. Is Canoeing Harder than Kayaking?

Canoeing and kayaking are both paddle sports and very similar in many ways. But with all other things considered (like the same conditions, weather and waterway) there are a few differences that make one a little harder to learn than the other.

But don’t let that scare you! Both are wonderful water activities that are rewarding, fun and can be done by people of all ages. For those interested in recreational paddling, this blog post is a great intro for where to begin and why we think everyone should learn how to canoe AND kayak!

Which is harder?

7. Canoe Trip Food: What Are Your Options?

Canoe trippers carry all their food with them. If you’re in areas like the Boundary Waters or Quetico, you’ll likely be portaging it all (often several times) over various lengths of rough terrain along with the rest of their gear.

So it’s important to put some thought into what kinds of food you’ll bring, how you’ll prepare it, how you’ll protect it from local bears and other potential thieves, and learn of any food regulations in the area you plan to canoe.

Read up on canoe trip food options.

kayak angler pulls in a fish

(Photo courtesy of Chris Funk)

8. Should You Use a Motor on Your Fishing Kayak?

Three members of Bending Branches’ Ambassador team offer their perspectives and advice on the use of an electric motor with a fishing kayak. They cover how kayak makers have developed fishing-specific boats over the years, how using a motor compares with a pedal-drive kayak, the benefits of an electric motor for kayak fishing, and also the drawbacks.

Each of the team members also talks about the motor they use on their kayak(s), and why it’s still important to bring a quality paddle with you every time you go out to fish (beyond the laws of some states that require it).

Learn more about kayak motors.

9. Canoeing and Kayaking Safety in Stormy Weather

If you paddle often enough, one of these days you’re going to encounter bad weather when you’re out on the water. This is especially true for multi-day expeditions. The more remote these expeditions are, the more important it is for you to be educated and prepared for potential weather hazards.

This includes when and how to protect yourself from possible lightning strikes. It includes high winds that kick up big waves if you’re on a large body of water. What to look for in a wilderness campsite that could be a help or hazard in bad weather. And what gear to have along just in case.

Keep reading about paddling safety in storms.

10. The Best Canoe Trip Portage Packs

Portage packs often take a beating on wilderness canoe trips as they’re tossed in and out of canoes, dragged over rocky shorelines and exposed to all kinds of weather. They need to be the right size so they’re not too heavy for your trip members to carry—and so there aren’t so many that you have to make multiple trips across the portages.

We asked some canoe trip veterans for their input on portage packs and their best advice on using them. And we list a few brands we recommend that are worth the investment in exchange for years of durable service.

See what portage packs we recommend.

That’s our Top 10 for 2023. We look forward to partnering with you on all your paddling adventures in 2024!

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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